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Thread: Depth in Instruments

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    Depth in Instruments

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    On my best mixes (which is NONE) I easily place the instruments on the 100L - 100R spectrum. But I notice on real songs I listen to in headphones, there's areas of depth to some instruments. How do you achieve this?

    Panning is for placement. But, is it volume + effect that gives it depth?

    Is there something special that you need to apply to a track?

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    Depth. That's the answer.

    Ever notice how the same person saying the exact same thing in the exact same way sounds totally and completely different if it's said 1" from your ear, 1' from your ear, 1 yard from your ear or 3 yards from your ear? Depth.

    Record everything "direct" (or only several inches away) and you have a mix that's a few inches deep. Mic everything up from 7' away from the same sources and it's a totally different mix - and it's NOT THE SAME as adding a bunch of early reflections with an effect - That can certainly seem to add depth (and used judiciously can fool some of the people some of the time). But the mic still heard everything directly.

    This is why great sounding rooms are in high demand. Always have been, always will be. A variety of depth during tracking gives you that "3D space" in the mix.

    Short of that, you can mimic it to some extent... The usual stuff, rolling off a bit on the top and adding some early reflections. But again, it's just not the same as capturing the source from a distance in a great sounding space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman999 View Post
    On my best mixes (which is NONE) I easily place the instruments on the 100L - 100R spectrum. But I notice on real songs I listen to in headphones, there's areas of depth to some instruments. How do you achieve this?

    Panning is for placement. But, is it volume + effect that gives it depth?

    Is there something special that you need to apply to a track?
    Think of a mix like a painting with depth. Its easy to make a 3D mix. all you need to do is use Reverbs (a series of short delays), Delays, Mid and Side EQ techniques and Panning techniques.

    When you learn how to use those things above, you can place instruments back center, front center, back left, back right, front left, front right, mid left, mid right, mid center and so on...
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    Things that are closer to you tend to sound brighter and the farther away they get, the duller they sound. Eq can help place things in the mix by applying that idea.
    Last edited by Farview; 05-27-2019 at 10:39.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman999 View Post
    On my best mixes (which is NONE) I easily place the instruments on the 100L - 100R spectrum. But I notice on real songs I listen to in headphones, there's areas of depth to some instruments. How do you achieve this?

    Panning is for placement. But, is it volume + effect that gives it depth?

    Is there something special that you need to apply to a track?
    To create a 3D stereo field for all your tracks in a mix, these are the tools you need to use:
    1. Mid and side EQ techniques
    2. Reverbs
    3. Delays
    4. Panning

    With those things above, you can place instrument anywhere in the 3D sound stage. Like Back left, back right, Front left, front right, Mid center, Back center, Front center, mid center left, mid center right and so on and so on...
    Online Audio Mastering - Online Mastering & Mixing Studio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audio Mastering View Post
    To create a 3D stereo field for all your tracks in a mix, these are the tools you need to use:
    1. Mid and side EQ techniques
    2. Reverbs
    3. Delays
    4. Panning

    With those things above, you can place instrument anywhere in the 3D sound stage. Like Back left, back right, Front left, front right, Mid center, Back center, Front center, mid center left, mid center right and so on and so on...
    I'm going to have to learn about mid/side EQ. I think that's what I'm missing (as well as talent).

    THANKS!

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    Mid-side *recording and mix processing* are one thing. Mid-side EQ is something different. One gives you unusual control over the apparent space. The other lets you EQ the mid or side signal.

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    I learned mixing drama, not music. So much more critical being able to place a person in with others so it's realistic. It's ve odd at first trying to recreate exactly what we spend time normally removing! Delays, reflections, nasty reverb and ambience.

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    The problem with that approach Sebastian, is that it is destructive. EQ and reverb are destructive processes to your signal. Panning is not. If you can clear your mix with panning FIRST, you will likely be using less destructive effects like EQ and reverb and will get the highest fidelity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wilfried View Post
    The problem with that approach Sebastian, is that it is destructive. EQ and reverb are destructive processes to your signal. Panning is not. If you can clear your mix with panning FIRST, you will likely be using less destructive effects like EQ and reverb and will get the highest fidelity.
    Not once it gets collapsed to mono on some modern bluetooth speaker. IME final panning decisions are best left until after eq'ing , and neither eq nor reverb need be destructive
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