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Stereo Delay....perception...how to fix it?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ShutDownProductions, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Hey, I have been mixing for over a year and I have run into not so much a problem but an annoyance. I mostly mix hip hop but this could apply to any genre. When I am mixing in background dubs for emphasis on key rhymes or punch lines I like to put a stereo delay on it. It gives the key lines a thick and wide feel. I usually use anywhere from a 5 to 30ms delay between identical tracks panned left and right. Sometimes hard panned but most of the time not, just enough to give it a wider stereo feel. Now my problem is even though the left and right channel of the dub track is balanced power wise, the stereo perception is always dominate on the side that is not delayed. Maybe it is because my ears are hearing the left channel of the vocal dub being played milliseconds before the right channel, I dunno...

    Anyways, I have tried different delay amounts but always get that unbalance stereo perception on the dubs. I have used two separate takes of the same dub and panned them out, that seems to work but I lose that real tight feel that a single dub provides.

    Let me know if you have experienced this same problem or what you would do differently. How to take a single track of dubs and make it sound wide with a balanced stereo perception....

    Thanks
    -C
     
  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    This may be a silly answer, but it sounds like you need to turn down the non delayed signal. Just because the meters show equal levels, doesn't not mean the perceived image will be in the center. Use your ears first.

    Hope this helps,
     
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    It probably is because you concentrate on the first non-delayed sound, and it probably is just a matter of perception.

    Just a question or two here. Do you have things panned down the middle until you delay it? Are you are THEN panning them at just those words?
    I can't imagine that you are leaving things left a bit, and then just adding the delay right. What may be happening is that the shock of moving the original to one side throws the attention to that side, and doesn't recover quickly enough to balance it back to the center to hear the OTHER signal properly. Our minds do weird things with sound perception.

    This can be an unusual effect if done properly. If not, it could throw levels and stereo perception out of whack a bit.

    Obviously, the non-delayed part is probably being sang/spoken on the beat you want. Is the delayed part timed properly to fall in a place that would match, and not get obscured by a big phat kick or something, or are they getting smothered by a different sound?

    Is it getting timed so that another dominating interest detracts from it, causing it to APPEAR quieter? This could be almost anything. Another interesting sound between the two may pull attention away from the delayed vocal. If that noise is panned to the non-delayed side, and falls between the two, it could keep your focus shifted to that side, making the delay appear less.

    Does this make sense? Check what else you have going on between and on either side immediately of the original and delayed signal. It might be you could try moving an in-between the two, but panned, sound right to the center to provide a bridge between the two to cross more evenly? You could always move that sound back to where it was. You're already futzing with the stereo image by doing this. May as well go all the way, huh?

    It gets tricky moving vocals from the center to panned. You may seem to lose a bit of power since they are not now coming out both speakers evenly. Then you move it to one side, and delay it to the other...it could get kind of tricky.

    I dunno if this would work for your type of music, but it might even be possible to experiment with reverb to move it from one side to the other.
    Perhaps, put a reverb on the original signal, which we'll assume is left, and pan the bulk of the reverb right, wet. This may move that vocal right so that it meets the delayed signal, instead of the delayed signal just popping up. It may kind of tie them both together. Of course, you'll have to experiment with reverb strength and length and other characteristics, but it may be worth a try.

    I dunno. Just some early-morn, first cup thoughts of what might be happening and what you may try to experiment with.

    Let us know if anything works.

    Good luck.

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  4. natural

    natural Active Member

    here's the answer you're looking for:
    The sound that hits your ear first, always appears to be louder. It's an aural illusion. Your brain is much better at detecting where the sound is coming from.
    Do your research of the "Haas Effect"
    You'll find that it states that the sound will appear to originate at the earlier source even if the delayed source is 8 to 12 db louder! (wow)
    I've used thIis principal in a different way:
    Obviously if you have a prominate sound panned only to one side your meters are going to be very lopsided- Simply add a short delay, panned to the oppisite side- The meters will start to look better, and the sound will still be perceived to be coming from the side.
    Hope this helps.
     
  5. This is 100% correct... when a sound wave meets either the source of one of your ears, or one of two microphones at different times the sound arriving first is perceived to be louder than the second. This could also know as being "out of phase" or "phase variance." Only rather than a mic its happening to your ears. BTW, this is usually only destructive to a Stereo or 5.1 mix. Phase issues dissipate when mixing or recording in mono.

    Any other thoughts on phase from others?
     
  6. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    2 words........
    Helmut Haas

    Read:
    "Über den Einfluss eines Einfachechos auf die Hörsamkeit von Sprache"
     

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