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a sense of depth in the mix...

Member for

20 years 6 months
Just when it seems my mixing has improved in many areas (which it has, inevitably after much practice), I've yet to nail this one down.
It's what I hear on most of my favorite commercial tracks, and if I could conquer this one, It'll feel as if I'm 'almost there.'

The sense of depth within the mix.

I've read tons of stuff on mixing and they all refer to the proper use of delays and reverbs in order to achieve this 'front to back' effect, yet, no matter how much I tweak, it still seems like my tracks are sitting on the same relative linear space with little depth. I get close, but I can't seem to make it as intuitive as eq or compression and such.

When I use reverb, it's very minimal. In fact, I've steered clear of the verb in favor of using delays now.
If I want a sound to seem further in the mix, I realise it's volume fader must go down, but I'd like to find that fine line between further back and drowning it in the mix to where it loses it's punch and dynamics.
Heavy compression, lowervolume, followed by delay (short, long, pre-delay on verb?)?

Pushing the desired part back in the mix without burying it, how do the pros achieve this? It gives such a nice sense of space and opens up the mix!

Any sugestions will be great, thanks.


p.s. I use Waves and some BF stuff.


Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 03/04/2002 - 09:02
Originally posted by Krou:
I'd like to find that fine line between further back and drowning it in the mix to where it loses it's punch and dynamics.
Heavy compression, lowervolume, followed by delay (short, long, pre-delay on verb?)?
I think you have the right idea. You may need to re-eq the track to still cut in the mix as you push it back. I also like to darken the delays and reverbs. Also try to make use of panning when you can to help keep parts identifiable. Adding in a compressed copy of the track can be cool too.

Member for

20 years 8 months

GZsound Tue, 03/05/2002 - 06:58
I needed to create a "Boston" sort of guitar sound with it behind everything else but really ballsy. I recorded the track to another track after delaying it 15 ms and then to a third track delaying it 18 ms. I panned one hard left, one hard right and kept the dry track in the center.

I added a little (VERY little) reverb (dark room 1.5 second) and pulled the faders down until the sound sat below everything else but still had lots of balls. I just filled up the song without being loud at all.

Member for

20 years 7 months

mixfactory Tue, 03/05/2002 - 08:55
Depth has more to do where you place things, than with volume, effects and EQ. They all work together though. First of all, I personally don't mix in a DAW, so I probably can't help you much there, but I can tell you that if you want that 3D sound, sometimes going into the analog world helps. Also are you compressing to much? I think young mixing engineers fall into this habit too much these days(back in the 80's it was using effects on evrything, or how I put it "using every piece of gear in the studio including the toilet and the kitchen sink"). One of the hardest things to learn when mixing is when not to compress. I think people are so use to everything being so loud these days, they think that compressing and limiting does the trick, when its really the opposite. Instead of compressing things to make them louder, try the opposite, leave your loud parts uncompressed and the things you want deeper in the mix compressed. You will have to EQ to make it sit better but try it. Also panning helps to create depth. Learn where to put the focus on things and why. What do I want the focus to be on? If its vocals, than the middle. What do I want on the outsides? If its popular music, backgrounds to make them seem wide. Where does the percussion go? Do I want it in the same place as the backgrounds? If I do that won't it take away from the impact of my backing vocals?(which will push them further back in the mix). Maybe if I pan the backing vocals a little more inside, I can have my percussion/efx type stuff coming in and out, and my backgrounds will seem stronger cause they are a touch closer to the center. Like I said, there is a million things to try, a lot of it is listening and experimentation. What kind of music are you trying to mix?

Member for

20 years 8 months

Dave McNair Tue, 03/05/2002 - 21:50
I agree with everything Thrill said. I'd add that for me the most dramatic space is achieved with things hard panned all the way left and right. Other than a few things in the middle, put everything else hard to the sides and then try adding some ambience ( delays, short spaces, whatever) on the opposite side to fill things out a bit. Also a sense of space, in my experience, is very difficult if not impossible to achieve in a DAW environment.