Getting sounds to appear in mix as if in their own 'space'

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Holygrounder, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. Holygrounder

    Holygrounder Guest

    Hi all,

    My first post here! javascript:emoticon(':D')

    In many mixes I hear, some sounds - vocals, guitars etc. - often appear to be in "their own space". Hard to describe, but it's as if they have had their eq 'scooped out' - and as tho they have their own acoustic space.

    Is this due to shaping the eq, removing lows and highs, or the use of delays and/or short reverbs, including early reflections?

    If so - what sort of treatment might work in general, and if delays/reverbs, what sort of settings? If in Logic's 'Sound Designer' are there any sample IRs which would make good starting point(s).

    All replies gratefully received!

  2. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Re: Getting sounds to appear in mix as if in their own 'spac

    :D Oh I love these kinds of threads. You are hearing it! It seems much of what you are searching for is ignored by many in favor of a catchy tune with a good vibe. What you hear is the fine touches of a fine recorded, well-mastered and preserved mix.

    To me, it is like a haze is lifted and everything has pinpoint locations and clarity. Even though mastering is essential, and is attempted to some degree with smaller less than perfect environments and gear, this is where the rubber meets the road.

    I pray that this revelation is granted me at the pearly gates, only after the meaning of the Universe is explained, but this is the number 2 question for sure.

    Some is coincidental, but for the most part, definitely engineered.
    I discovered some time back, while listening to various cuts of my own projects through an FM (mono) portable radio that certain psycho acoustic properties shinned through. I don't know why I could hear this on that radio and not on the master itself. I think it had something to do with the FM process itself. "A...HA!” I thought, what was going on with the MS, or M-S? I could hear the space around the lead singer, the drums as a whole kit and their space, and many other sounds of acoustic spaces that I knew and recognized.

    I hope this will turn into a nice long thread.

  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    depending on the material, some engineers try to go for this while others don't. mics pick up not only the source but also the room. when a skilled engineer has a good compressor on hand, he's able to bring the room sound up and this will give you a the space you hear. If there is no room sound, then the use of short delays, and short rooms can simulate this too. subtle use of eq will also enhance this illusion.
  4. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    An engineer I master for once explained this to me (at least how it pertains to his mixes). He uses layers of rhythmic delays (delays which are in time musically to the tune) and combinations of extra short, short, medium length reverbs. This changes for each song depending on it's tempo and feel. This allows each instrument to "float" within the mix. It also allows you to create depth (forward and behind the speakers) and to create extra width beyond the speakers.

    Good luck,

    Mark Wilder
    Sony Music Studios
  5. Chance

    Chance Guest

    I guess I'll throw in the method to my madness
    I will first mix in MONO. In mono things become obvious such as phase, and freq. clash ie. the bass will sound good when solo'd, and the kick will sound good when solo'd, and guitar sounds good when solo'd, but when mix'd together, their EQ clashes and mixing & EQing in mono, you can really dial the EQ in. When I can hear every track, ( or instrument ), and it sounds good in mono, I will use the pan-pots. Each track will be panned DIFFERENTLY. Usually the kick and the bass guitar are centered, but I'll put one a hair left of center and the other a hair right of center. In other words every track will have its' own piece of real estate. It's almost like taking a photograph of 24 people. If you group them all together, you might not see the short people because they are hidden by the taller people BUT if you line them up from left to right ( pan-pot real estate ) you can see every one ( or track/instrument )
  6. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    Mono, the true reference standard! When I master I listen to every song in mono and sum and difference. It reveils so much.
  7. Chance

    Chance Guest

    I might add it's a good idea to check the polarity of each track to make sure one isn't out of phase. That would show up in mono ( or wouldn't show up ) and you'll really be scratching your head wondering what happened.
  8. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    I recently added some acoustic treatment to my control room, specifically some mid range traps on side walls to suck up the early reflections. I'm now hearing L-R detail I didn't hear before, even on stuff I had already recorded and mixed. Certainly EQ, reverb, delay will all have an effect on a tracks sense of placement in the stereo field, but don't forget to factor in the listening environment.
  9. Holygrounder

    Holygrounder Guest

    Hi all,
    johnyoung wrote:
    . . . added some acoustic treatment . . . now hearing L-R detail I didn't hear before . . . EQ, reverb, delay will all have an effect on a track's sense of placement in the stereo field, but don't forget . . . the listening environment.

    Oddly enough I'm doing just this - adding some substantial bass traps (600mm x 500mm x 75mm) - four of these, and moving my G4 out of the control room for some peace! 8)

    I posted this as there never seems to be any detail - often engineers say they'll spend ages setting up the delays, but never any concrete examples. I have found one reference to Bob Clearmountain setting delays and to make sounds sit right:

    . . . two delays going, one on eighths and the other on 16ths. It puts an air around instruments and if mixed in correctly you won't actually hear them, just sense them.

    Any other examples??
    Holygrounder (Mike Levon @ Holyground Records, England)
  10. by

    by Guest

    Actually one kinda cool "effect" when in stereo is getting one side of the signal almost out of phase with the other, making it very non-directional sounding. It's generally frowned apon but you might want to try it just to see what it can sound like.
  11. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    May 26, 2003
    I tend to get the best results by extending my stereo field to begin with. I put waves stereo image plug in before I pan on my master fader then i can use not only panning but depth perception in the mix which allows you to get the wrapped around effect, but I always mix first in mono and I now have a button for it on my dm24. i tend to see that cheap converters robs you of your stereo image so I compensate by extending it slightly this may or may not work for you but I haven’t broken down and bought a rossetta yet. I also use akg240 headphones as well as sennheiser hd600s the akgs widen the stereo field which can be really helpful finding the pockets :)

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