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Old 03-03-2002, 09:26 PM
pk_hat pk_hat is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: grimy Brooklyn
Posts: 4,680
Default mixing technique: sense of depth?

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 drums are sitting on the same linear space as everything else. 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. Heavy compression, lowervolume, followed by delay (short, long, pre-delay on verb?)

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.
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Old 03-04-2002, 12:52 AM
lesoufs lesoufs is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Absolute Polarity is the key word.
It's not there in the plugs. . .
G5 2 Ghz, Digi002, Protools LE 6.7, Logic Pro 7.1 Mac OS X.3.9 / T61 vista Protools 8 for the road Paris France
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Old 03-04-2002, 07:05 AM
bugsy bugsy is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 61
Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?


This is an interesting issue that you bring up... I think it the multi-dimensional thing you seek may have to do with the PT summing bus. When you have a multi-track mix, in the end all these tracks are summed to two. (obviously) From my studies about this very same issue... it seems as though the "Pros" achieve dimension by using analog gear, and an analog summing bus. In other words a high end analog mixing console.

Another important issue when it comes to adding dimension to your mix is the A-D converters. The 001 is a fine box, but using better A-D converters will help you find that dimension that you are looking for. I purchased the 8 channel RME ADI-8 Pro, and it has helped quite a bit. If you do a search on converters on the DUC you will find much info on this topic. Look into getting an external dedicated converter to improve your set up.

I have done a couple of full 24 track mixes with PTLE... and overall I am very happy. The PT software is really great. But when truly scrutinizing the final mix, I too find the sense of dimension missing. Everything sounds like it's on the same plane. Using the better converters has helped to remedy this problem.

I think it's important to realize that many of the Pro top notch recordings you hear went through some gigantic analog console, and high end analog outboard gear that cost many many thousands of dollars. So in this regard it is not a fair comparison: PTLE vs. Mutlti-Million Dollar Analog studio.

Finally, keep experimenting. Using really good mic pre's and mic's, and a good A-D converter, etc... Can go a LONG way to improving the overall recording.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-04-2002, 07:30 AM
Jason from MaggieJack Jason from MaggieJack is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 138
Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

There is an article by Randy Neiman in the March edittion of Electronic Musician about this and other mixing issues, it's great. He talks about items in 3D space and how just a few ms of delay from the other track will put them behind the other stuff. from the article, "in genenral delays of less than 25ms help create a sense of space; anything over 35ms is perceived as a seperate image or echoe."

I was wanting to bring this up to get everyones techniques for making this happen, so this thread worked out great. How are you people doing this, with just delay and do you then mute the direct signal?

He also talks about monitor placement in the room, which had me totally rearanging the studio this weekend.

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Old 03-04-2002, 07:33 AM
Morningstar Morningstar is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 345
Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Just my 2 cents...

Having been part of a few large-budget sessions, but as a paid player, not an engineer, or second, I have come to the conclusion that the best gear doesn't make great mixes, it just makes great mixes faster. 1. Chris Lord-Alge could use my little studio and make a better mix than me with my gear. 2. I could jump in behind that Big G series SSL and make the worst sounding mix you ever heard (LOL..)
Now, I do not want to contradict what has been stated about it not being fair to compare a Digi001 w/ a well equipped commercial facility. You are absolutely right. But I do believe a commercially viable mix can be made with it. PK's question is right on, but I think the answer lies in the technique more than the tools. Listen to your better mixes and I'll bet ocassionally you get that sense of space you're seeking, it just goes away quickly, once the instrumentation changes and you did'nt cut enough at 320, or you overcompressed, when you should have ridden the fader etc..
My mixes don't have it either, because I'm a ****** mixer, but I'm workin' on it..
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Old 03-04-2002, 07:48 AM
rmx rmx is offline
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Eagles Country
Posts: 104
Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Check out this link:

Hope it helps

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