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  #1  
Old 03-03-2002, 09:26 PM
pk_hat pk_hat is offline
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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.

pk

p.s. I use Waves and some BF stuff.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2002, 12:52 AM
lesoufs lesoufs is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Absolute Polarity is the key word.
It's not there in the plugs. . .
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2002, 07:05 AM
bugsy bugsy is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Hat,

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
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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.

Peace,
Jason
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2002, 07:33 AM
Morningstar Morningstar is offline
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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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  #6  
Old 03-04-2002, 07:48 AM
rmx rmx is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Check out this link:
http://prosoundweb.com/recpit/viewtopic.php?t=497

Hope it helps

Peace
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2002, 09:04 AM
Esteban Esteban is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

Hey, pk_hat, good question, great replys. On a similar note, my band's first experience with a professional mastering suite with Billy Stull @Masterpiece Mastering was a REAL eye-opener. He brought out a depth to our music we didn't even know was in there. If you have a spare $bill$ get a mastering house to run a good mix of yours thru thier gear and see what ya get!
Esteban. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2002, 09:56 AM
CDs CDs is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

pk_hat,

I read some really interesting articles recently at prorec.com, and one of them addressed this. The author (Rip Rowan) suggested that a good way to get depth on mixes is to create depth WHEN recording--in other words, use multiple mics to define "space". He suggested two mics to create a stereo field, or a close and distant mic to create a sense of depth. He says that by doing that, you give yourself a lot of options at mixing time.

I've been trying this on an album project I'm working on. While of course sometimes I hear some phase issues, for the most part this tactic has done wonders for my depth of sound, especially electric and acoustic guitars. I got the best "huge" electric guitar sound I've ever recorded by close miking my cab (Sennheiser 421) and adding a second mic in omni mode (AT 4050) about 6 feet from the cab. Wow!

It seems that if you record with multiple mics in varied placements, you have a lot more depth and width to work with when the tracking is done. These are experiments, and I'm not a pro, so I expect to get ripped here...but... maybe try these ideas--they worked well for me.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2002, 10:17 AM
mattm mattm is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

the method is thus:

lots of hard work to gain experience, a big board and lots of money to work with.

you'll never get the same sized mix out of a box as you will with a real board (i'm talking ssl, neve, api, etc) and of course good musicians in a really nice room with lots of good mics to begin the process.

i hate purely digital mixes, what, with plug-ins affecting phase relationships to name one of the problems. i've been doing a lot of work the past few months in a studio using a control 24 (a foreign surface to me) and after a while i seem to find myself wondering what i'm doing wrong till i take the project to my favorite mix studio in melbourne and pull it up on the ssl. quite often i'll dump to 2" for a mix as well. puts a smile on my face [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

my preferred method is to track on (analogue) tape, protool only when necessary and put it back on tape. ah, the tone...
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2002, 10:35 AM
bugsy bugsy is offline
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Default Re: mixing technique: sense of depth?

MattM... Yes!... Of course... No doubt a Neve,SSL,API console coupled with 2 inch analog tape will beat the pants off any DAW on the planet. But I am sure most musicians on this DUC, myself included, don't have the option of dumping our stuff to 2 inch and mixing on an SSL. (maybe one day [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] )

So the question for us less fortunate chaps is how to get as close to that sonic place as possible.

Assuming that you have good musicians making a good sound... I believe better converters, mics, and mic pre's can help. Also, some Neve, API, etc analog outboard gear can still be used. Hopefully bringing us closer.

Not uncommon to get a racked pair of vintage modules these days for an "affordable" price. Plus some companies are now re-issueing some new gear that is great!. For instance, Universal Audio is making new 1176 compressors... and they are affordable and sound amazing.

As well.. I just picked up a new Vintech X73 mic pre-eq... Which is a copy of a Neve 1073. The X73 is great! A real vintage 1073 is $6k... which might be a bit out of hand cost wise for most. But for $2k you can have a brand new unit that sounds great, and with warranty!

These tools WILL help you get closer to that place.... Coupled with some good ears and the willingness to work hard.

In sum, I am one of the many PTLE users trying to compete with big boys. I hope and pray that with some strategic enhancements to my studio, coupled with much experimentation that we might get pretty darn close to that quality using the 001.
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