This isn’t an easy task to achieve the depth of music sounding with reverberation, an equalizer, delay and other effects.
In real life, we hear any sound in three dimensions, and, although stereo allows you to transmit the position of audio sources from left to right quite convincingly, the simulation of real space “in depth” requires certain experience and developed spatial intelligence from guitar music mixing engineer. It’s worth starting to study music mixing art with simple observation of ambient sounds so that then during mixing you could properly transmit your sensations you experience when the source is moving away from you.
So how do we feel which signal closer to us and which farther from us is?
It’s obvious that close sounds must be louder than those which are farther, there aren’t any problems about it, but there are some other factors that are impossible to transmit only with a volume control. This article will concern these factors.
An equalizer to transmit distance
If you want to place a vocal or an instrument in the background of a mix, studio engineer should not only diminish it, but also slightly remove some high frequencies to emulate the effect of high frequency air absorption.
You can also slightly remove low frequencies in the 150–200 Hz region to enhance remoteness effect. If the instrument is being recorded live, it makes sense to increase the distance between an instrument and a microphone during recording. It will also enhance remoteness effect and gives necessary coloration before sending to music mixing studio. Please hear for yourself in demos of mixing mastering work available on the website.
Providing online mixing services you’d better use diffuse reverb to the removed sounds, in other words, without any excessive specification, and again by slightly removing high frequencies in the same way as you did with the audio source.
On their way to our ears far sounds encounter more reflective surfaces than close ones do, during professional mixing tips it’s simulated by adding a greater amount of reverberation to far audio sources than to close ones. However, you should apply reverberation carefully as you can easily overdo here. It particularly concerns compact saturated mixes – it’s worth using reverb plugins in them extremely carefully as far as there are plenty of sounds and instruments, so it’s quite difficult to catch nuances of the processing itself. And an engineer can face a temptation to add it above the limit by turning the song into a muddy mess. In such cases echo will suit you better to create the space of a song.
To combine echo effect with reverb processing is a perfect way to show the distance, but studio engineer shouldn’t confuse this type of effect with common digital delay – in the case of echo, reflections must be muted and by far less intelligible than the source signal.
During mixing such effects as Chorus can also create a distance effect as they make sounding more diffused. Alternatively, in music studios often used VST doubler plugin or double the signal twice and displace pitch on doubles by about 7 cents, on one of them up, on another down.
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It’s always necessary to keep in mind that the sound and forms transmitted with electronic music mixing and mastering are quite specific and relative things. For example, perspective and the depth of a mix are also created by contrast. That’s why when engineer creates overall picture; he needs not only to process far audio signals by emphasizing all the details which accompany removal, but also to bring the closest to a listener instruments to the foreground. On the whole it looks like that: the engineer must make farther audio sources diffused and less bright by adding space processing, closer instruments must be a lot brighter and with minimum reverberation (and even without it at all). You shouldn’t make a mistake by trying to headline all the elements as during such a mix the sounds in the foreground will be too close to each other, and the background will be left empty.
Mixing and mastering engineers often use delay effects instead of reverb plugins to give vocals more space. This type of processing you can hear in our mxied songs demos. Or, alternatively, they combine delay with less amount of reverberation or use settings with long pre-delay (in the range of 90–110 ms). As far as close audio signals must sound brighter than far ones, much brighter reverberation with more intelligible earlier reflections might be applied by engineer.
It’s also often useful to apply two different reverberation types: the first one with typical sounding, sort of plate reverb, and the second one which is rich in earlier reflections.
Consequently, it’s possible to balance the character of earlier reflections with much more distinct typical sounding of plate reverb.
Plan instrumentation and arrangement so that the sounds you use won’t damage mixing rock vocals. For example, it’s much more difficult to move back very bright synthesized pads than those which sound more moderate. If back vocals sound brighter than basic ones, it’s also evident that something is wrong. There are sure exceptions, but as a rule, basic vocals are after all basic vocals. If reverberation added to back vocals at mixing services, they will be more simply to move away.
Instead of using the automation of the loudness level change, often is the automation of the parameter equalizer change used in mixing to remove the narrow band of competitive frequencies in that moment when another instrument starts playing. Yet there isn’t any reason why this technique shouldn’t used at mixing together with slight loudness reduction. The most difficult thing about it here is not to overdo with cutting frequencies as it will become obvious for a listener, but it’s not that what we are trying to achieve.
Now for the finale
Try listening to what you have done from the next room without closing the door to your studio. If everything is good, you’ll hear it even from the next room: the common balance of instruments must remain fully readable. Please learn our affordable mixing services prices for more help if you're interested.