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baskervils 17th November 2010 12:59 PM

Any tips for deeper, three dimensional mixes?
 
My mixes seem to be fairly full frontal, sound wise. They don't seem to have three dimensional depth, like great mixes have.

Are there any Slutz out there who changed their mixing style to gain more real estate in their sound? Any tips?

T.R. 17th November 2010 01:02 PM

Okay, two alternatives:
1. Suddenly your problem disappeared after finding the mono/stereo- switch which lead to this urgent stop of typing.
2. Something went wrong and you should edit the rest of the questions in there.

All the best!

baskervils 17th November 2010 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fenfire (Post 6015529)
Okay, two alternatives:
1. Suddenly your problem disappeared after finding the mono/stereo- switch which lead to this urgent stop of typing.
2. Something went wrong and you should edit the rest of the questions in there.

All the best!

Damn, you're fast! I edited within 2 minutes. Damn Enter key.

evangelista 17th November 2010 01:56 PM

I mostly mix stuff I track - so I've been moving mics further away when I want depth.

When I get tracks from others that are super dry and in-your-face, sometimes I'll put some stuff trough reverbs set to 100% wet. If you set a tight, full range verb, it doesn't change the tone of the instrument a huge amount, but sends it way back into the mix.

Gibson 17th November 2010 01:56 PM

ITB DAW mixes dont sound very 3D..Yes ITB is clear and transperent but it lacks a fair bit of top bottom rear front dimentionality. You just have to live with it.
I also mix on a console but all that does, is it imparts color to your tracks making you mix sound beefier, but not more 3D.
Nothing comes close to tape for that wide open 3D sound that i love. Which is why i use tape if i want that big openess.
Comercial digital mixes still dont sound 3D enough.

Im still looking forward to the digital future-Digital Converters and DAWs will only just keep on improving.

TornadoTed 17th November 2010 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by evangelista (Post 6015657)
I mostly mix stuff I track - so I've been moving mics further away when I want depth.

When I get tracks from others that are super dry and in-your-face, sometimes I'll put some stuff trough reverbs set to 100% wet. If you set a tight, full range verb, it doesn't change the tone of the instrument a huge amount, but sends it way back into the mix.

So much is done at the tracking stage IMHO.

I've started backing mics off more and also using far more room mics and it really does help.

baskervils 17th November 2010 02:04 PM

Great advice guys, thanks. I tend to think about things left to right, but it didn't occur to me to mic instruments backwards and forwards for depth.

Alas, the obvious makes a fool of me.

RMJAZZ 17th November 2010 02:11 PM

Another opinion
 
I think the gear has a lot to do with it......there are a ton of mics out there that tie the engineer's hands when it comes to "depth of field". I've been searching for my ultimate sax and vocal mics, and this is the biggest difference between the price ranges.

Also- run your mixes out through some type of summing box, or the Rolls Folcrom (SP????). I have heard some amazing results coming out of Pro Tools through just a pair of Gordon pre amps or even API pres.

All the best,
Rob

RMJAZZ 17th November 2010 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gibson (Post 6015658)
ITB DAW mixes dont sound very 3D..Yes ITB is clear and transperent but it lacks a fair bit of top bottom rear front dimentionality. You just have to live with it.
I also mix on a console but all that does, is it imparts color to your tracks making you mix sound beefier, but not more 3D.
Nothing comes close to tape for that wide open 3D sound that i love. Which is why i use tape if i want that big openess.
Comercial digital mixes still dont sound 3D enough.

Im still looking forward to the digital future-Digital Converters and DAWs will only just keep on improving.







I like this point. I have been thinking about trying the CLASP system to see what that will do. Or maybe mixing to 2 track tape.

R

evangelista 17th November 2010 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baskervils (Post 6015682)

Alas, the obvious makes a fool of me.


Not at all - we all learn.

I think you'll find that the more you get a handle on the "basics", the rest of the process becomes more and more "obvious".

It's all pretty much just common sense.

Gibson 17th November 2010 02:22 PM

Keep your track count as minimal as possible. Less is more and will sound way more open and 3D..
Automate and Mute Tracks that get the way thru the song. Keep your buss light and let it breath.

baskervils 17th November 2010 02:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RMJAZZ (Post 6015710)
I think the gear has a lot to do with it......there are a ton of mics out there that tie the engineer's hands when it comes to "depth of field". I've been searching for my ultimate sax and vocal mics, and this is the biggest difference between the price ranges.

Also- run your mixes out through some type of summing box, or the Rolls Folcrom (SP????). I have heard some amazing results coming out of Pro Tools through just a pair of Gordon pre amps or even API pres.

All the best,
Rob

Your ultimate sax mic may be the Coles 4038. That microphone has solved problems for me that I haven't had to fix in the mix.

I need to read up on summing boxes. Thanks!

baskervils 17th November 2010 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gibson (Post 6015733)
Keep your track count as minimal as possible. Less is more and will sound way more open and 3D..

I agree. I'm definitely not a track hog. I've been trying to START in stereo, as well, to get used to hearing my tracks that way. If I listen to everything in mono throughout the process, it is so tough to go to stereo later for some reason.

klak 17th November 2010 02:30 PM

To add to the mics thing..Try throwing up more room mics or a couple mics in some strange places. I tend to compress these mics a lot too. But If they don't work you can always mute them :)
Another thing I would like to point out is the dynamics over time. It might help to give some perceived depth to your track with some subtle dynamic movements over the course of the song.

Gibson 17th November 2010 02:36 PM

It must be tracked well. If it is, it will sound good and mix itself with hardly any effort. If it doesnt, go back to tracking it better. Its all in the tracking. Practice and learn..
Tracking with A Good compressor will also help make things sit. I never compress using Pluginns in the mix. Only on the buss. It Keeps it more open and real sounding when using a hardware comp on the way in, and then not compressing anything untill the mastering stage b4 you burn it to CD.

Cheebs Goat 17th November 2010 02:41 PM

When I was learning (Ha ha, like anybody is ever done learning...), my biggest gains in the 3D department came through tracking. Bring your mixing sensibilities to the tracking sessions. Keep faders and EQs at zero/unity, and do your best to "mix" with mic choice/placement, preamp gain, etc. (and don't forget to leave headroom on the 2-buss!).

Pretty much do your damndest to record something that passes as a mix even while the mixing board is totally zeroed. You'll have much more to work with at mix time.

As for mix time itself, my 3D got another boost when I switched to LCR mixing. Some people don't like to do it, but it really helped me.

baskervils 17th November 2010 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gibson (Post 6015765)
It must be tracked well. If it is, it will sound good and mix itself with hardly any effort. If it doesnt, go back to tracking it better. Its all in the tracking. Practice and learn..

The difficulty is, when recording direct with a good preamp, it sounds great, but I think that I'm losing the depth as a result.

Cheebs Goat 17th November 2010 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baskervils (Post 6015786)
The difficulty is, when recording direct with a good preamp, it sounds great, but I think that I'm losing the depth as a result.

Sounds like there is a disconnect in your brain somewhere. If it sounds great, you didn't lose needed depth. If you lost needed depth, it doesn't sound great.

Resolve that inner conflict and you'll be closer to your solution.

Cheebs Goat 17th November 2010 02:53 PM

Something else to keep in mind when mixing: You don't want to go at it with too much "balance". In other words, when you're done there will very likely be one or two cases of "instrument X is too loud/soft". Mixes can get boring without instrument X being too loud/soft.

But mixes can also get shitty when instrument X is too loud/soft. Be sure to know where that line is. Also be aware that if a mix is great, it is almost certain a few people will hate it. Again, find the line between universal acceptance and "not boring", and know what side each song wants to be on.

Ernest Buckley 17th November 2010 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baskervils (Post 6015682)
Great advice guys, thanks. I tend to think about things left to right, but it didn't occur to me to mic instruments backwards and forwards for depth.

Alas, the obvious makes a fool of me.

We`re all learning my friend no matter how professional one is or isn`t. Thats part of the secret... constant never ending improvement.

I discovered this "trick" several years ago when mic`ing a guitarist friend of mine who suggested I put up two mics: one around 8 inches from the sound hole, the other across the room. Amazing little thing happened there. No need to thicken up the track with a plug. Just pull up that room mic. Same goes for drums. The bigger the room, the more mics/flavors/options. Keep a room mic up at all times and just record that track with everything else you do. You`ll find some interesting sounds. Some may actually be usable. cooge

Gibson 17th November 2010 03:20 PM

3D open sounds and big fat sounds. = 1.Let the buss breath with minimal tracks.. 2. use as minimal pluginns possible ( try to aviod the use of software compressors ) or use them carefully or your tracks will shrivel into crap.. software eqs are fine but i always aviod software comps while mixing.
Like i said , Less is more in every aspect.

Empora 17th November 2010 03:25 PM

Unlike some I don't actually think you can blame gear or blame digital recording. There are plenty of great "3D" in the box mixes around. Though I appreciate analog tape can help in these situations it is not the only solution!!

I agree that using distant mics can/will help. Reverb and delay will also help.

One big thing that can get forgotten however is the fact low frequencies travel better over longer distances that high frequencies. The low pass filter can really be your friend here when it comes to pushing something back in the mix! Just as a high pass can bring things forward. This can also apply to your reverb/delay aux's too, keeping them out of the way of other elements in the mix and stopping splash high frequency reflections from cluttering things up.

Unclenny 17th November 2010 03:27 PM

Well....all the good stuff's been said already. So, as usual, I'll just say it again differently.diddlydoo

Track real instruments in a lively room in stereo with a mindset toward recording the room with the instrument in it rather than just the instrument.

Don't overload your mix with sonically numbing plugins. That may mean making EQ and compression commitments on the way in.

Leave spaces in the mix for those nice overtones to spread out into.

Throw a few extra long delays on strategic phrases to get them echoing subtly off into the distance. Bus some reverb to that delay.

lakeshorephatty 17th November 2010 03:27 PM

depth. cool subject.

I'm starting to get somewhere on this.

I agree that finding the best mic distance is key. I'm getting more depth than ever and i'm trying to keep mics a minimum of a couple feet from a source, often more. I can't seem to do that with vocals but my room isn't excellent.

2nd point. Room treatment. I know that room mics and distant mics in a great room help greatly, but they don't help so much in a poor sounding room. Lately to get the distance i want i've been creating tunnels of bass traps since my room is not a permanent studio. I find if i keep the mic distant but surround the mic and source with trapping its good at fooling my mic into thinking the whole room is good bumpkin

mic type i think is important. Good quality condensers with amazing midrange and a natural top end i feel tends to give more of a sense of depth to the recording. Some ribbons as well.

Getting enough but not too much harmonic distortion is also great. I think thats why some people are loving tape. The instrument pops out more harmonically when it rises and lowers in level.

Minimal micing is key. I get more depth for instance in a single mic'd acoustic than two mics IF i can find a good sounding spot for the single mic. I think bad phase relationships kill depth. This comes back to the well treated room where all bleed tends to be good. Bleed is not evil just in a bad sounding room or if there's too much of it. I try to avoid close mic'd anythings including drums.

Other than good gear (conversion pre's etc) thats about it. Some preamps even at the class A level do not keep a lot of depth in the signal. Perhaps its the way they add harmonics, i'm not entirely sure.

My EARS are a huge factor as well. I think more depth has been coming from superior engineering (to that I had previously done) than anything else. Everything helps but this is the biggest factor.

Russell

lakeshorephatty 17th November 2010 03:32 PM

Ah yes, forgot and agree with analog processing on the way in. I rarely compress or EQ ITB anymore. This is likely having a great effect on the sound as I'm rarely using plugins.

Russell

RiF 17th November 2010 03:40 PM

This is gearslutz, OK, but I don't think that 3Dism comes that much from the gear used. I mix OTB, but still I don't think that my (hardware) gear is responsible for a 3D or non-3D mix alone (you just need to work harder ITB).
In my book, you have to have a multi-dimensional visual model of the mix you want to achieve in your mind and all your mix decisions have to serve that vision. What goes up/down (frequency), back/front (ambience, loudness, high-end) and left/right (panning) has to be in your "mixing plan" and your mix decisions will lead you there. If you don't have a vision, just using "GS-approved" gear will not lead you there. Not that I have mastered this task at all, but that's what I think.

Gibson 17th November 2010 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RiF (Post 6015959)
This is gearslutz, OK, but I don't think that 3Dism comes that much from the gear used. I mix OTB, but still I don't think that my (hardware) gear is responsible for a 3D or non-3D mix alone (you just need to work harder ITB).
In my book, you have to have a multi-dimensional visual model of the mix you want to achieve in your mind and all your mix decisions have to serve that vision. What goes up/down (frequency), back/front (ambience, loudness, high-end) and left/right (panning) has to be in your "mixing plan" and your mix decisions will lead you there. If you don't have a vision, just using "GS-approved" gear will not lead you there. Not that I have mastered this task at all, but that's what I think.

I have those visions too when im mixing but digital leads me to too many dead ends. Come on digital hurry up and improve, Tape is pricey and my cliants just wont pay for it most of time these days.
Why dont companys that build converters and sofware DAWs come together and just use Tape/Console as a benchmark. Try and emulate that Big open wide organic natural sound. Stop trying to emulate hardware EQs, FXs, Compressors and focus on something else more important.

PaulBlackwell 17th November 2010 04:42 PM

Use good bleed! Use gobos to get some necessary isolation, but a little bleed can add all off the depth you need! ITB or OTB.

Use less cardioid mics and more omnis and figure 8s. With omnis you can get really close but still have a sense of space!

Finally, for drums, use more condensers...try some nice small or large condensers on the toms. I have found that when I do this, the bleed and depth they add to the whole kit can be extremely pleasing, unlike many "standard" dynamic tom mics. Also, they typically need less EQ.

mattsearles 17th November 2010 04:58 PM

Err, maybe I'm understanding this thread wrong.. but here's my suggestions.

To make things sound further away..

Lesson the high frequencies.. on stereo stuff you can lesson the stereo spread of said stuff...

You have an aux channel.. with reverb on it.. the more you send out to that.. the further away it will sound... use a few reverbs to function in different ways relative to the distance factor.

The pre delay on the reverb.. is the equivalent to the sound radiating from the sound source and bouncing off the wall further away from you.. so spend some time focusing on that.

Making stuff quieter can make stuff sound further away to..

For stuff close up.. a harmonizer can work well...

You want, in order to create a sense of depth.. variations in this stuff.. some stuff totally dry.. some stuff set up to be way back in the distance.

work2do 17th November 2010 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RiF (Post 6015959)
This is gearslutz, OK, but I don't think that 3Dism comes that much from the gear used. (you just need to work harder ITB).
In my book, you have to have a multi-dimensional visual model of the mix you want to achieve in your mind and all your mix decisions have to serve that vision. What goes up/down (frequency), back/front (ambience, loudness, high-end) and left/right (panning) has to be in your "mixing plan" and your mix decisions will lead you there. If you don't have a vision, just using "GS-approved" gear will not lead you there.

thumbsup This is the answer. When I went ITB a few years ago I kept the same techniques but had to learn to add the levels of distortion/saturation. You have to think "up/down (frequency), back/front (ambience, loudness, high-end) and left/right (panning)". Balance of reverbs, delays, frequency cuts, panning, volume will get you where you want to be.



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