The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
how do songs gets that 3d type sound?
Old 22nd November 2014
Gear Maniac

how do songs gets that 3d type sound?

I always wanted to know how songs get that 3d sound. Everything sounds smooth too, i feel like they didnt really eq the instruments too much but they dont hurt your ears when played loud. I heard someone say that it sounds like they have this coat around the song.
Is this a type of hardware they use after mixing?
Old 22nd November 2014
Lives for gear

It's called a really good mix. The hardware is experience.

Not trying to be an asshole or give a stupid answer to the question but that is really the answer.
A great arrangement is a big part of a great, 3d mix. Good sounds on the way in is another big part of the equation.
Old 22nd November 2014
Registered User
There is a lot that goes towards that whole illusion of 3D. For me, 3D is talking about stereo width and depth. I think some of what you are talking about (smooth eq, not hurting your ears) is slightly different, because I think it is possible to have a harsh ugly 3D mess too. But to a certain extent, the factors that give you a 3D illusion also help to sooth out the sound, so they are related.

To get Width, you need maximum difference between left and right. That sounds obvious, but so many "stereo" FX actually tend to pull the sound to the centre because they share too much in common between left and right. It really helps to have multiple takes of the same part, rather than relying on digital stereo FX to clone and screw around with the same track. So basic doubling and tripling can really help. And then you can use FX to transform other tracks, and get the best of both worlds. Some of the best producers get wider than wide stereo illusions using exotic tricks that go beyond simple tricks - consider binaural dummy head recordings to spice things up, or 3D widening FX, on top of your standard reverbs and chorus and pitchshifting tricks.

But to get you started, have you tried a Roland Dimension D effect? Or as close to it as you can get? That has been a studio classic since the 80's - probably took over from the Cooper Time Cube as the goto stereo widener trick. That will definately get you a 3D sound - but you can certainly go beyond that with what I was talking about above.

In my mind, Width is a stereo illusion - although some people like to use the word in mono. Not my choice of word for that, but some sounds certainly seem to occupy a wider or narrower space even in mono. So bear in mind that different frequencies can suggest width - in particular, bass tends to be omnidirectional and treble is more narrow. The way speakers are designed, and how they interact with a room - even in mono, you are going to get a stereo illusion just listening to one speaker. So you can play with that on purpose if you want.

Depth, to me, is about reflections - delay and reverb mainly, but you can also create this illusion with volume and instrumentation. For example - a completely dry mono string synth can sound far, far away if you slow the attack,extend the release and mix it low.

Our brain interprets reflected sound and echoes and volume as distance ... a howling wolf far away in the canyons is low volume, no direct sound, just lots of long echoes. The same wolf chewing your left ear off will sound much louder and closer, and more stereo than it was before ...

So mono is king of depth. In fact, too much stereo robs depth, because you brain interprets something strongly left or right as being closer.

There are other illusions, such as Haas effects and Doppler effects ... imagine standing in front of a rail track as a train approaches from the distance, sweeps past your face, and then recedes into the other distance. Acoustically, there is a lot going on, and you can fake most of that with mixing technique and reverb and delay. But the doppler effect requires pitch manipulation as well.

Boxes such as the Dimension D achieve quite a lot with just 2 modulated delay chips. But you can do so much more to create a 3D mix.

The more layers of sound you have, the smoother it gets. Take a single violin for example - you can take an ear out with one of those. But take 100 violin players doing the same thing (more or less) and the sound is sweet and smooth. Pretty much what you are doing with a good arrangement and mix and use of FX.
Old 23rd November 2014
Gear Maniac

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
What if im mixing one violin thats really ear pieecing, how would you handle something like that? Besides adding more violin.
I notice that sometimes I hear a song and it seems like a forcefield is around the vocals. It sounds like its seperated from every instrument. Even instruments that seem like they should over power the vocal , cant.
Old 23rd November 2014
Here for the gear

Cutting some 1khz on instruments or on mixbus adds a sense of depth, beware not to scoop to much though since you might lose the impact and proximity of the sound. I like to do it with massive passive or pultec.

3D comes from a good way to massage transients and not compressing too much the mix. It comes from good arrangement, from the quality of your FX (reverbs and delay) and how you EQ them, proper gain staging, etc. It's so many factors. What is important is to be able to hear depth and 3D so that you can aim for it (or just to,preserve it) when you are mixing.

Analog summing helps and running you mix through some analog gear (BAX EQ, API 5500).

Console3 from airwindows is amazing to improve the summing of your DAW.
Old 23rd November 2014
Lives for gear
Pick a song that the vocal sounds 3D.
Put on your headphones and listen especially close for layered vocals.

An overused yet useful trick is to keep the main vocal up, drop the vocal double way down until you can't hear it. Then bring up the v-double so that you don't really hear it, but can "feel" it.
Pan the main vocal very slightly. Pan the double the opposite way.

Today's music has it everywhere. A few vocal doubles, then hidden harmonies on just certain words or phrases. Pitch shifted harmonies on certain phrases. All mixed real low. It's the "in" thing
Old 23rd November 2014 | Show parent
Registered User
Originally Posted by siopao777 View Post
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
What if im mixing one violin thats really ear pieecing, how would you handle something like that? Besides adding more violin.
I notice that sometimes I hear a song and it seems like a forcefield is around the vocals. It sounds like its seperated from every instrument. Even instruments that seem like they should over power the vocal , cant.
Assuming you have fixed problems all along the way such as the instrument, the room, the mic/s, the tracking chain, EQ, compression, etc ... so if the only problem remaining is a stark dry violin sound ...

Depends on whether you want an authentic illusion, or if you can go a bit mad with it. I use the word "illusion", because even with classical music, there is a wide use of excellent fakery such as digital reverbs etc. It's art - it's all about illusion, just depends on which illusion you want to present.

If you have very high quality reverbs, you can even go 100% wet and it sounds fantastic. And I don't necessarily mean long plate or halls - you can create very small ambiances that are so small they can actually make a sound seem drier an closer. I got a Bricasti because I was chasing that perfect small room sound that was eluding me - it's not easy; I guess because our brains are very sensitive to early reflections and we know subconsciously when they aren't right.

If you can go crazy with it, then every trick in the book can be used. Octaves, modulation, harmonies even ... pretty much anything that can be done to vocals or guitar solo's can be done to a violin ... i'm partial to a little phasing or flanging ... just something I don't hear much of these days ...

These are fun problems to have ...
Old 23rd November 2014
Lives for gear
Silvertone's Avatar
I think what you are describing is what happens during the mastering process.

Until a song gets mastered this effect really isn't as present as much as most people would like.

Don't get me wrong, it's in there during the mix, even during the tracking process but the "effect" gets highlighted during the mastering process. Some people never even hear that effect until the mastering stage, their ears just aren't developed enough.
Old 23rd November 2014
Lives for gear
gainreduction's Avatar

3D comes from contrast and space. If you have a "democratic mix" where everything is equally loud it will sound flat. If some elements can be pushed way back and some way up front you get depth.

3D comes from the sense that there's "air" around the instruments. Read: a dense, messy production with a lot going on has way worse chances of sounding 3D than a minimalist, sparse thing where everything has its natural space. If recorded in nice acoustics, even better.

So far, not any of this has anything to do with FX. Obviously there are a thousand tricks to magnify this further but these are the fundamentals.

A track can be pretty dry and still dimensional and nice if these things fall into place. Listen to Beck's brilliant cover of "Everybody's gotta learn sometime" from the movie Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, and you'll see what I mean.

A forceful vocal that nothing steps on comes from an arrangement where nothing steps on the vocal and a mix where you make everything fit around the vocal instead of the other way around.
Old 23rd November 2014
Gear Addict
Sgalb's Avatar

Didn't really read through the thread but in my opinion it's a combination of things.

Cutting the low mids (200hz-450hz area) really opens up the center. short delays will get your width. Then you have reverb for depth. panning bla bla bla.

Is there a song in particular you're thinking of?
Old 23rd November 2014
Lives for gear
DougS's Avatar

This is another thread specific to getting Depth into the Mix. Its a short thread but it has some tidbits.

methods for placing sounds at different 'depths' in the mix
Old 27th November 2014 | Show parent
Gear Maniac

Man your the best! Ive been trying to learn how to do that 3d effect on reverb for so long. Thank you fornthe the link. Happy thanksgiving
Old 28th November 2014
Lives for gear
I have found that using a great analogue console (in my case a Euphonix console) with hardware reverbs connected (such as Lexicon 480L, 224, Bricasti) and delays adds a larger than life 3Dsound as compared to ITB. The panning and placement of instruments seems smoother and more natural on the console than ITB. The stereo imaging and depth is better. It is not bland or sterile. It exudes quality.
Old 11th January 2015
Here for the gear

Great thread! There can be alot done with the traditional effects mentioned above.

Tracks like these: still boggle my mind though. ((good music btw (only works with headphones))

Is there something simmilar to the free "Razer Surround" software in vst form? These tracks definetly handle 3D on a whole new level!
Old 1 week ago
Gear Head

decode the ms, flip the phase on a side, make and treat a couple duplicates, layer, make small time offsets between them, mix. never use reverb. ever.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
Plush's Avatar
One of the things that has not been mentioned is having some key instruments and voices recorded in stereo. Couple that with a good acoustic that surrounds the instruments with ambience. There, depth is created solely in the recording.

Moving instruments around in the studio so that some are farther away than others is an obvious starting point. Offering various volumes for clusters of instruments / voices also can create depth.

Think of it in terms of we hear things farther away from us as being softer in volume than things close to us.
Old 1 week ago
There are so many ways to get a good mix. So many tricks and methods that some guys wrote about here.
But no single equipment or technique will get you there. The faster you learn this the better.

It takes hours and hours and hours of mixing to get there. I been mixing on and off since 2004 and is still pretty bad compared to others around here.
The learning curve is like playing an instrument. Some are better and some are faster but it takes time.

Don't forget that some nice recorded tracks and a good mastering engineer will take your mix to new levels(no pun intended).
Make some mixes and if you think that they are starting to sound decent enough contact a mastering engineer and let him master your songs and give you some feedback.
This way you will get some good tips on what your mixes is lacking compared to other stuff he masters.
Then work on some more mixes and do the same thing again.
I think there are some mastering engineers that have services that will get you this kind of help.

There is also mix with the masters, puremix and other tutorials online that will give you good insight to how the really great mixers do it.
But you will also find that they often don't do anything special at all. No matter if they work on hardware or itb they all make amazing mixes in their own way.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
Sybille's Avatar
Originally Posted by siopao777 View Post
I always wanted to know how songs get that 3d sound. Everything sounds smooth too, i feel like they didnt really eq the instruments too much but they dont hurt your ears when played loud. I heard someone say that it sounds like they have this coat around the song.
Is this a type of hardware they use after mixing?
PM me.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
GreenNeedle's Avatar

Just yesterday i started a mix and had all the tracks balanced etc and listened itb.
Then i ran the mix through my EQ2nv and it went from 2 d to 3 d. **** you not.
Old 1 week ago
I always wanted to know how songs get that 3d sound.
Its all about arrangements and mixing techniques. Just like a painting that has 3 dimensions on a 2 dimension canvas, music can appear to have it as well.

Its easy to place instruments in the back 90% left, and front 80% right, back center, mid center, front center, Front 100% left, Middle 50% left, front 30% right, etc, etc etc.

You can do this by using

1. The use of a short series of delays, AKA reverb and delays
2. Mid and Side Processing/editing
3. The use of track pans, send pans and bus pans
4. Your arrangement

With those things above, you can make a 3D mix and place each instrument in its own stereo filed.

Then you can us complementary EQ techniques to placed each instrument in its own frequency filed.
Old 6 days ago
Here for the gear

please don't roll your eyes...

So glad to find this. If you can spare a few, continue reading
I was asked to create an ambi/chill wave piece (I usually do straight ahead rock/pop). I am having trouble with 'space'. First: Audient id44, Cubase, vsts.
Ok - so I can put a single sine wave at, say 11 o'clock (pm) For me, I hear...a sine wave at 11 o'clock. In other tracks (Tycho, WAYR) there may be a sine at 11, sure - but so much more. You get an entire UNIVERSE of audio surrounding that one sine wave. It's like an 'absence' of sound... that you can hear - it has 'weight' . This might sound completely stupid and I am sorry for that - just the best way I can describe it.
That one sine wave sounds like the universe, but it's only a single sine wave. Lol - HOW??? There's 'space'. 'Air'. Heck, the SILENCE has space - literally it has a place in the mix. Others have (rightly) said that it's the room, player, and all of that, but this is entirely itb!
I tried to have a bunch of vsts - all running in stereo - which isn't it Maybe use a mono file then (stereo) reverb or delay the heck out of it? Pan reverb to one side? It also seems like the more I add to the mix, the less space it has - too much stereo? Too much audio? I am flummoxed.
If you care to give any hints or thoughts, awesome - I don't expect a full tutorial here, though... Could someone please direct me to better educational resources? YT? Any online groups? Right now I am just listening and trying to emulate, but obviously I am missing lots... EDIT - One way I can think to explain - There's someone behind you breathing. You can't see them, you can't really 'hear' them, but you absolutely know they are there. Exactly what I am trying to achieve with audio ambience!
Thanks as always, and stay safe and happy!
Old 6 days ago
Lives for gear
Sybille's Avatar
IMHO you guys talk about two different things. There's what I call the "polish", that sort of smooth/soft contour enveloppe around the sound (that you often get at mastering) and then there's depth, that is much more mix related (to me at least) and that mostly involves using hardware gear and stereo techniques.

The polish make things sound "record-like", the depth make things sound deep towards the back, hard to explain. (IMO)
Old 5 days ago
Gear Maniac

Usually that is from the weed
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 547 views: 60337
Avatar for psycho_monkey
psycho_monkey 1st October 2015
replies: 644 views: 108912
Avatar for doom64
doom64 6th November 2020
replies: 125 views: 36762
Avatar for robshrock
robshrock 22nd November 2020
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump