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Crowded Stereo Field
Old 25th April 2019
  #1
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Crowded Stereo Field

Hi Andrew

Congratulations on a great career. Loving the Omnichannel, it's so well thought out, sounds great and eliminates having to stack multiple plugins which always feels like it may slightly degrade the sound in the end.

BTW we went to school together @ U of M during a very magical time. So many talented folks! And Ken Pohlmann was brilliant.

After many years in the record business as producer and writer, I'm now working in film scoring and trailers. My question is (especially w trailers) how to approach choosing and carving out sounds to make room for everything in the final mix? For example, a typical hybrid orchestral trailer will have orch percussion, thuds, whacks, impacts, risers, sub booms, maybe rock drum kit, some sound design, orch brass, gtrs, pianos, strings, choirs, etc...you get the idea. And the soundstage that it gets mixed down to includes dialog and tons of Soundesign from the editors.

I've noticed sometimes at the end the percussion, drums, rhythms will end up sounding tiny and thin from some combination of too much layering, compressing, or limiting. The problem is many of the sounds are already so full sounding on their own. How does one go about making all these instruments blend together without crowding the sound field and how does one approach something like this to make room for them in the sound field ? Thanks!

Mark Portmann
Old 1st May 2019
  #2
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Hey Mark, it was a magical time at U of M indeed!

There's no one answer to this, but to beat a dead horse, I find that the shared parallel compression I use is the key to having multiple elements that seem to occupy the same space all be able to be heard. The more they can interact without crushing the mix the easier it will be to hear all of the individual elements.

The other thing is just to try and separate tings as much as you can, both in the frequencies they take up and in the spaces they live in. Using a few different reverbs can help things separate, as well as using saturation, delays, filtering etc. Also, counterintuitively, the smaller a sound is in terms of the space it takes up, the easier it is to hear. I mentioned in another post about making strings filtered and maybe even a little distorted to get them to cut through a dense rock track, and the same goes here. Not everything can be big, so it's just a matter of trying to find the elements of each sound that make it sound big and trying to not only limit that sound to those characteristics but to keep other sounds out of the way.

Not my most coherent thought, but I can't figure out how to say it better.
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