Panning up and down?
Old 24th February 2010
  #1
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Panning up and down?

Sometimes when you listen to a song (especially on headphones), you get the feeling that some instruments are a bit above/below you as listener.

How do you achieve this effect?
Does more treble push the instruments up? Do bass frequencies give you the feeling that the sound comes from below?
Does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Since ears are only left and right of your head, your brain has to "convert" the sounds to stereo somehow. What information is used here? Reverb/reflections/frequencies?
Old 24th February 2010
  #2
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nick-the-sax's Avatar
actually i'm really interested in this as well. and in some binaural recordings you get this illusion.
Old 24th February 2010
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Subscribin'.
Old 24th February 2010
  #4
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I think it has a lot to do with actual stereo mic'ing techniques,as in pointing a matched stereo pair of mics one towards the ground and one at the ceiling etc, there are some plugins that try fake it but they dont seem to be able to do it very well (Wave Arts Panorama)
Old 24th February 2010
  #5
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Cody's Avatar
I notice this a lot with rock toms, something between the overheads and the close mics make them seem to sit "up" in the mix. Oddly enough, I find that the level of my tom mix is right when I hear this effect.
Old 24th February 2010
  #6
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I hear that effect on various instruments.
It can be on guitars, synths etc.
Old 24th February 2010
  #7
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LeMauce's Avatar
Listen to Pink Floyd The Wall, Full of this kind of stuff. Watch out well listen with headphones to this album, blows your mind.
Old 24th February 2010
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron2812 View Post
Sometimes when you listen to a song (especially on headphones), you get the feeling that some instruments are a bit above/below you as listener.

How do you achieve this effect?
Does more treble push the instruments up? Do bass frequencies give you the feeling that the sound comes from below?
Does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Since ears are only left and right of your head, your brain has to "convert" the sounds to stereo somehow. What information is used here? Reverb/reflections/frequencies?
Your ears use 3 things to locate sounds : time differences, amplitude differences and 'color' differences, which is how the pinnae color the sound...the pinnae being the outer part of the ear that looks all freakish. There is a reason it looks so weird!

Stereo techniques use time differences (spaced pairs) and amplitude differences (coincident pairs) to achieve their respect stereo effect. I don't think any of them simulate the third, though binaural might get close, but even a fake dummy head doesn't do the same as our real head would, I'd imagine...don't quote me there!

I think this effect however, is achieved not by stereo techniques, but by mixing techniques. I recall, though don't have it in front of me, that in The Art of Mixing, this is discussed.

I definitely remember more treble and less bass achieves this effect a bit. I think it may have more to do with our brain interpreting things that way just because it assumes that's the way it is. I wish I had the book in front of me but it's at my parents' house.

Anyone else have that book? I totally remember it being in there.
Old 24th February 2010
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majestikc View Post
I think it has a lot to do with actual stereo mic'ing techniques,as in pointing a matched stereo pair of mics one towards the ground and one at the ceiling etc, there are some plugins that try fake it but they dont seem to be able to do it very well (Wave Arts Panorama)
This sounds like a possibility, despite my previous post saying I didn't think it had much to do with the actual stereo techniques lol...It at least seems like it'd be worth trying...
Old 24th February 2010
  #10
Old 24th February 2010
  #11
Gear nut
 

Seems like in my mixes the more trebly stuff sits higher. lowest part of the bass always sits low. but maybe that's cause I use nearfields and the tweeters are on top? it might just be that. seems like it does this with phones too. in fact come to think of it bass always seems lower in music to my ears.
Old 24th February 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFFG View Post
Your ears use 3 things to locate sounds : time differences, amplitude differences and 'color' differences, which is how the pinnae color the sound...the pinnae being the outer part of the ear that looks all freakish. There is a reason it looks so weird!

Stereo techniques use time differences (spaced pairs) and amplitude differences (coincident pairs) to achieve their respect stereo effect. I don't think any of them simulate the third, though binaural might get close, but even a fake dummy head doesn't do the same as our real head would, I'd imagine...don't quote me there!

I think this effect however, is achieved not by stereo techniques, but by mixing techniques. I recall, though don't have it in front of me, that in The Art of Mixing, this is discussed.

I definitely remember more treble and less bass achieves this effect a bit. I think it may have more to do with our brain interpreting things that way just because it assumes that's the way it is. I wish I had the book in front of me but it's at my parents' house.

Anyone else have that book? I totally remember it being in there.
That's is the best answer here.

The brain uses amplitude and time cues in order to place music or other sounds in the psychoacoustic spatial mapping model created by the brain. Sound, for many folks, is actually a huge, but often unrecognized part of how they create an internal model of their spatial surroundings. (For a blind person, of course, it's almost everything; smell and touch being the other primary information feeding into the personal environment spatial map.)

The reason binaural (dummy head) recordings can be -- initially -- so stunning is that the dummy head miking can capture both amplitude and timing cues reaching the ears. [Of course, as noted below, such recordings must be listened to via headphones for best effect.]

However, a big problem with such binaural dummy heard recordings is that the capture is (almost always) from a fixed point.

But, if you 'observe yourself' when you're listening in a complex environment (like an unamplified orchestra in a concert hall), you'll be likely to find that you are continually moving your head in ways small and large as you listen -- and this temporal and spatial-orientation aspect is also a very large part of the psychoacoustic modeling process.
Old 24th February 2010
  #13
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Thanks to the OP for bringing to light something that i've never focused on.

It seems to be true. In most good recordings I'm only however finding that things move up and down with the frequency spectrum. Higher freq's are up, however this is not always working out when I listen, so there is more to it than that..

Russell
Old 24th February 2010
  #14
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IIRC, the frequencies around 16kHz play an important role in vertical localization.
Probably the audio you mentioned has strong components in the relevant regions (whatever they may be), which led to your hearing impression.
Or maybe some of what you've heard has been recorded with a dummy head microphone. Their effect is best heard with headphones.
Old 24th February 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
But, if you 'observe yourself' when you're listening in a complex environment (like an unamplified orchestra in a concert hall), you'll be likely to find that you are continually moving your head in ways small and large as you listen -- and this temporal and spatial-orientation aspect is also a very large part of the psychoacoustic modeling process.
Aah, great point. The front and back binaural stuff often doesn't work for me although the up and down does. Usually those 360 spins just sound to me like its' going back and forth behind me or straight through my head.

I've noticed that binaural can sound much more convincing if for example it's recorded in an average living room kind of environment, and you happen to be sitting in a similar environment. It helps sell the illusion. I wonder if a similar thing is at work with the structure of our ears. If your ears happen to be shaped in a very similar way to the binaural dummy it might sound freakishly realistic, but if your ears are slightly different the illusion might be broken.
Old 24th February 2010
  #16
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Dummy head microphones are also not the exact solution for a 3D soundscape.The problem with the Dummy Head mics is that ,they sound best in headphones only.Their response on the Monitors is not, what they capture.
This is because of the reason that during recording through the Dummy head,sound strikes the Pinnae and
1. gets Slight time difference[ITD,intera aural time difference]
2. Intencity difference [IID,intra aural intensity difference]
3. and the third which is not discussed by any of u is the phase difference

When sound recorded through Dummy Head is replayed through the monitors,it undergoes phase cancellation once again.and what we hear is the aggregate of the sound left over after this phase cancellations in the sweet spot.

As per making sound perceive as if it is placed downwards ,just cut the mid range. but i am not sure how to make it sound placed upwards.
Old 24th February 2010
  #17
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Old 24th February 2010
  #18
Very short delays effect the top-bottom space as well. Try around 11ms, then around 17ms and you can hear what I mean.
Old 24th February 2010
  #19
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron2812 View Post
Sometimes when you listen to a song (especially on headphones), you get the feeling that some instruments are a bit above/below you as listener.

How do you achieve this effect?
Does more treble push the instruments up? Do bass frequencies give you the feeling that the sound comes from below?
Does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Since ears are only left and right of your head, your brain has to "convert" the sounds to stereo somehow. What information is used here? Reverb/reflections/frequencies?
The up and down plane in mixing is frequency. Low end information which doesn't have directionality appears low, high frequency which is highly directional information appears higher up in the field.

There are Five Planes of Space where mixing is concerned, and I address these in my upcoming book Zen and the Art of Mixing. Here they are:

Panning left to right. Frequency up and down. Balance front to back. Contrast sparse to dense. Reflection far to near.

I go into much further detail in the book, but that should get you started.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Old 24th February 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
Portico 5014 needs another knob for "up and down"
thats why they make a VERTICAL version
Old 24th February 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
The up and down plane in mixing is frequency. Low end information which doesn't have directionality appears low, high frequency which is highly directional information appears higher up in the field.

There are Five Planes of Space where mixing is concerned, and I address these in my upcoming book Zen and the Art of Mixing. Here they are:

Panning left to right. Frequency up and down. Balance front to back. Contrast sparse to dense. Reflection far to near.

I go into much further detail in my book, but that should get you started.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Very cool. When you talk about contrast in a mix, are you speaking linearly - meaning the totality of the arrangement, or in a specific moment(s) across the sound field - more density in the middle as opposed to one side or another that might shift. Or both. Or something completely different.
Old 24th February 2010
  #22
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wooow......... curiously will be waiting for your book........!!
Old 24th February 2010
  #23
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rogerbrain's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Studio RI View Post
Very short delays effect the top-bottom space as well. Try around 11ms, then around 17ms and you can hear what I mean.
or try a sample delay and start with one sample and work out (eyes closed)
Old 24th February 2010
  #24
Conceptually visualizing a mix by intellectually mapping the vertical axis to the frequency spectrum is a helpful trick that many of us have used over the years -- but it's very important to not conflate that visualization strategy with actual psychoacoustic effects of temporal and amplitude perception.
Old 24th February 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
Very cool. When you talk about contrast in a mix, are you speaking linearly - meaning the totality of the arrangement, or in a specific moment(s) across the sound field - more density in the middle as opposed to one side or another that might shift. Or both. Or something completely different.
Contrast deals with the time plane of music. Music unfolds over time, and contrast is an effective production and mix tool. The first three planes (panning, frequency, and balance) deal with what you're hearing immediately. The Reflection plane is generally fairly immediate, but the bigger the space within the reflection the more time it takes for it to unfold. For example the smack of a big room takes less than a second to hear, a long delay, one that provides the illusion of a cavern takes considerably longer to unfold. But contrast relates purely to how the mix works relative over time.

Everything in a mix is relative, and each identifiable section in a mix sets up the next. The simplest and most common example of effective contrast in a mix would be a verse that is sparsely arranged as contrasted with a densely arranged chorus. That provides contrast, and the contrast unfolds over time. We don't get the payoff of that contrast until it's evident to us. There are many other forms of contrast that you can use to your advantage while mixing.

Balance is actually a bit more complicated than just dealing with the immediacy of the front to back plane. Balance can also be achieved across the time plane of a mix, and balance is actually involved in all the other planes, but that requires a much longer explanation than I can give now.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Old 24th February 2010
  #26
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron2812 View Post
Sometimes when you listen to a song (especially on headphones), you get the feeling that some instruments are a bit above/below you as listener.

How do you achieve this effect?
Does more treble push the instruments up? Do bass frequencies give you the feeling that the sound comes from below?
Does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Since ears are only left and right of your head, your brain has to "convert" the sounds to stereo somehow. What information is used here? Reverb/reflections/frequencies?
supposedly low frequencies appear 'lower' that is a well known phenom.....
please confirm w/ Ethan
Old 24th February 2010
  #27
Gear maniac
 

i cant reference my sources as i remember reading this a long time ago but here goes....

when we're born we dont have the ability to hear up and down. its a learned skill

because of the way our ears are shaped, sound will be absorbed/reflected (by the outer ear) into our ears drums in different ways according to its up/down position.

it is the way sound is effected by the shape of our ears that we learn what 'up' sounds like.

because we all have different shaped ears we have different expectations as to what 'up' sounds like.

i believe this is why 'panning' vertically is difficult
Old 24th February 2010
  #28
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Does anyone here know how the brain even deciphers a sound above you from a sound below you? Left and right is obviously because of the delay but in theory the source directly above you reaches both ears at the same time. Does it have something to do with the room you are in?
Old 5th March 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
supposedly low frequencies appear 'lower' that is a well known phenom.....
Especially if your sub's under your desk.
Old 7th March 2010
  #30
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Conceptually visualizing a mix by intellectually mapping the vertical axis to the frequency spectrum is a helpful trick that many of us have used over the years -- but it's very important to not conflate that visualization strategy with actual psychoacoustic effects of temporal and amplitude perception.
It's interesting because I've been mixing for about twenty years now, successfully I might add, and I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not attempting to argue from authority or anything (Buddha forbid!) and I'm not saying there's no validity to whatever it is you're talking about, there very well might be, but if I don't understand it I'm pretty sure the guy asking about panning up and down doesn't.

The point is it's necessary to understand that the up and down plane of mixing is frequency dependent. That's not just a "strategy." It's how we perceive sound when we're sitting in the middle of the stereo image. It's a part of the overall image. Recognizing this makes it considerably easier to mix.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
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