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Creating a sense of space (tut)

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?

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metamorphosis
KVRAF
 
3430 posts since 7 Jan, 2005, from Hamilton, New Zealand

Postby metamorphosis; Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:37 pm Creating a sense of space (tut)

Hi there-
only just figured this out (or at least a way to explain it)-
to create a sense of (stereo) space in a mix, the dynamic comes from the contrast of elements in a mix, not simply from having everything 'all spread out'
Sure, if you run everything through a widening filter, everything will sound 'spaced out' but that's not what I'm talking about at all.
The sense that there is 'space' in a mix comes from many elements aurally, including but not limited to volume dynamics, eq contrasts, other kinds of processing, and lastly, what we'll be addressing today, stereo distance.

What you want to be creating is a sense of distance from one element to the other. You can achieve that through eq to an extent, but here I'll address only the stereo aspect.

Say you've got two elements in a mix. You want to create a sense that there is an area defined by the mix, say, a room (as an analogy).

The mistake people make is thinking that their processing defines the room- and I've made this mistake too -
wrong wrong wrong.
The two elements of the mix define the room.

What you want to be able to do is get contrast between the elements in the room so they stand out. If they're both dead center, then there's no contrast-
and if they're both blurred from left to right (take that as a visual analogy for stereo widening) then there's no contrast.
If there's no contrast, there's no room. This is what many people do in their stereo spread.

But suppose we blur one element from left to right, then keep the other one dead center. Contrast. Suppose we put one to the left and the other to the right. Contrast. Suppose we blur one and contract the other so it's got a smaller width. Contrast.
The contrast defines the room.

If everythings a big echoic cavern, then sure, it sounds huge - but there's no room. I can't tell where I am in relation to the cavern, because there's nothing closer than the cavern walls. To create that illusion, you need things placed near, placed far, placed left and right, and sometimes big and echoic or blurred or contracted. Define your boundaries, and define the other objects within the boundaries.
Then you've set up a space someone can pitch their mental tent inside, somewhere that someone can psychoacoustically feel their way through as if they were exploring a space by touch only.

To add to that - obviously volume is your z-axis, so placing things further away and closer also helps define the space. Don't think 3D all the time, but it helps as an analogy.
Peace out-
XP/Vista/Win7/Win8 Optimisation, DAW Tips, AudioXP - XPFree
I made an oddly-acoustic album and an electronica thing and an alt-metal doohicky...
dasan90
KVRer
 
5 posts since 22 Sep, 2011

Postby dasan90; Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:29 pm

Good post thanks for this tip as ive struggled a bit with stereo width recently :)

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