Mixing Tips #1: How to widen your Bass in Logic Pro

Here’s a tip on how to give your bass a wider sound when mixing music, and some thoughts on mono/stereo.

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Tips for creating depth in a mix.

Transcript excerpt:

In this tutorial, we are going to be talking about depth. How to create a sense of front to back image inside your stereo mix.

Now, a stereo mix is essentially a two-dimensional plane, not unlike a painting canvas, and much like any painting, we can create the illusion of three dimensions.

Obviously, in a painting, we do it using things like shading, perspective, size. Well, in music, we do similar things. We use signal processing, like level, EQ, and reverb.

I think it’s fairly obvious how we use level. Things that are louder generally appear closer, things that are quieter generally appear further. That’s pretty self explanatory.

EQ’s a little bit more complicated. There’s something called the dispersion effect, where over distance, high frequencies damp out faster than lower frequencies, except for in very interesting and weird acoustic environments, but for the most part, we’re going to lose more high end over distance, and so if we have things that are generally EQ’d to be darker, they will also appear further away, and things that are very bright are going to appear close.

The last one is going to be reverb. Reverb is sort of complicated, but reverb is the illustration of sound inside of a space, and where you locate that space comes down to a number of different settings, and they are: the level of early reflections, the level of late reflections, and the pre-delay.

And everything sort of plays into it, like the absorption qualities that your individual reverb unit allows you to setup, and things like this, that, and the other, but these are the three main ones.

So, early reflections. Early reflections are the first-order echoes that happen in a reverberant space, so when I speak, the sound waves go out, they hit a boundary, and they bounce back. That’s the early reflections.

The late reflections are my voice goes out, hits a boundary, reflects, hits another boundary, reflects, hits another, and it bounces around this room forming all of these complex reflections. Those are our late reflections.

When we are closer to a source, we generally hear a greater proportion of the early reflections, and a smaller proportion of the late reflections, and conversely, the opposite is true. When we’re further away, we hear more of the late reflections and less of the early reflections, and they seem to blend together more, and it makes sense if you think about that.

You get more of a “boom, slap” type of thing if we’re close to something, and you get more of a convolution of echoes coming together when you’re farther away.

The other thing that happens is the predelay. If I’m very close to a source, you don’t hear any reverberation until that sound travels out, and bounces back, and at about a foot per millisecond, if I’m say, five feet away from my nearest boundary, then I’ll have about a ten second predelay before my first reflections get back to this microphone.

However, if I’m on the other side of the room, the first reflection that say, hits the floor and then bounces back up into the mic is going to get there almost at the exact same time as the actual direct sound of my voice.

So, as we get farther away, pre-delay goes down. When we’re very close, predelay goes up. All of these things come together, and we formulate a system of creating an idea of depth by using all of those processes.
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