Creating Density in a Mix

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w_
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Creating Density in a Mix

Post by w_ » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:38 pm

I'm specifically referring to individual tracks, and how to make them sound more dense, full, or thick within the mix. In the past I relied on (a lot) of reverb to do this, and I'm trying to think of new ways to do it.

Some ideas I've considered:

-Double, triple tracking parts when recording.
-Similar idea, done differently- offsetting the tracks in Logic, Pro Tools, etc. (Not sure if this would create phase problems if done too much).
- Bussing. I'm wondering if, I double or triple track a part, and then buss all of them to the same buss, with a very slight reverb or delay, it would help create an illusion of more being there than really is (ms. recommendations?)

Other ideas?

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Post by mjau » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:00 pm

Counterpoint...creating parts that play off of other parts, and mixing those in to taste.

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Post by pandafresh » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:01 pm

ambient micing
double, triple, or more tracking. and using different stuff on the double. different amps or mics, or whatever.
or if is lots of guitars.. play the part.
de-tune your guitar. re-tune it and play the part again. the slight tuning variation can be neat.

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Post by Mane1234 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:14 pm

I've started to use double tracked parts and then busses with a whatever I need on the buss with the original tracks mixed in. Works pretty good so far. I want hear more responses about this.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:45 am

offsetting the tracks can work, but you do definitely need to pay close attention to the phase, cause you're gonna be fucking with it. so, say you have a guitar track panned hard left, you copy it and pan it hard right and then delay that track ~10ms. sounds awesome right? now listen to the mix in mono. your guitar is either gonna sound alright or really comb filtered and shitty. if its the latter then try nudging the copy track around a little bit at a time and try and find where its least offensive.

if you're double/triple tracking, i'd try changing guitars/amps/pedals/mics/something between takes so you don't end up with three or four tracks of the exact same sound. i find its a lot easier to mix stuff when there's some variety of tones.

you could also try some parallel compression and work that in underneath the regular tracks.

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Post by bickle » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:19 am

Are the sounds you're getting in the first place 'big' enough? I can't really imagine triple tracking anything, and I only double the occasional vocal...maybe messing around more with mic placement and eq during tracking would help with this...

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Post by kayagum » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:55 am

What are you doing for compression? Maybe you haven't told the whole story, but if anything, reverb will make something go farther back in a mix.

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Post by YOUR KONG » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:34 am

Don't overlook your mixing options, also: dedicate a "range" (say 33-43% Left) for each of your multiple-tracked guitars.

Another option is to put 100% reverb (or 100% delay or chorus) in the opposite end of the stereo field from the dry signal. That'll fill up your space quickly!

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Post by w_ » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:59 am

kayagum wrote:What are you doing for compression? Maybe you haven't told the whole story...
Thanks for the replies. An example would be the first track off of Radiohead's Kid A, where the keyboard (Nord?) just sounds huge. I was thinking more in terms of guitar, but keyboard could apply too. I've been trying tofigure out how they got that sound...it's sound double tracked to me and that they are tweaking the resonance throughout. I don't think it's a compression thing really, but I don't know.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:09 am

it can also be a simple matter of just turning something up to ridiculous levels in a mix...like yunno a guitar playing simple chords through a fender champ can sound huge if you just crank it up in the mix.

so maybe rather than triple tracking everything, try just cranking one track of guitar or keys or whatever. i'm thinking of shellac records...everything sounds huge because there's really not much going on, therefore there's plenty of room to have the drums bass and guitar all sounding really big.

dunno if this is what you're looking for at all, i'm just sayin'....

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Post by mwingerski » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:50 am

compression can help a lot.... subtle limiting with tape saturation or the plug in equivalant.
Sometimes a little non-linear ambient reverb can give life but I would agree that reverb doesn't necessarily add density.
I find a hall or a plate can sometimes wash out a track to the point that it isn't powerful or dense sounding at all

Double and triple tracking often makes for what sounds like a mess to me, especially with vocals...
there are of course, thousands of examples that prove the opposite...
just my experience there
as always it depends on what type of music you're working on

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Post by drumsound » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:54 am

I agree with a few statements already made.

Reverb often does not make tones bigger, but gives the illusion of a bigger space. Therefore it makes the tone seem smaller. Compare the sound of an amp filling a small space like a booth compared to filling a gymnasium.

Making sure the arrangement works will add a lot to the size of a recording. The drums can sound huge if there's not a lot going on in the other instruments, then later in the tune the focus can go to multiple guitar parts, later the vocal arrangement can take precedence. Have you heard the "Killer Queen" tracks that have been floating around? Someone posted separate sub-mixes of the rhythm, the vocals and the guitars. The arrangement is brilliant (as is the playing is Queen for god's sake). Check out how things you like are put together...

I love using different instrument, amps and guitars to give each thing its own sound and thus adding to the piece. Compression of various sorts and techniques can really make something sound in your face and big.

Do you have anything posted on the web that we can hear?

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Post by w_ » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:24 pm

drumsound wrote: Do you have anything posted on the web that we can hear?
Not referring to this problem specifically...I'm starting some new songs and being able to do this correctly will be one of the keys.

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Post by I'm Painting Again » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:29 pm

what exactly do you mean by density? i use the word too but I have a feeling it's one of those things that the meaning varies with user..

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Post by w_ » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:46 pm

Toolshed of Death wrote:what exactly do you mean by density? i use the word too but I have a feeling it's one of those things that the meaning varies with user..
Hm, I guess the best synonym would be "thick." A sound that is extremely full...another example I thought of is the guitar sounds on Neil Young's On The Beach. As was mentioned, this could have a lot to do with minimal instrumentation, so there is just more room to push the sound way up front.

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