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Carving out space
Old 23rd April 2019
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Carving out space

Hi Andrew,

What techniques do you use for carving out space in a dense mix?

Do you use ever do things like sidechaining vocals to a dynamic eq (like TDR Nova or even more specialized plugins like Trackspacer) on guitars, synths, etc.?
Old 23rd April 2019
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AScheps's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I don't do too much side-chaining. Every once in a while I'll use an external key on the Omnichannel De-esser, which I suppose is a bit like Trackspacer. I'm not familiar with TDR Nova.

The main way I try and get separation is eq, distortion and reverb/delay. The main idea is make less important things small by eq-ing/compressing/distorting (decreasing dynamic range while increasing harmonics) etc.

For instance, I will almost always make background vocals much smaller sounding than lead vocals, but denser. Filtering, distorting, slap delays, reverb, that sort of thing. All of those techniques push the sound further "back" in the mix, leaving room for dryer, more in your face elements. Think about how your brain processes sound to decide how far away tings are and use that to your advantage to create depth, which will allow for more space in a mix. It does seem counterintuitive that the more audio information you add to an element in your mix the smaller and further away it can sound, but it really does work that way.

Another thing that helps me is the shared parallel compression I use. All of the elements in the mix are interacting quite a bit which helps things be heard. Again, counter-intuitive, but to my ears makes a huge difference.

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