Rule of Thirds - Gearspace.com
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Rule of Thirds
Old 1st September 2008
Lives for gear
audiomichael's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Rule of Thirds

Hi Dave,

I really enjoyed your Waves interview. You gave a lot of things to think about without actually spoon-feeding. One of those things was the concept of "Rule of 3rds". At first I was thinking of the 3 divided sections, which didn't really resonate with me. Then I thought again about the eye being drawn to object that occur 2/3's up from the bottom of the picture it started to make more sense to me. So for me it really made most sense to me definitely as "The Rule of Thirds", not "The Rule of Three".

If you split the audio spectrum into 3rds, there's exciting stuff that happens at the 2 lines (1/3 up and 1/3 down). I've been looking at it like every sound has 2 exciting zones, with everything else being connective tissue. The top line (where the eyes would be) is also what your ear naturally gravitates towards, like all the 8k in-your-face sound, and the bottom line is supporting that top, like the solid 100hz stuff.

Not that I'm always boosting those particular frequencies, or anything, but if I do push up an upper element, or upper-mid element or freq, then I've found that if I also give it a low/ low-mid boost, it helps to keep everything in focus... so to speak.

If you'd like to elaborate on your take on "The Rule of Thirds", I'm sure everyone would like to hear.

Old 1st September 2008
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
Rule of Thirds

I'm intrigued by how you've spoken of applying the rule of thirds to audio but it's not evident to me how this works. Is it in relation to panning (L-R)? Frequency distribution (Top to Bottom)? Maybe it even front to back also? Just a guess.

Thanks once again for sharing your expert knowledge so graciously!
Old 2nd September 2008
Gear Addict
1ManBand's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Hello Dave !!

hello dave its crazy that i actually get to ask u some questions.. i just wanted to ask you, when your eq'ing, do you ever use the missing fundamental tricks to get a sound out of another sounds way.. to make it seem like its higher or lower? like eq'ing according to notes on the frequency chart to make chords?

i read u like the filterfreak.. do you like to layer sounds before eq'ing them. what im trying to ask is.. your a master with the eq.. can u sculpt out any sound u want.. or is there some things layering a sound into 3 different parts and then eq'ing lows mids highs can only do?

can you give anymore tips to what you were talking about on that waves video with the rule of 3rds? when u said that my whole mixing world changed. u put me to work! any other tips maybe?

sorry if i have run on sentances im excited to be able to write u.. to me your like the 2nd coolest next to michael jordan!
Old 2nd September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
Well, I'm intriqued as well. I think Audiomichael is close to how I interpret that as well..

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to educate us !!
Old 3rd September 2008 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
The rule of thirds is really a rounding off of the concept of "the golden ratio" ,which is not precisely a 1/3:2/3 ratio. The concept of how the two portions relate to each other (the ratio of small to large = the ration of large to sum) is a really interesting idea/relationship. It's worth 10 minute on wikipedia in addition to whatever Dave has to say.
Old 4th September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
borism's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi Dave
So nice to have the opportunity to write to you

I'm also very interested on your "Rule of Thirds" comment / technique on the Waves video, I actually posted here asking about it, but I don't think anyone kind of hit exactly how to explain it.

I would love if you can elaborate on this please
thank you!

Old 4th September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
+1 on learning more about this
Old 6th September 2008 | Show parent
Lives for gear
JoeyM's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I'd thought Dave meant the thirds were about panning, like 10 O clock and 2 o clock in the same way the visual rule of thirds applied to the overall picture focus of interest.

The frequency rule of thirds theory is really intriguing too. I'm all ears
Old 6th September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Nut
sONIC_jUNKIE's Avatar
🎧 10 years
As far as I understand it ,coming from composition background,the catharsis of the process comes in a way that is dictated by our natural instincts.
the rule of third is based on our traditional understanding of time.That means also certain conception of dramatic process.The rule of thirds states that basically the catharsis of a process comes on the transversal of second and third third - which is exactly the point where we need to feel the breakpoint,in order to feel satisfacted with the drama.
Now what I understand by this in the audio/mixing world,is, that :
. just right as the song itself compositionally must have a line that goes from beginning,through complication to final catharsis,and then pacification, the mix has its own plan ,it has its own "scenario" that supports the concept of the composition.its very much like instrumentation in classical world,which supports directly the drama of the piece.
In other words,for me its another way to lead the song and support its drama and evolution,by having precise concept of dynamics scenario,effects scenario, and arrangement scenario.
now enough with that bull****.
Old 8th September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
On to something

I think you guys are on to something here.

If you listen to the interview Dave is talking about the rule of thirds, as to how the eyes conceive something to be naturally beautiful. Vertically and horizontally. So in order to apply that to the audio world, you'd have to look at what resembles those dimensions, namely panning (the horizontal line) and frequencies (the vertical line).

Now, my more or less qualified guess is that when mixing, you have to have the audience's ears to be drawn to some things 1/3 of the way from the top/bottom/left/right, in order to make it exciting to listen to. Or for your ears to percieve it as 'naturally beautiful'.

What do you guys think? Dave - don't hesitate to pitch in!

Definitely some experiencing for me to do!
Old 8th September 2008
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
Mixing in 1/3 s

Hi Dave, I was watching your interview on the Waves web site and you mentioned about starting a discussion in mixing in thirds(1/3). So here it is
Lets start
Thanks for your time and experience
Old 15th September 2008 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Come on Dave...

I think CLH pretty much nailed it. It must be something that has to do with panning.
Come on Dave, you wanted to start a discussion, come on down!!!!
Loved your interview.

Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
I think a mix can be seen as tridimensional, one dimension being the Width which relates to panning, the other one being Depth which relates to the perceived distance of sounds and the other would be the Height which could be about frequencies, as someone said, or maybe simply positioning things up and down (i guess that can be done with delays?? short delays or pre-delays can create the image of the sound coming from above i think). I believe Dave said somewhere he would like to see a plug-in that could pan things up or down.

Anyway, i think the mixing world is even more complex than the photography...as we can have the perception of things jumping out of the speakers axis...and photos are more bidimensional...

Dave what are your thoughts?? everyone is curious heh
Old 21st September 2008 | Show parent
Gear Nut
Dissdnt_penguin's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Wow !! I knew Bach and Mozart among others used the golden section for composing, but I never thought it could be used for mixing. I'm really curious about reading an answer form Dave to this question too !!

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