Dave shows his soft side - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Dave shows his soft side
Old 15th September 2008
Guest Moderator - September 08
Dave Pensado's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Dave shows his soft side

Heys Guys, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you guys. Thanks again for the love and respect you show me. I will hang around here as long as you guys keep asking questions, and Jules has the patience. I have avoided questions about the rule of thirds for now. Please go to Google and type in "rule of thirds" and check out all the paintings and photos that are given as examples. Please formulate your own application of this idea to mixing. Also let's expand the discussion with the "golden rectangle". Google that also. When we finally get to the discussion I would like everyone to expand on this concept. I really feel that the application of classic visual techniques are greatly under utilized in mixing and music.

Also, I would like to get some discussions going on the physics of music, as well as the psycho-acoustic applications that you guys are using. Please share with us any excellent books you have run across.

Please think of any questions that can give you shortcuts to this career of ours. There is no need to reinvent the wheel (other than it is just fun) if I can share some things with you.

Thanks again,

Old 15th September 2008
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Talking Wide!!!!!!!


How do get your mixes soooooooo wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide dfegaddfegad
Old 15th September 2008
Gear Guru
matt thomas's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Not exactly what you are looking for but definitely in a similar ball park is an excellent book that I would recommend:

Amazon.com: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid: Douglas R. Hofstadter: Books

It relates the music of Bach (the baroque compser)

to the artwork of Escher (you know his artwork)

and the mathematics of Goedel (Goedel is probably the most influential mathematician of the 20th centuary, especially with his incompleteness theorem, as well as other areas like Goedel Numbering used in Analog to Digital conversion.)

It relates music, visual art and mathematics and shows that in may cases these experts in their fields are in fact saying the same thing in different ways, and it brings it all together as a comment on the possibility of creating an artificially intelligent machine.

It won the Pulitzer Prize.

Its not a light read.

The subtitle is "A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll"

'Every few decades an unknown author brings outa book of such depth, clarity, range, wit, beauty and originality that it is recognized at once as a major literary event. This is such a work' - Martin Gardner, Scientific American

Old 16th September 2008
Gear Head
fabiano83's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Dear Dave,

as i was in High School, back in 2001, i wrote a small essay on the Golden Section, i was surprised to find out how this magical number seemed to be a constant for beauty... When I think of Golden Section in music, Bartok comes to mind, since he used this proportion consciously in his music... i always use some kind of golden proportions in the structure of my songs, and i also noticed how in pop music (especially in the 90's) a key change at the end of the song always happens at a point which coincides approximatively with the "golden point" (i don't know how it's called ) of the whole song, giving something new and surprising to the ear. The typical structure would be: Intro - Verse - Chorus - Verse - Chorus - Bridge - (Change of key) Chorus - Chorus - Outro, with more or less significant changes from song to song... what do you think about it? does the structure of a song affect the way you approach a mix? do you feel more "excited" when mixing a song with a key/instrumentation change?

As for Golden Section in mixing, i probably think more about it in terms of stereo field, as if the stereo field was a golden rectangle, and to pan things, instead of far left/right and middle, they sound better when panned a little bit on the left/right, in a golden proportion... it naturally depends on the situation, but i always felt that extreme panning sounds too far out and separate (well that could be what i am aiming for sometimes :P), what are your toughts on that?

i'm sorry for the mistakes, english is not my mother language

greetings and thanks for your inspiring presence in the forum,

Fabiano Pianetti
Old 16th September 2008
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
interesting plugin for stereo widening and mid side control is dr ms -

mathewlane.com - DrMS spatial processor plugin

a book which can help sharpen your critical listening ability is from william moylan:

The Art of Recording: Understanding ... - Google Book Search

he uses beatles songs for most of the examples but they can be quite easily adopted
to any of your fav productions or mixes.
Old 16th September 2008
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
If you are talking about books on musical physics and psychoacoustics there ae several that really deserve mention-
Harry Olson's (the RCA audio guru) book "Music Physics and Engineering"
Benade's book on Musical Acoustics
Old 16th September 2008
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
If you are talking about books on musical physics and psychoacoustics there are several that really deserve mention-
Harry Olson's (the RCA audio guru) book "Music Physics and Engineering"
Benade's book on Musical Acoustics
Handel- "Listening" A long but fascinating read
Many of John Eargle's books provide great intro material on psychoacoustics
and musical physics
Daniel Livitin- "This Is Your Brain On Music" A great read
Music, the Brain and Ecstacy (can't remember the author, sorry)- another
great read
Bob Katz-"Mastering Audio" An absolute must read IMHO-not really about
psychoacoustics or musical physics but touches many aspects of music and
engineering in a way no one else has done.

I know I'm missing some important ones here but these are some I have really enjoyed and learned lots from over the years.
Old 17th September 2008
Lives for gear
25ghosts's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Psycho Acoustics

Originally Posted by Dave Pensado ➑️

Also, I would like to get some discussions going on the physics of music, as well as the psycho-acoustic applications that you guys are using. Please share with us any excellent books you have run across.

Hey Dave,

I think this thread could be one of those threads that just keeps going. At least this topic has been consuming by brain cells for 7 years, and counting...

In our studios we have two windows, thus daylight ambience. One morning entering the studio after a late night mixing session, I sat down and started to listen to what I referred to as a great mix the night before. As I heard it (12 noon) I thought it sucked but everybody said that I was crazy and that it sounded great. I kept fiddling with the mix during the day and as we reached night I thought I had made a great mix(again). Then I pulled up the mix from the night b4 and I realized that it was way better. Then I got real mad and went home, contemplating why the H*** my ears were playing trix on me.

It wasn't my ears playing the tricks but my eyes. It took my quite a while and many bad mixes to realize where the problem was. At night, I have chosen the light atmosphere that I like. My small monitors are about 3 yards away from the wall where the large monitors are flush mounted. The distance is lit my vague light causing a cozy atmosphere. I realized that during the mix I was actually mixing more with my eyes than my ears. The voice was sitting back 1 yard on a green field while the strings were sounding in the distance, off, somewhere in deep space. I could see a million images as I was mixing. AS LONG AS the light was right. Then one day we had a maintenance guy in to work on the console. He had left a bright light(Lamp) between my small and main monitors and as I started to mix I thought, Jesus - I cant SEE my mix like that. Then it struck me like a meteor from space. I am mixing with my eyes. Well not exactly - but if I cannot SEE my mix - then I cannot mix.

That is when I figured out that the mixes I make "in the dark" are NOT sounding bad at daylight - only I am not able to SEE the mix as the daylight is shining from the back windows giving me a contrast where I cannot see the mix between the speakers. So I put up curtains - and when I come in the next day to listen - I pull those curtains down, pour up a nice cup of 'cino, light a cigarette and listen back to the nice mix I had made during the dark.

Atmosphere is EVERYTHING to me when I make music. That is why I am yelling at the DUC - constantly - for digidesign to finally offer a few options to PT where you can have a "Look" that does not light op the studio like a x-mass tree during dark.

So that was the light situation. Heres another Psycho Acoustic thing I am working on:

Applying the sound of a "venue" to a sound source without a reverb decay.

It aint no biggie putting the i.e. vocal into a convolution reverb and make it sound like that venue. Only thing is that now that vocal gets a decay which it did not have before. It gets wet. That is what reverberators do. An EQ also changes the sound but does not add a decay to the source. So if a room can be captured and used via an impulse response then one should also be able use that impulse with say, Q-Clone. And that is possible. I have successfully been able to capture the sound of a room without and apply it to a source without applying decay it. The process is long and takes at least an hours to make it sound good. But it is, indeed, very interesting sounding.

Anyway - cool thread - Hopefully others will share their Psycho"path" acoustic experiences here, as well....
Old 18th September 2008
Here for the gear
pacha's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Hello, I just found this q&a and I'm really thankful for it. I've already applied some of what I've learned reading your posts.
I had a teacher in audio school who used to teach us acoustics... the only class I enjoyed( I never went to the others, and in fact they had to mail me my diploma because I didn't care for one), not because it's tech aspect but because it opened a door to how I now see life and sound.
I'm a visual artist as well and I've been using golden ratios in my music for a while and there are so many ways to apply it to making and mixing music... anywhere from levels and equing to harmony, rhythm and arrangement, as you know the golden ratio is not specific to the visual realm, it actually seems to run how the universe works at least in a large part so it's easy to see and apply in just about anything... (I can't help to wonder if that's partly why people like Eddy Schreyer have asked me if I mixed on an ssl and what speakers I used, you don't even want to know what I used to record and mix our album, now going into the 2nd album with Nacional/Warner)

but I'm scratching my head with the rule of thirds, it doesn't seem so obvious to me in sound as the golden ratio. at the moment for me is just an inspiring idea( that's powerful in itself), and though I can go for it in a mix, I can't do it with the confidence I'd have when using golden ratios. would you please care to give us a hint as to where the rule of thirds would be practically applied.
I understand you not wanting to go into too much detail, but I and I'm sure many people here would aprettiate a small light... feel free to p.m. me if you can and have the time.

by the way I hope my music ends up on your mixing board one day , you never know...

R. Nova
Old 18th September 2008
Gear Maniac
knightsy's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Top man, Dave.

I'll certainly have some questions that will hopefully be worth answering!

Thanks a bunch,

Old 18th September 2008
Lives for gear
Jorg's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by Dave Pensado ➑️
Please share with us any excellent books you have run across.
I'm not too sure if this is what you meant but I read this book while writing my dissertation:

Auditory Scene Analysis - The MIT Press

A really good and interesting read.
Old 21st September 2008
Gear Nut
boothboy's Avatar
🎧 10 years

Dave, love all your work ,especially the no nonsense approach you have towards the biz!!!!
my one question as a mixer is why do the "big guys" get all the work, not you in general but the other 4 you know who!! I am not knockin them they have skills lots of em, but there are so many of us out there that work just as hard and pride ourselves on making our projects sound as good if not better at times and we are passed over for one of the "Golden Children" so my question is this How do we the little guys get our shot to see if we sink or swim, no harm no foul IMO if we fail so be it at least we had the shot ya know!!
Old 23rd September 2008
Gear Addict
🎧 10 years
I've often thought of the "rule of thirds" being appropriate to sonics in addition to visuals, and general nature.
The same applies for the golden rectangle.. and the golden ratio.

This phenomena is all around us.. It's even noted in worship, I believe..

There's a film called "Pi" which is superb - Directed by Darren Aronofsky - Which is centered around this phenomenon. Give it a watch, it's fantastic!

With regards to music, particularly mixing.. I can see the rule of thirds being appropriate to where things sit in a mix, and how elements are juxtaposed against each other.. (I'm not sure that's the right word to use.. I'm terrible for stuff like this)

I remember when I was very young, and getting more into understanding musical recordings in a sense of physics and aesthetics.. I always thought of a "mix" in colours, and in physical space that I can see.
It's often how I'll explain to my girlfriend elements of tracks that I particularly love... Things that average listeners can't put their finger on, but stuff that they love, just from hearing it.. It's our job as engineers to affect the human psyche in a way that they lean towards a certain property of music.. they can't tell you why it sounds good, but it does.. (again, I'm **** at explaining)

Basically it's all - frequency, amplitude, width, depth, acceleration and every string that attaches all of these elements together that makes up sound and music..
It can be viewed like a photograph.
There are even some people that ingrain photographs into their music.. bastwood.com Such as aphex twin.. and Plaid.. who have included musical representations of the golden ratio into their tracks.

So in effect, the elements of what makes a great track are there in individual parts, and in everything in between.. In addition to how they relate to one another.. Especially in a mix sense.

I reckon most people who mix musical content "well" already apply a rule of thirds method without even realising perhaps.. The way we craft mixes around individual components of tracks, or parts of songs.
This can also be applied to the golden ratio, and how naturally we expect and anticipate as listeners natural changes in the content we hear.. Natural progression if you will. This is something that is infinite too..
So we, as mix engineers, change all elements of sound - frequency, amplitude, width, depth, acceleration accordingly within a track to satisfy the listener's desire when they hear something.. Similarly to how the human psyche craves resolve from certain sequences of chords.

Since the golden ratio is inherent in everything natural, and sound is based on cycles, that are infinite.. It goes without saying that it is applicable to music, and the psyche.

Keeping this is mind, helps us use the tools we're used to, to craft something that is in our "trained ear" opinion, soncially pleasing in some way..
Naturally, this is something completely subjective.. But by taking the golden ratio into consideration, it becomes something that is instinctively ingrained in our nature..

Ahhh I've lost myself slightly.

The point I'm trying to make is.. I think many of us already use the Rule of thirds, and the theory of the golden ratio with regards to mixing sound in a 3d environment, without even knowing it.
It's being on top of it and aware of what you're doing an why in that context that's the hard part.
Always anticipating the next move.

Sorry if that was a load of ****.. I've been drinking a boat load of coffee all morning!

Old 28th September 2008
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
Hi Dave great to have you on this board.

I've been mixing for a few years and I'm still constantly learning. I find all the answers are out there already it's my understanding of them that improves.

I found out about this rule of thirds recently and, like you said, tried to apply it to my mixing. Splitting the frequency spectrum into 3 (bass, mids and highs) I made sure all sounds within the mix were within two of these thirds. Bass:Low/mid Guitar:mid/high etc. Making sure all the sounds sat within either one or two zones really seemed to simplify and improve things.

So thanks for getting me thinking differently.


My question of the day is, what realization changed the way you work the most?

For me it was realzing that I was trying to make things TOO good, too much sizzle on hats, too much 60 on bass etc. Mixes got alot better after that heh
They say less is more.....

I also made alot of headway when I changed mixing from being a technical exercise to actually 'making a song'

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 87 views: 24426
IM WHO YOU THINK 8th November 2015
replies: 167 views: 67213
Avatar for chosen one
chosen one 8th July 2016
replies: 66 views: 19542
Avatar for DrDeltaM
DrDeltaM 19th December 2009
replies: 76 views: 18742
Avatar for DrDeltaM
DrDeltaM 8th May 2011

Forum Jump
Forum Jump