The featured question for this week’s FAQ Friday is: How can I achieve height in my mix?
This is a great question! Mix height and depth are topics that come up very often as having parts of your mix that seem to float above the stereo field’s horizontal plane is crucial in creating a great mix.
Behind me, I have a main driver here as well as a tweeter, giving me clear high end and low end. When you are listening to a mix, you perceive the high end to come out higher in position. So, if I want to create width in a mix, I am going to pan left and right, and use depth, reverbs, and delays to make the signal feel like it is being pushed back. However, if I want to create height, I am going to go for higher frequency and I am not going to cross it over into some of the lower sections.
Depth is perceived by things coming at you really fast, and height can be achieved by working in high frequencies only, and not using a ton of low end. You need to do a lot of experimenting inside of your mix to know how to create all of that space. If you’ve watched a lot of our videos, you’ll see that when I do reverbs and delays, I don’t just always take a signal and send it to a reverb, then process the reverb with gentle compression and EQ and all that kind of stuff.
When applying these things, I might put a delay going into the reverb, which a lot of people do, but I will also detune the delay. This creates not only depth, but a separation so you can actually keep that sound forward and create an illusion of space around it. The best way to create space is to get really creative in how you use reverbs and delays! You can do delays that are perfectly in time and make the parts of your mix seem bigger and maybe create some more rhythm, but random delays will create tons of space in your mix. These delays don’t have to be loud, just random and detuned! Reverbs and delays that are out of tune and working together will make things come forward, back, sideways, and every other direction. You’ll get a completely different spatial landscape and they’ll make your mix a lot more interesting to listen to!
Watch the video below to see the full answer and answers to more FAQ Friday questions!