Space is Finite

Providing space in a mix is vital for setting the vibe. Does the sense of space start from the recording process? Are panning and reverb the only ways to achieving depth? How do you approach this concept and is it really genre specific?

Do tell !

If I get really kinky , and I have some time to play with, I sometimes will set up two buses . One hard-panned Left , the other goes hard Right, and I will put vastly different reverbs in each bus and route different elements of the mix to each bus with varying levels to spice it up. Now ,why not just use a "stereo 'verb…well you try it out. Put a plate 'verb on one side and a medium hall on the other…

What do you try to achieve?

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For me it starts with the arrangement. As you probably recall, most of my stuff is fairly spare in terms of the instrumentation lineup, acoustic-based largely. Without a “wall of sound” you have a good start at getting that sense of space.

And my basic approach is to use panning & reverb on individual tracks plus some widening on the master bus, and adjust until it “feels” right space-wise. One size never fits all of course…

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This pic is pretty hypnotic @cptfiasco! Is there some subliminal message hidden there?

But yeah, pretty much what @Chordwainer said. And I’ll also add that I hate LCR mixes. For me it’s just a lazy way of achieving separation, sounds very bad on headphones too. I’ll very rarely pan something extreme left or right if there’s not something to compensate on the other side, at least put some reverb or delay on the other side to avoid that lopside feeling on headphones at least.

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This is how I look at it. We have a limited canvas when we mix. Modern sound is about filling that canvas with the basic elements and not leaving a ton of room for ambience. I find I need to shoehorn ambience in just like we are doing with everything else these days. This is totally dependent on genre of course. I am talking about anything pop.

Generally the sense of space comes from snare and vocals in a mix. Squeezing a parallel drum buss hard and using room mics well is my first go to. On vocals I will generally use a little delay, modulation and verb in a very subtle way to get a vocal to sit well with a sense of space. Typically I am adding reverb and modulation to delays to get the vocal up front and give the delays some depth.


Space within a mix is an integral part of the actual sound…
It fascinates me… like an essence that you can mould and shape - the different qualities of space… fH @ColdRoomStudio wrote in RR some years back, about the use of silence and delays and it was one of those readings that profoundly changed my concepts of mixing.

While anyone can throw walls of sound together, it is the shaping of that sound, the use of space, that creates the music for me… There are the tools that shape the sound to manipulate the space, eq etc… but the use of silence itself can be an awesome thing. For me, the ebb and flow of music is what somehow catches me up and inside it… the rhythm that connects… In order to have an ebb, you need to manipulate the space…

I love playing with delays… I can’t afford to buy expensive gear but I have a great set of toys to work with. I still really like the free Classic Delay.
So, [rave rave… oopsy :blush:] is Space ‘finite’ within a mix, or does it have to potential to travel off in infinite directions??? [ponder ponder…] So, I LOVE experimenting with delays, combinations of reverbs and can spend hours tweaking the automation of panning… shaping the sonic space that I’m trying to create - it is seriously FUN!!