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Topic: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnisphere)

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  1. #1

    Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnisphere)

    Hi,
    I have a question that's been bugging me for a long time.
    I write a song using Omnisphere and there are like 20 Omnisphere sounds in it, all stereophonic.
    When it comes time for mixing, do you leave those sounds stereo or revert them to mono?
    If they are stereo then I have some hard time panning the sounds since they always come back to the other side as well. But if I revert to mono then the sounds lose some of their beauty.
    What do you guys usually do?
    Eric and GlennO, can you also shed some mixing tips here please?

    Thank you.
    Q6600 Quad Core 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, E-MU 1616m audio interface, Cubase Studio 4.1.2, Windows XP Pro sp.3, Omnisphere, Atmosphere, Addictive Drums, Amplitube 2 + Jimi Hendrix, Monstrous

  2. #2
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Re "When it comes time for mixing, do you leave those sounds stereo or revert them to mono?"
    ---In many instance, especially with many Omnisphere sounds, I suggest it's best not to revert anything to mono. If for example you are recording a bass, it can be recorded in mono, but I suggest that if you record it in stereo, just leave it in stereo. Instead, use your pan controls to place your instruments across the sound spectrum.

    Also, what you appear to be doing can, at some point, be cause for a very poor mix due to so many instruments from one source, all with their own reverb and release trails, and placement in the centre of your sound field etc., When you try to combine them all, perhaps along with other instruments that have been recorded 'dry', you could end up with an audio mess, since each track has different reverberation. So do be careful there when trying to combine 20 patches from one sound source like Omnisphere.

    Tips on mixing? That's sort of like asking for tips on how to build an airplane? It's just too broad a subject to be addressed by tips. As with mastering, it's also an art that must be learned by studying, reading, and more importantly, doing. No, that's not quite right either; what is most important is your hearing...your ears! The basic concept of mixing is to create a sound field in which all the instruments used can be heard individually, but also blend well together, providing a pleasing listening experience when heard collectively. Separating instruments in the mix is one of the major challenges. If, for example, a pad is used, it can cover a very wide frequency range and therefore mask some of the other instruments. So separation, panning, common reverberation, delay and EQ are all tools used in mixing in order to end up with a pleasing end result. My advice, if you are not comfortable with mixing, is to start with a very simple project, such as a piano, bass and drums, learn to mix, match and EQ etc. them, and then move on to the 'epics' later, once you are more confident. There are also many good schools, online courses and instructional DVDs and books than can help one learn some of the concepts of mixing. Hope that helps.
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  3. #3

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Thanks for the lengthy reply playz123. I know some about mixing from watching DVDs and reading about it but I've never encountered anything instructional regarding stereophonic sounds and how to make them fit in the mix.
    The 20 sounds from Omnisphere don't play all at once of course so I'm not trying to fit them all together at the same time. Still, when I pan a stereo sound I still hear some of it in the other speaker as well so now it's masking the mono instrument that I've panned to the other side.
    You can listen to some of my mixes here:
    http://www.last.fm/music/FreakyStudio/Freaky+Studio
    Thanks.
    Q6600 Quad Core 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, E-MU 1616m audio interface, Cubase Studio 4.1.2, Windows XP Pro sp.3, Omnisphere, Atmosphere, Addictive Drums, Amplitube 2 + Jimi Hendrix, Monstrous

  4. #4

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    i keep everything in stereo but i do change the balance of some parts to avoid cluttering up certain spots in the stereofield.

  5. #5
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Don't forget too that the stereo field is not only left to right, but back to front as well so, using various delay times and reverb settings, an instrument can be moved back or forward in the field as well, providing additional separation. For example when mixing an orchestra, since kettle drums are often located at the rear of the stage, to the listeners left, a slight delay and some additional reverb, can help them appear to come from the correct location in the final mix (as opposed to violins which are more towards the front of the stage, and therefore should be more up front in the mix). People get so focused on panning sometimes they often forget depth.

    PS: Glad you clarified that you weren't using all 20 sounds from Omnisphere at once. That does make things easier!
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  6. #6

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Thanks guys...I'll keep in mind what you said.
    Q6600 Quad Core 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, E-MU 1616m audio interface, Cubase Studio 4.1.2, Windows XP Pro sp.3, Omnisphere, Atmosphere, Addictive Drums, Amplitube 2 + Jimi Hendrix, Monstrous

  7. #7

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Hello Yarihol

    I joined the forum to answer your question... so here is my first post.

    Ominsphere is very stereo; the sound designers want your jaw to drop when you hear the sounds, and rightly so.

    To help you understand what is going on please download PhaseBug from here: http://www.betabugsaudio.com/plugs.php - its free

    Phase

    In your DAW insert on a STEREO track a MONO source. Now insert the PhaseBug. Turn one of the knobs so one reads 180 and the other 0 degrees. Now hit the "BETABUGS" text/graphic to sum the signal to MONO. (it goes orange)

    If physics has worked you should hear nothing. Both sides of the signal have cancelled each other out (they are out of phase) Now hit the "BETABUGS" again. This sound (in theory) is the widest you can have a Stereo Source. This sound is called SIDE or for short for (S).

    Now move the Knobs so both are back to 0 degrees. This is MONO or MID or (M) for short. All stereo sounds are a combination of MID and Side (or MS for short).

    Now for fun take a Stereo Source, say a drum loop and pop that on the track. With the "BETABUGS" text button set to MONO (orange) now move one of the knobs to 180 degrees. You should hear the MONO sound (MID) disappear while sound with lots of Stereo (SIDE) remain.

    These two techniques will reveal how much mid/side your sound has with out any other tools or plug ins, just using your ears, no visuals.

    Mixing

    Once you have an idea of a sounds mid/side content you can begin to play with your stereo mix. You see some stereo sounds have very little side information, others have way to much. So lets say a patch from Omni has only a tiny amount of side, it might be better to mono the signal and pan it to avoid clutter. You may have another sound that has way to much side, so you may want to reduce it a little but keep the natural stereo in the sound. You may discover that some sounds have very little Mid and when summed to Mono they vanish completely (like in a club), ruining your mix especially if it was a very important element. In this case you have to decide which side of the sound to keep, the LEFT or the RIGHT then pan that.

    One of the simplest strategies is to remove the SIDE from all the sounds (GO MONO) and mix using LCR only. This will create a very natural stereo mix and is a very tried and trusted technique - lots on the net about this btw. Also if during production you know you are going to mix LCR you can deliberately create elements to counter balance the Left and Right sounds.

    Once you have that LCR canvas to work from you can work backwards and begin to explore adding more SIDE back into some sounds to fill the gaps in-between, to fill the mix out a little and indeed use the side as an additional mix dynamic. (tip: especially on drums).

    Also the mix density can determine the pan/stereo strategy. If the song is very busy then space will be limited while a piano solo has to be big and as wide as possible. Also ask the question, where is this going to be played? For radio you need to watch the side content (ever heard the term RADIO EDIT!) for an album - make it wider... Tip: (Waves S1.. or similar...most DAW's have a stereo width controller)

    One last note. When you start to mix you remember how it sounded during production. Removing the WOW factor (STEREO WISE), well things are naturally going to sound different, not as big and in a way wrong and so you end up chasing your tail trying to find other solutions. Remember; No one else has heard it yet (unless you are mixing for a client) so don't be afraid to experiment.

    Learning to master PHASE when mixing, either on a desk or in a DAW is KEY! They 'should' all have Phase switches. (somewhere) you can use it to fix so many problems.

    Hope this helps?

    SW

    PS from memory Omni has a Gainer Plug in that has Phase Switch and stereo width control. Maybe Eric could add Phase Shifting like the Bug?

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Quote Originally Posted by dawtuition (dot) com View Post
    Hello Yarihol

    I joined the forum to answer your question... so here is my first post.

    Ominsphere is very stereo; the sound designers want your jaw to drop when you hear the sounds, and rightly so.

    To help you understand what is going on please download PhaseBug from here: http://www.betabugsaudio.com/plugs.php - its free

    Phase

    In your DAW insert on a STEREO track a MONO source. Now insert the PhaseBug. Turn one of the knobs so one reads 180 and the other 0 degrees. Now hit the "BETABUGS" text/graphic to sum the signal to MONO. (it goes orange)

    If physics has worked you should hear nothing. Both sides of the signal have cancelled each other out (they are out of phase) Now hit the "BETABUGS" again. This sound (in theory) is the widest you can have a Stereo Source. This sound is called SIDE or for short for (S).

    Now move the Knobs so both are back to 0 degrees. This is MONO or MID or (M) for short. All stereo sounds are a combination of MID and Side (or MS for short).

    Now for fun take a Stereo Source, say a drum loop and pop that on the track. With the "BETABUGS" text button set to MONO (orange) now move one of the knobs to 180 degrees. You should hear the MONO sound (MID) disappear while sound with lots of Stereo (SIDE) remain.

    These two techniques will reveal how much mid/side your sound has with out any other tools or plug ins, just using your ears, no visuals.

    Mixing

    Once you have an idea of a sounds mid/side content you can begin to play with your stereo mix. You see some stereo sounds have very little side information, others have way to much. So lets say a patch from Omni has only a tiny amount of side, it might be better to mono the signal and pan it to avoid clutter. You may have another sound that has way to much side, so you may want to reduce it a little but keep the natural stereo in the sound. You may discover that some sounds have very little Mid and when summed to Mono they vanish completely (like in a club), ruining your mix especially if it was a very important element. In this case you have to decide which side of the sound to keep, the LEFT or the RIGHT then pan that.

    One of the simplest strategies is to remove the SIDE from all the sounds (GO MONO) and mix using LCR only. This will create a very natural stereo mix and is a very tried and trusted technique - lots on the net about this btw. Also if during production you know you are going to mix LCR you can deliberately create elements to counter balance the Left and Right sounds.

    Once you have that LCR canvas to work from you can work backwards and begin to explore adding more SIDE back into some sounds to fill the gaps in-between, to fill the mix out a little and indeed use the side as an additional mix dynamic. (tip: especially on drums).

    Also the mix density can determine the pan/stereo strategy. If the song is very busy then space will be limited while a piano solo has to be big and as wide as possible. Also ask the question, where is this going to be played? For radio you need to watch the side content (ever heard the term RADIO EDIT!) for an album - make it wider... Tip: (Waves S1.. or similar...most DAW's have a stereo width controller)

    One last note. When you start to mix you remember how it sounded during production. Removing the WOW factor (STEREO WISE), well things are naturally going to sound different, not as big and in a way wrong and so you end up chasing your tail trying to find other solutions. Remember; No one else has heard it yet (unless you are mixing for a client) so don't be afraid to experiment.

    Learning to master PHASE when mixing, either on a desk or in a DAW is KEY! They 'should' all have Phase switches. (somewhere) you can use it to fix so many problems.

    Hope this helps?

    SW

    PS from memory Omni has a Gainer Plug in that has Phase Switch and stereo width control. Maybe Eric could add Phase Shifting like the Bug?
    Hi and welcome to the forum.
    You mentioned lots of good stuff. I've heard the terms Mid and Side before but never really got into that. I'll need to read your post a couple of times and try out what you suggest.
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to help out...
    Q6600 Quad Core 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, E-MU 1616m audio interface, Cubase Studio 4.1.2, Windows XP Pro sp.3, Omnisphere, Atmosphere, Addictive Drums, Amplitube 2 + Jimi Hendrix, Monstrous

  9. #9

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    On other thing, pull back on the effects.
    Nothing buries a great mix like reverb dripping from your monitors.
    What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

  10. #10

    Re: Question about general mixing techniques regarding stereophonic sounds (Omnispher

    Cool Plugs SW!!!!

    Very interesting...

    Barrie

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