How to add some body and space to a mix?

Anyone have any hints on how to add some body and space to the mix? I’d like to get my keys a bit larger without making them alot louder or reverby. Maybe there’s a reverb tip that’ll do the job without overdoing it? Any suggestions would help alot.

Many ways. Try this, it works well with guitar, try their various settings for various effects. Make sure you make the track stereo in the properties box.

Voxengo Stereo Touch

Of course you can clone the track, place a slight delay on one and pan them to different sides. Accomplishes much the same thing.

The Chorus and delay plugs from Classic are also good for this. Again, make the track stereo:

Classic Plugs

The compressor and limiter are also excellent.

Truth is, gotta get the sound right going in…arrangement probably matters more than reverb. IMHO. :)

Hi Guys:
You got a fastenating topic started, here…

I’ve been expirmenting with these VST Plugs for most of the summer here… and now into the fall and I’m still working with one of them. Called StereoTools… It’s the second link…

I haven’t been tracking much, these past few months but with some of the completed projects I have imported onto a time-line. Then playing with the final mix in a Mastering situation of the completed project…

The best way for me to describe the process, is… It’s a “Phase Relationship” of the Stereo Two-Track mix…

I manufacture a Mono Right-Track and a Mono Left-Track, useing the StereoTools Plug, by dup’ing tracks of the Finished mix… then, “Render” the mono tracks… Then, I “Group” the two Mono-Tracks into a Stereo Mix Then Add the Three tracks to a "composite final Two-Track Mix.

I’m not so sure if this is properly described… or makes any sense. But…

This may not be the intention of how the plugs are ment to be utilitized, or from what I’m creating, either… But, It’s somehow pointing to how I’d like the end product to sound.

I’d like now, and on a NEW Project, to use this process on individual tracks in a project to give seperation of the tracks or groups of tracks so the instruments are not piled up, on top of one another… Well… e.g. Give the instruments “Space” in the mix… Or something to that effect.

I’m continuing to explore the possibilities of these plug-ins… Especially, the Kelly Industries, plug…


And yes… Tom S, I agree with most of that idea, you have…

n-Track reverb works great for this.

First, though, regardless of what stereo plugins you use: In Track Properties, select “expand mono to stereo”. This doesn’t actually do “stereo expansion”; it’s not an effect. What it does do is convert the track from being carried in mono (internally), which means that any stereo effects will actually be in stereo. If you don’t do this, your stereo effects will be summed to mono (unless you use the effects on a group or aux, which are always stereo.)

Now, plug in n-Track Reverb, and select the Ambience II preset. This should get you started, but might be a little more reverby than you want. Reduce the reverb “tails” but retain the imaging characteristics of the early reflections by increasing “Damping”.

While you’re here, notice how the controls work to adjust the right and left effect settings independently or together. (They’re different for V3 and V4 so I won’t go into it, just play around and figure it out.) Then notice the differences between right and left settings for Ambience II – IIRC, just a tad on room size and/or early reflections. Now you can do this yourself without using the preset. :)

Something you can do is dial up an effect like this to create a room, and put it on an aux bus, and then feed a little of several tracks to it. That tends to put the tracks all in the same room. Of course, you can do this with any reverb. Unfortunately, it tends to put all tracks in the same location in the room. So, another approach is to use 2 or 3 aux buses, one with room size smaller on left and larger on right (for things you’re panning left) and one vice versa (for things you’re panning right). And optionally, one in the middle, or just use a bit of both for things panned center.

Bill, that little stereo tools plugin would come in handy for my piano tracks. My synth’s piano sound is stereo, as though the piano were miked from where the player sits. Higher notes tend to be panned right, lower left (though it’s true stereo and not just panned mono samples). It’s a great sound, but sometimes that arrangement makes it hard to work into the mix, especially when you want the piano on the left – it deadens the higher notes and makes the bass more prominent. (And for a natural soundstage, a grand piano is always at the left of the stage if it’s not center!) That plugin would allow me to easily pan the right channel to center and leave left on left. Very hand & thanks for pointing it out!

The Voxengo looks interesting as well. I bet that would sound great on heavy electric guitar.

So, there are a few tips, but Tom is dead right that what goes in is critical, and arrangement matters way more than recording technique – assuming you have the basics covered. Do you have stereo keyboard sounds? If so, be sure to record them in stereo. Some synths have excellent built-in FX or else have stereo samples (like the piano on my Ensoniq MR76) and it’s better to get the original stereo than to try to add it after the fact. And as for arrangement, it often helps to have parts with similar tones panned left and right (maybe all the way, usually not IMHO – depending). This is especially good with acoustic and electric guitar, where you can play the same part on each side and it sounds great (if your meter is good enough!) This also works great with pads & strings. With piano, it sounds artificial, so it’s better to either get a good stereo piano sound or else use contrapuntal parts (not easy).

With string parts, instead of playing chords, record one voice at a time on separate tracks, and then pan them a apart. (When I say “apart”, it doesn’t necessarily mean “all the way apart”. Pan to taste!)

Finally, to get a good stereo image, you need a decent near-field monitoring setup. Also, double check your mixes in headphones, but avoid mixing using headphones.

I would also look at putting a high pass filter in the aux before the reverb. This allows you to slop on reverb with reckless abandon (well, maybe not THAT much) but you can pile on a lot more verb with out it getting all muddy.

Hi Jeff:
I’m still playing with these “Phase Plugs”… while I get my setups positioned to get into another project… The images created by the Kelly Industries “Stereo Tools” has grabbed my attention… Big Time… You know, I’m just that close to spending money on the Voxengo Plugs… I go over to their page and snoop around and then I sit a think of what plugs I would like to choose from the bundles they offer, and after some time of thinking, I’m left wondering just what package would best fit my needs.

The more I read the info on their packages, the more I believe that some of their effects are based upon the Relationship of “Phaseing” and “Shifting” of Samples…

That Stereo Tools plug has really grabbed my Creative Imagination… (Kelly Industries)

I’m getting close to getting the DAW and Track Handelling aspects of this studio back up and running, consistantly and the setup is beginning to run with some predictability… So, I’m not too far away from gettin creative, in the studio, again… At long last… :O :;): We’ll see…