Thread: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

Results 1 to 6 of 6

  1. #1
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Posts 3,551
    Rep Power 2500000000

    Enjoy Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    When mixing in stereo, there are five planes of spatial illusion. Level, panning, frequency, spatial perception, and contrast. These five planes are all used to create space in a mix.

    Front to back: (Level)
    Level gives an element of a mix it's own space. Compression on individual channels helps keep the level so that it doesn't disappear in the mix. A loud instrument will appear forward, or towards the front. A quiet instrument will appear to be back.

    Left to right: (Panning)

    Panning allows you to give an element of the mix it's own space. For instance putting a guitar part hard right keeps it from washing out the vocal.

    Up and down: (Frequency)

    Frequency is the use of EQ to boost or cut frequencies that either muddy or clear the mix up. For instance 250Hz-700Hz are fairly muddy frequencies, and if you have too many instruments using this frequency range the mix could be muddy. Everything in an arrangement or mix should have it's own unique fundamental frequency space. There will, of course, be plenty of overlap. But the more overlap there is, the harder you job will be in the mix phase.

    Far and near: (Spatial Perception)

    Spatial perception is the use of digital reverb, chambers, plates, delays, far mic placement, etc.. to create the illusion of space in the mix. An instrument with allot of reverb can sound like it is placed in a large hall. An instrument or a vocal with a long delay, can sound like it's in the alps. An instrument that's completely dry, will sound like it's in a small carpeted room, right next to you.

    Sparse to dense: (Contrast)
    Arrangement is the use of muting, and altering the recorded arrangement to create space where it is needed to accent the more dense parts. The use of density to contrast sparseness is great for creating the illusion of dynamics in a mix and within a minimal dynamic range. The use of a limited dynamic range makes for better listening in more casual environments, where there tends to be external noise. Reasonable constraint of dynamic range should not be confused with making a record "loud," which would be an extreme.

    All five of these planes work together to create the illusion of space in a mix. One is no more important than any other in general, although one or two of the planes could prove to be more useful in a given mix.

    Not all are a requirement for a great mix either. For example, your mix should to be able to break down to mono, and still be a great mix.

    Enjoy,

    Mixerman
    #Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent - A satire of the modern day music business


  2. #2
    Owns and wears an Elvis jumpsuit Owns a kick-start dildo
    Join Date Jun 2008
    Location In a little African country do
    Posts 2,358
    Rep Power 536871098

    Default Re: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    The one plane I have significant difficulty handling normally is the contrast. How do you decide what elements would bring the essence of the song forwards without having a messy mud-pool in the tight spots? This is after playing the frequency card...

    I suppose you would say it is very dependant on the song...

    Thinking about this now, I think my problem might be a direct consequence of my background. I have been doing FOH in a church for close to 12 years now, and no one wants to play without being heard... and as an added impediment, most recordings I do are classical.

    Who should make the decision about what is important and what not? And if you do, how do you convince the band?
    Last edited by qharley; February 24th, 2009 at 11:21 AM. Reason: addition
  3. #3
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Dated Paris Hilton before she was a tramp!
    Join Date Nov 2008
    Posts 27
    Rep Power 0

    Default Re: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    Sparse to dense: (Contrast)
    Arrangement is the use of muting, and altering the recorded arrangement to create space where it is needed to accent the more dense parts. The use of density to contrast sparseness is great for creating the illusion of dynamics in a mix and within a minimal dynamic range. The use of a limited dynamic range makes for better listening in more casual environments, where there tends to be external noise. Reasonable constraint of dynamic range should not be confused with making a record "loud," which would be an extreme.
    Would you give an example of this concept for a typical folk/rock/pop song?

    Thanks,

    Steve
  4. #4
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Dated Paris Hilton before she was a tramp!
    Join Date Nov 2008
    Posts 27
    Rep Power 0

    Default Re: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    ...Thinking about this now, I think my problem might be a direct consequence of my background. I have been doing FOH in a church for close to 12 years now, and no one wants to play without being heard... and as an added impediment, most recordings I do are classical...
    Oh what a tangle pool of mud is created via stage volume in the majority of churches! At least the ones with which I've been associated. So I'm right there with you. At my current church I'm doing everything I can to reduce/eliminate that (in-ears, smaller monitors, etc.).
  5. #5
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Posts 6,812
    Rep Power 2500000000

    Default Re: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    To hell with monitors in church!

    "...but, how do we kill only the bad notes then?..."


    "...you don't have to. Send the good notes AND the bad notes up into the rafters, and let GOD sort them out..."



    dwoz
    "...but ma, audio engineering IS gainful employment!..."

    "...If I wuz at that club where Miles played one note I would have bounced ONE BOTTLE off his shiny fucking coconut. What? He's Phil Glass now?..." -Slipperman

    "...never attribute to magic, that which can be explained by conspiracy."
  6. #6
    Owns and wears an Elvis jumpsuit Owns a kick-start dildo
    Join Date Jun 2008
    Location In a little African country do
    Posts 2,358
    Rep Power 536871098

    Default Re: Mixerman’s 5 Planes of Spatial Illusion

    To hell with monitors in church!
    Amen.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts