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Re: Pan Law for the biggest sounding mix

I think (just my opinion) that there are two key concepts that are required to make stereo work, especially if you are 'mixing it up':

a) Musical weight - Where one channel has more going on in it, the things happening in the other must carry more 'weight' to balance things out.

The 'golden age' for unsymmetrical mixes that worked were the 1960s, when stereo was new and people were willing to try many things out, often just to differentiate themselves in the new paradigm. Many of Ray Charles' hits from then, especially with his lead female vocalist, highlights the right balancing of the constant with the incidental, with the latter managing to hold its own while being a lot less in actual time.
However, after all the experimentation, things retreated to mainly aural representations of the conventional stage positioning.

With this musical weight in mind, leaving things unbalanced for too long just highlights the absence in the sparse side.

b) Musical story - With the stereo mix you have an opportunity to map out your characters in your musical play. If they have something to say, they must be able to be clearly heard. Does the 'scenery' overwhelm them? If the scenery is meant to be important, it needs to occupy a good slice of the stage.

Some of the 60s stuff used stereo to great advantage in the story-telling. For example, Ray Charles' Hit the Road Jack , with the contracting activities in each channel highlighting the adversarial tone of the song.

Things can be novel, but they need to relate to the musical story. Also, where you place things aurally, people will 'see' them there, so they must make sense to the listener for them to be there.

To the mixes
To cover several points in relation to what I describe above.

a) Musically, the performances were good. I liked them.

b) Left guitar goes too long to not have any even occasional counter-balancing in the right.

c) Lead male is too low in relation to the guitar. Personally, I would either:
__ i) duplicate the guitar (on our CD, I used Autotune to duplicate the left guitar with a copy of itself, detuned by a few cents, and panned right) to provide the drive for a stronger centred single male, or
__ ii) to better counterbalance the later solo female, have a two to four male choir mixed behind a central guitar.

d) Not sure how moving the male voice around enhances the story. If meant to represent multiple 'opinions', then perhaps use a choir, with individual (and different) male voices from different positions taking a solo (and louder) phrase or line at various times.

e) Too little going on in the right for too long. Putting the female protagonist with the scenery and the guys with nothing happening on the right is definitely unbalanced to the point of seeming faulty.

f) Balance is much better when things pick up, though there is still a lean to the left, and the moving male is still without a reason.

g) Once the major mix balance things are in place, then it is worth fine-tuning individual sounds. Otherwise it is like spell checking a document when the subject matter hasn't been finalised.

As I say, it is just my opinion. Hope it helps.
by Patanjali
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:22 am
 
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