What To Do and What Not To Do in a Surround Sound Mix.

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kfbkfb

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I have never mixed music or even recorded anything in other than mono (on compact cassette machines).

The earliest reviews of the single inventory quad/stereo RCA titles mentioned that panning was usually done diagonally so that a LF/RB/RF/LB pan in quad would be a L/R/L pan in stereo (Hugo Montenegro did this).

On the 2 urban format FM stations here, in recent years, I hear more and more L/R panning effects in the new songs they play, does this mean that panning sounds in surround sound mixes would be more acceptable?


Kirk Bayne
 

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Okay, we added to the thread title to also better reflect suggestions what is do. Thanks.

It would be great to find surround sound mixing materials from the past and post as PDF.
 

kamranv

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When they put the lead vocal in all the speakers in the 70s, I’ve always wondered if they were trying to recreate some sort of AM radio mono effect to recreate the original stereo/mono mix. Or maybe by putting a sound in all channels might anchor the mix in some manner? Maybe they were trying to figure out what was even a proper surround mix for “Pop” back then.

But I agree, the lead vocal can sound strange in all the speakers. Although one can do this, if the music itself sort of makes it the right thing to do. But not throughout the entire album. I suppose it also depends how the lead vocal effect goes in all the channels as well.
Listen to “By Accident” on the decades ( in space ) album (also on all of the services). Chorus in all 4 channels and kick drum in the center. Also “Una” on the same album has vocals in all 4 channels. I go wherever the music takes me. To me, it’s all about listening and making a creative decision. There are technical challenges to listen for but no real “rules.” Any feedback appreciated.
 

sjcorne

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One technique I've really been enjoying lately - and trying to replicate in my own mixes - is the 'wrap around' drum kit effect, where the overhead mics and tom rolls are pushed further out towards the rear speakers. It's done particularly well on the song "Drawing The Line" from Porcupine Tree's The Incident.

I also really like when double-tracked vocals are mixed to the rears - it's like you're surrounded by a chorus of the same singer. This is done to great effect in "Take A Pebble" from ELP's self-titled debut LP and "Advice For The Young At Heart" from Tears For Fears' The Seeds Of Love.
 

MidiMagic

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One technique I've really been enjoying lately - and trying to replicate in my own mixes - is the 'wrap around' drum kit effect, where the overhead mics and tom rolls are pushed further out towards the rear speakers.
So I am imagining Elastic Girl doing the drumming while stretched all around the audience.

It reminds me of a 12-foot wide piano on a stereo record I have.

Or a cartoon I have with an octopus playing drums.
 

par4ken

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When they put the lead vocal in all the speakers in the 70s, I’ve always wondered if they were trying to recreate some sort of AM radio mono effect to recreate the original stereo/mono mix. Or maybe by putting a sound in all channels might anchor the mix in some manner? Maybe they were trying to figure out what was even a proper surround mix for “Pop” back then.

But I agree, the lead vocal can sound strange in all the speakers. Although one can do this, if the music itself sort of makes it the right thing to do. But not throughout the entire album. I suppose it also depends how the lead vocal effect goes in all the channels as well.
To me that placement made sense (at least at first) in that Quad was an expansion of stereo, with full centre vocal placement you could sit facing any direction. The magazine advertisement for Harmon Kardon quadraphonic equipement with Humble Pie band members sitting around the room with the speakers in each corner always comes to mind. That vocal placement works great in the car, maybe why it was used on so many of those early Q8's.

 
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Mr. Afternoon

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Reminder not to limit, although my friend disagrees.

"jack the way you describe limiting sounds like you're crushing a baby's skull in" - anonymous friend, 2021
 

jimfisheye

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Well, just don't bludgeon stuff with a limiter!
(Cue up examples of bludgeoning something with a limiter that sounded bad ass and everyone likes...)

Perhaps I should say: Don't use a limiter in place of actually making a mix.
ie. Slamming everything into a limiter. And then everyone's favorite: brick wall limiting a mix for volume war levels.

You can put a limiter on your mix bus if your mix is under control and there might just be a few stray peaks that don't define any intentional dynamics. If you don't understand that, don't mix into a limiter or a compressor!
 
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