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Tips for achieving Distance
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Tips for achieving Distance
rishin
Greetings,

I'm approaching a composition of mine by first getting a really dense/industrial atmosphere established and trying to improvise melodies on top of it. But, I'd really like the atmosphere to be the "closest" to the listener, and I'd like acoustic sounding melodies to have some distance away from the listener, and have it gently travel closer and farther away. Does anyone have any tips for achieving that kind of distant and almost ethereal sound?

Thanks!
giugno
Use different reverbs on the different elements of the song. A longer reverb can help make things seem farther away.
Michael O.
As mentioned, a long reverb tail with longer pre-delay can create the illusion of distance. In addition to generally being more reverberant, more distant sounds are duller/darker than nearer sounds (e.g., the rumble of distant thunder vs. the crackle of thunder nearby). So, eq’ing out high frequencies can aid in creating the desired impression.
Muzone
haven't properly played with it yet, but TDR proximity might do what you want?
http://www.tokyodawn.net/proximity/
listentoaheartbeat
Michael O. wrote:
As mentioned, a long reverb tail with longer pre-delay can create the illusion of distance.


The reverb time and pre-delay (as well as the spread of the early reflections) are more related to the size of the room, not necessarily to how distant the source is from the listening position. In fact, a longer pre-delay can make the source appear closer since the direct sound is more pronounced. Imagine someone standing very close to you in the middle of a church, doing a hand clap. The reflections will have a noticeable delay. On the other hand, if the person is standing far away, closer to the walls, the direct sound and the reflections will arrive in close succession.

Michael O. wrote:
In addition to generally being more reverberant, more distant sounds are duller/darker than nearer sounds (e.g., the rumble of distant thunder vs. the crackle of thunder nearby). So, eq’ing out high frequencies can aid in creating the desired impression.


Indeed, the level and the damping of the direct signal are key, as is the reverb level. So generally if you turn down the level of the direct signal, roll off its high frequencies, and increase the reverb amount, the source will appear more distant.
dubonaire
Another tip is to roll off the top and bottom and compress. Sounds from further away tend to lose dynamic range and the high and low frequencies due to the Fletcher-Munson effect.

If you have a convolution reverb you can use an IR from an outdoor space.

If you have the melody panned off centre, also pan the reverb to the same location when at a distance.
Michael O.
listentoaheartbeat wrote:
Michael O. wrote:
As mentioned, a long reverb tail with longer pre-delay can create the illusion of distance.


The reverb time and pre-delay (as well as the spread of the early reflections) are more related to the size of the room, not necessarily to how distant the source is from the listening position. In fact, a longer pre-delay can make the source appear closer since the direct sound is more pronounced. Imagine someone standing very close to you in the middle of a church, doing a hand clap. The reflections will have a noticeable delay. On the other hand, if the person is standing far away, closer to the walls, the direct sound and the reflections will arrive in close succession.



Very true. I meant to specify that that bit is in relation to exaggerated outdoor-style spaces and artificial/unnatural spaces; for room/hall/cathedral what you say absolutely holds true, and is also useful in creating the impression of reflective surfaces made of various materials.

One fun thing to experiment with is that if you’re not going for a believable space then very dense echos can work as well if not better than a dedicated reverb processor. At the most basic level many reverb algorithms are essentially dense and complex delay lines with differing degrees of modulation. And it goes without saying, but cascading and sometimes feeding back these processors can give some gorgeous results.
MarcelP
You might not have the facilities to do it (particularly if you are looking for cathedral type reverb) but playing back in a real space with a couple of speakers and miking up accordingly near and far might yield the most accurate result.
nrg242
people have mentioned a lot of the concepts covered in this video, but he's a very good teacher and explanations are thorough.

def worth watching.

lonefront
listentoaheartbeat wrote:
Michael O. wrote:
As mentioned, a long reverb tail with longer pre-delay can create the illusion of distance.


The reverb time and pre-delay (as well as the spread of the early reflections) are more related to the size of the room, not necessarily to how distant the source is from the listening position. In fact, a longer pre-delay can make the source appear closer since the direct sound is more pronounced. Imagine someone standing very close to you in the middle of a church, doing a hand clap. The reflections will have a noticeable delay. On the other hand, if the person is standing far away, closer to the walls, the direct sound and the reflections will arrive in close succession.


To combat this I would recommend putting the Reverb on a return channel and send the sound pre-fader
BendingBus
rishin wrote:
I'd really like the atmosphere to be the "closest" to the listener, and I'd like acoustic sounding melodies to have some distance away from the listener...


I'd try...

Close ambience - bright, short ambience, dynamic, loud, stereo.

Far melodies - dark, long reverb, compressed, quieter, mono.

rishin wrote:
...and have it gently travel closer and farther away.


That's trickier, would try automation of the above.
psykon
Muzone wrote:
haven't properly played with it yet, but TDR proximity might do what you want?
http://www.tokyodawn.net/proximity/


I use this a lot! Great plugin to position sounds without (or before) reverb. It's also free w00t
gweilo
MarcelP wrote:
You might not have the facilities to do it (particularly if you are looking for cathedral type reverb) but playing back in a real space with a couple of speakers and miking up accordingly near and far might yield the most accurate result.


To add to this technique, sometimes compressing room mics can make the room sound bigger.
Plattform
If we are talking about synth sounds, you can also change the envelope of your sound, smoothing out the attack will help, less envelope on the filter, maybe not at all, only vca
Play with the resonance of the filters, it is the first step, only after that FX can help you make it even more obvious.

And I think creating contrast with other elements is really important:
If you want a sound to be far in the mix, you can make an other element seems really close, it can create the ilusion even more
mrerdat
Distant- LPF, lower in the mix. Modulate LPF cutoff frequency lower for more distant and higher for more closeness in the mix.

Ethereal - algorithmic reverb with long decay time. Adjust wet/dry balance for more or less distance.
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