Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video "Space" for your keyboard tracks, part of Audio Mixing Master Class.
- [Voiceover] Here's a trick that you can use on just about any instrument but it's especially effective on keyboards. It provides a nice ambient space without actually using any reverb. So first of all let's listen to this piano. Just by itself it's dry and it actually sounds pretty good but there's no tail on it, there's no interesting ambiance to it. Have a listen. (piano playing) Now we can add just an interesting space around it without actually having to do too much and how we're going to do that is add a stereo delay.
Now there's a whole trick to this but it's really simple and really easy. What we're going to do is on one side we're going to set it for 211 milliseconds and in the other side 222. That's right, it's real easy. 211 on one side and 222 on the other and if you want you can even add a few repeats. Give it 15, 20 percent feedback. Now what we're going to do, this is on Bus 15 and 16, so we'll add Bus 15 and 16.
Have a listen. (piano playing) All the sudden we have this nice little ambiance around it. Listen again. (piano playing) Now listen in the track. (full band playing) Take notice when I muted the send to the room delay it got a little boring.
This is also a lot higher in the mix then it normally would be just so you can hear it. Listen again and we'll start off with the send to the room delay muted. (full band playing) Now we can really hear it when we take it off, not necessarily when we put it on but when we take it off. It's one of those things where a little bit is just a right amount. If there's so much that you can hear it then it's usually too much although sometimes it can work but definitely it's one of those things that just puts some space around it to give it a little bit of air, a little bit of ambiance, a little bit of feel.
In order to create a nice artificial space around any type of keyboard track, first create a separate stereo delay channel or insert a delay across the keyboard channels. Set the delay time on one side to 211 milliseconds and 222 on the other. Pan the delay and add just enough to make the part interesting but not obvious. Remember, if you insert the delay across the keyboard tracks set the mix controls to about 30% and adjust as needed from there.
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