Where to Place Different Instruments

In general, binaural processing allows you to easily distinguish sounds based on their direction of arrival rather than exhausting determination based on known sound signatures of groups of instruments in a stereo mix. The further you place (uncorrelated) instruments apart from each other the better and easier our ears can distinguish them. This is called binaural speech intelligibility when the surrounding sound sources are speakers. The same holds for musicial instruments as sound sources.

Human beings are trained to distinguish sound sources due to their direction of arrival and we use interaural time delay, interaural level differences for basic left-right evaluation and most important complex frequency dependent relationship between the signals our both ear drums receive as well as specific absolute frequency coloration that allow us to distinguish sounds from in front, in the back, above or below us.

KLANG’s 3D mixing algorithm includes all these tiny details and hence is the most powerful tool when it comes to transparent in-ear mixes that sound fat and rich at the same time. You can place all sound sources available in the 3D panorama and still achieve a transparent mix – unlike the case with convential stereo mixing where you need to select the most important instruments and keep the others low in level.

While it seems obvious at first to place instruments on the orbit where you actually see them on stage, this is only one possible placement method. We would like to show you more options. We find different zones of attention that can be used to mix. In general two zones are of interest to move quality of your mix to the next level. First, there is region right in front of you shifted a little bit in height. In many cases it makes sense to place instruments here, the are important to the artist, e.g. place a kick drum and snare drum in a bass player’s mix. The opposite zone is behind you with a wide range to the left and right side. Instruments in this area are not in the main focus of attention but still well perceived. Try to place instruments that would usually require much lower volumes so they would clutter your mix in here. E.g. place dense keys or synths in this area for a vocalist to create an immersive expericence and a rich fat mix by maintaining the focus on the important instruments e.g. required for timing or intonation.

Quick Positions

Quick Orbit Positions

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Every time you need to setup a show from scratch, there are many repetitive tasks that are time consuming. Quick Positions help you to speed this up massively by suggesting 3D and stereo positions for different instrument types.

In CONFIG > CHANNELS click on a channel name to open the Channel Details view.

In the same way as the Quick Labels and Smart Labels, the Quick Positions follow the instrument icon. For example click on a guitar / amp icon and Quick Positions show you the most common and most practical positions. 3D positions show the azimuth with a bubble on the orbit and the elevation with a smaller bubble on a vertical line within the orbit. Stereo positions are marked with colored rectangles on a horizontal line. Stereo linked channels have two bubbles/rectangles.

Also see “Where to Place Different Instruments” to find out more about different zones of attention in the mix.

Color Coding

Red: Strong Focus / own instrument
Yellow: High priority
Purple: Normal priority
Blue: Background

Orbit Tools

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In STAGE view expand and collapse the Orbit tools with the +/- Orbit Icon in the lower right corner. The i3D Lock has been there before, so let’s take a look at the new features.

Orbit Tools (from left to right): i3D Lock, Flip left / right position, Rotate All/Group, Mix Monitors from FoH Position, Collapse (-) Orbit Tools

Flip left / right position

There are these situations where you decide, that the mix should be exactly the other way around, instruments on the left side should go to the right and vice versa. This icon does exactly that. It takes all instruments (no matter if they are placed stereo, 3D or i3D) and throws them at the opposite side. To revert this, simply press again.

Rotate All/Group

Sometimes you want to adjust the position of all instruments of a group at the same time, or create some flow and rotate all instruments at once.

Select the Rotate All/Group icon and it will turn purple. Depending whether you have selected a particular group focus or the Solo-Link (ROT. GRP) or no focus is selected (ROT. GRP), all instruments that are shown in color on the 3D orbit will be rotated simultaneously. Just drag one icon and the others follow. Instruments inside the head (stereo panning), will not follow.

Once done, press the Rotate All/Group icon again to leave the mode.

Mix Monitors from FoH Position

For musicians and most monitor engineers the STAGE view works just great as it is. But what if you mix monitors from FoH and you want to place instruments where you see them for a monitor mix? No problem, activate Mix Monitors from FoH Position button

Binaural Basics

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