One of the first things that you can do to make your mixes sound more professional is to give them a sense of dimension and space. Mixing is really hard. It takes years and years of ear training to become professional at this. But there's some really simple steps that we can take to take something from something that sounds like a mess to something that's sounds like it’s organized in away. And this has to with a sense of depth, a sense of width, and a sense of height. When you are listening to your favorite songs, you'll experience this sort of space that they put you in. So what we're going to talk about is how to create that sense of dimension and space in our mixes. So the first thing that I want to talk about is this sense of depth, and this is proximity to you. What's in the foreground? What's in the middle ground? What's in the background? And the way that we dictate that is by adjusting volume. Some types of audio effects also will create a sense of distance like river for instance. But for the most part, track theaters are the thing that's going to make the biggest difference in this regard. I'm going to show you workflow that works really well for me. A lot of times when you've been mixing for a while, your ears get fatigued and it's difficult to make informed decisions about what it is you're hearing because you can't hear so well. First things first, take a little break and come back refreshed, at least, 5-minutes to 10-minutes and even longer if you can. And then what I wanted to just as you go through a process that referred to as gain staging. So there are many places along as signal pathway where you can adjust to gain. But the ones that were going to focus on our track theaters right now. So to begin with, I'm just going to select all far tracks. I've got this far left track selected. I'm holding down the shift and then I'm selecting the last track here as well. And I'm just going to grab the theaters and pull them all down to zero. So now when I press play, nothing should be coming through the master. So I see that the arrangement is running but no sound is coming through these tracks. So I've got zero signal, and that's great. That's exactly what I want. So I'm going to just create a loop section of the part of the song where everything is playing. And that might not be the case for your arrangement, but pick something that's kind of the loudest dynamic point in your project. So I've highlighted this amount of time and I'm going to set a loop bracket, pull it on over here. Or conversely, I could just select an area of time and use command L or control L in order to set the loop bracket. So I've got this one section selected. I'll press play so everything is running right now back to the session. Low-frequency elements take up the most amount of energy and amplitude. And you can imagine like when you're in a venue and you hear the bass, your body shakes. There's a lot of energy that's going through that. But when you hear really high-pitched sounds, it doesn't have that same sort of full body resonance that high frequencies do. So we're going to start by pulling up those low frequency, high energy elements and make sure that they sound good relative to each other without going over. We probably want to make it to maybe negative 15 negative 12 Db on this master track, so here I'm pulling up the sub. [MUSIC] A kick drum. [MUSIC] So this meter up top is giving me a visual identification of my peak volume. So I can always start and stop if I want to get a new result from the meter. So I just pulled the kick drum down a little bit, and now it says I'm -15.5, -12.6Db. That's about where I want to be, like a little less than -12, just to be safe. A lot of times, when you have too many things at too high of a volume, can sound really loud and crowded. And that's a dead giveaway for an amateur mix. So we want to make sure that everything is the right volume relative to each other. So I'm just kind of taking a step back here and listening. Are the bass and the drums at the right volume relative to each other? [MUSIC] I'm going to pull the bass down just a tiny bit. [MUSIC] Maybe the drums up just a tiny bit. [MUSIC] Okay, so adding these other drum elements as well. [MUSIC] So you can notice that non of these faders are up all the way. In fact, they're most of them are down a considerable amount. So what I'm listening for is are things at the right volume relative to each other? Can I hear the kick drum well enough in relation to the bass, in relation to the high hat, in relation to this break beat? And you just have to use your ears to answer that question. But you can see even as I pulled in these other elements, I've only made it to negative 11 Db. So I've still got a lot of headroom. You never want to cross 0 but you want to get close to it. So I've got a lot of room here for me to continue adding another elements. So I'm going to continue doing that by adding in these these chords now. [MUSIC] The Arpeggiated sequence. [MUSIC] And the sampler instruments. [MUSIC] So that's a good place to begin. Nothing's overpowering and that's what you want. You want to be at a place where if you need to turn something up, you can. So at this point, I've still got negative eight decibels to go. So I'm going to do the same thing I did in the beginning and grab all of the tracks. And I'm going to turn them all up just a little bit, the same amount. [MUSIC] And keep pulling until they get close to zero. [MUSIC] I'm already feeling this. I'm already liking it. It's sounding polished and not crowded and that's that sense of depth. What belongs in the back, what belongs in the foreground, what belongs in the middle ground. And you have to make that decision with your ears based upon relative volumes. So now that we've dealt with depth, the next thing I want to address is width and that's the stereo field. So in some respects, I've already done some stuff to create that sense of width. For instance, with the high hats, I put on that auto pan. So I have something traveling to the left, and to the right and the left and to the right. So in addition to audio effects, which will create that sense of width, I can also move these pan pots around, right? So I could maybe take one sampler instrument and knock it to the right a bit and then the other to the left respectively. [MUSIC] So by separating them, I'm actually making them a little bit more audible. The lower one was getting lost in everything else that was happening dead center. But when I moved it to the left, it's a lot easier to hear it. So doing something as simple as panning can really do a lot, especially if you have a really crowded space. So one thing to keep in mind is that low frequency elements, you typically want to keep those dead center. I would not pan, a sub base or any bass for that matter left or right. Because it'll make your entire mix feel a little bit off center and it can be a very strange listening experience. Especially, if you're listening in headphones. So bottom line, as you're creating this width, you just want to make sure that you're also creating balance at the same time. So it needs to be centered and balanced, but you also have to create a sense of width and spread as well. So now that we've addressed with in depth, the last dimension here is height. And there's no parameter that dictates height. When I'm talking about height, what I mean is the frequency's spectrum. The high frequencies, the mid-range frequencies, the low range frequencies. So you need to take a step back and listed to your song and say am I missing any part of the frequency spectrum? Is there no bass, is there nothing in the middle, or conversely, is there everything in the middle and there's nothing up high. So if that's the case, then we need to do what I had done to this chord progression, which I then arpeggiated, which was to just transpose it up two octaves. And I did that with this with this pitch effect here. But we can, I'll show you what it sounded like before again. [MUSIC] They're in the same space. [MUSIC] I'll turn it up two octaves. [MUSIC] So I'm feeling pretty good about this, there's a nice even representation across the frequency spectrum. I've dealt with relative volumes front to back, I've created a sense of width by manipulating things in the stereo field. And it can really only go up from here. The thing I don't want you to run into is the opposite situation where all the faders are up so high. It's difficult to hear where things are and what's happening and you lose all that detail. So this might seem relatively simple. For the most part, it's just dealing with track parameters, pan knobs and volume knobs. But this really is the first step to a professional and awesome sounding mix. So give this a try with your session and try to create that same sense of dimension.