"wall Of Sound"?


I know that this question might be more appropriate for software like Cubase, etc. but anyway:

I’m very curious in what makes some music sound “bigger”, if you know what I mean. An excellent example is ofcourse the “Wall of Sound”-technique, made famous by Phil Spector.
This technique made use of echo-chambers, to create a richer and fuller sound - but isn’t there any reverb-plugins that try to simulate that sound?

And also - what other ingredients are “required”? I’ve heard something about “trying to fill as much frequency-space as possible”, and recording (for example) the same vocalparts over, and over again…

I know that this is kind of an abstract question, but if anyone actually understands what i’m talking about:
Do you have any ideas? :P

yap, you got it there… you have to try to fill all of the frequency spectrum without adding too much sounds/instruments in the same frequency range.

You said it yourself.

Apart from that you can record the same thing over again and put one to the left and the other to the right…

I find certain guitar distortions on 808 samples creates a nice wall of sound =p


Thank you for all your replies. :)

kaneel: This might sound stupid, but i’ve never really understood what the send channels do? ^^;

Aha! :) I see! Thank you so much for your reply, kaneel! ^^

I think the term “wall of sound” means different things to different people. For some it is depth, for others it is volume, and still others it is how much of the spectrum is covered.

In general, I tend to divide the aural environment into a stage. There are three dimensions to it: left / right; up / down; forward /back.

Left and right is controlled by how the instruments are panned. Up and down is controlled by frequency (EQ, filtering, etc), and forward and back are controlled by effects such as reverb and delay. The more you use each of these variables, the fuller a mix will sound. There is another category that I call motion, but is for interest value and doesn’t really fit into what I’m trying to say here.

I’m certainly no mix expert, but you can definitely mimic “echo chambers” by playing around with the room size and mix level of reverbs. You can control how far back in the mix it is, etc. The shorter the return time of the reflection, the closer it is perceived to be. By using different sizes of reverbs you can isolate the depth of instruments. As a general rule, the drier the sound, the more up front it is. I’ve found, too, that effects such as distortion and bit reduction add the fronting of sounds.

When all these things are in place, you can also think about the aggressiveness of the mix. I put things like compressors, limiters and gates and this category. The aggressiveness of the mix deals exclusively with volume.

I use a frequency analyzer a lot (Voxengo has a good one called Span) to figure out what each track is doing spectrum-wise. Try to give each instrument its own space. More importantly, though, I think, is that a good mix should think in terms of priority: what needs to be highlighted when. This changes as the song develops. If too many things are competing for any one of these areas you’ll run into problems like muddiness and thinness and harshness.

Tear Down The Wall!!

No no, Off The Wall.

“I tried to walk through the brick wall”

I hope my comments didn’t seem like a put down to anyone – they certainly weren’t meant in that light. It’s just a complicated topic, one I see crop up a lot. And like everyone, I learn every day. I found it really helpful when I started reading of the “sound stage” concept of mixing. In the end, I think if you know what affects what, then you’ll mix to your own tastes and achieve the sound you are looking for.