5 Tips for Adding More Depth to Music

You may not notice it, but songs have their own atmospheres. The ambience and feel of your music, past the “2-D” level, is the “depth.” Ganesh Singaram, a sound engineer who has worked with artists such as Trey Songz and Swedish House Mafia, encourages producers to assess the “backwards and forwards” feeling of a song by expanding dead center panning. Here are his 5 tips for adding more depth to your tunes.

Ganesh Singaram

Work on Frequency Content

Do so before using levels or compressors. Work on your EQ. Arrange it in a way that provides more of a “forward and backward” sound. Remove top ends to reverse the sound while maintaining the same effect. This gives a hovering “in and out” impression.

Push the Transient

Besides level and frequency content, you can also push the transient. Usually, transient is used to control dynamic range, but you can also use it to move sound backwards and forwards. And feel free to experiment with other instruments besides drum kicks. Vocals are always fun to play with.

Adjust the Reverb

Play with the room and space available. Reverb works the same way as varying sounds and depends on the physical atmosphere. For example, someone’s footsteps sound different when entering a small room than when entering a large room. The volume and echoes change. Further, don’t just use a standard reverb, but pick different sounds. Mess with the tones. Use your strings or snare.

Use Your Delays

Delay times can add depth by creating distancing of sound. Start with a stereo delay. Push the reverb forwards and backwards. Keep the space that’s being used by the vocals or instrument and move it around until you achieve the sound you’re looking for. Try to use the bottom end of your EQ because using just the top end can come off as too synthetic.

Access Your “Farthest Zone”

Singaram came up with a visual to describe the concept of different zone levels that create depth. Picture the wifi symbol. The longer lines represent a deeper zone, within zones 1 through 6. To access your farthest zone, Singaram suggests adding a delay before the reverb. For example, eighth notes can trigger the reverb to continuously hit and work a lot differently.

Depth in music has the power to embellish the overall quality, emotion, and strength of your sounds. More of it will induce the adventure that all music lovers seek and just can’t get enough of.

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Michelle Aguilar has a strong passion and love for music – and its history. She enjoys reading literary books, dancing, trip-hop/indie venues, working on her blog, and digging up new music. 

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