Delay and Reverb To Trick The Brain

There are some fascinating factoids about how humans process audio, often tying directly into our lizard brains - survival having depended on the ability to make instant decisions based on where we think a sound is coming from, how close or far away it is, and even what it is.  One example is we are more sensitive to mid-range frequencies in and around the 1-3 kilohertz range.  Guess where on the frequency scale the cry of a baby falls?  It sure would be handy if that particular sound could cut right through everything else and grab our attention.  Likewise, echos of sound can tell us how far or close something is, or even what direction it might be coming from.

This is good news for those of us creating audio, especially music, for people to listen to (not sure what other kind of audio people create - but I digress:)).  Our audio software gives us many tools for making something like an instrument appear closer or farther away.  Too often we rely solely on volume knobs to mix stuff together, but using delays and reverbs can be much more effective at blending something into the background or bringing it forward in a mix.  You can use these tools to trick the brain into thinking something is where it really was not when it was recorded.

In this article, Des specifically uses delays to change how we hear certain instruments.  He uses drums in his example, as well as talking specific numbers for delay settings and putting up before and after audio samples.

Check it out here: http://www.hometracked.com/2008/03/04/using-delays-for-3d-sound-placement/

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