Creating Depth in a Mix: Pro Tips for a 3D Sound

creating depth in your mix like a pro

Creating depth in a mix is crucial for a three dimensional and atmospheric sound experience. Creating depth is one of the first steps in mixing as soon as the rough / static mix is done. The easiest ways to bring an instrument further back in a mix are:

  • lowering the higher frequency registers with a high shelf EQ or cutting the high end at all with a low pass / high cut filter.
  • adding reverb with shorter or no predelay
  • compression with longer release time

Learn exactly how to dial in the equalizer, compression and reverbs to bring an instrument further back in a mix in this blog article.

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Depth in audio mix refers to the spatial positioning of sound elements within a mix. When done correctly, it can make your audio content sound immersive and dynamic, drawing your audience deeper into the experience. To achieve this, you’ll need to employ various techniques and utilize specific tools. Let’s dive in.

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Understanding Depth in Audio Mix:

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to create depth, it’s essential to understand what depth means in the context of audio mixing. Depth is often divided into three main dimensions:

  1. Foreground: This is where the primary sound elements or instruments reside. It’s what the listener focuses on and is typically the loudest and clearest part of the mix.
  2. Midground: The midground contains supporting elements that provide context and texture to the mix. These elements are slightly quieter than the foreground but play a crucial role in creating depth.
  3. Background: These are the elements that sit furthest back in the mix, often providing ambience, space, and atmosphere. They add a sense of depth by placing the listener in a specific sonic environment.

When it’s about visual elements there is an obvious difference between objects that are closer and objects that are far away. Compared to the closer object the further back element is smaller and has blurry outlines. At some point it’s just kind of an spot left with a specific color.

When it comes to audio it’s almost the same. First of all you need some kind of reference. One instrument can only sound like further away, when another instrument is really close. Compared to the closer instrument the further back instrument seems blurred until there is only a small area of frequencies left to barely identify a specific instrument. The following techniques and tools are a good help to acheive more depth:

Ask Audio Engineer Toby Schuetgens from Simple Life Studio to mix & master our song!

If you need your own tracks to be mixed or mastered, hit the button above and feel free to reach out.


Techniques for Creating Depth in your mix:

1. Panning and Stereo Imaging:

  • Experiment with panning to place instruments and sounds in the stereo field.
  • Use stereo imaging plugins to widen or narrow the perceived space of an audio element. But be careful with widening plugins, they might cause phase issues at some point.

2. Reverb and Delay:

  • Apply reverb to create the illusion of space, placing sounds in different acoustic environments.
  • Play with the predelay time. Imagine you are in a room with two guitarists. One is really close to you and the other one is at the other end of the room. The direct sonic from the close
  • Use delay to add depth by introducing echoes or reflections.

3. EQ and Frequency Separation:

  • Use EQ to carve out space for each instrument, preventing frequency clashes. At his point it might help to switch to mono on your monitoring chain. This helps to find points where frequency ranges of different elements cover each other.
  • Consider low-pass and high-pass filters to push certain elements into the background.

4. Automation:

  • Automate volume levels to make certain elements more prominent at specific points in the mix.
  • When it’s about the specific reference elements in your mix automation can help to change the distance between instrument throughout the mix to make it more dynamic and increase the feeling of depth in your mix.

5. Layering and Doubling:

  • Layer instruments to add richness and depth.
  • Double-track vocals or instruments to create a sense of space and width.

6. Depth through Arrangement:

  • Arrange your tracks thoughtfully, placing elements with similar frequencies apart from each other to prevent masking.
  • Even in the recording stage before the mixing you can create depth by placing microphones differently.

Tools for Creating Depth:

Most DAW’s come with really powerful stock plugin. You can try these first but just in case you’d like to try something more the following plugins a worth a try.

1. Reverb Plugins:

  • Explore reverb plugins like Valhalla Room or FabFilter Pro-R for realistic spatial effects.

2. Delay Plugins:

  • Consider delay plugins such as Soundtoys Echoboy or Waves H-Delay for creative depth.

3. Equalization Plugins:

  • Use EQ plugins like iZotope Ozone EQ or Waves Q10 for precise frequency control.

4. Stereo Imaging Tools:

  • Experiment with stereo imaging plugins like iZotope Imager or Waves S1 Stereo Imager.






Creating depth in your audio mix is a crucial step in delivering a captivating and immersive listening experience. By understanding the dimensions of depth, employing the right techniques, and using the appropriate tools, you can take your audio content to the next level, leaving your audience in awe of your three-dimensional soundscapes. So, don’t hesitate to experiment and refine your skills to achieve the perfect audio mix with depth. With your unique way of creating depth you can develop your own signature sound as well. Your listeners will thank you for it.

THIS is how you REALLY create depth in your mix
Ask Audio Engineer Toby Schuetgens from Simple Life Studio to mix & master our song!

If you need your own tracks to be mixed or mastered, hit the button above and feel free to reach out.


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Bridging the Twang and Rebellion:

Toby Schuetgens’ Journey as the Unconventional Audio Engineer

Rebellious spirit of punk rock

In the heart of Germany, a land brimming with history and culture, Toby Schuetgens came into the world where he is nowadays bridging Twang and Rebellion during his work as a professional audio engineer specialized in mixing and mastering country and punk. Born with an unyielding spirit and a love for all things music, Toby’s journey was destined to take him beyond the borders of his birthplace.Growing up in the ’80s and attending school during the vibrant ’90s, Toby found solace in the melodies and rebellious spirit of punk rock. It was during those formative years that he attended his very first punk rock concert, where the pounding drums, blistering guitars, and charged atmosphere sparked a fire within him. The energy of punk spoke to Toby’s restless soul, igniting a passion that would shape his future.

Yet Toby’s heart yearned for more than just punk rock. A unique twist of fate led him to a parallel world, far removed from mosh pits and raucous crowds.

Timeless melodies of country music

After school, he found himself immersed in the world of Western horse training, where the bond between man and animal, the vast expanse of open landscapes, and the timeless melodies of country music enchanted him. Amidst the gentle rhythms of galloping horses, Toby discovered a profound connection with the heartfelt storytelling of country songs. These tunes captured the essence of his own journey, resonating with the longing he felt to be pulled toward a land across the ocean.

While Germany was his birthplace, Toby always sensed a magnetic force drawing him to the United States. It was a place where the country twang met the rebel roar, where his love for both country and punk music would intertwine and flourish.With a burning desire to explore his passions further, Toby embarked on a new adventure just a few months ago—his foray into the world of audio engineering.

Although he was still at the beginning of his career, his unyielding spirit and insatiable appetite for knowledge propelled him forward. Toby’s innate understanding of punk rock’s raw energy and country music’s heartfelt storytelling became his guiding light as he honed his skills behind the soundboard.

More alive than ever before

Toby was more alive than ever before, breathing life into the music he loved with each mix and production he undertook. He felt a sense of purpose, knowing that he had found his calling in the convergence of country and punk. Through his talent, he aimed to create a sonic tapestry that would transport listeners, evoking the rawness of punk’s rebellious spirit and the emotional depth of country’s heartfelt tales.Though his journey was only just beginning, Toby’s boundless passion and unwavering dedication endeared him to fellow musicians and industry professionals alike. They recognized the spark within him and eagerly sought his expertise, eager to collaborate with a rising star who understood the intricate dance between country and punk music.

As Toby embraced his newfound path as an audio engineer, the bridge between Germany and the United States grew stronger. His dream of crossing the Atlantic, both physically and musically, started to manifest. He yearned to immerse himself in the thriving music scenes of Nashville, Austin, and beyond—places where his dual loves of country and punk converged harmoniously.

Audio engineer for Country & Punk

Toby Schuetgens, the German-born audio engineer, was no longer confined by the borders of his birthplace. With a heart pulsating to the rhythms of punk and a soul longing for the vast landscapes of country music, he had found his true home—a place where his unique blend of passions could flourish, and where the sound waves he crafted would resonate with the world.And so, Toby’s story continued, brimming with the promise of adventure and creativity. With each passing day, he moved closer to the realization of his dreams, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry as he blazed a trail as a masterful audio engineer—an artist who seamlessly blended the rebel spirit of punk and the heartfelt honesty of country, defying boundaries and forging a new musical frontier.

Human Mastering vs. AI Mastering

Introducing the Artistry of Human Mastering: Elevating Music to New Heights

In an era defined by technological advancements, the power of AI has undeniably made its mark across various domains. However, when it comes to the nuanced craft of music mastering, human expertise remains unparalleled. Here’s why:

1. Aesthetic Sensibility: Mastering music is not solely about achieving technical perfection; it involves infusing emotion, creativity, and subjective interpretation. Human mastering engineers possess an inherent ability to understand the artistic intent behind a composition, allowing them to tailor the mastering process to enhance the desired emotional impact. Their trained ears and musical sensibility enable them to make delicate adjustments, applying subtle nuances that AI algorithms may struggle to capture.

2. Contextual Understanding: Music is deeply influenced by cultural, historical, and genre-specific contexts. Human mastering engineers possess an extensive knowledge of diverse musical styles, ensuring that the mastering process respects and aligns with the conventions and expectations of the intended audience. This contextual understanding enables them to make informed decisions about tonal balance, dynamic range, and overall fidelity, resulting in a polished product that resonates with the listeners.

3. Collaboration and Communication: Mastering is a collaborative effort between the artist and the engineer. By working hand-in-hand, human mastering engineers build relationships with artists, gaining insight into their vision and aspirations. This collaborative approach allows for effective communication and the ability to adapt the mastering process to meet the artist’s specific needs. The invaluable exchange of ideas and feedback fosters an environment of mutual trust, where the artist’s unique identity is preserved and enhanced.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability: Music often calls for unconventional techniques, experimental sounds, and distinct sonic signatures. Human mastering engineers possess the flexibility to adapt their approach, thinking outside the box to bring out the best in each composition. They have the ability to experiment, iterate, and explore different possibilities, tailoring the mastering process to suit the unique characteristics of the music, resulting in a final product that is truly distinctive.

5. Legacy and Expertise: Throughout history, music has been shaped and elevated by the hands of skilled mastering engineers. They carry with them a rich legacy of experience, knowledge, and techniques passed down through generations. This accumulated wisdom, combined with their adaptability to modern tools and technology, allows human mastering engineers to provide a holistic approach that respects tradition while embracing innovation.

While AI mastering undoubtedly offers convenience and efficiency, the human touch remains an irreplaceable aspect of the mastering process. It is this blend of technical mastery, artistic sensibility, and collaborative spirit that enables human mastering engineers to bring out the full potential of every musical composition, creating an immersive and transcendent listening experience.