Tonal ambiance is one of the key aspects of any great mix. It’s hugely beneficial since it makes space in the mixes more dense and rich. The absence of ambiance can easily make any mix sound hollow and empty, even though it’s not present in the first place, but rather in the background.

In the next tutorial, we will show you an interesting technique that can create an awesome tonal ambiance by processing existing elements in your mix.

As usual, we will start by checking out a previously made sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. The sequence contains some essential elements of a full mix. Let’s listen to it.

~Full Mix – Unprocessed Guitar Riff

You have probably noticed a guitar riff in the sequence. It’s totally clean, without any effect on it, so we will apply the mentioned technique of tonal ambiance to it. First, let’s listen to it solo.

~Guitar Riff – Unprocessed

Since the guitar riff is mono and does not have any stereo image, the idea would be to add some movement and increase its stereo width. We will make this happen in a few steps.

Duplicate track for tonal ambiance

The first step would be to duplicate the guitar riff channel. In order to make it more convenient, place it below the original one. We can do that easily by clicking on the original channel and pressing “CTRL+D” on the keyboard.

Next, on the duplicate channel, we will add a reverb effect. The idea here is to set the reverb mix parameter at the full wet setting after we adjust all other parameters to our preference. For the purpose of this tutorial, we have selected Fab Filter Pro-R, but you can use any other quality reverb plugin out there.

Here is how our duplicated channel sounds now.

~Guitar Riff (Duplicated) -Processed With Reverb

As you can hear, we’ve gained a lot of space and movement on our duplicated guitar riff sound. The next thing we will do is add a compressor after the reverb, so as to tame the harsh frequencies of the processed guitar riff. Our preferred choice for this compressor would be something like the OTT by Xfer, because of its ability to “squash” the source audio to the extreme.

After adjusting the parameters of the OTT, let’s hear the result.

~Guitar Riff (Duplicated) -Processed With Reverb and OTT

The last step would be to subtly mix the processed guitar riff with the other elements in the mix in order to add a gentle, yet exciting ambiance effect. Let’s hear the end result.

~Full Mix – With Processed Guitar Riff