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Sonic Space

Imagine each moment of your stereo track as a box with three dimensions: Panning (left and right), Amplitude (volume) & Frequency. This box represents any given moment in time. Keep in mind that each instrument has a unique sonic footprint, or is composed of certain sets of frequencies. These varying frequencies can range in how far they span across the spectrum. In order to achieve a full, loud sound like the pros, you must fill this box in each dimension. The most common thing that prevents amateurs from getting a full sound is not filling this box properly. They combine sounds that overlap each other too far, which forces them to lower the volume of the song to prevent clipping (remember, the height of this box, or the volume/amplitude, cannot exceed a certain limit. Once it does, you will get distorted sounds, this is known as clipping). In order to maximize volume, it’s necessary to designate space inside this box to each element so that they all fit nicely together.

For a more detailed tutorial on this subject, check out this tutorial by tweakheadz