Probably the most difficult operation for an beginning engineer is to carve out space in the mix for each mix element. For 50 years this was based on the experience and the ears of the mixer, and it took some time to learn the skill. Today there are many tools that can make this process go amazingly faster, and one of them is Trackspacer from Wavesfactory.
Trackspacer is not a new plugin (it’s now up to version 2.5), but it is one that’s pretty much been overlooked. That doesn’t make it any less powerful though, as it makes mixing a lot easier when it does the carving for you.
So how does it do it? Trackspacer creates space in a mix by carving the frequencies that a track needs by basically using a 32 band dynamic EQ. It then applies an inverse EQ curve after analyzing the sidechain signal sent to it from another conflicting track. The result is that you can now clearly hear each mix element rather than having them cover up each other with too much of the same frequencies.
Using the plugin is dead easy. You insert it on the track that you want cleaned up, then send a signal from the conflicting track to the sidechain input. The sidechain input shows up as a blue line on the analyzer display, while the white line is the track that’s being affected. Trackspacer analyzes the input in real time then applies its magic. You dial in the amount you want with the large Amount control in the center of the plug. High-Cut and Low-Cut filters are available so that you can dial in just the frequency band that needs attention.
The Freeze button can be activated with a single click and will pause the reduction to the current state of the filters so that you can have a static EQ that’s dialed in automatically based on the side-chain frequency spectrum.
Make It Advanced
There’s also an Advanced panel that allows you to control the panning, select regular L/R or M-S mode, set the Attack and Release, and listen to just the sidechain input.
The Wavesfactory Trackspacer plugin is just $59, and is available for Mac and PC in all plugin formats. You can find out more here, or watch the video below of it in use.