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help - how to mix a track?

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?

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FilipeAlves
KVRist
 
32 posts since 14 May, 2011

Postby FilipeAlves; Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:48 am help - how to mix a track?

i am banging my head on the wall because of mixing my tracks. i start a track and i always think im on a good way but then everything sounds like someones hugging my tracks and i cant listen to the kick properly or hearing that sound properly. all the stuff that i read and see its like it doesnt work for me, and believe me im reading every stuff that its readable about this.
any tips for a good mix? im using Ableton Live.

some examples of tracks that i like the mix:
Swedish House Mafia Ft. John Martin - Don't You Worry Child (Extended Mix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQe4jYaGK6Y

Alesso - Years ft. Matthew Koma
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGYaxYaxD_M

thanks fot the help :)
User avatar
tehlord
KVRAF
 
6604 posts since 22 Sep, 2008, from Windsor. UK

Postby tehlord; Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:52 am

Read up all you can on mixing. This is a good place to start :-

http://www.scribd.com/doc/11995844/Guide-to-Mixing

Then make sure you have a good monitoring setup and practise for 5-10 years.

Hopefully by then Alesso and SHM will be dead and buried and you can start making something decent :wink:
FilipeAlves
KVRist
 
32 posts since 14 May, 2011

Postby FilipeAlves; Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:56 am

tehlord wrote:Read up all you can on mixing. This is a good place to start :-

http://www.scribd.com/doc/11995844/Guide-to-Mixing

Then make sure you have a good monitoring setup and practise for 5-10 years.

Hopefully by then Alesso and SHM will be dead and buried and you can start making something decent :wink:


thanks
Jakewell
KVRist
 
108 posts since 28 Aug, 2012

Postby Jakewell; Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:04 am

One question: Do you use EQ a lot? It's very important to create a space for each instument/sample in the frequency spectrum (also cut EVERYTHING bellow 30hz)... to don't loose a kick in the mix try usual methods like sidechaining, maybe compression on kick is good (at least for me, don't hate 8) ) and make sure that bass isn't on same frequencies as a kick
FilipeAlves
KVRist
 
32 posts since 14 May, 2011

Postby FilipeAlves; Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:13 am

Jakewell wrote:One question: Do you use EQ a lot? It's very important to create a space for each instument/sample in the frequency spectrum (also cut EVERYTHING bellow 30hz)... to don't loose a kick in the mix try usual methods like sidechaining, maybe compression on kick is good (at least for me, don't hate 8) ) and make sure that bass isn't on same frequencies as a kick


yeah i usually dont use nothing below the 100hz frequency but the kick an the bass, i also do a low cut on the kick around 30hz depending on the kick and 50hz on the bass depending on the bass to remove that muddy sub. its tha leads, piano, guitars, claps and so on that i have a lo of problems on frequencys
fifou64
KVRist
 
31 posts since 26 Jan, 2009, from Pau, France

Postby fifou64; Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:37 am

I like to solo each instrument and cut out frequencies I don't like. Then I listen to the whole mix and adjust the individual EQs, because I have a tendency to remove too much.
200-250Hz is a frequency which is not very useful, and I usually cut it out on every track with a narrow peak (not totally, I just use my hears!). It gives more space for 150Hz and 350Hz.
RyanBrennan
KVRist
 
185 posts since 27 Sep, 2012, from Tampa, Florida

Postby RyanBrennan; Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:32 am

fifou64 wrote:I like to solo each instrument and cut out frequencies I don't like. Then I listen to the whole mix and adjust the individual EQs, because I have a tendency to remove too much.
200-250Hz is a frequency which is not very useful, and I usually cut it out on every track with a narrow peak (not totally, I just use my hears!). It gives more space for 150Hz and 350Hz.


yes having a proper eq is important, but the reasons the mixes you posted sound so complete is the use of compression.

That guide to mixing link posted above has a really good section to get at the basics of compression, even if you understand how to use it, i think its important to know the basics.
https://soundcloud.com/ryanbrennanmusic/crash-n-burn-ryan-brennan-1
hit me up on facebook to talk production and stuff:
Facebook.com/ryan.brennan.7509
timaeus222
Banned

Postby timaeus222; Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:21 pm

From what I read above, it's an EQ problem, mainly. Compression is a finalizing issue, so leave that alone until later, when you've fixed EQ issues.

Have an EQ on the master to monitor what's at what frequency. The EQ on the master will only render what is playing, at the volume which it's playing. The EQ on individual mixer channels, IIRC (I'm not home), do not show any volume adjustments in the EQ module interface. Assuming you have a manageable number of instruments playing at any one time, if you can identify what instruments are playing at what frequencies, you're doing well. Cut out all unnecessary frequencies up until the point where the sound sounds it's missing a frequency... then add it back. You might want to take advantage of a "swap state" function in your EQ if you have that feature. That way you can compare states and hear which sounds better.

And now the compression issue possibilities. If your mix sounds dull, its limiter is probably being hit too hard, likely by the kick or snare or other percussion. First and foremost, learn the difference between hard knee and soft knee compression/limiting. Soft knee allows more to go through but might eliminate some brighter character. Hard knee gives more punch, but only when done correctly. It is the source of more overcompression than soft knee. Soft knee makes a mix sound overly packed if it would otherwise be overcompressed by hard knee. TLs-Pocket Limiter is an awesome soft knee limiter, and the knee can be adjusted. Naturally the instrument volumes should be loudest so they come through, but add some creative compression on them. For example, research parallel compression and adding "glue" to your percussion (an obviously capable VST is The Glue, $99 IIRC). When you've managed to get your kick and snare and other percussion elements maxed out WHILE OTHER THINGS ARE ALSO PLAYING AT THE SAME TIME, your percussion is set. Since that is the main problem, you're almost good to go. Now check other instruments. The next likely candidate for distortion/clipping is the lead. You want a loud lead, but you want it to only be heard "enough". Lower it to 0% volume, then work on that last. Set a dB amount for your backup instruments to reach SUMMATIVELY. Things stack, and stacking amplifies volumes more. Work on panning the instruments in a pleasing way, which lessens the summative stacking effect since it's more spread out. Stereo width is important too for elements that benefit greatly from high stereo perception, like pads, dubstep wobbles, etc. Minimize the stacking factor of each instrument by looking at a spectral analyzer like s(m)exoscope, and adjust the mix levels accordingly. Then work on increasing the volume of leads until the lead is capable of amplifying the overall volume by about 0.5dB, and lower the volume on everything by the exact same amount when you feel it's ready.
User avatar
an-electric-heart
KVRian
 
1247 posts since 13 Jun, 2008, from Napier,New Zealand

Postby an-electric-heart; Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:42 pm

All right, here's how I start a mix:

*Turn all your faders down.

*Order your instruments, from most important to least important (you might need you kick to be loud and clear, or you might need vocals up front)

*Turn what you've decided to be your main element up (leave plenty of headroom)

*Then turn up what you've decided to be your second most important instrument(in dance music it might be the bass synth), but don't let it get so loud that it takes any impact away from the first instrument.

*And so on and so on.

If everything is loud, nothing is loud.

This is just a starting point, other things come into it too, E.Q, compression and reverb of course.

Another tip, I find what ever reverb you have on the snare determines the "perceived environment" for the entire song (this is just what I find, others are likely to disagree)

For ambience, try delay rather than reverb, it comes off a lot tidier/clearer.

That is all I've got :hihi:
RyanBrennan
KVRist
 
185 posts since 27 Sep, 2012, from Tampa, Florida

Postby RyanBrennan; Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:57 pm

an-electric-heart wrote:All right, here's how I start a mix:

*Turn all your faders down.

*Order your instruments, from most important to least important (you might need you kick to be loud and clear, or you might need vocals up front)

*Turn what you've decided to be your main element up (leave plenty of headroom)

*Then turn up what you've decided to be your second most important instrument(in dance music it might be the bass synth), but don't let it get so loud that it takes any impact away from the first instrument.

*And so on and so on.

If everything is loud, nothing is loud.

This is just a starting point, other things come into it too, E.Q, compression and reverb of course.

Another tip, I find what ever reverb you have on the snare determines the "perceived environment" for the entire song (this is just what I find, others are likely to disagree)

For ambience, try delay rather than reverb, it comes off a lot tidier/clearer.

That is all I've got :hihi:


"If everything is loud, nothing is loud."

one of the best pieces of advice any producer can take.
https://soundcloud.com/ryanbrennanmusic/crash-n-burn-ryan-brennan-1
hit me up on facebook to talk production and stuff:
Facebook.com/ryan.brennan.7509
timaeus222
Banned

Postby timaeus222; Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:03 pm

RyanBrennan wrote:
an-electric-heart wrote:All right, here's how I start a mix:

*Turn all your faders down.

*Order your instruments, from most important to least important (you might need you kick to be loud and clear, or you might need vocals up front)

*Turn what you've decided to be your main element up (leave plenty of headroom)

*Then turn up what you've decided to be your second most important instrument(in dance music it might be the bass synth), but don't let it get so loud that it takes any impact away from the first instrument.

*And so on and so on.

If everything is loud, nothing is loud.

This is just a starting point, other things come into it too, E.Q, compression and reverb of course.

Another tip, I find what ever reverb you have on the snare determines the "perceived environment" for the entire song (this is just what I find, others are likely to disagree)

For ambience, try delay rather than reverb, it comes off a lot tidier/clearer.

That is all I've got :hihi:


"If everything is loud, nothing is loud."

one of the best pieces of advice any producer can take.


I completely agree. I actually do the hierarchy process so much it becomes habitual. In case it needs to be explained, if everything is loud, nothing is loud. That means if there are no dynamics, nothing is really loud; everything is just maxed out. The song is loud, the instruments are all the same volume, therefore nothing is "loud".

I do think that reverb AND delay are usually necessary for a realistic sound. What room doesn't have some ambience? In what room does sound not bounce around (ones with completely sound non-conductive carpet covering absolutely everything, haha)? Exactly, so have at least some delay and some reverb, for most situations. The extent is what matters, not the existence or lack of reverb/delay.
RyanBrennan
KVRist
 
185 posts since 27 Sep, 2012, from Tampa, Florida

Postby RyanBrennan; Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:14 pm

timaeus222 wrote:
RyanBrennan wrote:
an-electric-heart wrote:All right, here's how I start a mix:

*Turn all your faders down.

*Order your instruments, from most important to least important (you might need you kick to be loud and clear, or you might need vocals up front)

*Turn what you've decided to be your main element up (leave plenty of headroom)

*Then turn up what you've decided to be your second most important instrument(in dance music it might be the bass synth), but don't let it get so loud that it takes any impact away from the first instrument.

*And so on and so on.

If everything is loud, nothing is loud.

This is just a starting point, other things come into it too, E.Q, compression and reverb of course.

Another tip, I find what ever reverb you have on the snare determines the "perceived environment" for the entire song (this is just what I find, others are likely to disagree)

For ambience, try delay rather than reverb, it comes off a lot tidier/clearer.

That is all I've got :hihi:


"If everything is loud, nothing is loud."

one of the best pieces of advice any producer can take.


I completely agree. I actually do the hierarchy process so much it becomes habitual. In case it needs to be explained, if everything is loud, nothing is loud. That means if there are no dynamics, nothing is really loud; everything is just maxed out. The song is loud, the instruments are all the same volume, therefore nothing is "loud".

I do think that reverb AND delay are usually necessary for a realistic sound. What room doesn't have some ambience? In what room does sound not bounce around (ones with completely sound non-conductive carpet covering absolutely everything, haha)? Exactly, so have at least some delay and some reverb, for most situations. The extent is what matters, not the existence or lack of reverb/delay.



loudness is perceived it is all relative to the rest of your track.

I think i disagree with your take on reverb though. You're right about rooms having ambience, but reverb is an important tool in creating depth in your mix and creating space for your sounds to sit.
Think about the room example, if all your sounds are dry and in front of the mix then itll all sound like a clusterfuck when its being bounced of the walls of a room.

Dry is good, but some elements need to be sent towards the back of the mix or theres all these sounds competing for very limited space.
https://soundcloud.com/ryanbrennanmusic/crash-n-burn-ryan-brennan-1
hit me up on facebook to talk production and stuff:
Facebook.com/ryan.brennan.7509
timaeus222
Banned

Postby timaeus222; Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:18 pm

RyanBrennan wrote:loudness is perceived it is all relative to the rest of your track.

I think i disagree with your take on reverb though. You're right about rooms having ambience, but reverb is an important tool in creating depth in your mix and creating space for your sounds to sit.
Think about the room example, if all your sounds are dry and in front of the mix then itll all sound like a clusterfuck when its being bounced of the walls of a room.

Dry is good, but some elements need to be sent towards the back of the mix or theres all these sounds competing for very limited space.


Well, of course. I didn't dismiss creative use of reverb or just not using it; I only said it's "usually" necessary. But not using it at all and just using delay by itself is not recommended, and just using reverb with no delay is not always recommended but it's totally fine to have reverb with no delay if the delay doesn't make a significant difference when you listen to your mix as a whole.

What I've been saying is implying that mixing intuitions are already good.
RyanBrennan
KVRist
 
185 posts since 27 Sep, 2012, from Tampa, Florida

Postby RyanBrennan; Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:21 pm

timaeus222 wrote:
RyanBrennan wrote:loudness is perceived it is all relative to the rest of your track.

I think i disagree with your take on reverb though. You're right about rooms having ambience, but reverb is an important tool in creating depth in your mix and creating space for your sounds to sit.
Think about the room example, if all your sounds are dry and in front of the mix then itll all sound like a clusterfuck when its being bounced of the walls of a room.

Dry is good, but some elements need to be sent towards the back of the mix or theres all these sounds competing for very limited space.


Well, of course. I didn't dismiss creative use of reverb or just not using it; I only said it's "usually" necessary. But not using it at all and just using delay by itself is not recommended, and just using reverb with no delay is not always recommended but it's totally fine to have reverb with no delay if the delay doesn't make a significant difference when you listen to your mix as a whole.

What I've been saying is implying that mixing intuitions are already good.


ah you are right i misread, sorry brotha!
https://soundcloud.com/ryanbrennanmusic/crash-n-burn-ryan-brennan-1
hit me up on facebook to talk production and stuff:
Facebook.com/ryan.brennan.7509

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