Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

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TW1306
KVRist
44 posts since 23 Apr, 2017

Post Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:11 am

I've been trying to make that 1998-2003-ish style trance for a while now, and while I've slowly been improving, something still sounds different about my tracks to anything from that sort of time. I can't figure out if it's to do with frequencies or levels or something else entirely, but my work seems to be lacking something that would make it sound like something you'd actually hear on a record from the time.

A couple of examples of my stuff:
https://soundcloud.com/spatial-sound/fl ... iginal-mix
https://soundcloud.com/spatial-sound/iv ... ound-remix

and just a couple of examples as a general idea of what I'm trying to go for:

youtube.com/watch?v=0o8X0n4ODEA
youtube.com/watch?v=7trSpjR9YlM

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

gaf_thit
KVRian
538 posts since 28 Sep, 2012 from Norway

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:00 am

Only thing I can think off straight off, is that the oft-used outboard fx units like the Alesis Midiverb I, II and the Quadraverb and Yamaha SPX-90 can help in giving "that" sound...but I know little about the genre and especially little about differences in periods. I'm temporally confused.

MrMagneto
KVRist
479 posts since 6 Nov, 2010

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:15 pm

I basically grew up with trance from that period. First of all: 1998 - 2003 for trance music was a huge time span and you could hear it. In 1998 the trance sounded still new, simple and a bit naive from today's perspective. In 2003 trance was no longer underground music and had many sub-genres. Technically it became way more demanding.

So if you are looking for the real deal 1998 trance, you might check the trancemaster 20 compilation. It was great at that time and I think it's a great source of inspiration.

https://youtu.be/ve2Wym3F6UY
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIx4zHV4OtU

I still smell the sweet smell of the chewing gum that sticked to the CD cover, when I listen to those tunes.

When I listen to your first track, I think you could use more reverb and delay on the lead sounds. Ping Pong Delay was very popular to that time. Also don't forget to set low-cuts if you want to make life easier when mixing (150 - 250 on leads might do). On the hihats you can go as high as 1000 (for the slightly more modern sound) and for claps/snares try around 200-400 hz.

Soundwise I think 909 sounds were pretty popular. Especially for claps and hihats.

Your second track sounds nice actually. The tempo would be too slow for the original 1998 feel. Leads would need some more reverb and delay.

TW1306
KVRist
44 posts since 23 Apr, 2017

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:12 am

MrMagneto wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:15 pm
First of all: 1998 - 2003 for trance music was a huge time span and you could hear it. In 1998 the trance sounded still new, simple and a bit naive from today's perspective. In 2003 trance was no longer underground music and had many sub-genres. Technically it became way more demanding.
I was trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in terms of production or EQ, but now that you mention it that probably was a bit too general a timespan for a question like that, given how different the stuff on labels like ASOT in 2003 sounds to the CDs you linked. I suppose it's a little difficult to be specific, but I'm not trying to go for a specific 'year', just really anything that sounds like it could be from that sort of time.

Thanks for your advice, I'll definitely take it on board. The EQ tips are much-needed, that's one of the main areas I've been struggling to get to grips with.

MrMagneto
KVRist
479 posts since 6 Nov, 2010

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 am

I think eq'ing became a more and more important part as the genre advanced. So yeah, use low-cuts on everything except for the bassdrum. On baseline the basic rule was 75hz, leads around 250, claps 400 and hihats 1000. But there were also millions of opinions about that. So don't take it as a strict rule.

Sidechain compression was not that popular yet. So a lot of the time the kick and bassline were routed to a sub bus and compressed together.

The most important part though was the sound choice. When you listen to Above and Beyond or Chicane (Saltwater) you realise, that those guys were insanely good at picking the right sounds.

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
3028 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:49 pm

Trance wasn't new in 1998. I remember it being a thing in the early 90s.

Robert Miles put trance on the map commercially with 'Children', which I think was well before 1998 too. To this day when I think of trance as a music style I instantly think of Miles' Dreamland.

Why cutoff at 1998? There was a thriving scene and defined sound before that.

User avatar
DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2978 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:51 am

MogwaiBoy wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:49 pm
Trance wasn't new in 1998. I remember it being a thing in the early 90s.

Robert Miles put trance on the map commercially with 'Children', which I think was well before 1998 too. To this day when I think of trance as a music style I instantly think of Miles' Dreamland.

Why cutoff at 1998? There was a thriving scene and defined sound before that.
Before Robert Miles, trance was barely listenable. I can tell only one track from that period which I like (Li Kwan - Point Zero), otherwise it resembled todays poor "unboxing synth" jams.
Goa debuted earlier than mainstream trance and was a thing.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

Mushy Mushy
KVRAF
10785 posts since 7 Sep, 2008

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:17 am

DJ Warmonger wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:51 am
Before Robert Miles, trance was barely listenable. I can tell only one track from that period which I like (Li Kwan - Point Zero), otherwise it resembled todays poor "unboxing synth" jams.
Goa debuted earlier than mainstream trance and was a thing.
Have to disagree with you, man. Trance was at full steam for me already in '93/'94.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPvhUpnocx0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqW2xKjVtMo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27AXunGRo5E
"I was wondering if you'd like to try Magic Mushrooms"
"Oooh I dont know. Sounds a bit scary"
"It's not scary. You just lose a sense of who you are and all that sh!t"

Mushy Mushy
KVRAF
10785 posts since 7 Sep, 2008

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:23 am

And then when the above morphed into Goa in '95 it was game over for me, my life would never be the same :love:
"I was wondering if you'd like to try Magic Mushrooms"
"Oooh I dont know. Sounds a bit scary"
"It's not scary. You just lose a sense of who you are and all that sh!t"

Mushy Mushy
KVRAF
10785 posts since 7 Sep, 2008

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:45 am

In terms of how to sound like that era I recommend sticking only to emulations of classic Roland/Korg gear. This was dirt cheap back then and as a result was pretty much all they used. It was then run through an analogue desk, likely a Mackie, and sent to cheap reverb like the Quadraverb (as mentioned above).

As much as I love modern synths such as Serum/Spire I'd avoid them for projects like this unless you really know what you're doing.

Re the mixer emulation, I'd be looking at a tape distortion and console emulation plugin.

And then it's down to arrangement. All modulation was done by hand so it was quite rare to have multiple things moving simultaneously, unless of course the whole studio was full of friends/family adding their bit.
"I was wondering if you'd like to try Magic Mushrooms"
"Oooh I dont know. Sounds a bit scary"
"It's not scary. You just lose a sense of who you are and all that sh!t"

acYm
KVRian
900 posts since 11 Sep, 2015

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:52 pm

which saturator or console vst sounds most like those 90's mackies, if any?

Mushy Mushy
KVRAF
10785 posts since 7 Sep, 2008

Re: Can't figure out what my tracks are missing

Post Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:54 pm

acYm wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:52 pm
which saturator or console vst sounds most like those 90's mackies, if any?
Great question, on the lookout myself.
"I was wondering if you'd like to try Magic Mushrooms"
"Oooh I dont know. Sounds a bit scary"
"It's not scary. You just lose a sense of who you are and all that sh!t"

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