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Mixdown secrets....... and hot tips

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:21 pm
by alex_virr
I dont have any :lol: but I'd like to hear yours... ok a couple

judicious use of eq

high passing things seems to make a lot of space

compression

mixing things down in the right order.

I really don't know much about it.... are there any golden rules you abide by, shortcuts or tips to make it all gel the way you want it to?

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:33 pm
by Tarekith
No golden rules other than trying to make it sound good.

- Less is more, don't use effects or dynamics processing (EQ, Compression) 'just because'. Make sure the tune really needs any processing you apply.

- Most mixdown issues are probably arrangement or song structure issues. If you write the song so that you don't have a lot of instruments overlapping in the same frequency range, your mixdown will be MUCH easier to do.

- Always use less reverb and delay than you think you need.

- Focus on the important parts first. Work on getting the bass drum, snare, bassline, and lead/vocal balanced right first. Then go back and work on adding the fills, pads, synths, etc once you're happy with the balance of the main elements.

- Keep kicks, snares and basslines in mono if you're making dance floor tunes.

- High-passing instruments can help clear up some of the low end, but don't do this out of habit, make sure the instruments you're applying this to really need it (see point one above).

- If you're the type who sets up your miwdown as you write the tune, try something different. Once the tune is done and you're happy with it, export your final mix as you normally would. Then, reset the entier mixer (real or virtual), get rid of all plug ins, pull all faders to 0, and try mixing the tune again after a couple days away. 9 times out of 10 you'll like the second mixdwon better.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:33 pm
by northernlight
i don't have any "professianl" advice, but some stuff that works for me:

- after you finished your tune, leave it alone for a week or two and then get back on it. All the things that are wrong will jump right at you.

- use different monitoring systems you know well. atm i'm experimenting with mixing down the same tune on 4 different monitoring systems. i use studio headphones, crappy headphones, studio monitors, and hifi i stole from my girlfriend. i do a seperate mixdown for each one of the 4 systems and then compare the mixdown from one system on the other systems. then from the knowledge i got from these for mixdowns i try to create a mixdown that sounds good on all 4 systems. keep in mind that you have to know the systems. i listen to 3-4 tracks before i do the mixdown

hm, that's the stuff i'm playing around atm. hope that makes sense.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:42 pm
by Joebot
drums

bass

pads

leads

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:02 pm
by alex_virr
^^ yeah that works :)

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:13 pm
by Anti-science
Group similer sounds like all your percusion in one group, synths in another and when mixing start with the drums and get them peaking at about -6. That way, after you haved mixed the tune and realise the drums are to quiet you only need to move 1 fader up a little, and you got head room to do it. :)


If you pan a sound quite hard to the left, make sure you got another sound that compliments the pattern and sound of it in the right.

After you made the sickest bassline you can imagine, DON'T stick a cheap reverb on it to 'fill out the mix' Put a imaging plugin on it and get it in mono. You can do the oppasite on the hi hats/percussion and give it a wide feel.

If you think the low end does seem abit 'mono' use a low lead line that follows your bassline. Roll off the bottom end with eq and use a chorus to give it a wider sound.

Can't get that Phat! kick & Phat! bass to sit side by side? Choose ONE to be the focus. If its the bass thats dominating the sub frequencys more do a 'High pass' eq/filter on the kick to give the bass space. Group the two together and stick a bit of compression over them. (dont' ask what settings ;)

*DISCLAIMER -

These are some tricks I use. Im not saying there right and I don't care if anyone disagrees! ;) Oh yeah, I have copyright on them too so you cant use them anyway!

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:26 pm
by hutson
If you are using EQ avoid soloing an instrument and eq'ing...

Better to listen to the instruments around it while you EQ it. See how it affects the instruments it shares frequencies with.
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Panning before EQ, always. =]
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You dont always need to mix drums bass etc. etc. in that order.
Sometimes it's better to focus on what deserves the most attention then mix around it.
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When you bring in a new Lead synth or the likes... slowly ride it with automation into the mix. Does well to bring the listener into the fold.
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Take breaks every 45 minutes... listen to low level pink noise... walk around... get some air... do whatever 'resets' you.
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and stuff

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:32 pm
by afdafsf
If you're into making glitchy stuff:

I do this most of the time w/my basslines. I'll make something via midi - once I get it rendered, I'll rearrange (edits) the line to do something completely different, not necessarily fx, just move the hits around, pitch some up/down, do some transposing here and there, etc...

Make a couple different renders of the bassline like so ^ - then, when it comes time to making the tune - you've got multiple audio versions of your bassline to play around with.

loads of fun

Simple trk for bass - make your bass riff, then copy those midi notes to a different instrument (say a lead or a pad), do filtering/fx/HPing to said lead/pad riff, and layer your bass with that. Make a couple 'layers' like that and you're bass will have some cool sounds to accompany it for the songs duration.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:35 pm
by NoHanded1
I constantly mix as i go, always tweaking, offen change drum sounds two or three sounds, cause something will sound great one day and shit the next.

Ultimatly, get someone else to do it.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:38 pm
by Doomo
some good tips above
Anti-science wrote:Can't get that Phat! kick & Phat! bass to sit side by side? Choose ONE to be the focus. If its the bass thats dominating the sub frequencys more do a 'High pass' eq/filter on the kick to give the bass space.
If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:42 pm
by BLista
Stick pillows down the back of your speakers, hang your duvet on any large empty walls, and move your extremely heavy king sized mattress into a corner, upright.

Turn any wardrobes slightly to the side and hang thick towel down the front of 'em.

Put your speakers on top of thick books, which are on top of very thick towels - folded up.

Make makeshift bass traps in the corner of your room using spare *anything* including Sofa cushions.

Make sure you put it all back before your mrs gets home or you're a fucking dead-man.

Well, this is what I do anyway. :lol:

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:20 pm
by alex_virr
Anti-science wrote:Group similer sounds like all your percusion in one group, synths in another and when mixing start with the drums and get them peaking at about -6. That way, after you haved mixed the tune and realise the drums are to quiet you only need to move 1 fader up a little, and you got head room to do it. :)


If you pan a sound quite hard to the left, make sure you got another sound that compliments the pattern and sound of it in the right.

After you made the sickest bassline you can imagine, DON'T stick a cheap reverb on it to 'fill out the mix' Put a imaging plugin on it and get it in mono. You can do the oppasite on the hi hats/percussion and give it a wide feel.

If you think the low end does seem abit 'mono' use a low lead line that follows your bassline. Roll off the bottom end with eq and use a chorus to give it a wider sound.

Can't get that Phat! kick & Phat! bass to sit side by side? Choose ONE to be the focus. If its the bass thats dominating the sub frequencys more do a 'High pass' eq/filter on the kick to give the bass space. Group the two together and stick a bit of compression over them. (dont' ask what settings ;)

*DISCLAIMER -

These are some tricks I use. Im not saying there right and I don't care if anyone disagrees! ;) Oh yeah, I have copyright on them too so you cant use them anyway!
YES LIKING THESE. the groups tip is invaluable if that was something I knew when I started out it would have saved me a whole world of fucking around.

is this your own 'concrete mixing technique' btw? ;)

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:47 pm
by afdafsf
DJ Damo wrote: If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)
That sounds like a really neat trick - I hadn't thought of doing that.

thks! :)

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:23 pm
by Lennon
nuskoolbreaks_head wrote:
DJ Damo wrote: If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)
That sounds like a really neat trick - I hadn't thought of doing that.

thks! :)
bloody brilliant idea!

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:29 pm
by BLista
nuskoolbreaks_head wrote:
DJ Damo wrote: If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)
That sounds like a really neat trick - I hadn't thought of doing that.

thks! :)
In this case, I'd definitely have a look at sidechain compression - then you don't need to compromise on either bass or kick. I'm really getting to grips with it now and it makes life so much easier

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:37 pm
by hutson
B-Listah wrote:
nuskoolbreaks_head wrote:
DJ Damo wrote: If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)
That sounds like a really neat trick - I hadn't thought of doing that.

thks! :)
In this case, I'd definitely have a look at sidechain compression - then you don't need to compromise on either bass or kick. I'm really getting to grips with it now and it makes life so much easier
Really depends on the bass line.. More aggresive syncopated bass lines can be devestated by a sucking compressor... or if you have a crazy kick programmed... Sometimes its all about compromise =/

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:39 pm
by afdafsf
Sidechain compression isn't always the answer though - if overused, the track can get too 'whooshy'

Fretwell is a good example of sidechain compression being done correctly.

There are plenty of 4on4 tracks that use S. comp incorrectly.....

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:48 pm
by Doomo
even with compression you still have 2 underlying (slightly different) bass frequencies that combine to produce a moment of bass that isnt clean. For sub bass to really punch out of the speakers it has to be clean.

next time you are doing music stuff, set your synth to play a pure sub line, turn it up, press and hold 2 notes a little apart, say a low F and low A. Observe the bass drivers in your speakers throwing for england, yet all you'll hear is thunderous flapping that sounds totally fucked. this is the effect I am on about, and one that is removed by dropping the sub from one of the elements. You can compress it to limit the peaks, but it will still sound like thunderous flapping fucked bass for the moment they both play together. This may or may not be how you want it to sound.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 4:59 pm
by BLista
hutson wrote:
B-Listah wrote:
nuskoolbreaks_head wrote:
DJ Damo wrote: If the kick drum contains sub, I tend to have 2 copies of it. one as is, and another with the sub filtered out. If the kick and bassline are playing together at any point I use the kick without the sub. It takes a little tuning to get the balance right, ie so you dont loose the punch from the kick as well as the sub, but its well worth it. The result is a much cleaner sounding bottom end, which is the easier on the sound system 8)
That sounds like a really neat trick - I hadn't thought of doing that.

thks! :)
In this case, I'd definitely have a look at sidechain compression - then you don't need to compromise on either bass or kick. I'm really getting to grips with it now and it makes life so much easier
Really depends on the bass line.. More aggresive syncopated bass lines can be devestated by a sucking compressor... or if you have a crazy kick programmed... Sometimes its all about compromise =/
Agreed, but it very much depends on which knee type, the attack and release settings and the threshold.

If you work out the length of your kik b4 hand then you can set the compressor attack and release accordingly. But as with ANY topic relating to producing music, IMO there is never a right or wrong answer or a universal solution because it's different everytime. Was just chuckin in my 2-penneth worth. 8)

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 5:03 pm
by Joebot
ther are some great ideas in this thread


and some truly terreible ones