mixing songs vs. clips

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
alex.the.forge
Posts: 1424
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:29 am

Re: mixing songs vs. clips

Post by alex.the.forge » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:06 pm

Isturite- wrote:... i'm guessing i need to turn some of my levels down, I cant ever decide which part is most important
...
I feel like an old fogey with my attitude here, especially as Live has 64bit internal summing, so in theory you can have each fader as loud as you like, but for me gain structure is the absolute key and I tend to do it the old fashioned way of not letting any track go over 0dBFS. If you can have a limiter on the master track and have it literally only catching the peaks and barely doing anything then it's a pretty good indication that your gain structure is good and you've got a good mix. By gain structure I mean every track sums together properly so that by the time they all reach the master track they are not overloading it.

But the thing to watch out for is the low frequencies as they will eat a lot of headroom and can drown everything else out if they are not mixed properly.

with house/techno music I have started having a bus track for everything but the kick and then a compressor on it sidechained to the kick. the kick really needs to carry that quarter pulse to hold everything in place, so it really helps to see it as "kick vs everything else", then sidechain 'everything else' so it moves out of the way when the kick plays

I also EQ the "everything else" so it doesn't compete with the kick

it's like the kick is the heartbeat and everything else sits on top of it. Bass also plays a big part, but only so long as it doesn't steal headroom from the kick. Thing with Bass is it can be just as powerful if the 2nd harmonics and upwards are the most prominent - i.e. - the first harmonic (fundamental) may be around the same frequency as the kick's main thud, so cutting that freq. in the bass may not matter as the 2nd harmonic, (or double the Hz) will still carry the "illusion" of maximum bass without fighting with the thud of the kick

Of course this may vary for some genres - drum and bass/dub step might put more emphasis on the sub bass and have higher sounding kick drums instead

ultimately, if you think of every sound having its own space in the frequency spectrum then you're most of the way there.

Isturite-
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:08 pm
Location: Sacramento, California

Re: mixing songs vs. clips

Post by Isturite- » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:08 pm

if your tracks already sound "dull" or really "unpro", you first have to learn better techniques, and the guides by tarekith are really wise..
The dynamics one seems very useful to me, something i somewhat overlooked... Im gonna work on getting a specific spot in the spectrum for every sound to hope that it help the mixing part....

but I'm beginning to see that maybe my problem runs even deeper than mixing... i make ALL of my samples including drums, mostly with Absynth 5/Massive/Kontakt... but i'm beginning to see that my samples lack clarity because mixing is soooooo much easier when I use professionally made samples (i use some from Battery 3 library)...

one of my songs, "Lanoo", used kontakt presets and battery3 drum samples... and it seemed to be perfectly mixed without doing anything at all.... Im guessing that my samples need some 'processing', how do I do this and where do I learn about it?? I've been trying to put light amounts of compression, saturation, dynamic tube, even Sugar Bytes' Vogue and very mild eq/filtering on the samples before I record the final sample and throw it into battery or drum rack... this seems to help A LOT... but they still don't "cut through my mix" like the battery samples do..

thanks for the help!
Kevin,
[isturite]
Kevin Welch
[Isturite]

http://www.soundcloud.com/isturite

alex.the.forge
Posts: 1424
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:29 am

Re: mixing songs vs. clips

Post by alex.the.forge » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:16 am

Isturite- wrote:
if your tracks already sound "dull" or really "unpro", you first have to learn better techniques, and the guides by tarekith are really wise..
The dynamics one seems very useful to me, something i somewhat overlooked... Im gonna work on getting a specific spot in the spectrum for every sound to hope that it help the mixing part....

but I'm beginning to see that maybe my problem runs even deeper than mixing... i make ALL of my samples including drums, mostly with Absynth 5/Massive/Kontakt... but i'm beginning to see that my samples lack clarity because mixing is soooooo much easier when I use professionally made samples (i use some from Battery 3 library)...

one of my songs, "Lanoo", used kontakt presets and battery3 drum samples... and it seemed to be perfectly mixed without doing anything at all.... Im guessing that my samples need some 'processing', ...
[isturite]
not necessarily - it may have just been lucky that they happened to fit - there are all kinds of things to consider - as well as making sure everything has it's own space, it can also really help to "tune" sounds so that they are in the same key or at least fit together - for example, the kick will often sound like a specific note - so if it's playing a D# and your song is in E then they could be clashing, even though it might not be obvious

Ableton's "spectrum" device is really good for seeing what's going on frequency wise and also lets you see what notes they are or displays in semi-tones

there is a lot to all this and Rome wasn't built in a day... don't give up!

But yeah, as you mentioned dynamics, I do use a lot of compression. There is a lot of debate around about its overuse (google "loudness wars") but I actually like the sound of compression a lot of the time. It can definitely get a lot of punch out of things

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