Maximizing Hybrid Music - Do I have to be quieter?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Maximizing Hybrid Music - Do I have to be quieter?

Post by digitallush » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:03 pm

Have you mixed and mastered Hybrid music?

I've worked over the past 7 years to create, mix & master music that's both a combination of acoustic / "real sounding" instrumentation with electronic. I've constantly run into a wall when it comes to competing in the loudness war, and I wonder if that's just because of the inherent nature of mixing real instrumentation with electronic sounds. I don't believe I have to 'compete' in the war... or that a track has to be overly compressed and obscenely loud to be 'good' or even successful, but to ignore the loudness war completely would be silly. I think it's important to strive for the loudest, clearest / cleanest track you can produce. This is where I'm hoping to get some insight from you all..

When mixing things like electronic percussion and bass with real strings... real piano.. guitars etc. do you find yourself tending to end up with mixes that just have to, by nature, sound softer than electronic music that doesn't have these elements?

Do you have any advice for maximizing this music without losing the timbres we all love so much?

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Re: Maximizing Hybrid Music - Do I have to be quieter?

Post by jestermgee » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:33 pm

I guess it depends on how you define "acoustic / "real sounding" instrumentation"

I know your meaning is content recorded from a live musician but there really should be little difference between mixing this and something like a sampled VST type instrument such as a piano, string or drum machine. The difference will be how the sounds have been recorded and prepared BEFORE placing them in your mix.

I'd say if your recorded sounds do not seem to fit in with your other elements to the point you can clearly hear the difference, you need to spend some time either getting better recordings or processing them a bit to sound best before mixing them in your track.

As for the "mastering" and final mix that's another area completely that should be separate from the sound design and mixing which is often why that is handled by a different person all together.

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Re: Maximizing Hybrid Music - Do I have to be quieter?

Post by JoshG567 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:43 am

I haven't produced much but most tracks of mine meld electric guitars/bass and acoustic drum samples with synths and drum machine samples.

I haven't experienced what you're describing, I find that the tones tend to blend really well. However, I program my own Operator patches which end up complementing guitar tones and I always mind the spectrum and EQ of all my instruments. For instance, I can drop an 808 kick atop the bars of some heavy riffs to make it really slam, but I make sure that I filter off all but the sub-bass and make sure that it's tuned to my acoustic kick.

It could be that your two categories of instruments tend to have different dynamic ranges and that separates them in the mix, or any number of other things. Could you give us an example to analyze?

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