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 Post subject: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm
Posts: 69
Hi!

I have made some songs in Ableton Live 8, and I would love to get some feedback on how I can mix the songs to make them sound professional. I like to use a lot of sounds and I like it loud and punchy, but I find it a little hard to get that professional and clean sound.

I think my bass needs to be clearer first of all, but I would also love to get tips on how to get the rest more polished too.

I'm FAR FROM a sound engineer, and I just recently discovered that mastering the songs is often (or maybe always) a good thing :oops: I heard somewhere that iZotope Ozone is good for that? And I just heard Deadmau5 say in an interview that it's good to make the song louder in the master, and not the mix. But that's all I know.

I would really appreciate some tips so that I can make my mix better. I have watched some YouTube videos, but since I'm from Norway I find it sometimes hard to understand all the technical terms etc.

Thanks!

Here's the link to one of my songs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm6ri1A5Tb4

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Listened through it a couple times and you've got some really good elements in there, a catchy beat, some interesting stereo positioning, and some cool tempo tricks towards the end that add to the interest of the song. Here's what I would suggest (not a professional engineer either, just my opinion)

1) That noisy, swashy synth sound you open the song with needs to go. If you are going to use it, I would say use it *very* sparingly and put a low-pass filter on it to get that white noise under control. Even then, I would start fading it out by 0:21, have it completely out by 0:41, and I wouldn't re-introduce it until 4:30. Your song already has some great melodic elements and devices in it, so that synth sound is laying a foundation of noise that is distracting the ear from all the other great stuff you have going on. Without it, I think your song is really going to pop. Don't bring it back in at 1:40--you don't need it.

2) At 2:24, sounds like you've got a saturation/compression plugin that's turned up a little too high. The high end elements start to bleed into each other and by 3:29, those elements are getting static-y. The snares particularly suffer at that point and by 4:01 they are almost lost under that layer of saturation.

3) At 4:10, that noisy synth comes in again. I'd leave it out, as noted above. Either give it a healthy dose of filtering or find a new synth sound that fits the mix better.

Like I mentioned, there is a lot of great stuff in there. Really like they way the other instruments/motifs dance around each other and play well with your drum track. Just wish I could hear them better.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:16 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm
Posts: 69
Thanks for a constructive feedback, I will definitely look into it.

Do you (or anyone else here) know how to make a good bass solid sound? For the most part a like to use a clean/organic bass without any fuzz etc. Is it normal to layer maybe two different bass instruments on top of each other to get different frequencies? Or maybe there are some good instrument packs out there?

Again, thanks for commenting!

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:46 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:03 am
Posts: 11
Dude... killer track! It's groovy. You do have a lot of conflicting issues and noises as Richie stated. When I master my tracks, I compress every single channel. Even if the audio channel has a one second sample, it gets a compressor. My big channels that have synth or drums always have an EQ8 as well. Sometimes multiple EQ's so you can boost some frequencies and lower others, on top of compression. That's for just about every channel. Also isolate each channel and see what they sound like when you're applying your filters and what not. When each channel is to the point where I'm satisfied, I will compress and EQ the master channel as well. Some may call it a "chain" of effects; also with compressors, EQ's, filters, etc., always ending with a limiter on your chain. Just tweak around. I was definitely grooving to your track!

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:52 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm
Posts: 69
accessrequired wrote:
Dude... killer track! It's groovy. You do have a lot of conflicting issues and noises as Richie stated. When I master my tracks, I compress every single channel. Even if the audio channel has a one second sample, it gets a compressor. My big channels that have synth or drums always have an EQ8 as well. Sometimes multiple EQ's so you can boost some frequencies and lower others, on top of compression. That's for just about every channel. Also isolate each channel and see what they sound like when you're applying your filters and what not. When each channel is to the point where I'm satisfied, I will compress and EQ the master channel as well. Some may call it a "chain" of effects; also with compressors, EQ's, filters, etc., always ending with a limiter on your chain. Just tweak around. I was definitely grooving to your track!

Thanks a lot for the compliments, and the feedback! I will definitely look into compressors too (that is also new to me).

But do you master the track in another software like for example iZotope Ozone at the end to make the sound louder and more powerful?

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:14 am
Posts: 456
Location: Warsaw, Poland
accessrequired wrote:
Dude... killer track! It's groovy. You do have a lot of conflicting issues and noises as Richie stated. When I master my tracks, I compress every single channel. Even if the audio channel has a one second sample, it gets a compressor. My big channels that have synth or drums always have an EQ8 as well. Sometimes multiple EQ's so you can boost some frequencies and lower others, on top of compression. That's for just about every channel. Also isolate each channel and see what they sound like when you're applying your filters and what not. When each channel is to the point where I'm satisfied, I will compress and EQ the master channel as well. Some may call it a "chain" of effects; also with compressors, EQ's, filters, etc., always ending with a limiter on your chain. Just tweak around. I was definitely grooving to your track!


Sorry to chime in, but that goes against most of the advice I read / watched / heard. In principle, you should first arrange the track properly, i.e. use instruments that clash the least between each other frequency-wise, then if there's still some overlap especially in lows and mids apply subtractive EQs (reduce signal, instead of boosting it) to place the sounds where you want them to be and only then add compressors to bring some more quiet / gentle stuff upfront and level the mix.


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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:19 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm
Posts: 69
antic604 wrote:
accessrequired wrote:
Dude... killer track! It's groovy. You do have a lot of conflicting issues and noises as Richie stated. When I master my tracks, I compress every single channel. Even if the audio channel has a one second sample, it gets a compressor. My big channels that have synth or drums always have an EQ8 as well. Sometimes multiple EQ's so you can boost some frequencies and lower others, on top of compression. That's for just about every channel. Also isolate each channel and see what they sound like when you're applying your filters and what not. When each channel is to the point where I'm satisfied, I will compress and EQ the master channel as well. Some may call it a "chain" of effects; also with compressors, EQ's, filters, etc., always ending with a limiter on your chain. Just tweak around. I was definitely grooving to your track!


Sorry to chime in, but that goes against most of the advice I read / watched / heard. In principle, you should first arrange the track properly, i.e. use instruments that clash the least between each other frequency-wise, then if there's still some overlap especially in lows and mids apply subtractive EQs (reduce signal, instead of boosting it) to place the sounds where you want them to be and only then add compressors to bring some more quiet / gentle stuff upfront and level the mix.

OK, thanks for the advice!

This is probably a stupid question, but is there any effect or something that you can use to easily see if frequencies clash with each other?

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:14 am
Posts: 456
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Christian_R wrote:
This is probably a stupid question, but is there any effect or something that you can use to easily see if frequencies clash with each other?


The easiest way is to use any spectrum analyser effect, i.e. the one provided with Live 9 Standard & Suite ("Spectrum")

Put the effect on the master channel, then solo each track paying special attention to peaks in the graph. Now do the same for tracks that have peaks in similar regions (or sound similarly by ear: kick & bass, bass & pads & backing synths, leads & vocals & hats/snares) and check how much the overall peak is increased. Put an EQ8 on the track that you think can have less presence (e.g. on bass, if you're analysing kick + bass; on a backing guitar/synth/pad if you're analysing them with bass for conflicting low frequencies, etc.) and apply a notch (cutting) filter there trying to find a sweet spot where tracks sound separate but still retain their character. It's also good practice to low-pass or high-pass the tracks further apart from each other, e.g. apply a hi-pass filter to leads/vocals and low-pass to kick/bass, because they can have some residual frequencies that are unimportant for their sound, but will muddy the mix.

Sorry to be so vague - it's hard to describe it really, but the idea is that each track should have its most prominent frequency (its "place") in the mix, so if two tracks occupy the same space you need to make a hole/gap - using subtractive EQ-ing - in one so that the other can sound better :)


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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Christian_R wrote:
Do you (or anyone else here) know how to make a good bass solid sound?

If you're looking for an analog monosynth sound, I'd recommend Deep Mono. It's a great little instrument I've used on a lot of tracks, ridiculously easy to use, and will get you a solid bass sound really quick. And it's free. You can download it here:
http://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/4-Synth/707-Deep-Mono

But rather than a synth bass sound, I'm wondering how your track would sound with a nice, crunchy bass guitar, especially with the natural-sounding drum kit you're using. Live comes with a great bass guitar instrument that I also really like for basslines. Give it a listen.

With that, let me pass on one last bit of advice--probably the best music production advice I've ever received. The human ear/brain can only perceive three sounds at once. It sounds crazy at first, but go listen to some of your favorite commercial tracks, then go listen to the top hits on the radio right now. You'll find that there are never more than three things happening at any given time. There might be additional little embellishments here and there, but there will never be more than three dominant sonic things happening at once.

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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:14 am
Posts: 456
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Richie Witch wrote:
With that, let me pass on one last bit of advice--probably the best music production advice I've ever received. The human ear/brain can only perceive three sounds at once. It sounds crazy at first, but go listen to some of your favorite commercial tracks, then go listen to the top hits on the radio right now. You'll find that there are never more than three things happening at any given time. There might be additional little embellishments here and there, but there will never be more than three dominant sonic things happening at once.


Very true indeed! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Need some feedback on mixing, please
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm
Posts: 69
Richie Witch wrote:
Christian_R wrote:
Do you (or anyone else here) know how to make a good bass solid sound?

If you're looking for an analog monosynth sound, I'd recommend Deep Mono. It's a great little instrument I've used on a lot of tracks, ridiculously easy to use, and will get you a solid bass sound really quick. And it's free. You can download it here:
http://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/4-Synth/707-Deep-Mono

But rather than a synth bass sound, I'm wondering how your track would sound with a nice, crunchy bass guitar, especially with the natural-sounding drum kit you're using. Live comes with a great bass guitar instrument that I also really like for basslines. Give it a listen.

Thanks! I will definitely give it a listen :)

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