Newbie posts tune......

  • Hello all. I've been listening to Electro since I was a kid, mostly courtesy of the Street Sound Electro albums (like many others I'm sure). Anyway, I'm a bass player and I've played a lot of punk over the years and a more recently a lot of reggae. This is new territory for me in terms of production but I'm getting there. I've made a few Electro songs but this is the first that I feel is worthy of sharing. Let me know what you think.

    Processor Control -

  • Subsong

    How do you make a proper mixdown, your Tracks sounding very professional, loud and clear.

    Dunno what i`m doing wrong but my Tracks always sound like played in a little Box.

    Do you have any Tips for me in Mastering and Mixdown?

    How do you make your music, with Hard- or Software?

    Cheers :)

  • Genista,

    Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for your compliment about the production. All I can really tell you about the sound is how I work, you may use different tools or whatever so I can only really say generally how I made those tracks and what I used.

    Firstly I made the drums in Reason. A guy I work with gave me some refills and I found a nice 808 redrum refill amongst them so I used that for drums. I made the loops in Reason and exported the audio and imported it into Logic Pro which is my software of choice. Everything other than the drums was done in Logic.

    In terms of the sounds I used in Logic I just did a lot of trial and error to find the sounds I wanted. With regard to the vocoder I used the built in vocoder synth. It took a lot of tweaking to find a vocoder sound I was happy with but I got there in the end.

    With regard to mixing you just have to spend a lot of time on it and listen to the mixes on as many different systems as possible. Burn CDs and listen to them in your car, your friends car, your mom's shitty stereo in the kitchen....anywhere. The more speakers you hear it on the better picture you'll have of what might need changing.

    For mastering I found a great guide to mastering in Logic....which I don't have bookmarked. I've just done a quick search on google but I can't find it again so I'll have to try and summarize it:

    1) mix down the track and bounce it to an AIFF of WAV file in as high a quality as possible.
    2) import mixed track into a new Logic session
    3) on the master output add a "multi meter" instance on the master output
    4) on your main track add (in this order) an instance of "multipresser" (multi band compressor plugin), "channel EQ" and "limiter" then click bypass on all.
    5) play the track and preferably loop it at a particularly busy/dynamic passage.
    6) watch the multi meter window and see which frequencies your main sounds are happening at, this means in the low end you'll see the hit of the bass drum and note the highest freqency that rises and falls with the bass drum, next you should see the frequencies that the low punch of the snare operate at, you should be able to see a point between the kick and snare here, going up you should see the top end of the snare drum, then the higher frequencies. What you're looking to do here is find 4 main bands of activity in the spectrum, you'll need to know this for the next step.
    7) un-bypass multipressor and choose the "final pop compressor" preset, turn auto gain off and adjust the boundaries between the 4 frequencies to match those boundaries you saw in multimeter. You can also solo each frequency band to hear what you've captured and make more precise adjustment.
    8) now adjust the threshold for each frequency so that they start to add some compression....not masses, but some. As you adjust this turn the bypass on and off to hear the difference. You'll notice that it starts to sound tighter, especially in the bottom end which is easy to get really boomy and out of control.
    9) once you're happy with your compression turn the bypass off in the channel EQ and turn the analyzer lines on, you'll see a representation of the sound graphically. You'll use this visual representation to see where you need to adjust the EQ. Firstly the low end, you'll see in the graph the hits of the kick drum and bass and they're probably way high. It seems counter intuitive but you need to cut them and probably quite a lot. Set the cutoff at the high end of these low hits and bring the level down, it's a matter of taste but I try to make sure that the low end doesn't peak much over 10db. Now moving up there may be another nasty peak with the low end of the snare hits, you may need to make a cut there (use a tighter Q to isolate the frequency you want to effect). Going up the spectrum you should try to eliminate high peaks or dips by tight cuts or boosts and when you get to the very top (maybe over 8k) add a boost on the very top end of just a few Db to add clarity to the sound. What you're looking to do is make a smooth line of roll off without nasty peaks and dips. There will always be some but you're looking to minimize that and make it as smooth as you can.
    10) use the bypass button to compare the before and after, when you've got it right it should be noticably more punchy and clear when it's not bypassed.
    11) now take the bypass off the limiter. Assuming that your original mix down was at a high enough level you should see some activity on the limiter, you can increase the gain if it seems a little low. On your main output you're looking at the peaks going nicely into the yellow but never into the red. You want it to sound big and loud without distorting.

    Once you've done all this bounce down and you have your mastered track. It's obviously not as good as an experienced mastering engineer doing this in a proper mastering studio but doing this will definitely make your recordings stand out against other home recordings where people have just taken the basic mix down and given that out.

    The main thing is start with good sounds and good instruments though. If you use shitty sounds then no amount of mixing and mastering tricks will make it sound good later on.

    If you don't use Logic then of course the specifics of this may not be that useful but I'm sure the main principles could be applied to other tools.

    I hope this helps.

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