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I was wondering which of these people consider more important:
Sound selection so no need to EQ much OR
using sounds you like then Equing the sounds to fit better in a mix
It's good to think of your recording procedure as a chain, no matter whether it's in or out the box.
Choosing the right sounds first is extremely important. You're choosing instruments that complement each other tonally, but also each have a space in the frequency spectrum.
ĘThis helps you get a fuller more naturally balanced mix than if you just grab a handful of osunds and chuck them together and then eq the hell out of everything to try and make it fit.
It will become sonic mush.
I just didn't get this for ages, but spend time choosing your sounds, or making ones that sound like what you want.
Don't fool yourself! If it doesn't sound great straight away, then for every successive stage, you'll be 'fixing' it. Just start wiht the right sounds!
Especially true for bass and top end sounds - choosing a bass light sound then boosting the eq in the bass, or choosing sounds that are not bright enough and then adding eq at the top, this won't give results as good as if you pick the right sounds first.
Adding lots of eq is going to ruin things in the long run, better to use as little eq as possible, and then if you have to, then cut, don't boost.
Boost very gently with wide Q if you do have to, and don't be afraid to high and low pass sounds in massive quantities, you have to make room for everything
Science discovers nothing new, Nature just reveals a little more of herself.
Not being that great at programming my own sounds and not wanting to use presets I tend to use eq to take away from the sound that I create and very rarely add to an eq. Also on the drum side with adding kick and snare layers seems to take up a lot of space then with eq used to make them fit better they lack the original power. Any advice??
With the drums, that's the point, unless it's a really minimal kit you're using, the drums will cover the full frequency spectrum, so it's even more important to find sounds that fit together, and not just with each other, but with the track.
So of course you can take a Battery kit and all the sounds 'fit' together, but does that mean the snare is right for the track, or the high hats?
If you've got a full low mid range with the other instruments, then you'll want a brighter snappier snare etc.
Kicks - I layer kicks (and snares) a lot like most people, but be careful that you're not just piling up lots of the same frequencies onto each other. The idea is to take seperate component parts for their sound, not layer up for sheer volume.
You have ultimate control of your drum hits at the midi stage - you're going to want to compress your kick and snare usually, so edit the performance via midi so you get the most out of your compressor, and here you should be using it to shape the sound rather than look at it just for dynamic control.
Limit the track first, then compress if there are some wild peaks and it's all ready recorded as audio.
For the kick, decide whether it's going to provide the low end, or whether you are going to have a low bass. One or the other. Remember that your monitoring at home is not a club system - what sounds banging in your room would probably blow a club system, it should be balanced, don't obsess about getting enormous amounts of bass out the speakers.
Techno likes deep kicks with the bass sitting a little above, or you can share the space and subtly side-chain.
You can get rids of loads of bass usually without affecting the actual bass tone much, find the eq spot where the fullest bass 'note' is, and cut around it, highpass at the frequency of your lowest fundamental, and make other cuts, do the eqing in the context of the mix, not soloed.
eg track I'm working on, has a kick that is 2 kicks mixed and bounced down to one to give me the bottom end, and another layer which is actually a conga hit high pased that gives me the snap, then these are compressed together with an attack set long enough to emphasise the snap, the kick is not really bassy, it is punching out at about 80Hz, you get the thump and the snap which helps the ears define the kick.
My bass line is pretty deep, so sits under the kick, and is low passed and high passed.
Work on that foundation, and make sure the groove is locked and you have a good foundation to start sitting things on top.
I almost always start a track by finding or making a nice sound and then coming up with a riff on the keyboard, so that initial sound is what shapes the need for the rest - this kind of bass fits, so then I need that kind of kick, choice of hat sounds are just whatever vibes best with the track etc.
Science discovers nothing new, Nature just reveals a little more of herself.
Using EQ I high pass every channel as a matter of course now. Adjust the frequency until you start to hear a difference to each channel one by one. You wont be able to hear what you've taken away but the mix will have loads more space, and a great deal more headroom too,
Thanks for the quality replies chaps. Very solid advice. I'm going to copy these to my PC and will try the techniques 2morrow morning when my ears are fresh. I have a new track on Jim Brannings site which is what i'm going to try these techniques on!
The link is in the listening lounge.
Usually I try to get the acoustic sounds right to tape. Samples is a different matter, in my experience. I usually wind up using EQ, however, if the EQ is too radical, I'll change the sample
the bassline might be a tad square.. did u ever try that technique of just getting your bassline as a single bar, copying it 3 times so you have 4 bars and then glue them together as a 4-bar repeating bassline... then drag it up and down the linear time of the arrangement in 1/16th, 1/4 or 8ths beats and see how it sounds being offset against the drums? - like making the bassline go out of sync, but by various divisions of the bar
thats how alot of classic old skool house basslines and tuned percussion lines and synth lines were made and also how you get that effect where the bassline starts the song, then the drums come in and it sounds back to front, then the kik finaly comes in or the snare or whatevr and you suddenly understand the bassline was not starting at the loop you heard when it started in isolation, and the whole groove shift around. it basicaly is what deejays do starting 2 vinyls out of sync in terms of the start of each vinyls first beat of each bar isnt the same.
offsetting parts relative to each other by divisions of the bar can usualy yeild great ideas and cross rhythms - You can also get good patterns by mixing 4/4 with 3/8 or 3/4 patterns so the 3 time patterns cycle round always resolving differently to the 4/4 drums - this technique originated with the roland TR grids mc202, tb303 etc) which had LAST STEP being set to 12 against the drums set to 16
etc etc - if u know this i aint tryin to be patronising btw
also i think it's VERY important to make descisions with eq and comps as u go, when u add other sounds, they interact harmonicaly with the already added items... if you tun off your brain from thing what your supposed to do eq and compressor wise and tune in so the new parts resonates and creates harmonics in empathy with the other sounds you get very organic sounds and grooves. people talk about sounds as if they are in isolation sometimes.
it'slike painting, you decide what colours to add and where as u go which is influenced by what is already on the canvas (imo)
Don't forget about note / octave PLACEMENT as well, not on about panning right now, just placement on the midi page. IE: You can make a whole song from the idea of an arpeggio but you'd break it down into a series of notes and octaves etc and dissolve parts into bass, lead etc and build from there......blah blah, so you may end up with the same note at different 8ve's causing a phasing effect etc, so if stuff like this happens, consider the midi data and also look at the fine tune knob. Often overlooked but very useful.
Front-to-back reverbs too but I think most things have been covered very well by Ten & Jim & Lord.
There are times where you might 'force' something but by then it's easy to know what to do anyways. It's just being aware of stuff that isn't that audible that's the issue, most mid range stuff is obvious.
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die..