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NEOGAF's Official Music Production Thread: calling all producers

Anybody do their mixing in FL Studio? Feedback on my tracks seem to be repeatedly "muddy". My method usually involves panning all sounds however I think sounds good, EQ, and of course leveling. I may do some compression but I often don't hear the difference so I don't use it or use only a little.

I feel like boosting my volume with the limiter at the end is killing my mix. Any ideas?
Definitely use an EQ or tool where you can see the frequency spectrum. If you don't have one, Voxengo Span is free: http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/ - Just having that visual is immensely helpful, and it lets you overlay the spectrums of multiple inputs, so you can see exactly where your drums and your bass and other instruments overlap. Sometimes there'll be more bass in a sound that you'd think, or from an instrument you wouldn't describe as bassy. I mean, here's a crash cymbal for example:

You'd wanna get that low end garbage out of there.
 

Piercedveil

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Definitely use an EQ or tool where you can see the frequency spectrum. If you don't have one, Voxengo Span is free: http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/ - Just having that visual is immensely helpful, and it lets you overlay the spectrums of multiple inputs, so you can see exactly where your drums and your bass and other instruments overlap. Sometimes there'll be more bass in a sound that you'd think, or from an instrument you wouldn't describe as bassy. I mean, here's a crash cymbal for example:

[imghttp://i.imgur.com/oQIjjbL.png[/img]

You'd wanna get that low end garbage out of there.
Good stuff. I've been using FL Studio's native plugin, Fruity Parametric EQ 2. The visual aspect helps me a ton.

I definitely find EQing tricky. Sometimes when I want to make a "gap" for an instrument, I feel like I'm cutting too much and the instrument ends up sounding totally different.

Making the 808s and kick sit nicely are the hardest part for me. I feel like my 808s end up muddying up my whole mix and kick never hits as hard as I'd like it to. Or I cut too much from the low end and can barely hear it.
 

MadraptorMan

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Anyone have any good 4 or 5 mic drum recording strategies? We've been using 7 mics to record all the drums but I'd like to use some channels for guitar and vocals instead. I've checked Google of course but if anyone has any successful strategies let me know.
 

neurochasm

Banned
May 19, 2015
147
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0
Some good tips in here. Sometimes I feel like my stuff sounds too bright and I wonder if I'm overcutting the lows for fear of a muddy mix.

Making the 808s and kick sit nicely are the hardest part for me. I feel like my 808s end up muddying up my whole mix and kick never hits as hard as I'd like it to. Or I cut too much from the low end and can barely hear it.
Are you sidechaining your kick? I was having trouble with a weakass kick until I realized I had forgot to enable the sidechain in Fruity Limiter. I dunno if sidechaining is a thing in your genre but it can help if you need a kick to stand out.
 

Dimefan3

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Jul 8, 2013
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Anyone have any good 4 or 5 mic drum recording strategies? We've been using 7 mics to record all the drums but I'd like to use some channels for guitar and vocals instead. I've checked Google of course but if anyone has any successful strategies let me know.
You could just mic up the kick, snare and hi hat, and have 2 mics as overheads to pick up the rest. The trade off obviously is less control over your sound for toms and cymbals, I guess it depends on how much the drums are important to your song.

Of course, you could just record the drums for one take, then re-route your audio interface to overdub the guitar and vocals in the second. (Sorry if that's a little too obvious...)

Good luck!
 

The Kree

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Sep 21, 2015
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Making the 808s and kick sit nicely are the hardest part for me. I feel like my 808s end up muddying up my whole mix and kick never hits as hard as I'd like it to. Or I cut too much from the low end and can barely hear it.
Find the peak frequency of your kick and remove that frequency from your 808. Usually it'll be somewhere around 50-75hz. Use a spectrum analyzer if your ears are having trouble finding it.



Look at pole #1 in the EQ sitting at 30hz. Lets assume that's where the thump of your kick is peaking. The bandwidth on this EQ is very narrow, compared to pole #3 which has a very wide bandwidth. That's roughly how narrow it should look when subtracting that frequency from the 808. Your 808 will sound less bassy as a result, but since your kick is peaking at that spot, it fills in what you've removed and when played together it will sound like you didn't remove anything at all.

That's what EQing is all about - making space. Instead of adding to the thing you want more of, take away what you don't need and the thing you want to hear more of now has room to be heard.

You can also combine this process with some careful sidechain compression to get the offending frequency further out the way.
 
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I definitely find EQing tricky. Sometimes when I want to make a "gap" for an instrument, I feel like I'm cutting too much and the instrument ends up sounding totally different.
Don't be afraid to be a bit aggressive with your EQ, especially with regards to the low end of none-bass/kick sounds. It might sound like you're cutting away the body of a sound, or you're making it too thin when you solo it, but in the context of the entire mix it'll be lifted by the other sounds. Of course you can go too far and actually make it too thin or bright, it's all about balance.

Also mess with the mono/stereo of specific frequencies. Some wide bass frequencies can muddy a mix up quite a bit, if you feel like cutting too much low end from something is damaging it, try cutting (or merging) the stereo info to mono below 200-400. Try to keep stereo widening effects away from those frequencies unless you've got a specific idea in mind.
 

Chris Metal

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Anyone have any good 4 or 5 mic drum recording strategies? We've been using 7 mics to record all the drums but I'd like to use some channels for guitar and vocals instead. I've checked Google of course but if anyone has any successful strategies let me know.
Try the Glyn John's technique. Mic in the kick, spot mic on snare, overhead large condenser direct above snare, fourth mic large condenser next to floor Tom pointing at snare. The distance between the two condensers should be the same from the centre of the snare.

Good stuff. I've been using FL Studio's native plugin, Fruity Parametric EQ 2. The visual aspect helps me a ton.

I definitely find EQing tricky. Sometimes when I want to make a "gap" for an instrument, I feel like I'm cutting too much and the instrument ends up sounding totally different.

Making the 808s and kick sit nicely are the hardest part for me. I feel like my 808s end up muddying up my whole mix and kick never hits as hard as I'd like it to. Or I cut too much from the low end and can barely hear it.
Have you tried mild ducking with the bass, via a sidechain? Also Blue Cat Audio has free plugins including a frequency spectrum analyser.
 

Aomber

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Anyone here who's used both Ableton and Logic? I'm currently an Ableton user but I've been playing around with Logic lately, and I'm starting to think that it makes much more sense for what I do now a day. When I first started producing 6 years ago I was mostly into it for dance music, which needless to say Ableton is very commonly used in those circles. However now a day I make a much broader variety of music, and I'm starting to question if Ableton makes sense anymore as a main DAW. I don't use things like the session view at all, it's all arrangement view & composition for me – for that specifically it feels like Logic might be a better option.

I say Logic because I still work a lot with MIDI, and everything I've seen so far points that it's good at this. Off the top of my head, other options would be FL but I'm not really interested in that, and Cubase is very expensive. Logic seems like a great all rounder for whatever you're making, and the mixing is just a whole other league compared to Ableton. My question is, are there any big drawbacks that people can think of for a hard Ableton user like me?

Making the 808s and kick sit nicely are the hardest part for me. I feel like my 808s end up muddying up my whole mix and kick never hits as hard as I'd like it to. Or I cut too much from the low end and can barely hear it.
Some good mixing tips already, but to take it a step back – are you making your own 808s or do you use 808 samples? The biggest thing for me personally when it comes to "mixing" is having great sounds in the first place that don't need a lot done to them. If your tracks sound muddy because of an 808, there's a chance it might be the wrong sound.
 

Chris Metal

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Anyone here who's used both Ableton and Logic? I'm currently an Ableton user but I've been playing around with Logic lately, and I'm starting to think that it makes much more sense for what I do now a day. When I first started producing 6 years ago I was mostly into it for dance music, which needless to say Ableton is very commonly used in those circles. However now a day I make a much broader variety of music, and I'm starting to question if Ableton makes sense anymore as a main DAW. I don't use things like the session view at all, it's all arrangement view & composition for me – for that specifically it feels like Logic might be a better option.

I say Logic because I still work a lot with MIDI, and everything I've seen so far points that it's good at this. Off the top of my head, other options would be FL but I'm not really interested in that, and Cubase is very expensive. Logic seems like a great all rounder for whatever you're making, and the mixing is just a whole other league compared to Ableton. My question is, are there any big drawbacks that people can think of for a hard Ableton user like me?


Some good mixing tips already, but to take it a step back – are you making your own 808s or do you use 808 samples? The biggest thing for me personally when it comes to "mixing" is having great sounds in the first place that don't need a lot done to them. If your tracks sound muddy because of an 808, there's a chance it might be the wrong sound.
I've used Logic and Ableton Live, primarily I use Studio One V3 Professional now and Pro Tools. Advantages for Ableton is it's live workflow. Logic, can't really do that with ease... You got Mainstage software with Logic Pro 9 but it's not really the same. Also Ableton can tank CPU in heavier track count sessions. Logic is designed with studio creativity, production and recording in mind so is much more CPU efficient. However I am not sure if Ableton Live 9 has improved on CPU use. Ableton is great for getting quick ideas down and a lot of artists use it as a scratch pad of sorts and then finish off projects in Logic for mix and bouncing.

A couple of alternatives to Logic are Studio One Professional(when they have sales) and Reaper with a license. Though Logic has excellent virtual instruments included.
 

Aomber

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I've used Logic and Ableton Live, primarily I use Studio One V3 Professional now and Pro Tools. Advantages for Ableton is it's live workflow. Logic, can't really do that with ease... You got Mainstage software with Logic Pro 9 but it's not really the same. Also Ableton can tank CPU in heavier track count sessions. Logic is designed with studio creativity, production and recording in mind so is much more CPU efficient. However I am not sure if Ableton Live 9 has improved on CPU use. Ableton is great for getting quick ideas down and a lot of artists use it as a scratch pad of sorts and then finish off projects in Logic for mix and bouncing.

A couple of alternatives to Logic are Studio One Professional(when they have sales) and Reaper with a license. Though Logic has excellent virtual instruments included.
You know now that you've mentioned it CPU usage in Ableton has become an issue with me since my projects have become more demanding, mostly when it comes down to the mixdown since my instruments and what not are already very demanding as is.

I'm wondering if I should just export stems and mix in a separate DAW instead of trying to replace Ableton entirely. That might make the most sense given my comfort with Ableton's writing/arranging, and when I think back this isn't the first time I've heard that Ableton's faster for that than Logic. Will have to think about the other options and what would be best for me in that regard. Thanks!
 

Piercedveil

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I greatly appreciate all of the mixing advice! I do actually sidechain my bass and kick usually, but now that everyone is discussing EQing, I'm fairly certain that is my issue. I'm hoping this weekend I can get a solid amount of mixing practice in. I'll be sure to download a spectrum analyzer! Thank you everyone.

Some good mixing tips already, but to take it a step back – are you making your own 808s or do you use 808 samples? The biggest thing for me personally when it comes to "mixing" is having great sounds in the first place that don't need a lot done to them. If your tracks sound muddy because of an 808, there's a chance it might be the wrong sound.
This is also a good point. I usually use 808 samples rather than create my own.
 

Chris Metal

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I greatly appreciate all of the mixing advice! I do actually sidechain my bass and kick usually, but now that everyone is discussing EQing, I'm fairly certain that is my issue. I'm hoping this weekend I can get a solid amount of mixing practice in. I'll be sure to download a spectrum analyzer! Thank you everyone.



This is also a good point. I usually use 808 samples rather than create my own.
Also forgot to mention, do you check phase correlation between tracks, for example kick drum and bass track transients, peaks and troughs all moving in generally the same direction. Not creating phase cancellation due to time alignment or polarity flip.
 

Piercedveil

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Also forgot to mention, do you check phase correlation between tracks, for example kick drum and bass track transients, peaks and troughs all moving in generally the same direction. Not creating phase cancellation due to time alignment or polarity flip.
I do not check that, which is another good point. Should I rely on EQ to fix that issue or is that mainly something I should consider when initially choosing my sounds?
 

Aomber

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This is also a good point. I usually use 808 samples rather than create my own.
I do not check that, which is another good point. Should I rely on EQ to fix that issue or is that mainly something I should consider when initially choosing my sounds?
It's... Both. In part, that comes back to what I originally said in that the better the raw sound fits in from the start the better. That said, you can't always get around things like phase cancellation, and that's where additional mixing can come into play. The key word there is "mixing" though - EQing isn't necessarily the answer to that.

Chris brought up something important as well - when working with MIDI, zoom into the notes and misalign your samples a bit. Working in MIDI and with perfect quantization means exact hitting samples. Asides from being unrealistic it means things like transients can easily conflict.
 

Chris Metal

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I do not check that, which is another good point. Should I rely on EQ to fix that issue or is that mainly something I should consider when initially choosing my sounds?
Phase relationship is probably one of the first things to look at. Usually samples aren't an issue provided they've been sliced and edited accurately. It is something you can/should check and fix during editing if there's any glaring problems. EQ is different. Most of the time tracked/recorded multi-mic'd instruments have phase problems, if they aren't solved at that stage. Sometimes though you'll have waveforms going the wrong way. This is where polarity reversal has occurred at some stage and if you get two conflicting waveforms, they'll cancel each other out, for example a snare will sound thin rather than full and thick. Basically all waveforms should start with transients moving up than down, as this is the push and pull of your speakers energy. If it's reversed it's unnatural movement for the cones/tweeters. Below is a basic Sine waveform showing what I mean going up in crests and down in troughs over time. Two identical playing at the same time with one polarity reversal and you'll get silence due to complete cancellation.


Also need to make clear that perfect phase isn't possible unless dealing with multiple Sine waves of the same frequency and due to no odd or even harmonics, they're single tone. Phase is also used musically for colouration of recording a source in the best possible way such as two mics on a guitar cab, the phase cancellation/addition going here creates unique tonal properties. All in all phase cancellation has its place.
 

GhostBed

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Hey all! First time posting in here. Been making music on Ableton for 3~ years or so and have been steadily releasing chillwave-ish sounds on my Soundcloud.

About to put out a short album (6 songs) but I am having a lot of trouble getting the mixes down. I work with 30+ tracks on each song with a bunch of layers of synths and my EQ never sounds/feels like it should.

https://soundcloud.com/ghostbed/get-well

This the first track I'm releasing and the mix is still realllyyyy rough. Anyone got tips for getting a crisper, more balanced sound? Getting nice sounding lows is probably my biggest issue.
 

neurochasm

Banned
May 19, 2015
147
0
0
Hey all! First time posting in here. Been making music on Ableton for 3~ years or so and have been steadily releasing chillwave-ish sounds on my Soundcloud.

About to put out a short album (6 songs) but I am having a lot of trouble getting the mixes down. I work with 30+ tracks on each song with a bunch of layers of synths and my EQ never sounds/feels like it should.

https://soundcloud.com/ghostbed/get-well

This the first track I'm releasing and the mix is still realllyyyy rough. Anyone got tips for getting a crisper, more balanced sound? Getting nice sounding lows is probably my biggest issue.
I really dig this, super chill vibe. I agree that the bottom end is its a bit thin. Maybe try some tape saturation/tube distortion to warm things up a bit? It's hard to make out the kick too, but i'm not sure if that's by design. It's hard to tell with the -waves, heh. (I make retrowavy stuff too).
 

Chris Metal

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Hey all! First time posting in here. Been making music on Ableton for 3~ years or so and have been steadily releasing chillwave-ish sounds on my Soundcloud.

About to put out a short album (6 songs) but I am having a lot of trouble getting the mixes down. I work with 30+ tracks on each song with a bunch of layers of synths and my EQ never sounds/feels like it should.

https://soundcloud.com/ghostbed/get-well

This the first track I'm releasing and the mix is still realllyyyy rough. Anyone got tips for getting a crisper, more balanced sound? Getting nice sounding lows is probably my biggest issue.
I could try and do a quick Master of your track if you like, have a look at the FFT curves/waterfall to see if there are some obvious issues?
 

MadraptorMan

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I just finished mixing a draft of a song for my alt rock band...I'm still a novice at this stuff so if anyone could give it a listen and provide me with some pointers I'd greatly appreciate it:

Moving Day

This is our first time attempting to record with real drums so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Chris Metal

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I just finished mixing a draft of a song for my alt rock band...I'm still a novice at this stuff so if anyone could give it a listen and provide me with some pointers I'd greatly appreciate it:

Moving Day

This is our first time attempting to record with real drums so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'll have a proper listen tomorrow, through my phone though OH's / Cymbals and hi-hat are too overpowering in comparison to the rest of the kit. Could be my phone causing this however.
 

Chris Metal

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I just finished mixing a draft of a song for my alt rock band...I'm still a novice at this stuff so if anyone could give it a listen and provide me with some pointers I'd greatly appreciate it:

Moving Day

This is our first time attempting to record with real drums so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
OK had a listen on my monitors. Hopefully these tips/constructive criticisms might help a bit.

Other:
The overall stereo field in the mix is lacking, when I switch between mono and stereo with my speakers, not a lot of change is happening, whereas you should aim to get a decent mono mix and when moving to stereo it sounds huge. Also aim for the mix to be around -6 to -10dBFS without limiting on the Mix Bus. You'll protect yourself from clipping. If you're having issue's group everything and just pull the levels down a few dB. You can also route everything to a Sub Mix(or alternatively a VCA) to control the output before hitting the final Mix Bus if necessary.

Couple of other things, mixing into a mix bus compressor with very mild settings, along with an EQ can help a lot with glueing tracks together.

Vocals:
Too much reverb here, and maybe pull the vocal back a bit. A lot of rock tracks have vocals sit tighter in the mix rather than so upfront. Make sure to EQ the reverb bus, taking out low end frequency reflections.

Bass:
I quite like the bass sound here, I'm not sure if you have a high ratio compressor or limiter on to control the bass transients though. Maybe a little more DI if it's a both mic & DI recording.

Drums:
Try and get rid of some of the bleed from the snare in your toms. I think maybe the kick sounds a little woofy and not prominent enough, so enhance with some low mid, and maybe the click of the beater a bit. A reverb&short delay on the snare would sound pretty good also, maybe some parallel compression to everything except OH and Hats. Also add in some AIR to the OH's/Hat's a mild +6dB shelf boost around 14kHz should do.

Guitars:
These I think need to be wider, they feel a little central at times, and as I said, when I switch to mono, there's not a whole lot of discernable difference. How many tracks of guitars are there? Also just generally bring them up in mix more, they're important to the melody with the vocal.

Last note:
A good trick if to find vital components of your track by muting and un-muting certain elements at certain points. Does it still sound right without a bass, then that's not a key element, but if the track falls apart after muting the guitar for example, then you know that's a key element and should be one of the focal points of your mix and to start and mix from. Vocals are quite often the prominent element in songs, but not always, so it's important to find the driving hook in the track.
 

GhostBed

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I really dig this, super chill vibe. I agree that the bottom end is its a bit thin. Maybe try some tape saturation/tube distortion to warm things up a bit? It's hard to make out the kick too, but i'm not sure if that's by design. It's hard to tell with the -waves, heh. (I make retrowavy stuff too).
Good idea on the tube distortion, gonna try that out. I want the kick to be one of the more prominent elements, but i always have trouble with it getting buried. Any advice on making it really pop?

I could try and do a quick Master of your track if you like, have a look at the FFT curves/waterfall to see if there are some obvious issues?
That would be great, thank You! I'll pm you a download link shortly
 

MadraptorMan

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OK had a listen on my monitors. Hopefully these tips/constructive criticisms might help a bit.

Other:
The overall stereo field in the mix is lacking, when I switch between mono and stereo with my speakers, not a lot of change is happening, whereas you should aim to get a decent mono mix and when moving to stereo it sounds huge. Also aim for the mix to be around -6 to -10dBFS without limiting on the Mix Bus. You'll protect yourself from clipping. If you're having issue's group everything and just pull the levels down a few dB. You can also route everything to a Sub Mix(or alternatively a VCA) to control the output before hitting the final Mix Bus if necessary.

Couple of other things, mixing into a mix bus compressor with very mild settings, along with an EQ can help a lot with glueing tracks together.

Vocals:
Too much reverb here, and maybe pull the vocal back a bit. A lot of rock tracks have vocals sit tighter in the mix rather than so upfront. Make sure to EQ the reverb bus, taking out low end frequency reflections.

Bass:
I quite like the bass sound here, I'm not sure if you have a high ratio compressor or limiter on to control the bass transients though. Maybe a little more DI if it's a both mic & DI recording.

Drums:
Try and get rid of some of the bleed from the snare in your toms. I think maybe the kick sounds a little woofy and not prominent enough, so enhance with some low mid, and maybe the click of the beater a bit. A reverb&short delay on the snare would sound pretty good also, maybe some parallel compression to everything except OH and Hats. Also add in some AIR to the OH's/Hat's a mild +6dB shelf boost around 14kHz should do.

Guitars:
These I think need to be wider, they feel a little central at times, and as I said, when I switch to mono, there's not a whole lot of discernable difference. How many tracks of guitars are there? Also just generally bring them up in mix more, they're important to the melody with the vocal.

Last note:
A good trick if to find vital components of your track by muting and un-muting certain elements at certain points. Does it still sound right without a bass, then that's not a key element, but if the track falls apart after muting the guitar for example, then you know that's a key element and should be one of the focal points of your mix and to start and mix from. Vocals are quite often the prominent element in songs, but not always, so it's important to find the driving hook in the track.
Thank you so much for all of the advice. It's gonna take some time but I will try to work on everything you mentioned. I'm still quite new to this but I think I can pull off a lot of the stuff you said.

One of the hard parts of this song is battling all the bleeding in the individual drum mics to try and make a more stereo sound but maybe I should focus more on spreading it the guitars instead. There's also a few spots here and there where I need to go back and cover some dead air with my lead guitar.

The bass is only a DI track with an amp simulator and EQ.

Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time! It's really appreciated.
 

Sadsic

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Does anyone have any experience with licensing their music to a site like musicbed or marmoset? I got an offer for putting my music on a site called artlist.io, and i really can't tell if it would actually be beneficial for me to put my music on this site.
 

Chris Metal

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Finally finished my new PC audio workstation build... it's nice to have silence.

Made this on my birthday a couple days ago, feel pretty happy with it, feel like I'm actually making progress making my stuff sound more professional and complete. Definitely would welcome any feedback anyone feels like giving


https://soundcloud.com/alcoves-2/i-reflect
Happy belated birthday... this sounds good.
 

Chris Metal

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Does anyone have any experience with licensing their music to a site like musicbed or marmoset? I got an offer for putting my music on a site called artlist.io, and i really can't tell if it would actually be beneficial for me to put my music on this site.
Try Nimbit if you want to sell your music. http://www.nimbit.com/
http://www.nimbit.com/features

EDIT: Oops sorry for the double post
 

neurochasm

Banned
May 19, 2015
147
0
0
I've got a free Ableton Live Lite license for any GAFer who wants to dip their toe in the music production waters. It came with a MIDI controller and I already have my hands full with FL Studio. Looks like Lite limits you to 8 tracks, but it has full VST support and comes with a bunch of effects, and comes with a sampler and drum racks. Anyway, first PM gets it. My only request is that if you become the next Porter Robinson or Grimes you have to go on record saying I taught you everything you know.

edit: gone
 

BeeDog

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I've got a free Ableton Live Lite license for any GAFer who wants to dip their toe in the music production waters. It came with a MIDI controller and I already have my hands full with FL Studio. Looks like Lite limits you to 8 tracks, but it has full VST support and comes with a bunch of effects, and comes with a sampler and drum racks. Anyway, first PM gets it. My only request is that if you become the next Porter Robinson or Grimes you have to go on record saying I taught you everything you know.
PM'd! This opportunity would be like a gift since I've been meaning to start with production for a long time.

(thanks in advance!)
 

Chris Metal

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Tried to rework the track I previously posted. I couldn't really implement all the advice I got but I tried my best:

Moving Day

And here's another track I've been working on:

Here I Am

Both of these have really been an uphill battle to clean up but I guess they're good enough for a demo CD at this point? Any opinions appreciated.
Moving Day already sounds much better :) well done.
 

The Kree

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Sep 21, 2015
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Thanks. After listening in my car I realized the vocals were too loud so I have already adjusted accordingly. And somehow the kick drum in Here I Am was way too loud even though it seemed fine in Logic so I'm working on bringing that back in line. This truly is an endless process.
One of the lessons here is to check your mixes on multiple devices. That includes your studio monitors, your phone, headphones, your tv, car stereo, laptop speakers, living room stereo. They'll each tell you something relevant because they all handle audio differently and your music has to sound good everywhere, not just in your bedroom. You don't need to do this forever, but it'll help you get better along the way.
 

Chris Metal

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Feb 4, 2013
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Thanks. After listening in my car I realized the vocals were too loud so I have already adjusted accordingly. And somehow the kick drum in Here I Am was way too loud even though it seemed fine in Logic so I'm working on bringing that back in line. This truly is an endless process.
Just wondering as you're using logic, have you got your metering set to Sectional dB-linear? Exponential can fool users occasionally to mix too hot with gain staging as the levels appear so low, so it's often tempting to push things too far with exponential metering (logics default). Sectional dB-linear metering helps with visual primarily, buts encourages better judgement with the levels when mixing I think.