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Thread: All the annoying advice is true

  1. #1
    Member Hygro's Avatar
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    All the annoying advice is true

    Hi pass filter everything. Go as high as you can.

    Put almost everything in mono, especially the kick, snare, and bass. Sometimes you can't select a mono instrument. Put a mono plugin at the appropriate place in the signal flow (usually the very beginning)

    Cut, not boost EQing in 90% of circumstances.

    Don't over compress, it literally will fatigue the listener. Remember another word for fatigue is depress. They may like the song but if your lead electro synth has no movement in the db and is just max-loud, it may seem awesome but you might notice yourself getting emotionally worn out - fast!

    Try to reserve the 120-500 hertz range for as few instruments as possible, or it gets muddy quickly. You might think it sounds warm, but actually it sucks. Unless you're making grungy ass guitar-focused rock music. Even then only the lead guitar and the vocals should be there.

    Phasing actually matters. Check your correlation meters because you don't want to play your track in the club and find it hella quiet just because the speakers aren't the same as your home speakers.



    You will not want to do these things because individually they ruin the depth and richness and power of your instruments. However when it comes to putting the instruments together it will sound much much better if you don't have the equivalent of 20 lead singers. Don't make them compete for space, don't make each instrument the full stereo, full Hz spectrum hero.

  2. #2
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    Assuming you don't mean to high-pass the entire track, uhh…yeah. That's why the advice is annoying. You don't want to admit that other people are right.

    (not you, per say, just the general you because american english left the "one" pronoun a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away).

  3. #3
    Great advice here. rep rep rep


    Also, a few somethings to emphasize:

    -REALLY REALLY REALLY high-pass your hats. Like, really really.

    -Subsonics. Get rid of them.

    -And to elaborate on mono-ing your kicks and bass: Most sound systems use mono subwoofers. And by most, I mean pretty much all. Your bass and kicks should always be mono or you'll actually be taking away from their true sound.

    To get your bass to sound "wide":

    If you really long for a widened sounding bass, but would like to heed the above warnings and keep your bass mono, there's a very simple solution. Create a second "bass" instrument equalized to a higher frequency, and widen it. Make sure the note patterns are the same and they're similarly compressed. You will have to tool with the EQing to make sure you're not just muddying up your track with more noise. If done properly, you can create the illusion that your bass is wide sounding, when in reality the actual BASS of your track is still mono. Hooray.
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  4. #4
    My advice is use your ears to hear, and your eyes to see, and don't mix it up too much. There is a balance to using tools to help you mix well, so find the right amount of using visual tools to improve a mix, along with using your ears to hear if it sounds good.

    This goes more for people (I know several producers personally that make this mistake) who use spectrum analyzers as their main tool for seeing if their mix sounds good. Which doesn't make sense because you don't naturally 'see' what your mix sounds like. Stop using mathematics if your mix doesn't sit right and start using reference material (songs with a similiar sound you're going for) to judge your mix.

    I have a friend who literally compresses and eq's his master track so that the entire song has a flat line across the freq spectrum, because apparently somewhere he read that your song should have equal distribution of freq's across the whole spectrum. So using his eyes to mix instead of his ears, his mixes are among the flattest and dullest sounding 'drumstep' I've ever heard. Songs generally have even distributions of freq's across THE WHOLE MIX, so bass/whatever isn't overpowering the mix as a whole, but compressing and eq'ing based on graphs and standards shouldn't be based using eyes, but with ears

    Good thread hygro

  5. #5
    These are fantastic "rules" if you make music according to all the "rules" (from some guy on the Internet).

    HPF everything - to what extent? What if my kick and bass are hitting the 30-50hz range perfectly, and using any sort of HPF in an attempt to cut off the sub-30hz just pulls off an important 1-2db from the 33hz zone, due to the curve of the HPF/EQ (and I have no other to use, or just can't get the curve to be steep enough)? What if I've got a pad that has some harmonically necessary lows when combined with the hook and bline that give the track its character, but if I start HPFing any one of those elements, it's all fucked? What if I just want to produce a rough and raw lo-fi track that has this oddly attractive low-end that would be destroyed with HPFing?

    Mono all? NEIN! Kick, bass...sure. Snare, sure. A few other things, here and there, as necessary, ok. Everything else? LOL. DO NOT DO THIS. I like stereo sounds. They're like, hi-fi n shit. Mono is boring. I like pan effects, and I like hi hats that tag between L/R, and I like big, lush chords that fill the spectrum, and reverbs shimmering to the sides. Now, if you're referring specifically to the root sound (for example, sample packs with percussion one-hits in stereo annoy the piss out of me) of certain instruments, that is more sensible. But the way this is written, it sounds like you want the producer to just go crazy on the mono and not try to pan, widen, or use stereo fx and sounds at all because of some sort of "all sound systems in clubs are mono" misconception...

    Generally, it's okay advice, although not required, and absolutely not recommended for "everything" or all the time.

    Cutting instead of boosting EQ "90%" of the time (where'd that number come from by the way?) is also not really useful. I mean, how do you even quantify this? What if I really want the 1khz - 2.2khz to shriek on a synth...and I take your advice (let's ignore this 90% nonsense)...so I cut all the other shit down around that range...ok, it makes that range pop a little more, but it still isn't giving me what I want...so, I boost the whole channel 3dB....wait, now I can hear the other freqs more too...ok, lemme cut more...boost channel...cut...boost...cut...boost. Or I could just boost the 1-2.2khz and cut the rest, and yay, life is good.

    Boosting is fine, especially if you're using EQs for creative effect. I'd say the only time this advice is worthwhile is if you're the type who doesn't mix during production, and waits until the end for a mixdown session....by that point your track is likely as busy and loud as you need, so cutting is the most logical approach. Proper approach would be to MIX WHILE YOU'RE MAKING.

    Compression is tricky, especially for the less seasoned. My advice would be to not even bother using a compressor until you can consistently make a great track without one. Most of the time I see newer producers with compressors on their projects, it's not even being triggered...but they hear that makeup gain boosting the volume, so they assume it's working. Same policy for sidechaining...don't bother with it on the bassline (with kick triggering) until you learn to write a bassline that doesn't interfere with the kick. If you can't do that, then you haven't graduated to sidechain land yet. Also, sidechaining can be useful for far more than bass-ducking, so quit the habit of only applying it in that situation. Focus on making a great, dynamic song/track rather than reading forum circle-jerks about compression (especially on DJF). If you don't REALLY understand it, you don't need it! But yes, it can be wondrous when understood.

    The 120-500hz advice is actually quite sound, although I'd be even more specific and target the 200s--especially for vocal tracks. And even more specifically, that 245-255hz range can be particularly problematic. But generally, yes, don't overdo this range unless you're looking for a specific sound.

    Last bit about phasing, to follow-up, don't get too carried away with the "widening" options on various software plugs and FX (like with Ableton's Simpler or Utility). IMO, proper layering and EQing will achieve a better "widening" effect.

    I'm not trying to be a bitch, but I also don't think we need any more cookie-cutter production tips and producers that stick to unnecessary rules. This reminds me of a Full Sail "how to be a generic corporate pop producer" course more than useful advice for aspiring electronic music producers. Many of us are self-taught, and while there are fundamentals that should be reasonably understood and acknowledged, I also believe most rules are meant to be broken...except that spectrum analyzer bit....no doubt we've got too many noobs that are too busy drawing their music and relying on symmetry (oh no, we can't have that filter move in a jagged and loose hill-shape, it must be a perfect triangle...grids of even numbers...spectrums of flatness...) rather than just feeling the shit.

  6. #6
    Member Hygro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    Assuming you don't mean to high-pass the entire track, uhh…yeah. That's why the advice is annoying. You don't want to admit that other people are right.

    (not you, per say, just the general you because american english left the "one" pronoun a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away).
    Yeah I didn't mean the whole track, I meant the instruments according to their needs. So I might have a sub bass chillin down at 22 Hz, a kick rolled off at 45, a bass rolled at 55 and parametrically cut at say 90 (it all depends on the track of course). And sometimes the algorithm for cutting eq can actually make the whole thing perceptually quieter while making the actually sound louder (via transients). This is bad, so sometimes when even compression doesn't solve it, it's good to leave it alone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sedna View Post
    To get your bass to sound "wide":

    If you really long for a widened sounding bass, but would like to heed the above warnings and keep your bass mono, there's a very simple solution. Create a second "bass" instrument equalized to a higher frequency, and widen it. Make sure the note patterns are the same and they're similarly compressed. You will have to tool with the EQing to make sure you're not just muddying up your track with more noise. If done properly, you can create the illusion that your bass is wide sounding, when in reality the actual BASS of your track is still mono. Hooray.
    Yeah definitely! Good stuff there Regarding the wide bit, wide sounds are useful for rave environments and you need a few wide instruments or the mix will feel flat. Sometimes I even want a wide kick, also. So one of my kick layers will be sample-delayed or even chorused. But even then, it might come from a mono track being brought to stereo or through a buss.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanHadgis View Post
    My advice is use your ears to hear, and your eyes to see, and don't mix it up too much. There is a balance to using tools to help you mix well, so find the right amount of using visual tools to improve a mix, along with using your ears to hear if it sounds good.

    This goes more for people (I know several producers personally that make this mistake) who use spectrum analyzers as their main tool for seeing if their mix sounds good. Which doesn't make sense because you don't naturally 'see' what your mix sounds like. Stop using mathematics if your mix doesn't sit right and start using reference material (songs with a similiar sound you're going for) to judge your mix.

    I have a friend who literally compresses and eq's his master track so that the entire song has a flat line across the freq spectrum, because apparently somewhere he read that your song should have equal distribution of freq's across the whole spectrum. So using his eyes to mix instead of his ears, his mixes are among the flattest and dullest sounding 'drumstep' I've ever heard. Songs generally have even distributions of freq's across THE WHOLE MIX, so bass/whatever isn't overpowering the mix as a whole, but compressing and eq'ing based on graphs and standards shouldn't be based using eyes, but with ears

    Good thread hygro
    Thanks! Yeah flat EQs are bad because the human ear doesn't have flat perception. To achieve flat perception you need declining volume as frequency increases. But who wants a flat EQ when good sizzling rave music has strong bass and strong highs?
    Quote Originally Posted by propertrax View Post
    These are fantastic "rules" if you make music according to all the "rules" (from some guy on the Internet).

    HPF everything - to what extent? What if my kick and bass are hitting the 30-50hz range perfectly, and using any sort of HPF in an attempt to cut off the sub-30hz just pulls off an important 1-2db from the 33hz zone, due to the curve of the HPF/EQ (and I have no other to use, or just can't get the curve to be steep enough)? What if I've got a pad that has some harmonically necessary lows when combined with the hook and bline that give the track its character, but if I start HPFing any one of those elements, it's all fucked? What if I just want to produce a rough and raw lo-fi track that has this oddly attractive low-end that would be destroyed with HPFing?

    Mono all? NEIN! Kick, bass...sure. Snare, sure. A few other things, here and there, as necessary, ok. Everything else? LOL. DO NOT DO THIS. I like stereo sounds. They're like, hi-fi n shit. Mono is boring. I like pan effects, and I like hi hats that tag between L/R, and I like big, lush chords that fill the spectrum, and reverbs shimmering to the sides. Now, if you're referring specifically to the root sound (for example, sample packs with percussion one-hits in stereo annoy the piss out of me) of certain instruments, that is more sensible. But the way this is written, it sounds like you want the producer to just go crazy on the mono and not try to pan, widen, or use stereo fx and sounds at all because of some sort of "all sound systems in clubs are mono" misconception...

    Generally, it's okay advice, although not required, and absolutely not recommended for "everything" or all the time.

    Cutting instead of boosting EQ "90%" of the time (where'd that number come from by the way?) is also not really useful. I mean, how do you even quantify this? What if I really want the 1khz - 2.2khz to shriek on a synth...and I take your advice (let's ignore this 90% nonsense)...so I cut all the other shit down around that range...ok, it makes that range pop a little more, but it still isn't giving me what I want...so, I boost the whole channel 3dB....wait, now I can hear the other freqs more too...ok, lemme cut more...boost channel...cut...boost...cut...boost. Or I could just boost the 1-2.2khz and cut the rest, and yay, life is good.

    Boosting is fine, especially if you're using EQs for creative effect. I'd say the only time this advice is worthwhile is if you're the type who doesn't mix during production, and waits until the end for a mixdown session....by that point your track is likely as busy and loud as you need, so cutting is the most logical approach. Proper approach would be to MIX WHILE YOU'RE MAKING.

    Compression is tricky, especially for the less seasoned. My advice would be to not even bother using a compressor until you can consistently make a great track without one. Most of the time I see newer producers with compressors on their projects, it's not even being triggered...but they hear that makeup gain boosting the volume, so they assume it's working. Same policy for sidechaining...don't bother with it on the bassline (with kick triggering) until you learn to write a bassline that doesn't interfere with the kick. If you can't do that, then you haven't graduated to sidechain land yet. Also, sidechaining can be useful for far more than bass-ducking, so quit the habit of only applying it in that situation. Focus on making a great, dynamic song/track rather than reading forum circle-jerks about compression (especially on DJF). If you don't REALLY understand it, you don't need it! But yes, it can be wondrous when understood.

    The 120-500hz advice is actually quite sound, although I'd be even more specific and target the 200s--especially for vocal tracks. And even more specifically, that 245-255hz range can be particularly problematic. But generally, yes, don't overdo this range unless you're looking for a specific sound.

    Last bit about phasing, to follow-up, don't get too carried away with the "widening" options on various software plugs and FX (like with Ableton's Simpler or Utility). IMO, proper layering and EQing will achieve a better "widening" effect.

    I'm not trying to be a bitch, but I also don't think we need any more cookie-cutter production tips and producers that stick to unnecessary rules. This reminds me of a Full Sail "how to be a generic corporate pop producer" course more than useful advice for aspiring electronic music producers. Many of us are self-taught, and while there are fundamentals that should be reasonably understood and acknowledged, I also believe most rules are meant to be broken...except that spectrum analyzer bit....no doubt we've got too many noobs that are too busy drawing their music and relying on symmetry (oh no, we can't have that filter move in a jagged and loose hill-shape, it must be a perfect triangle...grids of even numbers...spectrums of flatness...) rather than just feeling the shit.
    Well duh It's like physics or economics. You have to learn the rules first if you want to master why they are wrong. I went years trusting my ears and breaking these "rules" only to find my ears weren't trust worthy. Or at least not back then, they are now.

    I forget sometimes that people sometimes take things very literally and hard and fast. When I say "90% of the time..." that is to be read as an emotional 90%, and not a literal 90%. I can understand why some people would read it otherwise, haha, but I think most will get my point. I boost EQ all the time, but only because I know exactly why I'm not cutting. This used to be a mistake, because I thought I knew why I wasn't cutting but I was wrong. If I had believed these "rules" when I was taught them, I would have had a MUCH faster learning curve. What's taken me 3 years, others understand in 5 months. I'm a "convention explorer" (some might say "rule breaker") by nature but sometimes it's better to "follow the damn rules" until you know when to break them and why.

    Most people on this forum want to produce genre-based music. When Wolfgang Gartner made electro, it was his own style. Now it's called "complextro" and people want to aspire to make "complextro". I say, bleh, but let them. And no reason to hold them back by telling them to not follow techniques that others use and instead tell them to out-the-gate trust their untrained ears.

  7. #7
    Member Hygro's Avatar
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    Regarding stereo widening, part of the point of operating from mono is so that you leave room to widen your main points. I love rich panning pad/strings/choir chords, I want a lead synth that dances and sings, I want a bassline that can surround me. But to keep in mind, all of those things sit conveniently on top of each other. If your lead and your hook and your mid-pads and your vocals all full and stereo, you're going to lose power and you're going to not have enough room.

    Production is like making a tree. Pick which sounds are your leaves, then your branches, and make everything else a strong and centered trunk. Don't try to make a giant ugly ass bush.

  8. #8
    Member Atomisk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by propertrax View Post
    These are fantastic "rules" if you make music according to all the "rules" (from some guy on the Internet).
    Kinda hypocritical. Honestly I think both you and hygro are right. bothl of your points are pretty subjective.
    Last edited by Atomisk; 02-14-2012 at 04:31 AM.

  9. #9
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    One thing you both must know. Anything below 60hz, set it to MONO!

    Can't have a subbass jumping all over the stereo field can we?
    Follow me on soundcloud! http://www.soundcloud.com/giran

  10. #10
    Member BuddyUK's Avatar
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    Whose got a real record label putting out interesting and original tracks and making shit happen and who are the self proclaimed experts gabbing away, should you heed their advice or the other muppets???

    As for making 'by the rules' genre-music, if you've got nothing to original to say, don't say anything, full stop.

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