Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
daymares

Golden Nuggets of Production Advice

28 posts in this topic

wanted to start an interesting thread, partly to curb my bordom at work, but also to hopefully find some more of these gems.

the question is - what were those golden peices of production advice you've heard over the years that really effected/changed your approach/sound? i'm not asking for your well kept production secrets, even things you feel are pretty basic could well have been overlooked or unknown to those fairly new to the game.

i guess a really elementary example for me relates to the use of filters and eq to create a space for each sound - when i started doing this, i noticed a drastic change from my previously muddy mixes (although they're still far from great).

i've only really been producing for about 18 months so its things like this that are, well.. worth their weight in gold.. so to speak.  :;)

bring on the farkin nuggets!  :D

Gold%20Nuggets%20with%20Gold%20Quarts%20Rock_jpg_jpg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great thread idea!

2 gems given to me some time ago that have changed the way i mix

*Anything under 300hz should be mono

*Give every sound it's own space

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nice - i have heard that under 300hz tip before but i'm not sure i completely get it... if its a stereo soft synth do you bounce it to audio and run it on a mono audio channel? or do you use a plugin that ahh.. monofies it??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there are plug-ins around that will make anything under a certain frequency mono. I use bx_digital. a trick I have done recently is duplicate the track and filter it so one track is HF and one if LF. Then put a stereo slap delay or something on the HF track but leave the LF un-touched.

I'll bring some gold to the table soon ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha i'm suprised its not the technical term!

anyone know a good monofier for Mac?? (bx_digital is a bit out of my price range at the moment)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a trick I have done recently is duplicate the track and filter it so one track is HF and one if LF. Then put a stereo slap delay or something on the HF track but leave the LF un-touched.

I like doing a smilar thing with flanger/phaser on the top end. Especially on things like vocals and drum kit, I split the signal in two, and run lo-pass on one cutting at about 5-7kHz and the other hi-pass cutting also at 5-7kHz. Add phaser/flanger to the hi-pass channel. Adds a nice movement to a vocal when they sing the 's' sibilances but leaves the body of the vocal alone. Also works a treat to add movement to hi hats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^  :bang: did it again, wrong login - for those not familiar with my schizophrenic tendencies ISAMod is RBMod and vice versa :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i Don't know how much this actaully yhas to do with mixing, but the avice i normally give out is *If its wet drink it, If it dry smoke it, If it moves fuck it, if it doesn't move put it on the fucking truck!*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha i'm suprised its not the technical term!

anyone know a good monofier for Mac?? (bx_digital is a bit out of my price range at the moment)

Logic :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, there's a Logic plug called "Direction Mixer" which is in the imaging plugins folder. One of the presets is called Stereo to Mono. Couldn't be easier!

Alternatively you could just bus the output of a stereo track to the input of a mono track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the question is - what were those golden peices of production advice you've heard over the years that really effected/changed your approach/sound?

For me, one of those light bulb moments was getting a grip on how the musical keyboard's octaves aligned with audio frequencies which in turn aligned with the sound range we hear.

1 octave up  = double the frequency.

1 octave down = halve the frequency.

So, with Middle A = 440 Hz...

Working down:

220Hz = A -1 octave

110Hz = A -2 octaves

55Hz = A -3 octaves

22.5Hz = A -4 octaves

And working up:

880Hz = A +1 octave

1760Hz = A +2 octaves

3520Hz = A +3 octaves

7040Hz = A +4 octaves

14080Hz = A +5 octaves

Suddenly I understood how our hearing range (20Hz to 20,000Hz on a good day) fit into the musical realm.

And then EQ, especially parametric EQ with its infinitely tweakable frequency range and shape, became less stab-in-the-dark and I could then target my adjustments with both a greater vision and precision.

Frequencies in the lower registers are so far more important than frequencies in the upper registers. Consider that the 8-notes that span one of the lower bass octaves (such as 55Hz through 110Hz) is considerably narrow, and where one must be very specific when chiseling at the frequencies with an EQ. Just a few Hertz either side and one's targeting a completely different musical note.

Whereas at the upper end of the scale (such as 3520Hz through 7040Hz), the same 8-note span is now spread across literally thousands of hertz increments meaning a more general, wider sweep of the EQ brush is all that's required (unless there's some sort of ringing-like tone one's attempting to eliminate/highlight).

My next major lightbulb moment came when I got a grip on how an everyday sound is typically constructed. It begins with a lower frequency (fundamental) that provides it with its body. This foundation is then layered with a series of progressive higher (harmonic) frequencies that give it its character or timbre.

So while a concert piano might have it's Middle A tuned to a perfect 440Hz, it's full of harmonics way above 440Hz that give a piano its distinctive sound, yet there's virtually nothing below 440Hz for this note. Take away those upper harmonics and the piano becomes dull, muffled and characterless, sounding less like a piano (and approaching a pure sine wave). Take away the 440Hz, and the still-recognisable piano becomes thinner and more brittle without the fundamental to give it a firm foundation.

Simple, huh?!

And a great thread idea!  :cans:

And I know there's a similar topic already running on here, so I might see if I can merge them somehow...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

awesome post spec, thanks - thats just what I have wanted to know, but always seem to forget to look up!! arse pluck can work but knowing is sooo much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a random brainfart of 4:

1. There is no 'un-artistic' reason to compress sampled kick drums.

2. Hi-Pass everything.

3. Listen to it again the next day with fresh ears before you excitedly send out a new banger to a label or other producers. If it's just friends and parents, go ahead as they can't usually tell a bad mix unless it's reaaaaaly bad.

4. Cut, don't boost unless you are using an analogue EQ. Instead of focusing on how to 'make the sound better' by boosting, try the yang of that yin and remove the range that doesn't sound good. If you are using more than a few bands of EQ, try a different sample, or modify the synth patch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great thread wise fox! there's a lot of good input on this so far...some of which, took me years to discover and/or truly comprehend.

my2bitz:

take breaks often [to quote jack black: "silence is goldy"...hehe] ...and before you go back to working on ur trak, listen to something else ...i like to alternate b/w different trax to keep it fresh and to minimize overworking the same thing ...ears fatigue fast and you really shouldn't be going for more that 20 min straight without a break [i know that isn't really practical, but taking regular breaks gives your ears more range and acuity, especially if your working on the "final" mix] ...and for most of the time keep at 80 dB or less, which is conversation level in a busy meeting hall and fairly decent [i know!!! you have to have it loud to feel it...and i crank till the cops come more often than not...hehe - but when it counts, i take breaks and keep the levels down - if you follow timothyallan'z great advice and listen to it the next day <<< or even a couple of days later >>>, crank it up for the initial listening and then drop it bak dwn for further tweaking] ...the louder it is, the shorter the duration b/w breaks :D

also: don't be afraid to throw something away when it isn't working ...whether it's a riff a whole trak or some sound ur designing - when sound designing, i try to limit myself to 10 min or less before i stop and look for something else ...real "majik" tendz to happen quickly and you know it when it strikes ...if a sound or part isn't jumping out at you, move on! --- you can always "save as" if you think it may be worth coming back to later.

hope that helps some of you tone monkiez out there:

cheers:

shAmii

>x]~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:- Your opinion is interesting and challenging. Where does one subscribe to your news letter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0