"The Club Sound" plugin
Mr Boswald
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#1
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #1
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"The Club Sound" plugin

Ok, I often wonder what my tracks would sound if played on a big system in a club and short of giving my tracks to a DJ (Now there's an idea) I decided that as an experiment I would try to replicate this by adding a reverb to the master channel. Then a bit of stereo narrowing and a roll off of the high frequencies.

The results were interesting, but a little overpowering! Obviously for mixing this is pretty much useless, but strangely enough I'm considering using it as a reference tool during the composition process as it really makes you feel like your in a club - kind of!

Anyway, it put a smile on my face and I was wondering what you guys thought of it and if anyone could offer somesuggestions for refinements of the effects chain.
#2
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #2
I don't think there's really a way to emulate how a track will sound in a club except to actually listen to it in a club. After enough experience doing this you'll pick up on the minutiae and be able to mix accordingly, but until then my suggestion is put most succinctly by Chris Lord-Alge (I'm paraphrasing):

"It's easy to get something to sound good loud. The trick is to get it to sound good quiet."
#3
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #3
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Did you work in the Fletcher Munson Curve via an EQ?
Mr Boswald
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#4
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
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mixing quiet is good advice. I always find you listen more and nod your head less!

I didn't really consider fletcher and munson, which would probably mean a reduction in the bass?
I just sort of thought well high frequencies don't travel as far as bass frequencies so reduced them a bit. How would I incorporate this?
#5
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Boswald View Post
I didn't really consider fletcher and munson, which would probably mean a reduction in the bass?
Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Fletcher–Munson curves are one of many sets of equal-loudness contours for the human ear, determined experimentally by Harvey Fletcher and Wilden A. Munson, and reported in a 1933 paper entitled "Loudness, its definition, measurement and calculation" in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America.
Basically what it means is that MOST (not all) mixes need about a 3db cut around 1k. Depends on the mix though, so the old adage holds true: use your ears.


Quote:
I just sort of thought well high frequencies don't travel as far as bass frequencies so reduced them a bit. How would I incorporate this?
Unfortunately this sort of thinking probably isn't as helpful as you'd hope it would be, unless you're designing a mix to be listened to exclusively from 2 rooms away or something. It's not really about pure sonic bliss in a nightclub anyway, it's about being able to hear the important stuff enough to dance, buy drinks, etc.

You don't want anything to "hurt" (like excessive high's) or sound muddy (crappy bass) or just plain bad (too many mids). Just remember the three dimensions, and use your ears

Height (balance of frequencies)
Width (panning)
Depth ("volume"/"apparent loudness")
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#6
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #6
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There too many factors in the "club sound" to even remotely be able to nail it ITB.

Acoustics. If clubs were in fact designed to sound good, and were treated, maybe you could have a more or less consistent sound.

Equipment. From Ibiza massive clubs to small rooms... it ranges from complete crap to holy-mother-of-god-I-can't-feel-my-legs. Some have too much subs, some have too much tweeters...

Engineer. Again... it ranges from the bar owner that thinks it "sounds good enough", to an expert that really knows how to balance a sound for an empty and a full room. I've seen systems where there's even a mic and and some kind of auto EQ to keep everything in place.

Even if you listen to your track in Ministry of Sound, who knows how it will sound in Amnesia. I'd say the best shot is to compare your mix to tracks that are already sounding in clubs.
#7
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #7
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Reptil's Avatar
interesting idea, not so easy to do practically as pointed out already.
the big issue is always the bass..

do you limit or filter the bass on your monitor reference? so you'll produce a more powerful bass for in the club? or do you create a louder and more sustained bass to mimic the characteristic of transmission line speakers?
and that's not even touching the audio track itself, just the monitor reference, with the purpose to make it easier to judge your mixes.
what about phase? what kind of filters? a gentle slope, passive design works best. But who says the monitors will sound more like a club?
you? but you're experimenting on yourself... so you logically can't be sure...
tricky!!
Bass... mono that's for sure. to prevent surprises (and holes on the dancefloor)

IME a good set of speakers and a reasonable soundset, and most importantly experience is best. I've had good results with paper cone bass drivers in the studio, these seem to have a behaviour that comes closest.

Go to clubs. Listen to the bass there. Play the same tracks on your speakers in the studio. Note the difference. What frequency or distortion works for your music, what doesn't?
Play in clubs, experiment with different bass settings: go walk on the dancefloor before your set to get an idea of the specific resonance, mess around with small soundsystems yourself, and wooden dancefloors and stuff like that. It's a lot of work, but it's fun you'll gain invaluable experience, so you'll have an edge over 103582 other producers.


oh and buy earplugs, the good ones, made to fit your ears!
#8
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
  #8
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one way, one guey

dude, the only way to hear what your mixes will sound like in the club is to give your tracks to the DJ at the club to play, most of them a s s h o l e dj's have a means of playing a CD or MP3 of sorts...so that will be your best bet, adding reverb and stuff doesnt create club environments...

The fletcher munson curve is a great key and understanding of perception to guide you to perfect mixes...

I understand that so much that I use DB meter's when I mix so I can reference that chart so I know what is going on...

befreind a DJ...

good luck dude
Mr Boswald
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#9
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
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As usual, some excellent responses.

I'm not sure what I was hoping to achieve with the whole idea, but I often find that when I listen to tracks in clubs (occasionally) compositionally they are doing a lot less than my tracks, relying more on groove and suspense to sum it up quickly. I'm looking to create what I would probably describe as minimal tech-house and one criticism I have of my own tracks is that they need to be more 'minimal'. Being someone who enjoys dance music through critical appreciation sat in front of my computer, the way I understand and interpret dance music compared to someone who goes clubbing a lot will be very different. In trying out this experiment I was hoping that I could gain a better insight into how a clubber would hear the track, not in terms of mixing, but, I guess, arrangement over time.

In reality, this completely disregards differences in emotion, physical movement and at this point I begin to sound a little crazy!

Of course as you've all proven conclusively even doing this on a purely sonic level is pretty much impossible anyway.

The advice on mixing throughout this thread is really useful and is where my real focus is at the moment, I'll be copying and pasting a lot of it!

Cheers
#10
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Boswald View Post
but I often find that when I listen to tracks in clubs (occasionally) compositionally they are doing a lot less than my tracks, relying more on groove and suspense to sum it up quickly.
That's because most people don't want to enjoy dance music, or indeed most music that's produced today, on an intellectual level or even a very deep emotional level. It's supposed to be "primal," but please don't read that as "jungle." It's all about repetition - Kick, snare, kick, snare, etc. Complicated percussion, melodies, etc only serve to confuse, and as you've correctly identified, in the club, it's all about the groove.

Quote:
I'm looking to create what I would probably describe as minimal tech-house and one criticism I have of my own tracks is that they need to be more 'minimal'.
Some people dislike the idea of aspiring to a genre, but I think it's fine as long as you keep yourself in the music, if that makes sense. Who knows, maybe you're onto something that will transcend the minimal label? Only one way to find out.

Quote:
Being someone who enjoys dance music through critical appreciation sat in front of my computer, the way I understand and interpret dance music compared to someone who goes clubbing a lot will be very different.
Well, if dance music is your goal, you should at least try to check it out in it's natural habitat.

But again, who knows? The only way to find out is to try.
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#11
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Boswald View Post
Yep, I think I'm going to have to get clubbing again. Que hangovers and empty pockets.

It's always a hard task describing your music and genre is usually a good starting point. Anyway this is one of my tracks that gets close to what I'm aiming for...

http://soundcloud.com/peter-davy/chasing-rats

I'd appreciate some feedback, especially with regards to mixing as I think that is where it is most lacking.
You can't post your music in this forum. Moderators will probably bash it.

I'd say the first thing that comes to my mind in terms of mixing is that you need more sub bass and more space in your mix. It sounds flat and boxy IMO.
Mr Boswald
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#12
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
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Whoops, an honest mistake.

Can I bash it myself or do I just await my fate?

Interesting that you say it requires more sub bass, I thought it was all sub bass, but it's just a sine wave I think, so yeah maybe it is above the sub bass range, but lacking in timbre.

Boxiness and mud are my specialities at the moment. I know how to use all the tools required for mixing, but struggle to really get a mix sounding full or together. Looking forward to putting in a lot of practice when I finish uni in a week. Use of reverb is definitely something I'm hoping to address. ALong with everything else.

Thanks for the advice
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#13
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Boswald View Post
Whoops, an honest mistake.

Can I bash it myself or do I just await my fate?

Interesting that you say it requires more sub bass, I thought it was all sub bass, but it's just a sine wave I think, so yeah maybe it is above the sub bass range, but lacking in timbre.

Boxiness and mud are my specialities at the moment. I know how to use all the tools required for mixing, but struggle to really get a mix sounding full or together. Looking forward to putting in a lot of practice when I finish uni in a week. Use of reverb is definitely something I'm hoping to address. ALong with everything else.

Thanks for the advice
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#14
15th May 2012
Old 15th May 2012
  #14
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AnalogModelled's Avatar
 

I think the easiest way would be to play in a club :D

Or you can buy a couple of club PA speakers and add a convultion reverb with a club response :D
#15
16th May 2012
Old 16th May 2012
  #15
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Rather than recreate the club sound, use tracks you've heard in clubs that sounded good as a reference in the studio. Also, really good monitors that go way deep, or a properly tuned sub. I recommend the Quested S8R. They go down to 40hz and sound like a club even turned down low. Not cheap but a better investment than any vintage synth or über duber compressor.
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