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Drums Drowning in Mix
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LouieGooey
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#1
19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Drums Drowning in Mix

I have yet to have a solid mix where I am satisfied with my drums sticking through and holding their own space. I've searched through threads, watched countless tutorials and what not. I dream for my kicks to be as clear as madeon's. I might have high standards, but I am desperate for help. To go more in depth, the problem is that my kick and snare do not punch clearly through my mix, and occasionaly the lows of the kick will be drowned out and only the "click" or highs can be heard. I am aware this is common problem but I am still not quite there. I've done everything from sidechaining, automating the Eq and even the compressor threshold, just using my logistics to cautiously clear up as much room as possible. In terms of my drums, I carefully designed them and they sound great on their own but lack that "oopmh" in the mix. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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example in question?
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19th November 2012
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Turn everything else down.
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Creating space by panning your melodic or harmonic elements and leaving room in the center for drums is important but you probably know that already. Over compressing or EQing can also make your drums sound really weak, and leaving space in the arrangement itself can help as well.

Have you tried a parallel compression buss?
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Why anyone would want mixdowns like madeons is beyond me another case of horses for courses i suppose

More helpful would be madeon gravitates to call and response arrangements meaning alot of shit never plays at the same time and if it does it's in seperate octaves

Also incase you aint noticed he tends to have alot of his synths and mid information way out of the centre channel which kind of works against his favour as it takes serious focus away from his swelly pads when they're summed to one channel i.e mono (that's the trade off of spreading shit artificially ) what this also has a positive effect on is giving the lower shit (low end in kicks etc) more room to be noticed

The other obvious thing that makes his kicks come through is that old cliche sidechain the only difference being he uses really short release times (less than 80ms) and probably a bit of lookahead so it doesn't distort.

Something else you may have noticed that apart from the above is not many sounds in any of his tracks have punchy attacks apart from the kick and release and why is that? this dude uses saturation and multiband maximisers to an unfunny level(that's why his mids sound extremely unpleasant in a club and at low levels on most speakers i've noticed atleast)

Stupidly loud and unevenly balanced,yeah they sound big mainly due to the very small amount of dynamics but they're unbearable to listen to for long periods of time,feedme manages to get the same levels of loudness without the piercing tops and mids just to show a comparison that it aint cause of his mixes being loud

Prime example being that finale. that is horribly painful to listen to

Though if you want some of that sound the above will get you there

P.s something that may be worth adding is he builds drums with very very little envelope it's pretty much clipped right the way through the duration of the waveform except for the sub tail.furthermore,most of the punch in his kicks is in the 80-100hz area and this area is extremely loud which technically it doesn't need to be cause 100hz has a bit of a proximity effect naturally,but from looking and listening to any madeon track they all seem to have similar envelopes and timbres i.e slightly longer than what would be considered normal transient,longer low mid body and a very short quickly decaying tail



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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Another trick is to break your mix up using buses and put band pass filters on each bus and them to limit each group to its own frequency range.
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Originally Posted by Alex Aliferis View Post
Another trick is to break your mix up using buses and put band pass filters on each bus and them to limit each group to its own frequency range.
If you don't use linear phase filters that could seriously work against you (in relation to phase),what you're describing though essentially sounds like DIY exciter chains

Though if ya bounce them out and allign the phase again i suppose that would reduce the need for linearphase filters,i'd use shit like that sparingly though.......

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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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using the correct kick drum for the track helps most of all.. plenty of energy at the 200hz range generally delivers the punch of a kick..
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Start with drums and then everything else is just for texture and to accent the drums.

Source: I am a drummer.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natrixgli View Post
Start with drums and then everything else is just for texture and to accent the drums.

Source: I am a drummer.
Hahahahhhahahahaaha

But yeah. And roll the hell off of the low end for mostly everything
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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High pass and/or low cut on other instruments for the kick to stand out more.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Checked out some Madeon tracks and my mixer's meters literally are not moving..
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Originally Posted by mangobob View Post
Checked out some Madeon tracks and my mixer's meters literally are not moving..
That doesn't really have anything to do with anything. dynamics are not really something this spinoff of electro has to have as it is literally just meant to sound like a steroid infused wall of muscle,hence why you wont find too many elements panned in a creative manner.it's everything widened or panned wide and it gets gradually narrower as you come to the ambience layers in the kick etc .no left right centre to speak of just really wide l-r slightly narrower,slightly narrower,slightly narrower (you get the pic).

What is the problem is having all those really piercing mids so upfront and not remotely tamed to try "cheat" loudness.you're doing no one favours that is listening to that on headphones or an arena or club rig that's kicking out mega SPL's

Alot of the cliche suggestions like highpassing and lowpassing will not get you an inch closer to this sound (and, is a sure way to decouple any mix in my opinion) it's all about smashing the living shit out every sound of the mix individually and relying solely on modulation for movement to make up for the lack of differences in volume so things don't become sterile so soon.

Your friends in your arsenal you want for this are anything that allows you to smash frequencies in a multiband fashion,saturation and baxandall style eq curves favouring the high end and heaps and heaps of sidechain.also incase you aint noticed alot of the sounds sit naturally in higher octaves apart from one maybe two sounds filling out an octave above the kick this straight away gives the impression of the loudness it's just a means of accenting those harmonics then (or raping them like madeon gravitates to) as i said in another thread "subtlety will get you nowhere"

I'll say it again i have no idea why anyone would strive for this sound.it's a loud mix executed in a not so good way and there's clipping everywhere (most noticeable on the section after the intro on finale and from the very beginning of icarus )

I will finish in saying that alot of these stupidly loud mixdowns of late are kind of shooting themselves in the foot as club limiters will only take a certain rms in the low end before it kicks in so these tracks are likely to sound even more squashed at gigs...i dunno if that's what they're going for like but...........


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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manysounds View Post
Hahahahhhahahahaaha

But yeah. And roll the hell off of the low end for mostly everything
Except the bass. I usually carve out a bit of a notch in the bassline around 80-100hz with an EQ, and if it's a synthy bass with a wider frequency spectrum or a higher register bass part sometimes use a compressor sidechained to the kick. I try not to do this too much because it can cause pumpyness.

Vocals, synths, guitars, etc get run through a HPF to gut the low end.
LouieGooey
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnynotknow View Post
That doesn't really have anything to do with anything. dynamics are not really something this spinoff of electro has to have as it is literally just meant to sound like a steroid infused wall of muscle,hence why you wont find too many elements panned in a creative manner.it's everything widened or panned wide and it gets gradually narrower as you come to the ambience layers in the kick etc .no left right centre to speak of just really wide l-r slightly narrower,slightly narrower,slightly narrower (you get the pic).

What is the problem is having all those really piercing mids so upfront and not remotely tamed to try "cheat" loudness.you're doing no one favours that is listening to that on headphones or an arena or club rig that's kicking out mega SPL's

Alot of the cliche suggestions like highpassing and lowpassing will not get you an inch closer to this sound (and, is a sure way to decouple any mix in my opinion) it's all about smashing the living shit out every sound of the mix individually and relying solely on modulation for movement to make up for the lack of differences in volume so things don't become sterile so soon.

Your friends in your arsenal you want for this are anything that allows you to smash frequencies in a multiband fashion,saturation and baxandall style eq curves favouring the high end and heaps and heaps of sidechain.also incase you aint noticed alot of the sounds sit naturally in higher octaves apart from one maybe two sounds filling out an octave above the kick this straight away gives the impression of the loudness it's just a means of accenting those harmonics then (or raping them like madeon gravitates to) as i said in another thread "subtlety will get you nowhere"

I'll say it again i have no idea why anyone would strive for this sound.it's a loud mix executed in a not so good way and there's clipping everywhere (most noticeable on the section after the intro on finale and from the very beginning of icarus )

I will finish in saying that alot of these stupidly loud mixdowns of late are kind of shooting themselves in the foot as club limiters will only take a certain rms in the low end before it kicks in so these tracks are likely to sound even more squashed at gigs...i dunno if that's what they're going for like but...........


Johnynotknow
You are right to an extent that most electro is "just meant to sound like a steroid infused wall of muscle" the reason being, to sound as crazy as possible in the clubs. However, I feel that madeon's music is more enjoyable than your typical banger through headphones because it is more "brighter" and "fuller" probably due to his unusual mixing techniques. I have heard him live several times and I can't say he has sounded noticeably bad, rather good in my opinion. However, I understand how his mixing could result in a shitty live sound. I guess I don't want to follow in his footsteps, for i am not interested in smashing my levels or intentially squashing my sound, but rather finding an alternative method to achieve similar energy of his songs. To get back on point, I just really enjoy the groove his tracks provide, due to his powerful kick/snare/megasidechain. Artists such as Porter Robinson, Wolfgang, feed me also achieve this and their mixes sound much different than madeon's. Sorry for using Madeon as a reference. Instead, how do these other artists mold their kicks so well?
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natrixgli View Post
Except the bass. I usually carve out a bit of a notch in the bassline around 80-100hz with an EQ, and if it's a synthy bass with a wider frequency spectrum or a higher register bass part sometimes use a compressor sidechained to the kick. I try not to do this too much because it can cause pumpyness.

Vocals, synths, guitars, etc get run through a HPF to gut the low end.
A little ducking of the bass keyed off the kick will help as well.

Use sparingly and only if necessary
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Madeon busses everything except kick and snare to a group, then sidechain the hell out of it, if your drums dont punch through after that, then somethin's seriously wrong!!!
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Originally Posted by LouieGooey View Post
You are right to an extent that most electro is "just meant to sound like a steroid infused wall of muscle" the reason being, to sound as crazy as possible in the clubs. However, I feel that madeon's music is more enjoyable than your typical banger through headphones because it is more "brighter" and "fuller" probably due to his unusual mixing techniques. I have heard him live several times and I can't say he has sounded noticeably bad, rather good in my opinion. However, I understand how his mixing could result in a shitty live sound. I guess I don't want to follow in his footsteps, for i am not interested in smashing my levels or intentially squashing my sound, but rather finding an alternative method to achieve similar energy of his songs. To get back on point, I just really enjoy the groove his tracks provide, due to his powerful kick/snare/megasidechain. Artists such as Porter Robinson, Wolfgang, feed me also achieve this and their mixes sound much different than madeon's. Sorry for using Madeon as a reference. Instead, how do these other artists mold their kicks so well?
Well madeon is heavily inspired by the mixes of phillipe zdar who's another one who has a no holds barred mixing approach.

The moulding of kicks is mainly down to layering that reinforces certain frequency content within the kicks,you can't just select layers that you like the sound of cause you want to bring certain frequencies out there's a number of things you need to put into consideration duration,phase and shape/envelope,i know someone who speaks to jon (feedme) and he's not one to smash the **** out of things with compression and you can hear from the horses maU5th that he doesn't ever use compression on kickdrums on the MaU5hax recording session,just incase that crops up in the next couple of posts (cough,cough)

The way the kick sits in the arrangement though is exactly that the arrangement alot of this new style electro stuff is very call and response so nothing really plays over things for very long. plus there's also the liberal use of sidechain when stuff does everywhere, but sidechaining everything to a kick wont get you there despite what people think. it gets stuff out the way but it wont give you the err "thwack" if your sounds have no "thwack" in the first place

It really is all about creative layering which includes the voicing of different parts and their timbres.you're trying to creep the perceived loudness up by a collaboration of sounds that don't compete with one another NATURALLY or either really sparse arrangements and make every sound take up the most sonic space it can take without treading on frequency toes (i'd say madeon is a combination of both.there's not much layering to speak of in the frequency filling sense it's mainly to do with the composition and how he decides which sounds should play which notes,it's how they co-operate with one another that gives the impression of a "big sound" and the fact he takes quite a full on approach with how he handles the dynamics of said sounds saturation and multiband maximizers eqing hyping the perceived loudness areas by the sound of things).if you really listen to peoples arrangements you can tell who gravitates to what style of finished product.

The other thing is either controlling frequency specific dynamics in a controlled manner that still retains some dynamics i.e killthenoise,feedme (bloodred is probably an exception,that's pretty smashed) or taking a no holds barred approach i.e skrillex,madeon,tommy trash,porter robinson.i suppose neither is right or wrong as it's just a sonic representation of how you want others to perceive your track

It's whatever mixing aesthetic you adhere to

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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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can't help without a clip or something...
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Either they dominate or they play second fiddle. One must arrange to suit this dichotomy.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnynotknow View Post
he doesn't ever use compression on kickdrums on the MaU5hax recording session,just incase that crops up in the next couple of posts (cough,cough)

Johnynotknow
Haha oooo the suspense.. Ya im aware that a handful of artists avoid using compression on their drums, i try to use it only when necessary. Also, for what it's worth, I design my drums and know the sound design, layering aspects inside and out ever since i realized how imperative that "thwack" is to a mix. In terms of madeon's mixing, thanks for making me aware of his methods for I guess i was somewhat oblivious to the call and response technique he uses. Very helpful information. Thanks a ton!

P.s. If you have any string of connections to Jon, it'd be pretty cool to meet him


@Ohmicide: I'm having DAW difficulties, Ill try and post an example asap my apologies
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Originally Posted by LouieGooey View Post
P.s. If you have any string of connections to Jon, it'd be pretty cool to meet him
No worries lad anytime.as for the jon thing i don't know him directly,i have a friend/producer who speaks to him or atleast has the oppurtunity to.i've never actually spoken to him myself :thumbup:





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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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well...maybe you should tune your kick to the tonic...thus kick and bass will be harmonized. i am myself lazy to do this all the time but it helps when i do.
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20th November 2012
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Originally Posted by romanski View Post
well...maybe you should tune your kick to the tonic...thus kick and bass will be harmonized. i am myself lazy to do this all the time but it helps when i do.
I do keep my kicks relatively in tune. deffinetly a bit tedious haha but important


@everyone else: I do use busing/hp lp, parallel compression, and i have a pretty precise, conservative eq sculpt. Based on these tips, I should have pretty solid drums. Maybe it's a matter of practice and trial & error. Thanks a ton
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20th November 2012
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