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New to MIDI, would love advice on instrumental mixing
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Maverick87
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#1
17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
  #1
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New to MIDI, would love advice on instrumental mixing

Whatup GS?? Im in a rap duo, we've been at it for a while rapping over mp3 instrumentals/beats that we've been given from a producer about an hour and a half away, and a few from the internet. Feeling very comfortable, but Ive been wanting to get into making beats of my own for a long time, so Ive recently gotten into MIDI for the first time.

In the duo, I do the recording, mixing, mastering, all around engineering. I play guitar, bass, and a little drums, and have been in metal bands(weird combo.. I know..), so I have background in song structure and different instruments. With just the little bit that Ive dabbled in MIDI Im already in love with making beats.

I guess what Im asking is, for those of you who have been doing this for a while and know what youre doing, what are some good tips for someone just getting into it like me? Im aware that it shouldnt sound loud like a finished mastered product, and I know that every instrument should have its own place in the stero field. What Im looking for is details.

Ive been told that some people will pan the guitar to one side, and bass to the other, like you would see at a live show coming out of the PA's. But, how far out should they be? How far is too far? Is it one of those things that changes per song and done by ear? Ive read the same about cymbals, that people will put the hi hats a little to the side, and other cymbals elsewhere in the field, and if Im not mistaken kick drums and snares usually sit in or close to the middle.

Say I have an instrument thats doing a main part of a beat, like a stringed instrument that loops through most of the song and carries the main melody, does that stay centered or close to the kick/snare? Or should that get panned as well? Ive noticed that synths seem to be very strong and can easily overpower other instruments, so how can I get them to blend in the mix with the other instruments without having it oddly off to one side? Reverb maybe?

Im also aware of little tricks like parallel compression for kick drums, and that compression can also take away from 'bassy' instruments if overdone, so feel free to add in any basic things you feel I should know and be aware of. Ill greatly appreciate any and all feedback.
Maverick87
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17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
  #2
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I suppose I should mention that the program Im using is Magix Music Maker MX Premium for beatmaking, which I know isnt as popular as FL Studio or Reason, etc.. around here. I got the program because I used a Magix program for a long time, then when I upgraded to windows 7 it was no longer compatible, so I bought this program. Turns out its a completely different format than I was looking for, but has plenty of sounds/loops so it came in quite handy after all. I also use Reaper(yes I purchased the license and love the program). I know reaper does MIDI, but I dont think it has soundbanks, maybe it does and Im looking in the wrong place??? Figured someone would ask what program Im running.

On a sidenote, I think the M-Audio KeyRig49 I was using just took a s**t last nite, made a crazy crackling through the monitors so I turned everything off and restarted the computer, and now no sounds will load into the controller, but I can still draw them in and it'll work fine.Bought it used from an old manager so I woudnt be surprised if it was worn and torn. Oh well, If I gotta draw everything in.. so be it. Ok Im done blabbering.. :D
#3
17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
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You asked a lot of questions, but I'm just going to address 1 aspect ... It's almost unheard of to pan the bass anywhere but center. Kick, snare, bass usually in the center. Other than that, there's really no "rules."

Also, just because you're suddenly doing MIDI programming doesn't mean you should change the way you mix songs. Either way, you end up with audio tracks that you need to balance for a good mix. If I were you, I would start by referencing commercial songs in a similar style/genre, and get acquainted with how they're mixed.
Maverick87
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#4
17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
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I see. Also I've mixed plenty of vocals, but never any instruments, so I'm new to the instrumental aspect of it. Any advice on general panning, and EQing specific kinds of instruments, and anything that would benefit the overall mix and avoid clashing with vocals would be great.
#5
17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
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This threads about to blow your mind:

Rap Forum: Ask Your Newbie Questions HERE!

There are a ton of links in there on all kinds of info. There are a couple threads under the "Mixing" category that would be a good start.

That thread above has a long list of threads in it - feel free to ask any question that you want in there that you feel might be a fairly basic question or group of questions.

Here are some specifically for you to start reading:

Order of Importance for Separation

Mixing Rap Vocals – Part 3: Compression

Rap Vocals: Compression

EQ?

EQ Before Compression OR After?

Mixing Vocals and Instrumental Great Tip!

Quantizing.

Reverb: Tips and Techniques

Understanding Distortion.

Who here likes to take the bus route?
Maverick87
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17th April 2012
Old 17th April 2012
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Thanks Rillo, I was gonna post it in there but since it was MIDI specific and since I have so many specific questions I figured I'd start a thread.
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