After receiving the master back of my newest track, I noticed something strange. There were these artifacts that sounded almost like the volume would briefly be turned down on the entire track. high frequency instruments would become muffled, and the kick drum would have less punch. Almost like I had the entire track sidechained to a compressor and it was briefly pumping.
I asked the mastering engineer what he thought it was and we both agree it most likely had something to do with the sub-bass being to high and sucking the energy from the speakers. He mastered it again but only fixed the problem slightly. The only thing that makes me think this is a false diagnosis, is that it's not constant either. It seems to happen at random intervals.
my original mix (that I had mastered) didn't seem to have these artifacts, however after mixing it again and removing a lot of the sub-bass and low end, I've noticed its actually still there. I especially notice this when compressing or even limiting the master buss (for experimental purposes, I don't leave it on there). This would explain why the mastering made it more apparent.
So what is going on here? Is this some sort of phasing occurring between the bass and the kick (they are already sidechained btw)? Does it have something to do with my compression settings on my tracks? Does this have something maybe to do with the fact that I have a subtle chorus effect applied to my bass, just to give it some more life since its a driving instrument of the track?
Other than this strange artifact, I'm very happy with the mix, no matter how many times I listen to it, so this has become very frustrating.
It's not quite as apparent in this version since its the remaster he did after I noticed the the problem. It's much better than the first master, but its still slightly noticeable, especially at louder volumes. You'll notice it around the beginning of the verse's. The chorus's sound great and the problem isn't there (possibly because the baseline is about an octave higher in the chorus). Again, its subtle. One way to notice is to listen to the kick. Some kicks appear to have a tad more punch than the others.
Babaluma, that's what I thought, which is why I did have him master it again, however even the second master didn't fix it perfectly and I've even begun to notice it on my newest mix, even though I've removed lots of the bass. Especially if I do some heavy limiting just for the sake of experimentation. Plus, being somewhat of a novice producer, I like to think he's the one who knows what he's doing and I'm the one who is making a mistake somewhere.
In what regard? The sidchaining to the kick? Or just overall?
Also, I open to criticism. Do you think that this "too much compression" sounds like a mix issue or a mastering issue?
Just an FYI, I'm ok with airing on the side of being a bit heavy on the compression from an creative standpoint. Obviously not too much that it ruins the mix, but I'm trying to go for a very aggressive, synthetic type sound.
I think just too much compression in general, particularly in the mix. I understand wanting an artificial sound for artificial music, but it really grates on my nerves when the processing is more noticeable than the sound that's being processed.
The sidechaining to the kick is extreme. It's a cool effect to have on the intro, but after that, I'd rather hear more of the groove/beat of the song instead of having my head sucked in and out. Try using lighter settings for the sidechain compression. An old trick for processing is adjusting the processor to the point where you think it is just enough, then turn it down a little bit more.
Yeah I have a slight obsession with sidechaining. Clearly its to a fault. I've since turned it down a bit and agree it sounds a bit better. Allows you to actually hear a constant grove and melody as opposed to feeling like someone is turning the volume up and down on you all the time.
Also after having revisited my mix, I'm actually thinking that the overcompression is really a problem with the master since I'm barely even using any compression at all. The kick has no compression, the high hats just have a de-esser, the snare has a slight bit of compression (-4db GR or so), the bass has some light analog compression just to add warmth (about -3db of GR), lead synth is probably the most heavily compressed with about -6db of GR, piano is same as lead synth, finally, there is a buss compressor on the drums which is only producing about -2db of GR if that.
I also slapped a dynamic rage meter on my master and am sitting around -15db of DR which I would think is a pretty good range for a trance track pre-master.