Rather than piece meal tips and tricks I go over all the ingredients of production and how the different things came together for this track.The music, drums and what not were done in Maschine.
I brought everything in to Ableton to finesse the arrangement and mix. Think about how Ableton is advertised and sold - it's nearly always shown in a small studio set up w like guitars, synths, drum machines and what not. Ableton is great for capturing ideas, but I"m not a "Live Geek" doing fancy things.
Tip 1 (2 minutes). Bus or group your bass and kick drum to process them together. (EQ, Side Chain Compression etc)
Tip 2 (4:30) I bounced my hi hat and snare to 1 stereo track as the mix on them was OK in Maschine. Typically it's better to keep them separate but I was going for speed and simplicity. I use some heavy NYC compression on this track. Watch and Listen to hear my EQ and compression settings.
Tip 3 (7 min) All drums flow into a "Drum Bus" track or group so that all the drums are process.(8 min )Mixing the keys and pad sounds - only required a dash of compression and EQ
Tip 4 (8:30) Gain staging and freeing up headroom on your master fader. Here's a refresher on this concept in a post I did last year. https://itsthedj.com/if-youve-ever-us...Basically you don't want tracks coming in too hot and then going too hot into your plugins. Yes this matters in a DAW, despite "32bit floating point headroom" In the link above a professional mastering engineer debunks this.
Tip 5 10 Minutes - Track Structure/Arrangement. A lot of new producers cram too much into a track so elements become repetitive and boring. The most basic way to think of track structure is like going to dinner. Appetizer/Main Course/Dessert. What this means in the real world is that you want your main elements to make their appearance at about 2 minutes into the track. They can be teased and hinted at prior to this, and this is certainly not a hard and fast rule but it is a good frame work for approaching track structure. For example the keys in this tune start at Bar 65. Watch out for overusing elements in your track. Look at and study what other people have done for where to place things in your arrangement.
Tip 6 (13:30) . Use delay to spice things up. See how I automated the send button on the vocal to the delay return track. I also automated the level of feedback on the delay track to 100% to push the sound into a near constant feedback loop. Delay is a nice way to add some ear candy to your music.
Tip 7. (14:40) See where the vocal part fits into the mix sonically. It fill s a gap where I didn't have sonic content. The vocal part was helpful in the 300-800Hz area.
Tip 8. Don't Master Your Own Tracks. don't burden myself with anything to do w/ Mastering. I use Landr for rough masters so I can check my stuff in the car, and Landr has been fine for sending demos and getting tracks signed. For final masters that will be sold in stores like Beatport, I do hire professional, human engineers. I do have a couple things on my master channel which you can watch and listen to. Typically I use the UAD Fatso Sr. Plugin on very gentle settings for mix bus compression. Quick shoot out of the UAD Fatso versus Ableton's Glue Compressor.
Want access to this Ableton Project?
You can get it for almost free. Only $2 or Pay What You Like using the Green Button Below.
Or I added this to my flagship course "Underground Elite" in the "bonus" section so that students can experiment, dissect, and learn from it.
Love days like this when the weather is foul and I'm stuck in side for most of the day. Also got me a new sampler which makes it even better. Enjoy these free loops! Download using the link below. It's an Ableton session, if you don't have that just open and grab the raw audio files.
Let me know what you think in the comments.