Category Archives for mixing

Dance Music Production Production Tip: Layering

I've always liked classic rock and have a new found appreciation for how it's produced and mixed.

In this post I'm referring to the use of layers.

My older cousins Mike and Tony are purely rock fans - they never "got" the DJ stuff I do. To them it's all noise, lol.

As they say an "Apple doesn't fall far from the tree" so their kids dig Led Zeppelin and what not.

After seeing my cousin Taylor make a few appearances w her Dads cover band I asked if she wanted to collaborate so long story short she picked Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to so an interpretation of.

With rock layering is used a ton - especially on vocals and guitars.

We ended up with a total of 5 vocal tracks - 2 takes for the lead and 3 background vocal tracks.

That ear candy and airy sparkle we seek to add in our own productions really isn't anything new and is an age old way of adding interesting content to a mix.

Listen to Stevie Nicks vocals in the original version of "Dreams" - the song itself is a master lesson in simplicity and less is more.

But the various vocal parts all work together in complimentary ways to sound big and lush.

Leading into the chorus there's some single word backing parts "stillness" "heartbeat"

Have a watch of this in-depth video where I play you all of the parts where I used layering.  Lead vocals, back ground vocals, rhythm and lead guitar.  And yes all that guitar works in this cover - it's still very much house.  

Stream "Dreams" by Eric Louis & Taylor Paige

Also available for purchase on places like iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play

NY Muscle production templates and samples

2 Templates in this package I've named "NY Muscle" which also includes a smattering of samples influenced by records I bought in New York City.

These are 2 chugging subterranean cuts ready to rumble a warehouse.

All that's required is Ableton Live 9.7.  These were made to be low on CPU and friendly on your bank account as no purchase of 3rd party plugins or VSTs are required.

Listen to the tracks and get more info here. 

Production Workflow – The extra bit of punch and polish

Techno Production - The Last Bit of Punch and Polish

In this video you'll see me dive in and put the last finishing touches on a track that's nearly done.  I've already played in the car and listened critically so when I go in I know exactly what I want to do.

Tape saturation to give the low end and drums more ooomph.  Reverb because the drums are quite dry and want them to sound cohesive.  Reverb is a good way to do that.  I also recap checking your mix in mono, my mix bus compressor settings which I use the Fatso by UAD for. 

Hope you learn something - the next step for this tune is to be sent to labels as a demo.  This is one track in 4 part EP.  

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Tech Production – Workflow, Arranging, Mixing, & Sneak Look/Listen at a Work in Progress


Here's a track that's 80% done. I quickly go over some minor mix tweaks I do on my groups so I can export out of Maschine and then give it the final treatment in Ableton Live.
While I work in Maschine and you may not, the take away is committing your material to audio and then approaching the next stage of production. For me it's tweaking the arrangement, recording some new takes of the synth, adding swooshes and FX, and lastly I'll polish up the mix. The mix as it is is "good enough" to move along to these next parts of the process.  So when I start working on the arrangement, I know my mix is up to snuff so I no longer fiddle w/ EQ, compression and shit like that.
Stay tuned for more videos as I complete this. If you want to go deeper into things with me check out my course.

The Weekly Wrap Up June 9 2017

Here's a video on Mixing where I show you the plugins I use on different tracks in the mix like the master fader, along with individual tracks as well as groups or busses.

 

Also, streaming live is not that hard or expensive.

Here's a quick one where I'm dabbling w/ Maschine Jam.

 

What you need"

Rode SC4 available on Amazon and lots of places.  This converts a stereo input into a mic input for your smart phone, I'm using an iPhone.

Then you need something like this to go from your mixer to the Rode connector.

**this is important**

You're phone takes a mic level input, your mixer or soundcard sends line level signal which is MUCH hotter than a mic level signal.

So you'll need to send a very low level signal into your phone or you will get distortion.

What does this mean?

On a DJ mixer you must use an output with a knob that controls the signal going out.  For example I'm using the booth out on my DJ mixer and I have the output set to 9 o clock.  This is very low.

If you don't have control over your output then you will need this attenuator by Fentronix.

In the clip on facebook above, it doesn't sound super great because I'm just jamming and when I further arrange and mix this tune I'll be making sure it sounds good in mono.  Using this method which is quite easy and cheap you'll be broadcasting in mono.

This is fine for streaming DJ sets where the music is already mix, mastered and sounding good in mono.

Enjoy and see you next time.

 

 

How to Make Sure Your Track Fills Out The Full Frequency Range

Can you see what's wrong with this picture?  The image above is a spectrum analysis of one of my (work in progress) tracks.

I sent it off to Björgvin over at www.audio-issues.com for a review and loved his feedback even though he doesn't really work at all in dance music. 

I had asked him to review what's done well, and what red flags does he see or hear.  His concern is my track is quite bottom heavy and lacking in mid-range.

This sent me back to the drawing board.

First thing I did was find a tune that I think sounds good, so I popped one of Harvey McKay's tracks into Ableton with Voxengo Span on the master fader. Span is a free spectrum analysis.

No surprise that Harvey's tune looks and sounds lovely.

I took a screen shot of Harvey's track to get a snapshot of what the spectrum looked like.

I then played my own track and too a snapshot and looked at them both side by side to see what was missing.

I was missing content from about 250Hz to 1500kHz.  So I played Harvey's tune and discovered that his chord riff is a big part of how he fills out that range of sounds in his tune.

So my tune needed a similar riff or hook which I added and you can hear in the video.

Very worthwhile exercise of getting feedback from another expert and implementing something new.

The little chord sequence I added definitely gives the tune a need boost of sonic character.