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Thread: Doubting Myself... Please help.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Doubting Myself... Please help.

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    Hey, guys. I've been a member of the forum for about three months but this is my first post because this is the first time I've felt the need to post. This is about my doubt when it comes to mixing anything. Like, I've gotten into this whole music production thing six months ago and I've learned a lot, but I don't feel like I've learned enough. My dream is to be a big-time DJ/producer like Swedish House Mafia or something along those lines. And it stuns me how they make their mixes so clear and powerful. Like, is there some sort of secret that is kept from us wanna-be producers that makes these tracks so huge on the charts? I have all of these great ideas for house tracks but I feel like I'm wasting time because I don't know how to mix them or master them properly. So, this is my cry for help. Whenever I mix and master a song, it just doesn't have that quality that your house tracks today have. I've taken advice from many online articles about mixing and mastering. Heck, I even ordered Sample Magic's, "The Secrets of House Music Production." Nothing seems to contribute to that "perfect mix" I'm trying to achieve. Let me tell you some of the mixing things I do to point out some possible flaws in my mixing. I'm using Logic Pro 9 as my DAW.
    • First of all, I EQ all of my instruments and put low cuts on everything except for the low frequency instruments like my bassline, sub-bassline, and kick drum.
    • I pan my instruments as followed: My bass drum, bass line, and sub-bass line, and snare drum are in the center, hi-hat panned +15, toms panned -15. Should I pan my lead synths and pads as well? And if so, how far should I pan them across the spectrum? Should I also pan my white-noise wooshes? Is there some limit to panning in Logic to keep it from being panned to hard and sounding cheesy?
    • How important is automation when mixing? Is it ok to use volume automation in your tracks or does it make more sense to bounce a region to an audio file and use a fade?
    • How important are submixes and how many should you have and what instruments should each submix consist of?
    These are just a few of a giant list of questions I have. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  2. #2
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    Man, you just need to work very, very hard. I'm having a hard time with my mixes and mastering, but I keep trying. Also, not all big star producers mix or master they own songs. If there's a record label behind then, they can hire someone to do it for them.

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    trust me man, Production doesnt happen overnight, your best bet to get better, is to keep practicing and honing your craft. I would suggest looking at tutorials on youtube, and develop your own style off of that , use it more as a template, so it can give you an idea of how to mix or master or pan EQ's or whatever your trying to hone in on. I started making music at age 14 im 17 now and I still feel that I need to learn more. You will be okay just trust in your ability to move further. Doubt will only hold you back! God Bless.
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    Ensure your room acoustics are decent, or you will chase your tail.
    Automation adds evolution to song. Learn it well. Use it when you need it.
    If you don't have music theory knowledge, get some.
    Learn to play an instrument, piano, guitar, occasional skin flute if you so desire.

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    Mixes - everybody always talks like you have to be a wizard at EQ and compression to get a clear mix. What most aren't saying is that all the major producers use Izotope Ozone or something similar to master their beats. I use FL and literally all my beats are mastered with Ozone 5 and Maximus. I'm not saying Ozone is absolutely necessary for a clear mix; my partner doesn't use it (check out the first track on my website in my signature) but then listen to the second track and the difference is obvious.

  6. #6
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    Hey man


    You put low cuts on everything except for the low frequency instruments like your bassline, sub bassline and kick drum ?

    I put low cuts on everything that needs low cuts and dont put it on everything that doesnt need it - this can include basslines and kick drums - it really depends on the sounds and the other sounds you are mixing with it - the key is to keep listening and adjusting based on what you hear - Its easier if you dont mix for prolonged periods of time, plenty of breaks in between to maintain a fresh perspective. Its all like a balancing act - doing things just to do them will most definately put things out of balance .

    With panning your instruments same thing goes - it all depends.

    Automation is a very handy tool, whether you automate a fade or manually create a fade on a bounced track will not affect the quality of your track.

    Submixes are important when you want to layer your sounds, or when you want to apply effects to a group of channels. Again not a determination of quality but something to use when you need it.


    These definately help if you can use them wisely
    Compression, Sidechaining, limiting -

    You recognize that your mixes arent as clear as you want them to be, that is enough to get you to where you need to be - be patient dont force it.

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    There aren't many set rules for mixing/mastering, it all varies from song to song and what each individual track requires. Always low-cutting or hi-cutting the same elements of a song is a habit you should break, only use filtering/EQ when you feel the mix needs it. You've only been at it for 6 months man, just keep working and comparing your mixes to industry mixes and eventually you will get there. Also I see you didn't mention compression anywhere, which is an essential tool in house/EDM music, so I'd suggest experimenting with different compressors on your tracks. Good luck!

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    I was in the same hole myself not too long ago and I received the same advice--just be patient and keep at it. I know it is very frustrating to hear, but that's what it really comes down to. Like Chekhov said, "Talent is patience." Mastering music production doesn't happen over night, like exactruth pointed out. So if you're not happy with how your music sounds right now, I guarantee that if you stick around for long enough, you will be.

    Also, I think you're approaching your creative block from the wrong perspective. What I've found out when I was struggling with my music is that if you focus more on the music than the technicalities of music production, you will get better much faster. Even though house music is electronic by nature and it involves a lot of mixing, it is still music. Remember that when you sit down and open your DAW; your goal is to create a sound that will move people the way you want. Creating "the perfect mix" where everything sounds clean and crisp comes second.

    You mentioned that you have a lot of good ideas for songs, maybe you should focus more on them. Perfect mixes come first and foremost from perfect sounds. I'm sorry that you're going through this block, but I have no doubt you'll get over it. Best of luck!
    Last edited by MORZ42; 06-04-2013 at 01:43 PM.
    [SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/rho_official/rho-chosen[/SOUNDCLOUD]

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    Thank you all for taking the time to provide me with feedback. To clear out things I did not state, I have ten years of piano training so I have a pretty broad knowledge of music theory, and I'm quite familiar with compression/side chaining, etc... I'm just the type of person who is almost never satisfied with what they do, musically. I'm a perfectionist. So, I felt I should post to get other perspectives and some helpful advice. It's good to know that I'm not the only one that has been in this boat. I'm always shooting to get better so I will post some of my mixes when the site allows me. Thanks again, guys! God bless!

  10. #10
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    6 months? I'd say think 6 years before your mixes are getting OK.

    And your problem is probably more about your choices of sounds and writing/production than it is "mixing".

    If you are "doing it right", your track should sound pretty much good even with no EQ.

    But the "ability to choose the right sounds and understanding which ones are cool and which are cheesy" and "the ability to think up good songs" is not something you can teach a person.

    You can teach how to put it all together, but the "ideas" come from within you.
    Last edited by dvyce; 06-05-2013 at 02:57 PM.
    I am expressing my opinion.
    Please feel free to express yours, too.
    This is a discussion forum, after all.
    Have fun.

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