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Thread: Calling Pro/Electronic producers!! Production help needed!!

  1. #1
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    Calling Pro/Electronic producers!! Production help needed!!

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    Well ive finally had to make this post... let me explain my problem, are you sitting comfortably etc... this may get heavy ;-) (and loooong)

    I am a pro dance/electronic producer i have also produced bands etc, but am presently doing my own original stuff and doing mainstream remixes for major and independant labels.... i have been doing all this for a decade +... but have recently found myself hitting a barrier sonically.

    Ive always compared my finished productions by producers i respect (Junior Jack, Basement Jaxx, Leftfield, Daft Punk...to name a few) i realise the productions im comparing to are top end but i feel its always better to aspire.... anyways... i have felt over the years ive been getting slowly closer and on many occasions have put it down to lack of gear.

    Recently i have become worried.... after moving out of a position at a commercial studio that i helped set up i have set up my own programming suite at home... recently i upgraded much of my gear, i got dynaudio bm6a monitors, two UAD1 cards, and a Motu 828mk2 interface i have a load of synths too...but these arent really important here....

    ...even after this upgrade i still feel my productions arent competing with commercial productions, and after a decade of releasing and now using pretty decent gear at 24 bit i really feel im falling behind. (alot of my productions are pro mastered by major and large indie labels, so please lets not get into the mastering side too much, although i know it is important!)....

    I feel what my sound i lacking mainly is intimacy, clarity, track seperation, stereo width, 'Punch' and full use of the whole frequency range/spectrum especially warm rounded bass. ill break these problems down...

    INTIMACY - when listening to other pro productions i feel elements in there tracks are extremeley close to the listeners position in the overall mix.... no matter how dry or loud i mix an element (and regardless of original sample or recording quality) i cant seem to achieve this crisp closeness!? and this is with or without compression....in my final mixes even my driest elements seem slightly distant and weak??

    CLARITY - very similar to the above...when recording sytnh parts in untreated at 24 bit from high quality synths such as a Virus the final part in the mix still lacks fullness and clarity, eq and compression often help and add character/colour but dont help in acheiving its own spce in the mix....and yes i am paying attention to everythings releative space in the frequency range and am constantly listening if anything is clashing competing etc.

    TRACK SEPERATION - in alot of other pro dance tracks i listen to (mainly french producers) they seem to achieve an almost magical seperation of tracks where there is a huge amount of every frequency present and even overlapping frequencies with excellent seperation...in my productions no matter how much work and thought i put into this area i end up with what is coming close at points to mud and colour....and i try to keep my processing to a minimum (unless for effect) and my eq is not overkill to avoid colouring??!

    STEREO WIDTH - something else i seem not be able to attain to the level i hear in other pro relases..... yeah i can pan things around and treat things with stereo enhnacers and dimension choruses and natural double tracking but the overall width seems to be puny in comparison with tracks im hearing.

    'PUNCH' - this is a tough one... getting sounds really edgy and processed but punchy and transient....compression (light use) deoesnt really help and just seems to squash the signal and if left dry even if a high qulity sample or recording ends up soundsing lifless and without character...often sounds be fine alone but lose effectivness as the mix grows.

    FULL FREQUENCY - although at mastering or pre mastering stage my productions appear to have all frequencies present when compared to other tunes my bass is lacking especially subs.....if i try to add eq it just sounds coloured and muddy the same goes with phsycoaccoustic processors...again my source material; is often high qulity synths and samples recorded at 24 bit.

    ....alot of problems here but i feel it all adds up to a similar issue, overall clarity, depth, presence and sheen.... i have spent years studying this art and am qulified both educationally and professionally.... i feel my technique is good and ALOT better than some stuff i hear but i am failing at the final hurdles.

    my setup is :

    2.6 ghz PC with Cubase SX2 (UAD1 *2)
    Motu 828 mk2
    Dynaudio bm6a's
    Virus B
    Waldorf XT
    Alesis Ion

    my projects are at 24 bit, 44.1 khz (dithered down with apogee algorithms at master)

    my acoustics arent great, but am getting an acoustically treated room built come april....

    i almost feel as if im missing a magic button...am i missing somehting obvious!?

    if you want to hear clips of my stuff (please note only 128kbps) please visit : www.virtualopenair.com
    and go to the showreel section. (we have just remixed tears for fears etc)

    if producers want to seriously get involved i can send higher quality wav clips etc just email me.

    any advice, help, feedback appreciated!!! if your still reading you have more patience than me!!!

    thats it im going to sleep.

    Mo

    p.s. please ignore my spelling its v.late!
    http://www.virtualopenair.com

  2. #2
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    Mate, I know exactly how you feel - Its terrible to be at that stage where you are just that inch short of the sound you're after. I'm not saying I've reached that Nirvana myself, but I've had the same problem for a long time until a mate of mine from LIPA suggested I make a frequency chart for every track. Yes, its tedious and boring but it gave me a whole new approach to placing elements within the mix. This is what to do:
    -Draw up a line with markings that cover the complete freq range you intend to work. You might want to photocopy a 1000 of these straigth away.
    -Decide on what instruments/elements you are going to use. If the track is already written/at the mixing stage you obviously use the chosen elements.
    -Start placing the elements on the line, where you expect them to be. Alternatively, analyze the waveforms of each element and place them on the line. You'll be amazed when you see the amount of crossovers you'll get.
    -Start reworking the crossovers until they occupy a range by themselves

    That should help you out on the intimacy/clarity part.

    I've listened to a few of your tracks, and they are very well produced, but I feel like saying "monitoring". I know you've got good monitors but perhaps they are not properly room adjusted?
    Try the frequency chart, and play around with the positioning of your monitor set-up/positioning. Also have a look at your audio interfaces - somehow I sense that they are chopping a bit of bottom and top of your hardware. I'd love to get a full mix of yours and analyze each waveform.
    Last edited by Port Royale; 12-30-2004 at 05:13 AM.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the feedback!

    after reading a huge thread on here(mainly guitar music related) i have learned alot about frequency placement etc....nothing i didnt already know from college but things i have to relearn almost and try to really remember when mixing....

    yeah my monitoring is good but my placement is awful...like i said as of april im getting a fully acoustically designed room built in my house by studiopeople.com costing alot of but should be well worth it....also gettin some ns-10's and a sub in there....maybe some hardware eq and compression too.

    will obviously persevere and keep researching and searching for 'that' sound....alot of people close to me think my stuff sounds fine and think im crazy.....but if your in my sistuation and crave for the best and something groundbreaking youll know where my frustration comes from!!

    keep the feedback and advice coming!

    Mo
    http://www.virtualopenair.com

  4. #4
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    What audio interfaces do you use?

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    Motu 828 mk2

    all my synths are plugged straight in and recorded at 24 bit.

    just been reading some great stuff on here about delaying single tracks by very small amounts and panning them etc to create depth and seperation....

    one guy said "Its amazing how it works
    I searched for years trying to find a box that made this effect.......
    I though it was 3000$ compressors giving like super high fidelity but it was something I could have done on my first computer many years ago."

    hes using a small dx plug called sample slide to creat this effect will def be getting in to that neck deep!!!

    keep it coming!

    Mo
    http://www.virtualopenair.com

  6. #6
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    A really solid a/d converter could change things alot. Theyre not cheap but worth every penny.

    http://www.apogeedigital.com/
    Last edited by VayderX; 12-30-2004 at 07:49 AM.
    Vayder X

    Electronica to keep you groovin 'til ya press rewind
    [url]http://www.vayderx.com[/url]

  7. #7
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    everything just goes straight in to the Motu 828mk2......not really up for spending huge amounts on an apogee just yet as i dont record anything but synth parts in....my friends have one but they are recording guitars, vox, perc etc...

    most of my stuff is internal samples or sampled from cd or from VSTi's etc....

    (also please note if anyones listening to my stuff on the site, only the tears for fears mix is done with dynaudio monitors....everything previous to that, which is pretty much everything on there....is done with alesis monitoring....not nice.... and novation interface...also not too nice)

    cheers

    Mo
    http://www.virtualopenair.com

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