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Advice For Mixing Hats Claps Snares Leads And Synths

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Iv recently upgraded my music computer and now I have enough processing capabilities to mix. I have  a whole lot of tracks that iv put a side for mixing maybe 30 or 40.


some advice on a more professional mix would be appreciated


I think iv got kicks  and bass down with compression, filter and eq


but when it comes to instruments like hats im not so sure what else too apply


I like to give snares a slight reverb and raise up the low/mid frequencies a tad


any advice would be very much appreciated







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  • 1 month later...

there's a multitude of things you can try. there's different things you can do depending on the style of music and the vibe of the song. also, the role each instrument has in the music can dictate what kind of sound you want and where it should sit in the mix. there's no reason for you not to experiment to find the sounds that you want to hear. anything and everything is fair game. doing the most illogical thing might turn out to be perfect for the song. i'll make a few (of the more logical) suggestions.


if it's sample based music, you will probably want your snares and claps to have some size and impact. adding too much reverb will make them sound small and far away. an easy way to make snares and claps sound bigger and more 3 dimensional is to set up a short delay effect on an aux fader. a simple stock delay is just fine. it doesn't need to be anything fancy. mono to stereo delays are a good choice here. most delays like that allow you to set a different delay time for the left and right side. so set the delay time to a very short amount like 15 ms on one side and 25 ms on the other. the feedback should be set to zero. so then u just send some signal from the claps and/or snare to the fx. keeping the snare panned center and having the delays panned out wide will then make it sound much wider, fuller and 3 dimensional. you can adjust the amount of the fx by the amount of signal you send to them. this can really make the snare and claps sound bigger without sounding farther away like with reverb. compression on snare and claps can also help bring the sounds forward in the mix and make them really hit. but u can't use too much compression because it will lose impact once it gets to a certain level because you are taking away the dynamics and limiting the amount of headroom available.  also, boosting the low frequencies with a low shelf eq can really fatten the sound up. don't be afraid to let the snare sit loud in the mix if its hip hop, r & b, or techno/edm.


depending on the style u can try things with hats that will give them character. a plain hi hat sound can easily get lost in a mix if there's a lot going on. boosting frequencies might only make them sound thin. sometimes a little overdrive or distortion can help a hi hat cut through. assuming we are talking about plugins that is. i like nomad factory valvedriver for hi hats. it dirties them up nicely. if dirt is not what you are wanting, auto panners can be useful or even a flanger effect to put some sweep into the sound so that it doesn't sound too plain and boring. reverb isn't great for hats, but sometimes can work. reverb is better on shakers and percussion than it is on hats.


if you really want to try some interesting sounds, there's some envelope filters that u can try that react dynamically to the drum sounds. even a wah pedal sound might work in certain situations to color the sound differently.


putting tap tempo delays like 8th notes or dotted 8ths or 1/4 notes, etc, on hats and panning them away from the hats can be interesting.  


here's another suggestion, send the outputs of all your drum sounds to a stereo aux track and put some eq and compression on the blend of the sounds. that can help make it move and sound more together. this is in addition to having eqs and compression, etc on the tracks themselves. try to think of the tracks as 1 thing and not just a bunch of separate things.


i suggest if you don't know what an effect is or what it does, take a few seconds to apply it to some drums sounds and start turning the controls to see what it can do. like i said, there's really not limit and no rules so be creative.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you so much for your awesome reply! Hitman I really do appreciate it.


When you asked if my songs are sample based I have a question.. I don't use sample to create the song like taking a 80s song and chopping it up and adding a drum pattern(I despise that there's no creativity going into the music) however my drum patterns are from sample packs ie the separate instrument that I can play my own drum pattern with, would these drums need mixing or are they mixed


what you told me about making claps 3dimentional makes sense when you mention it as direction of sound, its similar to what iv been experimenting moving the positions of the sound with a stereo shaper iv been changing the position of each sound so some are higher up on headphones some lower some in the middle it spaces things out and creates an interesting new sound


if I where to give you a track like this https://soundcloud.com/aloproductionz/i-remember  what would you advice be for this style

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very cool stuff. i could definitely give you some ideas that you can try.


sounds like you have an echo on the kick. it sounds nice. if i were mixing this, i think i would try panning the echoes. not the kick sound itself, but the repeats. either with a ping pong style echo or an auto panner. make sure you are using sends and returns instead of putting the delay on the track itself, then u can independently eq and pan the delay without affecting the kick sound. there's a good amount of open space to work with here, but i wouldn't pan the echoes very hard since it's the kick, and if the echoes are panned too much, it will become a distraction from the track. if the echoes are panned slightly, it will also help the definition of the actual kick and provide some rhythmic movement in the track. nothing wider than 10 & 2 o'clock. since the echoes will be more distinct also, u can use an eq on the delay to either hide them a bit or make them stand out more. i'd probably lean toward hiding them a bit by rolling off some highs and make them feel more like a heart beat that is more felt than heard. you might also want to consider ducking the echoes so that the kick itself always remains at the forefront and the echoes are only heard when the kick isn't actually hitting. that would help keep things less cluttered.


on the high piano melody part i'd do a mono ducked delay (send/return) set to a quarter note with a small amount of feedback (maybe 1.5 echoes). then put an eq before the delay and filter out the highs and lows.  i'd then put a short delay after the ducking compressor set to 0 ms on one side, and maybe 15 ms on the other to change the mono delay to a stereo delay. you can also flip the phase of one of the sides of the short delay to widen the stereo image. so, by using the ducker, filter, and short stereo delay (to spread it out wide), you can really hide the echo nicely so that it gives the piano a ghostly aura that won't take away from the beautiful tone of the melody and it won't be so obvious that it has delay on it. you don't want to clutter things up with fx, but a sprinkle of fx can go a long way to making it sound dreamy.


the synth sound that comes in at @:32 can be panned left to right or vice versa with automation. u can also try the delay fx i just mentioned for the high melody piano on this sound.


the bass sound that comes in right after that sounds like it's being pushed too hard. if you have any effects on it, take everything off it and find the level you think you want it at in the mix. then you might only want a very light compressor on it, not to make it louder, but to shape the attack and sustain. the tone is prob good without any eq. but if you feel like it's interrupting the dreaminess of the other sounds, you can try to filter the highs to make the sound a little rounder rather than sharper. i'd strongly recommend not boosting the bottom unless there is a really good reason to. work the volume to get the level in the mix. boosting the low eq to make it sound bigger in the mix will just make it take up more room and therefore the other sounds will sound smaller. don't be afraid to leave it completely dry with no eq or compression at all. sometimes it's best to not try to fix something that doesn't need fixing.


i like where you have the 2 piano parts panned. they balance out well when the bass isn't playing, the problem is that when the big bass sound comes in, the lower piano basically disappears. that's probably from the bass sound triggering the main stereo bus compressor or limiter. so like i said before, find the volume with the bass. don't try to make it sound "big" in the mix with compression and eq because what is happening is that because it's the biggest sound and the sound putting out the most energy, whenever it hits the threshold on the stereo bus compressor or limiter, everything else is being pushed down beneath it. the loudest most high energy sound will always do that to the stereo bus compressor limiter. a way to reduce that from being a major problem would be to use multiband compression, but even then, you are only changing the way it reacts to the frequency ranges independently, so with the multiband compressor, you will still be pushing down the lows on all the sounds in those frequency ranges. so the multiband can help the higher frequencies come through, but they might sound thinner without the lower frequencies that were pushed down when the bass is playing. so you kinda need to leave yourself some headroom on the stereo bus before the compressor starts knocking things down, that's the only way to really avoid the problem altogether. dynamics are a great thing. especially for this type of music. once you reach a certain volume level, the more you try to push the volume to be louder, the smaller and less dynamic it will sound.


the claps sound small and weak. you might want to think about layering in another clap sample from another drumkit patch. the other thing is you can use that short delay like i mentioned in my previous post to thicken it up and make it sound bigger. you can also bring up the volume of the sound and maybe a small amount of eq and compression to give it more impact. it also seems a touch dry. try some more reverb as well, or maybe using a second reverb to get different qualities. use sends and returns for the reverbs, do not put them on the actual track


if you are not sure what i'm talking about with the ducked delays, i posted another thread about using dynamics sidechains for practical applications. it's described there.


i made these suggestions, but i wouldn't say you are doing anything wrong, my suggestions are for you to do things a little differently. you might hate all of my suggestions. but maybe it can lead you in the direction you want just by trying them. good luck

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