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I'm producing a big room house track with ableton and was looking for some mixing advice: basically the different sounds don't glue together completely, like the bass and the leads are quite separate and don't give a cohesive feeling to track (I have a limiter on the master but it's actually not triggered as I'm keeping volumes low). Is a matter of mid-side eqing, compression or volumes?

Here is a sample of the track: www13.zippyshare.com/v/eJBBWhLN/file.html

Also, volume wise - what would you do? I feel like the the bass is too high when I listen to it for a long time.

Thanks a lot for your help!

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Firstly, align your mixing environment to a technical level using pink noise and a sound pressure level meter. There are various articles on how to do this .... for example.

Secondly, listen to lots of reference material at a set known mix volume level and train your ears to get used to hearing familiar material in this environment.

Then when you know what you want it to sound like, listen to the material you are working on - you will then find it much easier to pick out and seperate the sounds that you are hearing. The key to this is ear training, critical listening and understanding the layers of the sounds that you are working with. In a multi-track, change individual tracks and analyse the changes in sounds that you hear. You will then be able to experiment and determine what works and what doesn't work.

For instance, if you perceive that the bass is over-loud, then reduce the level in the mix. This could be due to a couple of factors: a) it's actually too loud, b) the monitoring environment is not calibrated correctly.

Compression of tracks and sounds may help, but this will reduce overall dynamic range and emotional impact. Don't try limiting the master tracks until you are done mixing. Effects on the Master track are really only for final limiting of the overall track so that it falls within technical constraints.

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Make use of EQ to individualize each layer and to ensure no frequency masking takes place. Utilize reverb to bring some space to the overall mix. As far as levels, use your judgement to figure out how it should balance out in comparison to other layers. This is unfortunately a broad question. If you have something specific, I would be happy to answer. Also, as Mark stated, use mix references to train your ears.

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My first impression (maybe because I like 90's tracks better):

The first part sounds too compact. The second part is better but the lead track kills both the bass and the kick drum.

I think you should go back to the musical arrangement first. Use rests in favour of side-chained limiters. Typically, the bass should play one eighth after the kick drum, for the duration of one eighth. Also, make the bass more percussive, and maybe try to move it one octave up. I think something like this: http://www.bubblegumdancer.com/production.php#lately, but in lower tempo would help the mix.

If modifying the bass does not help, I would try a different lead tone, maybe play it in staccato.

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Good comment about reference material. Find tracks being used in the venue that you are creating for and check the frequencies and effects that they use and try to make yours sound similar.

As for your low volumes...Most radio stations have compressors that knock off the peaks and then suck up all the low stuff to play it on air; When mastering I usually make sure the final mix is as loud as I can get it without clipping.

Good example of this is adverts....Adverts are always mastered compressed and normalised to maximum volume....that's why adverts always sound louder than TV programs. If everyone did this then we would never have to turn volumes up and down depending on who did the recording.

  • You might want to put it away for a couple of days and then come back to it with fresh ears....Sometimes i get too close to a recording and lose perspective on what sounds ok and what doesnt.....Go listen to some music of a similar genre to reset your head – Ray Shaw Dec 20 '16 at 15:21

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