Please scroll to the bottom of the page to read this blog from the beginning.
Is this a step in the right direction?
Have I achieved better results than my previous attempts by following this process?
Please leave feedback in the comments section below!
Most of my track is made using software synths and samples. I predominantly used Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere (http://www.spectrasonics.net/products/omnisphere.php) and Native Instruments’ Komplete package (http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-9/), although it isn’t important what I used because the most important parts of this process are sound choice and processing techniques.
When making my track, the key factor to acheiving the sound of mix that I wanted was spectral bracketing with parametric EQ. I primarily used Voxengo’s Gliss EQ (http://www.voxengo.com/product/glisseq/), which has a spectrum analyser built-in, with similar capabilities to SPAN. Extreme high and low frequency cuts were applied to almost every channel on the first insert slot, and the last (pre and post FX). I used SPAN to view three different overlaying spectral displays for kick drum, bass, and melody lines. This meant I was able to check for clashing frequencies and quickly locate the source of unwanted distortion.
I set up a series of group channels (busses) to apply small amounts of buss compression and EQ to the 5 main groups of sounds: Drums, Bass, Instruments and Synthesizers, Vocals and FX. These channels were then summed at the master (2-buss).
I also set up 8 FX returns: Air Reverb (Bright Hall), Long Reverb (Tunnel), Short Reverb (Room), Resonant Delay 1/8., Dub Delay 1/8. (with LPF), Dub Delay 1/4. (with LPF), Delay/Reverb 1/4. and Delay/Reverb 1/8. These were used to add depth to the mix by sending small amounts of each channel to the FX processors.
On the master out I used Variety of Sound’s Baxter EQ (http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/baxtereq-%E2%80%93-released-today/), with a low cut at 30 Hz and a high cut at 16 Hz. This was followed by vladg/sound’s Limiter No6 (http://vladgsound.wordpress.com/plugins/limiter6/) to apply a few dB of compression, drive (saturation), hf limiting and peak limiting.
I also side-chained most of the melodic parts and the bass to the kick drum. This created movement in the groove of the track and helped to create space in the mix.
Finally, I used volume and filter/EQ automation to add variety to the sounds and to create tension.
Next I try to take influence from my reference tracks when sound designing…
The next two videos show how I made two patches using Omnisphere and FM8. One is a ‘blip’ type sound, and the other an 80’s-inspired lead/pad. Both have some FX, either inserted or on send/return channels in Cubase, as shown in the videos.
I decided to focus on making just one track, so my stylistic inspiration for both these patches came from Sbtrkt.
I will use them both in my track.
It seems that my tracks aren’t too far away from my references, in terms of raw data from SPAN, but they do sound considerably quieter. If I use my references to A/B compare directly when I’m making a track (and use my notes from this blog), it should help me to hone in on the problem areas and improve my mixes.