Electro House Tutorial Day 7: Mixing & Mastering an Electro House Song [7 Day Song]
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and welcome to day 5 of my seven day song tutorial on Electro House.
In day 6, I taught you how to arrange an Electro House song and also taught you how to add filter sweeps to the whole track. Today, I’ll be teaching you how to mix and master the full song, then I’ll show you the full finished Electro House 7 Day song!
Okay! Let’s begin.
Before I start, last time I made a mistake – the Filter should be connected between the mixer and the mastering suite, not after the mastering suit, as filter sweeps can quite radically increase the volume of the track, making it clip! So hit tab to look behind the rack, and move the output of the mixer to the filter input, and the filter output to the mastering suite, and the mastering suite output to the hardware device audio out. Sorted!
Firsly, notice that I’ve added an RV7000 Advanced Reverb unit to the mixer? I’ve applied it to all the elements of the track barring the bass, which is best to be kept dry, since reverby bass makes the low end of the track messy! This reverb just makes things sit in the mix better. Apply it by turning up the relevant auxilliary knob on each channel.
Onto the mixing – Make sure you’re mixing without the mastering suite on – you should make your song sound ace without mastering, then when you add it it will sound even better.
My preferred method of mixing is to introduce elements one at a time – So I’ll start with the beat, Then introduce the shaker, the bass, then the lead and so on. Vocals generally come after the instrumentation has been sorted out.
What I aim for is for the master level to not go into the red. When mixing, it is generally best to cut volumes than boost them.
You might feel by taking volumes down that you are reducing the power of the track – If this is the case, turn up the volume on your speakers so you can still feel the power rather than turning up the volume on your drumbeat! If it’s still sounding weak, chances are you’ve chosen some weak samples.
Make sure you listen to the track at several different volumes though and on several different speaker systems. This will give the best picture of what the track sounds like, as it will sound different through different setups!
A system with what is called a flat response – where no frequencies have any more prominence than usual – is best for mixing. Obviously not everyone has access to this, so the next best thing is to listen to the song on as many systems as possible and see what needs changing on each.
So a few rules of thumb – Instrumentally, The drums and bass should be loudest. Look at the waveforms of most Electro House and you’ll see that the kick Bass are much louder than the rest of the track – here I’ve got Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” as an example – take a look at the beats and bass – they are at least 12dB louder than the rest of the track.
Electro House often tends to sound ridiculously compressed and loud – this is the eternal struggle between loudness and clarity – in a club, the louder a song is, the more the clubbers will feel it and so the producer is under duress to make the track as loud as possible.
Back to our song though, Once I’ve mixed the track, then Reason has the MClass Mastering suite which is really handy for just bringing the track up to that professional level – take a listen without the suite… then with. Much better. I’ve chosen the Dance setting here which I think works really well, though the “Kompact Mastering” setting is pretty cool for Electro House too.
Let’s take a look and see what it’s doing under the hood.
There’s some gently compression being applied first, with a slow attack so the kicks don’t get prematurely cut off. This just brings up all the other elements in the mix a bit.
The EQ is boosting around 65hz by about 4dB, bringing that bass end out, then it’s gently cutting the 3khz mark to remove a bit of the click of the bass drum so the bass is more prominent, but to add in a bit more airiness, the hi shelf is boosting over the 11khz mark gently so the bass doesn’t completely overwhelm the track.
The Stereo Imager isn’t doing anything, but the Maximizer is brick wall limiting the hell out of the track – if you really want that Benny Bennassi sound, all you need to do is turn up that input gain to full, the 4ms look ahead will stop the track clipping but it’ll still be much louder overall – as I said though, you’ll lose clarity and dynamic range, so the kicks might feel less punchy as a result.
Okay, so with that out of the way, sit back and take a listen to the finished Electro House song. Feel free to post your song as a video response and I’ll give it a listen and make any suggestions I can think of to help you improve it!
Here’s the final Electro House seven day song.
Ace – I’m really happy with that, chances are I’ll be playing it at gigs with my band You and What Army!
Thanks so much for following along with my seven day song – As with the last one, it’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to the next Seven Day Song project! If you haven’t already seen my 7 Day song Dubstep Tutorial or Drum and Bass Tutorial, you should check those out as well since they use some different techniques – making different genres of music is the best way to expand your horizons as a producer!
Remember to post suggestions under my video blogs or on the boyinaband.com forums for new tutorials and head over to boyinaband.com to check out my other tutorials and blogs.