How to Mix and Master Hardstyle + The Final Song [Day 7 | Hardstyle Tutorial 7 Day Song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to the final day of my 7 day song on Hardstyle.
Yesterday in day 6 we discussed the arrangement of the song – today let’s finish off the track with Mixing and Mastering.
A lot of this will be the same info as previous 7 day song tutorials, but there are some Hardstyle specific things I’ll mention.
When you’re mixing, try to mix on a pair of flat response speakers if possible, since overly bassy hi fi systems or regular old PC speakers will end up giving a false representation of the sound. Particularly with music like this that does place a lot of importance in the mix between the extremely low bass and intense highs with the kicks and those anthemic leads for instance.
Also, make sure you test your mix out on a few systems – in headphones, on the car stereo, on a random chav’s overpriced beats headphones as he sits next to you on the bus with them turned up so loud you can quite clearly hear what he’s listening to, just to see if the track is nice wherever you hear it. You don’t want to have a good mix in your car and a bad sounding mix from the second-hand noise coming out of a benefit-scrounging idiot!
As with most EDM (That stands for electronic dance music btw), The beat and bass are generally loudest. You should be able to fit the leads in without too much trouble though, since there is much more space to play with in the top end of the frequency spectrum.
You can also do a send effect on the mixer with reverb, RV7000 will do, and run the whole mix through it to really give an anthemic sound – a tiny amount can help give the authentic gigantic feel to the track.
The FX can be awkward, since reverses need to be nice and loud, but you don’t want the cymbols swamping the track, so feel free to change some levels in the mixer within the FX combinator.
The other thing to think about is stereo space – if you have two sounds that live in a similar frequency, try widening one so it is able to sit in the mix either side of the other sound. Unison, stereo imagers and chorus can assist with width, but my favourite way is panning multiple instruments left and right with similar sounds – minute differences can accentuate the width though, so maybe detuning differently panned synths could help you if you feel everything is too mono-y.
So yeah, I like to go through, unmuting one track at a time and see whether everything fits together once I’ve got a fresh set of ears after having a bit of time away from the track.
So that’s the mix, the best thing to do is give it a few days after you’ve mixed it, come back and mix it again at a point where you don’t have a pounding headache from perfecting your kick.
Then it’s time for mastering!
Reason 6 comes with a convenient mastering suite here and this nice compressor, which I usually apply until I can hear the track is starting to feel squashed. Bring the threshold down, then apply makeup gain to bring the volume back. Be sparing because this really affects the sound of the whole track and can ruin a perfectly good mix if you’re not careful. The attack defines how punchy it is by letting through the first few seconds of a loud sound before compressing it – usually your kick in this genre.
Mastering-wise, EQ is a good one to play with gently. Bring up the lows and highs to make it clubbier, but ideally you will have got the mix sounding great even before the mastering, meaning you won’t have to do much EQing.
The compressor we looked at before should do the trick for squashification, but the stereo imager can be a nice one to slightly boost everything.
I used to use the maximizer loads, the soft clip tended to help, but I’ve found that even when it says it’s clipping, I can’t usually tell. I don’t know if there’s any other reason to be wary of the clipping, but now I’d advise just going by what your ears tell you rather than when the little red text tells you to turn it down. If you turn it down and there’s a significant improvement in quality, then fair enough, but if it just sounds quieter with no difference in tone – what’s the point?
If you’re worried about the lack of dynamic range, i.e. the punchiness of the kick drum, don’t have the master gain so high. The song will be quieter, but when you boost the volume of the system to a comparable volume, it’ll feel ten times punchier.
Unfortunately, since you aren’t a large fat man in a red suit and a jolly disposition, it isn’t possible to visit the houses of every DJ in the world to request that they make your track much louder than the rest, you might have to sacrifice this dynamic range for the volume to compete with the volumes of other tracks in clubs.
Then once everything’s finished – take a listen to it side by side with a similar song of your choice to see whether it’s hitting the right kinds of volumes, frequencies and that it’s sounding as pro as you can make it.
Last piece of advice – Don’t get downhearted. I’ve been producing for 8 years and, well, take a listen to my earlier tracks from the tutorials and compare them to what I’m producing now. It’s taken me ages to get to this level, mainly because I did everything myself for so long without finding tutorials online and making friends with other producers to advise me.
If a track isn’t working, do the best you can, put it out there, ask for assistance on forums about how to improve it (I’d shockingly enough recommend the boyinaband forum, link below) and make a new one. If you never release your music you’ll feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.
If you keep releasing music you’ll have closure on those tracks and be ready to put out a new track. Maybe that’s just me, but that’s all I can go by. I am thoroughly of the opinion that you need to make like a hundred tracks before you can be justified in being frustrated that you aren’t at that professional level yet.
Keep making music, keep sharing it and keep advising other people how to improve their tracks.
Alright, philosophy and psychology lesson over and that’s about it for the mix and master as well, tune in for part 2 where I’ll be playing the final song!
Okay, Feel free to post your track as a video response to this one. Here’s the final finished 7 day Hardstyle song.
Frickin’ Sweet – that was a fun song to mouse cursor dance to. Though after mixing this track I’ve now run out of migraine tablets.
And some news – Since loads of you have requested to have the files of the final 7 day songs, I’ve made them all available to buy in the boyinaband store. Link below for that – it also helps support boyinaband. Make sure you have the right version of reason first though! It says in the item’s description which versions each song works with.
Now, if you haven’t already, check out my Jump Up DnB, Dance Pop, Prog House, Psytrance, Hip Hop, Liquid, Darkstep, Dirty Dubstep, G Funk, Bassline, Trance, Drum n Bass, Electro House and Dubstep 7 day song video tutorials – experimenting with different genres that you wouldn’t normally make is a great way to learn more about production, plus it’s seriously fun!
Cheers so much for watching, don’t forget to like, favourite and subscribe if you found this tutorial useful and I’ll catch you on the next videos and on the boyinaband.com forum!
Have a nice day!