Liquid DnB Tutorial Day 7: Mixing and Mastering Liquid DnB + The Final Song [7 Day Song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to the final day of the liquid DnB 7 day song.
Today, I’ll be talking about mixing and mastering the song, then show you the final finished song!
Don’t post your video responses to this video, post them to part 2 where the final song is.
Okay, let’s start with the mixing. Time to go through a few things that apply to all genres of music, so this’ll be a re-cap for anyone who’s taken another 7 day song tutorial – Make sure you’re mixing with the mastering suite bypassed, since it can vastly change the sound – if you make it sound good without mastering, then it’ll sound even better when you add it!
You generally want to keep the beat the loudest, closely followed by the bass, make sure the pads are decent, then everything else is your own taste. Some effects can be really annoying if they’re too loud, so be careful with anything that’s really high pitched. This also goes for hats and any cymbols you might have too – you don’t want them taking over your tune!
Start by muting all the channels, then unmute them one at a time, making each section an appropriate volume in relation to the rest of the track. Chances are that you’ll have done a lot of this while making the sounds themselves so you can get an idea of whether or not they fit into the mix.
Another thing to do to make things mix well together is some more EQing – One of the best things about genres where pads are a big part of the tune, pads can be cut pretty much anywhere in the frequency spectrum to make room for other instruments without losing too much definition, so say the piano was prominent around 2.5khz, but that was clashing with the pad, you could easily just remove around that area on the pad and it’d still be recognizeable as a pad, whereas if you did the same to the piano, it would sound much less natural.
Similarly, if you notice any areas in the frequency spectrum that are lacking (I often run reason through a frequency analyzer using rewire and a free VST – Voxengo’s SPAN plug in is amazing for a free piece of software, I’ve linked to that below.) you can boost the pad in that area to fill it out nicely.
Another good technique is that when you finish mixing, leave it for a day and then come back and listen again. If you mix all in one go, chances are your ears will be tired from working on the project. Waiting that day gives your ears a chance to relax so you can listen objectively and with a fresh perspective.
Same goes for mastering too.
So about that mastering – I’ll start by setting this mastering suite to “8 band compression”. This uses a series of compressors and stereo imagers to make a multi band compressor – an awesome device which splits the signal into several frequency bands, then compresses each one, then brings them back together.
The advantage of this is, with a normal compressor, if your low end had a really loud sub, when you compress the whole track, it would duck down whenever that sub came in, giving a weird, squashed effect. With multi-band, when the sub comes in, only the low end frequency band that it was affecting would duck down, leaving the other frequency bands sounding natural and retaining their volume.
Also, if you find you haven’t got enough high end, you can just boost the higher bands and leave the bass, though this is generally best done in the mix rather than with mastering.
This technique helps to bring up the volumes of frequency bands that might not be so loud, and the more frequencies that are brought up, the louder the overall track feels – if you’ve been noticing that your track doesn’t sound as bright or loud as professional songs, this tool can really help you on your way to getting there. You still need to take into account things like choosing samples with a wide frequency range in the first place, EQing and mixing well, but this can really polish up your track in the mastering stages.
So boost the input gain and threshold to 5/8-ish and listen as your track has much more presence and starts sounding clearer.
Lastly, add in a maximizer before the end of the signal chain and hit the 4ms look ahead – just to stop any peaking you may get from pushing the multi band a bit too hard. Be careful that this doesn’t start distorting the track though – if it is, ease up on the input gain back in the compressor.
Another thing you could try is putting in an EQ between the multiband and the maximizer, then bringing up any frequencies you feel are lacking – for instance, if I wanted the pad to be a bit more prominent, I could bring up around 650hz by around 4dB with a nice, wide bandwidth of around 2.5 – this can cause the track to clip when done after the multi-band compression, so be careful – however, if you put it before the compression, when it does the compression then it might smooth out the changes you make. It’s quite a balancing act, but can be pretty useful to do some last minute tidying up of your track. I’ll be leaving it out this time, though ’cause I’m quite happy with the levels.
Alrighty, that’s mixing and mastering done, don’t forget to rate this video, then join me in part 2 where I’ll be playing my full finished 7 day song!
Okay! And with that out of the way, sit back and listen to the final finished 7 day song. Feel free to post your track as a video response to this video.
Here’s the finished Liquid DnB 7 day song.
Man, that’s chilled. I’m pretty sure I had to invent a whole new style of cursor dancing for that.
Thanks for following along with my Liquid 7 day song – Now why don’t you sign up to the boyinaband.com forum to talk about what you’ve learned or ask any questions you might have relating to your productions?
Also, if you haven’t already, check out my Darkstep, Hip Hop, 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!
So yeah – cheers so much for watching, hit the subscribe button if you found this tutorial useful and I’ll catch you on the next tutorial and on the boyinaband.com forum!
See ya round, guys!