Psytrance Tutorial Day 7: Mixing, Mastering & The Final Song
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to the final day of my 7 day song on Psytrance.
Yesterday we discussed arrangement of the song, and today we’ll be adding the finishing touches to mixing it, then bringing it up to a nice level with the mastering tools in reason 5.
When you’re mixing, make sure you are mixing 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.
Then make sure you test your mix out on a few systems – in headphones, on the car stereo, in your secret underground lair, 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 while you’re plotting your rise to global power!
The beat and bass are, as per usual, generally loudest – make sure they aren’t in the red though – I’m keeping them low into the yellow so I have room to do some playing with frequencies in the master. The leads, since they’re higher pitched, don’t need as much volume to stay audible in the mix, and the pads should be comfortable lower in the mix.
The glassy pad especially, since we really focused on a small band of frequencies, if this is too high it’ll swamp the mix entirely, hence why it’s got nice and low, like any woman Lil Jon ever met seemed to.
The FX are best adjusted in the kong instance from whence they came, since each one will obviously want a different volume in the mix. Those reverses can be a pain to mix, since they often end up being too quiet to start and too loud to finish. If this is the case, get your friendly neighbourhood compressor on the case and squash it a bit in a kong fx slot.
The other thing to think about is stereo space – the janist monk pad, for instance is, due to the excessive chorus, quite a wide sound, so where we might have worried about its frequencies clashing with that of the bass with the lower notes, it is able to sit in the mix without causing too much of a fuss since it’s quite happy to stay on the periphery of the sound. Incidentally, on a completely irrelevant note, periphery are an awesome band, you should check them out.
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 with a fresh set of ears. Not literally, since ears are expensive in today’s economic climate, but a fresh perspective can help you identify things that are dodgy that you might have got used to from excessive listening.
Then it’s time for mastering! I’ve gone for the “Dance” preset on the mastering suite, since it has pretty much everything we need for the groundwork – compressor for squashing, bass and treble boosting for fine tuning the frequencies and a maximizer for overall volume control.
I’ve set the comp to just over half to squash it for da clubs, so the volume doesn’t lag behind the rest of the songs out there.
The Bass is left where it is, since that happens to be a nice sweet spot for the kick sample, the treble I’ve taken to over a half to brighten it up, though if you’re finding the track too exhausting to listen to, it might be worth dropping this value – the high end can be dangerous if you are too excessive with it.
Lastly – that maximizer. I’ve left it alone since it’s a nice level as it is. It’s limiting it with the 4ms look ahead so there’s no clipping, and we can see that the volume is staying near to the top of the output level, so it’s doing its job nicely. If you’re worried about the lack of dynamic range, i.e. the punchiness of the kick drum, don’t compress so much. 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 it isn’t possible to tell DJs to 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. Such is the eternal fight between volume and punchiness! So many casualties… anyway.
That’s about it for the mix and master, 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. Now it’s time to sit back and take a listen to the final finished 7 day Psytrance song.
Woah, I’m pretty sure I just experienced talking to a 7 dimensional being. He said to prepare for a zombie outbreak, which I’m quite worried about, but then he was talking to me simultaneously in the past present and future so I might have misunderstood.
Thanks for following along with my Psytrance 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 Hip Hop, Liquid, Darkstep, 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!
So yeah – cheers so much for watching, hit the like and subscribe buttons 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!