Been having trouble getting my tracks to sound full, not sure if it is my basslines, drums, or just my mixdown in general, but I am looking to get some pointers on how to make a track sound more “full”
This may sound strange but you need to concentrate on less rather than more. The fewer things you have in your mix the more straightforward this process becomes.
Imagine that the ‘mix’ is a box with only so much space inside of it. Gravity is strong inside of this box and all the bass sits at the bottom. As you start to add more things to your box, parts of them will be dragged down into the lower lair -and this is the important part-, parts which you do not need. Everything you put in the box is basically too big and you need to trim away the bits you don’t need so that it’ll fit.
When we make music the temptation is to always add more - well, the opposite is the case usually, especially with mixing.
Take each component in your track and think about what role it is playing in there musically and sonically. If it isn’t necessary then kill it. If you need it then think about what it brings sonically and carve out everyting else with EQ. It’s very likely that your kick and bass are fighting with eachother, and for that there are a million cures. My two favourites though are to side-chain compress the bass or to tune (yes, pitch) the kick to match the bass and then EQ them to live alongside eachother.
Do some googling but guides like this should help with the EQ bit: http://www.audio-issues.com/ultimate-eq-guide/
- Don’t forget panning. You have two speakers
- Reverb sends things into the distance so be careful with it
Fullness is a lot of little things added up. In the mix, you need to fill your all of the frequencies with content…A/B with a track that sounds full and try to figure out what yours is lacking and layer something in to fill the thin space. Do the same with the stereo field…if yours doesn’t have it…layer it in.
The stereo field has to be used but usually bass isnt too stereo spread. Bass sounds more powerful and full if it is fairly centered so it helps to have something else fill the field. I love this part of mixing because it is actually audio trickery. If one thing is really spread like a pad in the background, it seems to make the bass sound wide. Our ears tend to trick us into thinking multiple sounds are all part of the same sound so if you utilize the stereo field with something like noise or a pad or a super saw chord, layer it along with a bass and it makes the mix sound really full and wide. Make sure to set these spread sounds up with unison. Using unison and pan in a synth creates a very stereo spread sound that you don’t get from FX. What’s cool with these sounds is that they don’t have to be very audible. You can drop them down in the mix to where we still sense the stereo presence but don’t necessarily listen to the parts or sometimes even notice that it is there. If they are playing along with a bass, make sure to EQ down the lower end so you don’t muddy up your bass.
For a bassline you want to use fx like compression, saturation, overdrive, and distortion for filling the sound out and then use delays and reverbs for dimension. The trick here is to be subtle and not destroy your sound. Too much of this creates noise that can overtake your bass and make it thin.
This is also where layering comes in. I like to duplicate a patch and then tweak the duplicate so that it fills up the sound more. Most of my basses are 2-3 patches layered up. In FM synth, I tend to use a single patch because I use operators to layer in frequencies as if I am layering in a duplicate synth. I will often drop the duplicate sounds down -6 to -12 db so the main patch is the core sound and then the layers are under it filling up space.
Detuning also comes into play here. I have just recently started detuning stuff so I don’t have too much advice about it but it seems to help fill sounds out and make them separate from other sounds. Def a good thing to learn how to do.
lol why was this flagged? no one got a sense of humour?
brostep: serious bizniss
pay attention to your frequency spectrum utilization. as touched on, the “less is more” approach is the easiest to take, but assumes that you have a good and well balanced instrumentation palette to begin with.
that approach will still not work if you are introducing a synth/bass that doesn’t occupy much space. but rather, the “less is more” approach allows you to more conveniently fill your spectrum without contention for bandwidth between two instruments, which is a very commonly faced issue in engineering in any genre of music, electronic or even plain studio environments.
there’s a fantastic book called “Mastering Audio, the art and the science” by Bob Katz that reveals many secrets to producing full music, despite the fact that it was intended to teach how to master mixed down tracks. Mainly because it is much more difficult to enrich, or resolve contention between instruments once already mixed down. So, by finding the answers to how that is best achieved, you’ll more than understand how to achieve it while still multi-tracked.
ultimately, you want to use what’s commonly referred to as “ducking” on your lead instruments and critical drum hits, so that you can have instruments within the same frequency space, only backing down subtly enough to allow your buss-level compressors and limiters to seemingly make more intelligent decisions about how to maximize your RMS while not placing garbage up front.
Good luck,and happy rabbit-holing!
what did wobbles write
Everyone posts this question on here, there’s no surefire way tbh it takes time to perfect a mixdown for a start- it’s trial and error to get the levels right every mixdown is different for every track, for example. You want a fuller sound? Is that bassline, drums, the whole track? Cos a good master mixdown plays a part in a fuller sound, then it’s stuff like EQing, compression and stuff, but that takes again time and trial and error/is different for every track. Do research, obviously it’s not all about throwing sausage fattener on the master and hoping for the best. Selective use of effects and stuff like that can get you a better mixdown/better sound but again, time/research.
Also why do people write a question and not reply to the thread again, people are putting time and effort in responding (wobbles aside lol).