Analyzing frequencies on percussions.

Discussion in 'Production' started by DanDnB, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    Hi guys,

    I know this is probably a very broad topic, so i want my questions to be as specific as possible. Although some of the answers are subjective (like 'this' sounds better than 'that') type of thing, I'm sure there are basic guidelines when analyzing spectrums.

    So here is my first question,

    When I start out making a beat, I go with the basic

    BOOM---CHACK--BOOM-CHACK

    1-5-11-13 if you know what i mean.

    From there the skies the limit, sometimes i layer in hats and short cymbals. Ill throwstuff in between to make it sound faster, ghost snares, ghost kicks or whatever.

    Sometimes I feel like I dont layer enough, so when i add another layer of instrument, I have to be real careful because im running out of audible room. And this is the problem.

    When I listen to a good DnB track i notice how all the percussions are easily discerned. I can pick out every layer and say 'this layer goes like this, and that layer goes like that' etc...

    For example, the song Sun King by State of Mind. (This song has lots of layers)

    The hats, kicks, snares, etc... sit perfectly.

    I have an analyzer and assuming i chose a basic snare that hits at 230, i will cut all frequencies that are unused except the harmonics, probably in the 460 range ill leave. The rest i roll off, not cut totally.

    Sometimes i leave a little high end for the main CHACK snare.

    The problem is when I layer, a lot of sounds are in the same frequency range. For instance lets say i have some bright cymbals going on 8th notes, those are hitting 7khz. But my Hihats happen to sound sweet at 3500 with a harmonic at 7khz. And if i cut the Hats 7khz than it sounds like shit.

    If i dont cut the hats at 7khz, the cymbals will be interfered badly by the hats. Thus lies my problem, which frequencies do I keep, and which do i cut?

    Sometimes i wish i could keep them all, they all sound good. Granted a kick drum doesnt need a 7khz band, but even a little high end on a kick drum sounds good. So where does it end?

    Am I the only one getting frustrated with audible placement? I need some hope that there is more to this than just 20-20khz.

    Thanks!
     
  2. chromey

    chromey a.k.a Impact

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    I'd guess that it comes down to carefully tweaking the freq's to accomodate all the elements. Ie: if you have three lots of hats, eq them within similar ranges, but keep them cleanly 'apart' and use additional components such as panning and fx to further differentiate.

    I think its more important to think of your mix in terms of '3d space' as well as the 2d frequency spectrum.
    For what I mean by 3d space- have a look at this diagram to see what I mean:
    [​IMG]

    Another article along similar lines:
    http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/production/how-to-use-the-sound-cube-to-plan-your-recording/

    I know a guy who did Audio engineering at Uni, and as part of his mixing tuition he had to plot out his mixes in one of the cubes before he sat down at the desk.
    Apparently it helps visualise the mix you want to acheive. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  3. louissmusic

    louissmusic Member

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    o_O i never really realised how complicated mixing mastering was. Just wondering Dan how did you learn what you know?
     
  4. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    Less is more IMO. If you have a good hihat and a good cymbal fighting for the same space, ditch one of them. Maybe you can change up the feel of the track by switching between the 2.

    But if you feel you just HAVE to have both, turn them both down a bit and have them trigger at the same time, combining the 2 sounds into one.
     
  5. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    I bought books, lots and lots of books.

    Reason 4 Power!
    Remixers Bible
    Computer Music by Roads
    260 Drum beat patterns
    Music theory for dummies
    Basic music theory

    etc...

    I also have a degree in mechanical engineering and I specialize in gas dynamics and compressible flow. So acoustics isn't completely foreign to me.


    By the way, thanks for the diagram chromey!


    Question for Kama:
    If I keep both the cymbals and hats, and they both sit at 7khz, i just need to turn them down (lower dB)... Which means the resultant sound will be the addition of the two peaks (since they sit at 7k). The addition results in a single peak that is higher than either of the original peaks but may or may not be higher than sum.

    Blah... See what I'm saying?
     
  6. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    haha not really!

    I just go with my ear to be honest. maybe you can level the peaks with a limiter.

    Or just tune the other down a bit.
     
  7. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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  8. sati

    sati Code Monkey

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    kama gave good advice

    I would say when sculpting frequencies fails look into sidechaining the two elements. when one if on the other should be a bit softer. it's all give and take eventually.
     
  9. luzil

    luzil Member

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    u know this link already?

    http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

    gives u good clue how to eq and compress single instruments.

    what ive read in no other music genre multiband compression is so important than in dnb, because u have so many drum parts, bass, which overlap in many frequency bands. So to be able to hear how single parts evolve over time u have to compress and clever eq it. i just think thats the reason why there are mastering experts and u cant do this easily on ur own like creating sounds with a synth. It need experience over years, i read there are prof. mastering engineers just working by ear, other use tools like sonogramms to take a deep look in the frequ plane. Its a secret science. The ear has some so called "critical bands" which causes masking effects u mentioned, so u might take a look at this. These problems are solved by compression algorithms