"Basics" D&B tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Production' started by Busdriver, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Hello everybody,

    i'm looking for some tips & tricks on those kinda things:

    - on quite every D&B track there is an effect given to the drums often before the drop, which cut all the bass frequencies, then progressively put it back.
    I tried to do it. What i did:
    In Cubase, i created a group track, then i lead all my drums tracks to the group one. On this group i put the Cubase multiband compressor and used the frequency bands part. I wrote the automation.
    It's not too bad but there is like some strange crakeling noise when the automation is running and it doesn't sound really "pro".
    I must admit that i don't have a good EQ plugin and that must be a big part of the problem.

    So can you give me an advice on this method and maybe what's yours, or what use this or this professional producer?

    -EQuing drums. EQuing instruments.
    What i understood from producing and mixing aiming at a pro result is that you must attribute a definite space to every instrument and every part of the drum kit.
    For example, i read a lot of time that the kick should be boosted from that frequencies to that one and the other frequencies on it should be cut down, same for the snare on other frequencies, same for the hi hats etc...
    Every drum element should have it's own frequency space in order not to walk on the other drum element frequencies.
    In that way every drum element must be clear and cuting nicely through the mix.
    I read too that it can be possible to use the pan to re-arrange the space of every instrument/drum part.
    now i'm working on that for some days (i know it's more a question of year...but...) and i don't really hear an improvement.
    In my last track, i tried to boost every single part of my drum kit on his own register and cut all other frequencies on it and even doing that i have an interference between my kick and my hi hat when they hit together.... i really don't understand.
    The only way i found to deal with it was to lower the hi hat volume... but i need it loud....
    Same deal about the bass and the kick for example, it's often hard to use a hard kick and a hard bass together, the frequencies are disturbing each other. But when you listen to a Noisia or quite every drum and bass track, the kick is huge and the bass is enormous and everything is ok, the track is saturated on the bass register but there is no problem... no crakeling no breathe, nothing wrong...Where is the magical trick???

    Something to say about that? some video tutorials about EQing drums or about mixing a track?

    -Widen!
    Quite often, the difference between a casual and a pro track is the "widening" of the sound.
    I mean a kind of big bad stereo effect, the sound isn't too centralised, it runs everywhere around you. It surrounds you.
    For that, first i try to work hard on the quality of every single sound i use on my track, sometimes i use some effects like reverb, distortion,phazer or chorus.
    Then i try to dispatch it a bit with the pan thing.

    Don't sound too bad but i still feel pretty amateur.
    Is there something you could tell me about this too?


    Thanks all!
     
  2. MrWoggles

    MrWoggles Member

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    "- on quite every D&B track there is an effect given to the drums often before the drop, which cut all the bass frequencies, then progressively put it back.
    I tried to do it. What i did:
    In Cubase, i created a group track, then i lead all my drums tracks to the group one. On this group i put the Cubase multiband compressor and used the frequency bands part. I wrote the automation.
    It's not too bad but there is like some strange crakeling noise when the automation is running and it doesn't sound really "pro".
    I must admit that i don't have a good EQ plugin and that must be a big part of the problem.

    So can you give me an advice on this method and maybe what's yours, or what use this or this professional producer?"


    Your one the right track here mate for the sound your going for. There is no golden rule on how a track should sound before it drops. You simply need to practice on making it sort of blend together to sound nice and natural.

    Personally i'm a big fan of doing the opposite. I like to add a filter sweep that rises from low-end to full spectrum. Sort of sounds like you're hearing something from another room and then you open the door kinda thing. Also try having as minimal of sound as possible for the 4 beats right before the drop, that should give you some serious impact for the drop. Maybe toss in a vocal of someone saying "HEY" or something. The whole thing would sound as if you're opening a door really slowly and right as the door opens someone screams "HEY" and the whole track drops like a ton of bricks.

    The reason it's crackling is because of your CPU overloading, you need to go into your audio options and change the buffering rate (increase it). Also download yourself ASIO drivers, they are a godsend for production and DJing (digitally). Not sure what kind of EQ you would like but i've heard greats thing regarding voxengoGliss. Cubase should have some sexy stuff in it already though, it's a beast. Also if it's still crackling then try bouncing some sounds out of generators and putting them back in as audio files, if you're pretty much done with creating the sound then I always do this to save yourself CPU.




    -EQuing drums. EQuing instruments.
    What i understood from producing and mixing aiming at a pro result is that you must attribute a definite space to every instrument and every part of the drum kit.
    For example, i read a lot of time that the kick should be boosted from that frequencies to that one and the other frequencies on it should be cut down, same for the snare on other frequencies, same for the hi hats etc...
    Every drum element should have it's own frequency space in order not to walk on the other drum element frequencies.
    In that way every drum element must be clear and cuting nicely through the mix.
    I read too that it can be possible to use the pan to re-arrange the space of every instrument/drum part.
    now i'm working on that for some days (i know it's more a question of year...but...) and i don't really hear an improvement.
    In my last track, i tried to boost every single part of my drum kit on his own register and cut all other frequencies on it and even doing that i have an interference between my kick and my hi hat when they hit together.... i really don't understand.
    The only way i found to deal with it was to lower the hi hat volume... but i need it loud....
    Same deal about the bass and the kick for example, it's often hard to use a hard kick and a hard bass together, the frequencies are disturbing each other. But when you listen to a Noisia or quite every drum and bass track, the kick is huge and the bass is enormous and everything is ok, the track is saturated on the bass register but there is no problem... no crakeling no breathe, nothing wrong...Where is the magical trick???

    Something to say about that? some video tutorials about EQing drums or about mixing a track?


    To me drums is still the thing I find the hardest, if I could produce drums like Klute or Paradox... well i'd be a happy man but anyway. Just some random things to say here.

    o START WITH GOOD SAMPLES. Technically if you're samples were perfect to begin with all you would have to do is arrange them, no eqing or anything.

    o Start with a solid kick and snare that you like the sound of. Layer them if needed if you feel they are missing some high end or low end or something. I generally tend to never EQ my driving kick and snare but when I layer them ill heavily proccess them.

    o Make sure things don't sound too muddy. Don't just keep adding because it's just going to turn into one big mess.

    o Generally you want to low pass or set a cutoff for the subbass at around 70-90Hz. Your kick should be hitting just above that, it will come through very nice. Another technique to use is sidechaining, read up on it.

    o Slice amen breaks. This is quite vital in anything but techstepy sort of stuff if you ask me. Just download some nice breaks from ANY kind of music then slice them and rearrange. Maybe keep the whole break and then highpass it at around 400Hz and layer it with your kick and Snare.

    o Add some rides and hats to get some groove and shuffle

    o I like to use multiband distortion on my entire drum group, makes it sound a bit grittier and more natural.

    "-Widen!
    Quite often, the difference between a casual and a pro track is the "widening" of the sound.
    I mean a kind of big bad stereo effect, the sound isn't too centralised, it runs everywhere around you. It surrounds you.
    For that, first i try to work hard on the quality of every single sound i use on my track, sometimes i use some effects like reverb, distortion,phazer or chorus.
    Then i try to dispatch it a bit with the pan thing."


    Can't say too much hear mate, the god honest truth is that somone who has been producing for years and years and is having his/her tracks mastered is going to sound very good.

    Generally you want the subbass to be in mono and centered, I personally do the same with the kick and snare (centering, not monoing). Pan everything else with conflicting wave ranges slightly. Try to imagine you are in a crowd watching a band play or how an orchestra is setup, that will help you get an idea for what you are looking for.



    PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Try playing with EVERYTHING. I made the mistake of trying to pour all my musicality and creative ideas into producing when I was very new but that is the wrong way to go about it. Learn to use all the tools at your disposal first.

    Feel free to upload a track and let us have a listen mate, could probably help you more specifically that way.


    Thanks for that, I really enjoyed typing this up. I learn so much just from reading questions like this :gang_bang

    /EDIT

    Oh and use spectroanalysis on EVERYTHING you are doing. VoxengoSpan is heroic for this. It will give you a great idea of where sounds are conflicting too much, where/if you are peaking, where you could fill out the sound spectrum a bit, what levels need adjusting etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  3. Labrat

    Labrat Active Member

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    use good samples
    try to finish everything you make, it could take 200 songs before you get noticed at all! Plus theres so much to learn itll take well over a year to learn your production.
    Listen to your favourite songs and learn the structures
    most importantly have fun
     
  4. Phyella

    Phyella Chef 'n' Bass

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    Automated highpass filter :thumbsup:
     
  5. sook

    sook Member

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    stereo width is really important...
    sound isnt one dimensional it has positioning
    in the stereo field... by setting this correctly
    you will make more room in your mixdown for
    other elements... but not everything should be
    panned wide...

    i like to set the width of reverb sends as wide
    as possible...

    things like bass should be straight up and down
    the center... with maybe some midrange layers
    panned wide to give the impression of width
    across the sound...

    anything down low should be in mono... straight
    down the middle...
     
  6. sook

    sook Member

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    this... most sound piece
    of advice... that and trust your
    ears...
     
  7. D-Tektiv

    D-Tektiv Active Member

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    well said. (y)
     
  8. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Hi all,

    sorry for the lately reply!

    First, thanks to all of you for the time spent answering.

    Then, i would really really like if someone could explain the notion of "layer", i'm not that good in english and i don't figure it out.

    Mr Woggles, thanks a lot for the EQ, i'm trying Voxengo GlissEQ right now.
    For the crakeling sound, i don't think it comes from my CPU.
    I have a Q9950 + 2g ram DDR3@1333mhz+ Emu 1820 soundcard and i put my latency @ 10 ms to avoid problems.
    It's why i was stunished about this strange noise problem.

    But i gave up on it. I started a new project.

    Thanks a lot for the mono bass trick too.

    I'd like to ask too :how do you put a midi chanel in mono?
    When you talk about centering the sound, you mean let it as it is when you record it? or is there a way to center it more?

    Here is a sound i made. I have already posted it on the new talent section:
    http://soundcloud.com/busdriver/coldpressure-cpr-02

    Btw thanks again mates!

    Edit: Do you all agree with the frequency cut thing on every drum part? i mean cutting every frequency "useless".
    I think every kick has high frequency which participate in its own identity so don't we risk to fall into a clone path on every drums we make by doing that?
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  9. Delinquent

    Delinquent Member

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    edit: jesus christ, the quick reply button is nothing but trouble
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  10. Delinquent

    Delinquent Member

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    Very encouraging :)
     
  11. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    Hi Busdriver,

    I heard your song and this is what I think. The intro is nice, it is interesting.

    At about 1:15 when the lead kicks in, you need to either compress that a little bit or cut some high end.

    The drums could use more layers, i mean if you want them to sound PHAT (heavy) you need to layer in some crunchy sounds like claps, snares over kicks, snares over snares and shakers over snares etc...

    Just play around with that, other than that you have musical talent because the structure of the song makes sense. (better then any of mine do)

    Work on the layers and you should be golden.

    - Dan
     
  12. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Thx all!

    I'm on another project by now but i'll keep your advice in mind when i'll come back on this one Dan.

    Can anyone answer my second post please? there is some question in it that are really important to me:

    Thanks again!
     
  13. GiDriK

    GiDriK Lost in jungle

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    i lately started to like the sudden drop, right before it i turn the volume of everything down.
    U can hear it in my track "Close Confine" on my myspace page, at about 1:28 everything gets rly quiet and at 1:30 it just drop in. I think this kinda drop is pretty awsum.
     
  14. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    True. Every sound covers a wide range in the spectrum and you don't want to be cutting it all out for the sake of it.
    Boost a snare at 200hz and cut the rest.......you may as well bang your head on the desk and record that.

    I try and cut out everything below 80-90 hz on the kick and snare (I'm no pro, this is just what I do at the moment) And I cut the sub above that point.

    You can try using a notch on the eq. Like on the bass eq you can reduce the frequency at 200hz (or whereever you want the snare/kick to cut thru) but keep the Q setting really small/narrow.

    Or otherwise I think people use side-chaining, which I haven't really used much but I want to get into. Look that up, but as I understand it you can have your bass nice and wide and loud, and then set up the sidechain so that when the kick hits (or snare, whatever) the bass is either compressed or limited or effected in some way so that the kick can cut through. Something like that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  15. GiDriK

    GiDriK Lost in jungle

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    And by the way if ur using samples from, well lets say, popular samplepacks wich cost money, then EQ is a must, couz these samples are usually very wide and fully sounding, they are made that way to attract a buyer. Even sum hi-hats have a very decent bottom freq.. who needs that?
     
  16. richie_stix

    richie_stix gomby plz

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    so how does one go about 'widening', 'panning' and 'centering'... i thought pan was limited to either more left or more right, not a percentage of more both ways?
     
  17. Josh G

    Josh G New Member

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    This is all definitely good advice and worth the try. Here's yet another way to accomplish a similar effect...

    Being that you want your kick drum quick and snappy (typically), set it's attack as close to 0ms as possible. This way it immediately comes out with itself. Measure the length of time for the immediate rise in amplitude that the kick drum makes (because this, for the most part, will be what you really want people to hear). Let's say this portion of the kick sound is 15ms.

    Then, set the attack on your bass to be 15ms or greater. Therefore the listener hears the immediate "pop" of the kick drum which is unnoticeably followed by the sound of the bass...ultimately they sound as if they were both played at the same time, but they both still come out in the mix.

    Hopefully I've explained this well (it's difficult to articulate some of these ideas). If not, hit me back with any questions.

    EZ.
    Josh G
     
  18. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    Be careful when it comes to panning. As a few people have said, Sub bass, bass, kicks etc that hit at low frequencys should be dead center in the mix, and mono, panning them left or right will not only sound weird, it will complicate things if you decide to get the tune cut to vinyl (it may even make it impossible).

    Another problem with panning things all over the place, is that you cant be 100% sure your mix will always be played in stereo. If somethings paned 75% to the right, and your final mix is summed to mono, then its level in the mix will change, making your hard work at the mixdown stage pointless.

    Best thing to do is to always presume your mix will be played in mono aswel as stereo, and check it in mono as your mixing the tune down.
     
  19. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Hey,


    a bunch of really good idea by here.

    About sidechaining, i have already post a thing about that.
    I tried to sidechain but the effect was a kind of duck/show and that's not really what i want.

    For the attack tip Josh, how do you do it? i mean how do you set it?

    Great idea on the notch too and great advice on stereo/pan/mono Motionaudio.

    Then i'm still asking myself how to put my midi bass on mono.
    Can anyone help me?
     
  20. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    If its routed directly to a track in your mixer, make sure its a mono track.

    If you bounce it down to a .wav file and then import it back in then just make sure you bounce it as a mono wav file mate.