Muddiness in tracks

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#1
Ok, so lately I've been hearing alot that my tracks are muddy.
Now before I didn't pay much attention to that, I thought that would correct itself with some better gear or more skill.

But I've been thinking now and I figured that bad reference speakers / headphones shouldn't be to blame much. It's equing (read skill), right.
So then I've started looking for some eq tips but mostly I come across ''u just need to eq things properly'' or something like that which doesn't say much on itself rly.

Then i figured it wouldn't hurt to ask...

So how do u actualy EQ all the random or less random sounds on ur track?
If 2 sounds interfere (and they mostly due) how do u make then sound as clean as possible ? Now that may be easy when they occupy mostly different freq's but what when u have sounds that occupy mostly the same range ?
I've heard panning 1 of them right and other left is a good idea but that works when there's 2 sounds, what when there's more ? (since u can't pan on 3 sides)

Let's say u have 1 sound u need to fit in everything else, do u just find the most important freq of that sound and go through every other sound and eq out that freq? That would work if the sound doesn't occupy a wide range.
What if u have a lead that occupys a very wide range ? If u Eq out from it all the freq's that other sounds occupy there won't be anything left for the lead...

I know i'm probably over complicating this but it crossed my mind and I figured I could learn something more about it so if any1 would be kind enough to help with this or just explain how they fit in their sounds together i would appreciate it :)
 

miszt

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#2
EQ, Panning and Mixdown all play there part, Muddyness in the mix often means that you have dominant freqz ringing out between 180-500hz, pull up your spectra analyzer, or freq sweep with your EQ to find those points, see where they are coming from and then figure out which sounds need eq to ensure a clean mix, without loosing the body of the sound....the rest is pracitce

you may have seen it already, but this has sum tips on mixdown which is also essential to cleaning up a muddy mix http://dnbforum.com/showthread.php?120686-Mixdown-Tips&p=1025177
 
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#3
Thx for that and yea, I have that on my favs and I've used it as a reference alot.

So it's not a problem if 2 (or more) sounds occupy some of the same range of freq's as long as it doesn't ''ring out'' ?
 

miszt

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#4
Thx for that and yea, I have that on my favs and I've used it as a reference alot.

So it's not a problem if 2 (or more) sounds occupy some of the same range of freq's as long as it doesn't ''ring out'' ?
no it doesnt really matter, unless they are ringing out and making the mix muddy, i tend not to EQ very much except on the bass, and hi-passing non-bass sounds, usually I might do a couple of notches on pads or big long synths, the rest I try and fix by tweeking the mixdown......also bare in mind, that it depends what kind of sound it is, if you have 3 very central synths all playing together, then the muddyness might be worse, but you could for example hi-pass one a bit higher, use some kind of stereo seperation on the 2nd one (eg a very wide hipassed Reverb, and then tweek the volume), and leave the 3rd one as it is, that might help, but it all comes down to practice really, try and keep things simple so you can keep track of whats going on and figure out what needs EQ more easily
 

Innovine

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#5
The more stuff you have occupying the same frequency area (and this especially applies in the bottom end) then the more unclear and crowded it becomes. If you have several lpf'd sounds going then this often can mean too much bass stuff all mushing together and fighting for space. It's a good idea to put hpf (with the cutoff quite low) on the less important bass heavy tracks just to remove the lower frequencies so they dont contribute to the mud, your lead being a good example of this. It's just about making room for the important elements. Your very broad lead for example, might not lose so much in the grand scale of things if you turn it down below 200hz, especially if you have a big reese bass rumbling away below 200hz anyway. A neat trick is to watch your most important tracks in a spectral analyser and note what frequency areas are the most important to them. Then reduce at those frequencies in other tracks so there is room. You dont have to cut everything out so theres a big hole of silence, just reduce a bit and see if the situation improves any.
 
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#6
Thx for that and yea, I have that on my favs and I've used it as a reference alot.

So it's not a problem if 2 (or more) sounds occupy some of the same range of freq's as long as it doesn't ''ring out'' ?
generally high frequency sounds are more "airy" you could say, there's lots of room for loads of them.

but the "muddy" frequencys i would guess to be 150-400hz? Maybe you have the snare/bass overlapping the kick frequencies or w.e.

try not to make loads of colliding frequencies on the lower end of the spectrum basically.
 

tv_g

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#8
one trick i've used when having competing low-mids is to use a mild distortion or other effect to add higher harmonics to one sound and then gut the overlapping part (in a sense shifting one sound up to the mids with as little perceived alteration to the timbre as possible).
 

Innovine

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#9
Distorting bass sounds generally adds to the mud, so if you are gonna distort a bass-heavy sound, it's an idea to route it to two different tracks, add a lpf to one and a hpf to the other, and distort the hpf'd version only. That way you let the low freq come out undistorted (no extra harmonics being added there) and only add harmonics to the higher frequencies (where it wont come out as muddy). Distorted bass = mud.
 
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