New Drum N Bass track for review

Optimal Prime

Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Location
Manchester, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
I can tell you come from a dancier background first than the other way round DnB into dance. It has quite a dance feel with more focus on the dance melody, piano thing. As far as arrangement goes, I'd personally try and extend the track to at least 5 minutes. It isn't essential but when I make my own stuff, I try and go for the DJ in mind and aim to get what often turns out to be 1 min 6 secs intro before it kicks in. Some tracks go for a 44 sec intro and others longer. Makes mixing smoother. Same on the outro and usually I'll try and get rid of heavy bass towards the end to allow it to mix better. Of couse, this is only impotant if that's your intention, but maybe it isn't, I just think it's good practice to get into doing so that they can be featured in mixes by other DJ's and want to be used due to ease of mix.

As for the mix itself, the bass area gets a bit on the muddy side causing the perc to duck behind a bit too much so you lose that impact. It's an area that is often overcompensated for, especially on smaller speakers.

Overall it's not too bad, the melodies are not particularly my sort of thing but they are all in key and fit quite nicely. You just need to sort out that muddyness in the low end.
 

gabs67

Active Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Hi Optimal prime thanks for your response, going forward I'll take your advise on the 44 secs or 1 min 6 secs and the song structure. I didn't know about that so was just making the track any old way lol.

In terms of getting the mix right to compensate for it getting too muddy how do I get the perc to not duck behind? Would I do this by simply turning the bass bus down slightly and the drums bus up? Would there be anything in terms of stereo spread of the different elements of the track? (I don't know much about this but would like to if advantageous to the sound). In terms of the instrument panning I have kicks and snares in the middle then pan the various fills to differing amounts.

Any help would be much appreciated man, Thanks.
 

Optimal Prime

Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Location
Manchester, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
People who don't generally mix music from a DJ'ing perspective won't often notice this and so it can be advantageous to get into as you pick up traits from other songs and get used to how they work structurally, especially intros and outros. 1 min 06 is typically a length of time I see come up most often and feels quite comfortable. What I would recommend for you is to look for a few DnB tracks you have in a similar style and manually map out their structures down on paper on even in an excel sheet. Count the bars and work out how these tracks have been laid out, how long their breakdowns are, how long before the bass comes in, how long the outro is, do they have more than one break and what's the difference in length between the two, look at their build ups etc. Once you do this for a few tracks, you can then try and come up with a plan based on something similar, but make up your own entirely new track.

As for the muddy area, it's usually around where the kick is in the 100hz and could be down to a few reasons. For starters it's a good idea to low cut or low shelf many of the elements of a track which don't need low end. Using an analyser can show you what's going on a bit better. As for the kick, sometimes it can have too much low end or the tail can be too long causing too much inteference. Many dance tracks have heavier and deeper kicks than DnB which often need cutting as far as 100hz although I usually cut around 80 ish. Make sure the level of the bass isn't overpowering the kick in terms of level. Look at an analyser and try to pin point where the kick is hitting and where the bass/sub is hitting. I usually aim to have the kick and sub around a similar level although sometimes the sub might be a touch higher or lower.

Other ideas you can do include using a transient designer/shaper on the kick to bring the click through more promenently. Sidechaining the kick against the bass will help too. Listening back, it feels more in the higher end of the bass where it hums rather than the sub which is clashing meaning it's more likely to be causing the issue.

I think the snare needs bringing through more too as it's also lost with everything making it feel duller. Needs to be brighter snapper and louder.
 

Optimal Prime

Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Location
Manchester, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Nice one on the intro, it's much more DJ friendly now and drops in exactly at the 1 min 6 mark I was talking about. If it were me, I'd still think about including a broken down outro straight from where you currently end the track, slowly removing the low end and extending the length of the track as a whole. Sometimes you can treat the outro a bit like a breakdown section where most of the element, esp main perc and bass are removed but it ends, allowing the track to continue and subtly die down during a mix rather than a sudden stop. If there's a lot going on and it ends quickly, often you run into mixes with less continuity between tracks that don't give enough at each end to work with. I don't think I've ever made a DnB track under 4 mins and they are often at least 5. This is unless you are going for a radio edit in mind, in which the track usually needs a short intro and outro which keep them smaller but make it tougher to mix smoothly. Again though, just study existing tracks you like and see how they work theirs out.

I think the reverb may be a touch too much on the elements which I often find cause the individual percussion hits and elements in general to get lost easier in the background. By reducing this you bring sounds closer to the front. I came from a dance music background as opposed to the other way round and would often add more verb than was necessary. Often, snares are quite dry and upfront to help them cut through.

I listened to your first mix of the three on SC (as you still have them up), so I could do comparisons, and noticed that there was originally way too much low end/low mid which has been tightened up somewhat in the later ones. I also listened to a few other tracks and would say that while they are quite interesting as ideas, the common issue among them all is that they have too much in the low end and low mids. It causes the elements to swell together and doesn't allow the track to breathe enough, also effecting the clarity of the midrange. Like in Running man, I've just been A and Bing a new one of mine against that and the thing that I notice the most is how the track doesn't breathe as much and has less dynamic range with a suppressed mid range also effecting the snare, effectively pushing it into the mix. I had to a similar thing with my new track where I made the decision to get rid of a lot of low end, depite thiking it sounded amazing with more. I always do a lot of A and B'ing with released tracks and try to keep the balance in a similar region. Bass and muddyness are very easy to make mistakes with and this is especially noticable when using a system with lack of bass. Definitely get into the habit of using a specrum analyser too as you can keep an eye on levels better.

Get into the habit of using subtractive eq to cut. It's always a learning curve though and I'm still trying to learn much the same after making music for 13 years or so.
 

maschinistom

Well-Known Member
VIP Junglist
Joined
Jan 31, 2016
hello, I see quite some improvement to your earlier tracks. :2thumbs:
imo, this one has far too much bass, pls looks at mix down and frequency overlapping.
i think less bass for this one would do good if you aim having it played in clubs ..
 

gabs67

Active Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Hi maschinistorm, thanks for the input. I think going forward I'll be more selective about the bass I use because currently I use a few bass's to make up the drum bass to make it thick but perhaps im over killing it
 
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