Pumping synth muddying up my mix?

Discussion in 'Production' started by LG18, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    I have a pumping synth as my mid range sound in a jump up D&B remix I'm doing.

    I've spent a long time mixing and perfecting the track (after putting into practice advice given to me here) and came up with something that sounded decent, and translated well on various sound systems.

    the issue though is this synth.
    It's an important part of the track but I just can't get it to sit right.
    Without it, everything else is nice and punchy and works really well, but with it in there, it causes the vocal to lose it's impact, and the bass to sound thinner.

    I've tried panning by splitting it into two tracks and going hard left and right which helps to a degree (What positions are best I'm not sure)

    I took out the bass-ier notes which helped a little, and EQ'd it rolling some off the high end.

    What I've done has helped quite a fair bit, but I'm still struggling to get it sitting right and not muddying up everything else.

    Any tips?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Saftstein

    Saftstein Active Member

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    Most important thing when you layern synths is, that they play in a different frequency range. I guess this bass has a wide range and there's only a certain area of the sound that's essential. Try equing those other frequencies out so your other stuff has enough room.

    Or try changing the whole sound of the bass, could also help but if it's the signature sound of the tune it will get lost.

    From my experience i can tell you that some sounds don't work together and you have to decide for which sound you go and find something that takes the part and fits better,
     
  3. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    Agreed, I might have to end up getting rid of the sound.

    I think you're right, I'll have to go in with the EQ and look at what isn't essential and nuke it,

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    Sounds to me that if it's thinning out your bassier sounds you need to low cut the synth and maybe side chain it to to the kick make adequate space for everything in the mix. As for the vocal, it should be dead center in the mix and then you can just slightly pan the synth to the left or right maybe by 5 at the most id say and that will keep the two sounds from competing for space as well as create a wider stereo field.
     
  5. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    just chuck a spectrum analyzer on your different instruments so you can visualize where they sit in the mix and eliminate any competitive frequencies via eq or a filter...
     
  6. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    you have to deciede which sounds are the most important and shouldn't be eq'd to much, and which ones can sacrifice a bit of depth, I guess you want your "pumping" sound to be big and full, so look at the spectrum and figure out all its most important freq ranges, then goto your other sounds and carve out chunks in the EQ until it all sits nicely, but remember to leave enough of the spectrum in your other sounds, to ensure that they sound how they should

    big synths are usually better down the middle, so also look at panning your other sounds instead
     
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  7. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    ^^^THIS
     
  8. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Tried EQing it further which helped a bit, checked on the EQ's spectrum analyzer and nothing seems to be sticking out too much, so it sounds a bit better now.

    Both of you have agreed that straight down the middle is the best place for the synth - well I've actually panned two channels of it hard left and right, and used Mid/Side processing to widen the vocal. Would it be better to change that? It's sounding okay now really, but it could be better.

    It doesn't really have any bassier notes anymore because I cut them out. It was causing too much interference with everything else, so now it's really only affecting the mids and the highs.

    I'll go back and see if I can spare anything else with the EQ to make it sit better.

    Thanks again!
     
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  9. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    I was more so thinking of using the spectral analyzer to see where things are overlapping (ie. crowding each other), not really sticking out like a harsh frequency..
     
  10. Dark Lizardro

    Dark Lizardro The Lizard that has a hammer Staff Member

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    250hz area... where the muddiness lives... Pay attention to this and see if there's too much information on this one.
     
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  11. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    vocals should be down the middle aswell, if they are a focal point of the track, if they are just atmospheric/effects, rather than a lead type vocal, then you can put them on the side


    if the vocals are a main element, then you need to give them priority over everything else, so carve out a chunk in all your other sounds between 400hz-2khz (or whatever range your vocals are in, vocals are always around 1Khz tho)

    it can be really difficult to overcome the desire to let other sounds take over a mix, but if the vocals are the focus, then you have to bite the bullet and be pretty brutal at cutting the other sounds back, both in terms of their level and EQ - also panning the sounds out is important to, just have your kick, snare, sub and vocal in the middle - if you have a lead sound, then automate the panning, so its on the sides when the vocal is playing, but in the middle when it isn't

    (no need to push panning out to the max, 5% is often enough, 20% is surprisingly wide...50%/max needs to be used with care)

    working with vocals presents a significant challenge (no one likes to cut back an awesome synth sound they have spent weeks tweeking! but its gotta be done), and usually requires LOTS of automation of the other sounds, dropping the levels, cutting freqz out in EQ, panning and other FX, while the vocal is in focus...side chain the vocal to sounds aswell can be useful, but don't rely on it, its too obvious when over done, you just have to meticulously automate your other sound levels etc to get the vocal in the right place



    one of the best tricks I learnt for dealing with vocals is called Doubling (or tripling, quadrupling etc)

    basically duplicate your Vocal channel a couple of times, have one in the middle, and 1 on each far side Left/Right, put some Reverb (or something) on the 2 side channels, have very very subtle differences between the settings on each side, and keep the reverb really low, like 5% mix or something...this little trick will make a vocal really Pop (no pun intended) out of a track :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
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  12. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    The vocals are in the middle, what I mean was that I basically boosted the sides of the stereo image to give it more power, though the focus is still in middle.

    Miszt, on the point you made about doubling and then panning the same track to various positions; would this have the same effect as what I've been doing with the Mid/Side Sere image processing?

    Everything in the track is panned, apart from the main elements.

    These are the Vocal, the kick, the snare, and the Bass.
    I've made sure these elements take center stage, though from what you're saying it looks like more precise EQ at the frequencies you suggested would improve it, so I'll try that out and see if I can make the vocal pop better.

    There's obviously no straight forward way of doing this - from what you're all saying it requires more than I thought to get the vocal to sit right. I hadn't even thought about manually automating various parts so that they move around the main elements.

    While the vocal is the main and most obvious part, I'll have to be careful not to screw up the work I've done on the other three main elements. The real job is getting them all to work in conjunction, and have the accessory work somehow work round that.

    Thanks for your input, guys
     
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  13. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    After some testing, I've realized that 245hz specifically was causing some problems. Just notched it out now, you were definitely right about the 200hz zone.

    For me it was just above that, and I couldn't really have gone any closer without hitting the snare at 195hz.
     
  14. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    yo are you using ableton? i created a custom processing chain that I use for all my vocals and they come out bold and clean as fuck, imho lol, and i'd be more than happy to send it to you if you are interested in checking it out... might be the answer to your problems ;) then you can reverse engineer it and examine how i've processed it exactly and learn from it hopefully
     
  15. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    did you take that out of the master, or the sounds that where hitting that freq? best taking it out of the sounds that are causing the problem - that freq range can be hard to handle, I've heard many wonky mixes that have been skewed by that area...i'd give your ears a break for 30 mins then come back to the mix, play it quiet, and you'll probably find you've opened up allot of the sound and can tighten the mix up no end
     
  16. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    That's a shame because I'm a logic user. :(
    I really could've used something like that.

    Thanks for the offer though, man.
     
  17. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    I actually took it out of the master.

    The truth is I'm not sure exactly what instruments are causing the issue, and it's likely more than one.
    I'll have to go back and check.

    Good idea, my ears need a rest, haha!
     
  18. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    mute all your channels, and add them in one at a time until you hear the problem appear again (disable your master eq first of course)...it might not be just one sound of course

    its always worth checking if you can drop the level of the sound, rather than do EQ, sometimes its just a case of dropping a sound down by ~1.5-3db and the whole mix can open up, sumtimes
     
  19. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    When I get home and have it open in front of me I can at least describe the order of things and why I did what, should be easily applied to any daw
     
  20. LG18

    LG18 Member

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    Ahh....strings, haha. Good tip
     
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