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TOPIC: how do you get the small details sound so good?

how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17244

  • kim.loco
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I really trying to really consentrate on listening to music on detail level to train my ear..And really wonder how you can get such small details to sounds so good together..?? like two very different sounds still sounds like they belong in harmony...the notes percussion etc talking to eachother..not just a melody pads etc in key..anyone know what i mean?
it is especially easy to hear in progressive psy trance...also tech house where there are very little melodies etc but it still sounds interesting .. i think this is the key to make good music..what is the answer i am looking for? what do i need to consentrate one?

i think i understand the meaning of making space...but how,is there any good explination on this? like adding reverb,panning etc,or do i just need to listening when doing? :-S when i making music i have a bad habit of add to many elements and in the end it just sound to much in the front somehow, or the sounds clashes together in a mess..to much going on,so i end up taking away a lot and focus more on the little things..but again then it s hard to make it interesting..
Last Edit: 3 years 9 months ago by kim.loco.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17270

  • Sid Viscous
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I'll try to help out with my limited knowledge.
First thing I would check is if all the instruments sound good together. It can happen that it sounds too cluttered but actually theres just one sound that doesnt quite fit with the rest. so play just mute one track, unmute, mute the next track play,... and so on and so on
Try to reduce the amount of notes and find the ones that are essential to the melody. Maybe try moving them around. If 2 sounds sound too similar get rid of one. Again muting the track helps while you try to imagine what could fit in here.


And on the Fx : Spread (in Operator), EQ Eight, Ping Pong Delay, Filter Delay, Reverb, Auto filter are the main ones. Compressor, Gate, Auto filter can also help, but for those you should better watch Tom's tutorials cuz they're not so easy to explain without an example.

Spread is one of the easiest ways of making a dull in operator sound really cool. It takes the sounds from sounding somewhere in front of you to right in your face.

Reverb is especially important for Drums, but can also to be added to other instruments, to give em some more dimension.

I personally like ping pong delay on the high notes but it can be cool on mid notes as well. But generally when you use ping pong you should use very few notes.
Same goes for filter Delay. This one's especially good for transitions.

EQ eight is a bit tricky. If you hear 2 sounds that are at about the same frequency, load Spectrum into your master track, then solo each track and see where the frequencies collide, and then remove that frequency with EQ eight, by choosing one of the numbers, and pulling it down in that exact frequency range. It might still sound crappy so in that case, cut and paste that eq eight into the other sound.
If its still shitty u can try transposing one of the two.

So anyway if after all that it"s still too cluttered then try splitting the part with the most instruments into two parts or themes.

I hope that helps.

PS: Just thought of some other things. I add an extra layer of melody whenever theres a long note or the same one is repeated. then when the first melody gets more complex i leave out or simplify the second one.

Another tip is to not scrap ideas for melodies right away if you notice they dont fit. Put them aside and come back to them later. Try playing the same melody with a different instrument and maybe tweak it a bit. A lot of random cool shit happens this way.

Also try to have some regularity in melody or rhythm. Find the main chord progression of your song then make melodies that somewhat follow that progression.

Cheers,
siD
Last Edit: 3 years 9 months ago by Sid Viscous.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17272

  • Mr Fork
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Yeah it's pretty tricky until you get the hang of it. I still don't know if I do lol. There are quite a few things that affect this. About the best tips that I can give you are

1) EQ every track so you can sculpt the overall tone and make each sound occupy your mix a little different.

2) Don't use sounds that are too close to the same (this includes effects). for instance if you use the same flanger effect on every track in your song it's not likely that it's going to sound good because all those sounds are going to be fighting to do the same thing.

3) Use your ears and don't be afraid to throw things out. You might think that adding a certain effect or sound is going to be great in your mix but then you add it and all of a sudden things are going wrong. Like your mix got really muddy or your kick doesn't punch as much or your bass doesn't drive as much or your lead line sounds weaker. Start changing around the sound you just added to see if you can get it to fit but if it doesn't fit you have to be ready to toss it and try something else. Even if it took hours to make that sound.

4) Use ableton Utility or a stereo field control vst to place sounds in your stereo field. For instance a lot of people drop the kick to 0 so that it hits dead center.

5) Use bus tracks or return tracks for some effects. It's not ALWAYS a bad thing to apply the same effect. Use some bus compression like the Glue on things that you want to blend. Don't overdo it though. I have found that my drums sound tighter and more like they "fit" since I started bus compressing. Same with some of my other sounds. Try it out sometime. Just add a little compression to a bus track (drums is easiest to hear). Give it a little compression and then do an A B comparison. For things like reverb set up a return track with dry wet set to 100% and then use your return track encoders on your track to control dry/wet levels. This way you can add different levels of the same reverb to whatever track you want. Doing stuff like that can get that unified feeling as well. This one can get tricky though.

Anyway. Lots of stuff to learn. I hope some of that made sense to you and hope it helps.

Sid made some good observations as well.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17276

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woow! thanks a lot guys,that was really helpfull information..Then i have a lot to play about with and hopefully it will help..
I have watched some of tom cosm videoes earlier but it is a long time since.I think i need to watch them again get som new forgotten tips and ideas:-)
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17453

  • cruzmeyers
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I find that simpler is better, sometimes putting too much into the song clutters it and makes it muddy. Sid is on the money in regards to EQing. EQing is the most crucial part of making everything fit together and belong, know what frequency each sound is most present and make room for it by EQing out the frequencies of other sounds that don't need to be there. Compression is also great to bring out the softer quiter elements of the song and to "glue" the elements of your song together.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17457

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Righto, well, everything thats been said is deffo on the money but I'll add a few extra bits. As Mr Fork was saying about send/return tracks and bussing, Ive been finding recently that even if im adding effects onto a midi or audio track straight off, you get a lot more clarity if you group that single effect, add a 2nd chain to the group that has no effect, turn the wet of that effect to 100% and then use the volume to control the dry/wet ratio. Im finding it gives you a much fuller sound and more clarity.

Then with regard to notes and melodies/harmonies. Dont necessarily always concentrate on where a synth is playing or what 2 synths are playing at the same time, try listening to the space between where they arent, you want that space to sound right to you, I'm not sure if that explains exactly whats in my head but I've been exercising that a lot recently and it works, for me anyway.

You mention prog psy, most psytrance is all about the space between the notes and the rhythm and how each sound interacts with the next (so good use of eq, filters, volume and the stereo field). its really important to focus on that not necessarily the actual melodies/harmonies chords, try to imagine the sounds as just being more percussion, so stabs another snare or hi hat and long pads as cymbals etc, try to accent certain parts of your rhythms that you want so as to get the feel that you want.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense and helps :D im really high atm so it may not do :blink:
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17458

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ooo, and one last things, before you start adding reverbs/delays whatever, make it sound as good as you possibly can with just your synth so that the effect enhances an already good sound rather than the effect making a standard or shitty sound better :D
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17520

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Thanks guys,a lot of helpful information but i think i found something else i have been looking for which relate to my question(even though i could not describe it properly) .. I came a cross Timothy Allan s groove3 videos and i learned something new and very interesting about FX i did not know. Creating few bars suptle atmospheric sounds and fills wich makes monotonues loops more interesting,before it though i only add many bars worth off pads all over the track to make it sounds atmospheric but now i have a bigger understanding..I think the subtle change,fills and details is very important, especially in minimalistic music...Offcourse reverb,delay,panning etc is also part of that..Really happy coming over this info,so i wanted to share if someone else having the same questions..
Last Edit: 3 years 9 months ago by kim.loco.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 9 months ago #17522

  • Mr Fork
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Yeah I found out this same thing as I've been writing. Often it's the little background noises and sounds that make or break a track. Unfortunately I'm terrible at making them. I'm getting better but still lots of practice needed. :(

FalseIdentity brought up a good point too. I find it almost impossible to make effects do what I want them to do unless I my base sound is good and does what it should be doing.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 2 months ago #20645

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a question i belive is one topic.. how do you mix risers\whitenoise wich sweep\s over a lot of different frequencies? i always have trouble with the other sounds get muddy when risers are added.how do you get risers sit good in the mix?
Last Edit: 3 years 2 months ago by kim.loco.
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how do you get the small details sound so good? 3 years 1 month ago #21383

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It's fairly the same as dealing with any other element. You have to think about all the ways to get something to fit in your mix and know which to apply and when. Each scenario may be slightly different. Frequency spectrum is one thing. Making sure you're making your instruments all fit within that particular panned location without overlap. If you have something going on right down the middle that conflicts with your white noise you could try removing that element to see how it sounds without it when the white noise build is going on. Make sure of course that you have only the parts of the white noise you want to come through using a filter or an EQ. Like quite often I'll filter out the low-low mids on the noise. Other things to keep in mind. If the conflict is with an instrument running down the middle of the stereo field try pushing the white noise off to the sides. Sometimes I'll use the filter delay stereo trick or I'll multichain the instrument in a rack and do some panning there. Really depends on the situation. Basically what that does is allows those frequencies space where there isn't a conflict. Of course if you have the same problem in all panned positions as well then you have another problem and again I'd go back to the first idea and take some stuff out. Usually white noise sweeps are used to build. The best way to build is to take away instead of add. At least that's what I've found. More impact if you do it that way.

So to sum that up you've got panning and frequencies that you can take a look at. Take a listen to the track and figure out which will do better in the situation. Use EQ and filtering to separate frequencies if you can. Sometimes adding some distortion on just the higher frequencies can bring something out in a mix. Try dropping some of your track elements to find room for it. Or try panning it in one form or another. Hope that helps.
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