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Why do the low sounds destroy my music?


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So I made a helicopter sound, figured it would be cool, but when I put it over the other sounds everything gets distorted and loses volume.

 

What am I doing wrong?

You need to eq it.

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Low frequencies have a lot more power than higher frequencies for the same perceived loudness. If everything else got distorted and lower in volume, it sounds like you've maybe got a compressor on the mix, and the low frequencies from the helicopter sound were doing the wacky on it. Put a high-pass filter on the helicopter.

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High or low or WHAT?? :unsure:

 

I used a band filter to create the sound. I can make a similar one with the low or high... but the meter goes higher on the master with those than with the band pass already so I guess that's best?

high-pass OR low-cut ;)

 

You want the low frequencies gone. Set the low-cut to cut everything below 100-250hz, or set the high-pass filter to process everything OVER 100-250hz :) Play around with it until it sounds nice. You can lower your bass with an equalizer around 300-600hz to make more room for other sounds in that area :)

 

Edit: this isn't the best example (but the best one i could find)

 

Here you see a EQ set to low cut. You can see the curve goes down in the low end of the frequencies.

 

Posted Image

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I'm pretty curious to know if you have a compressor on the mix, because I don't know any other reason why everything else would lower in volume when the big helicopter comes in. Distortion, yes, but level changes would be weird without some kind of compression going on.

 

In my opinion, you shouldn't strap a compressor on the mix until you're done writing and mixing. Full-band mix compression really shouldn't happen until the mastering stage.

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High or low or WHAT?? :unsure:

 

I used a band filter to create the sound. I can make a similar one with the low or high... but the meter goes higher on the master with those than with the band pass already so I guess that's best?

Maybe you could explain a little more how you created the sound. Is it a sample of an actual helicopter, or some sort of synth patch with a helicopter-like sound?

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I'm pretty curious to know if you have a compressor on the mix, because I don't know any other reason why everything else would lower in volume when the big helicopter comes in. Distortion, yes,

If the volume is way to high and clipping it can sound like an over compression as far as i remember from my n00b state in FL ;)

 

I doubt that he uses compression if he don't know what a low-cut or high-pass filter is :)

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If the volume is way to high and clipping it can sound like an over compression as far as i remember from my n00b state in FL ;)

 

I doubt that he uses compression if he don't know what a low-cut or high-pass filter is :)

If the volume of the helicopter sound is pushing the mix into clipping, it would cause distortion which could mask other sounds, but not really push them down in level. That would require some kind of compression.

 

I don't think it's out of the question for someone inexperienced in music production to read somewhere on teh interwebz from someone else inexperienced in music production that you should compress a mix, so they just pop a compressor on the mix bus by default.

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If the volume of the helicopter sound is pushing the mix into clipping, it would cause distortion which could mask other sounds, but not really push them down in level. That would require some kind of compression.

 

I don't think it's out of the question for someone inexperienced in music production to read somewhere on teh interwebz from someone else inexperienced in music production that you should compress a mix, so they just pop a compressor on the mix bus by default.

Ofcourse it's not out of the question, I was just taking a wild guess ;)

 

But if the helicopter is higher in level and it is in the same frequency range as the rest, it will "overlap" them, and the other audio will become unnoticable, so it sounds like a compression, but really just is frequency interferrence.. I'm not saying it is the case here, but it could be :)

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hey bwhale, I highly recommend you do a search and dload "Andi Vax Mixing Secrets" (he's the guy behind Synsun). It is free and legal download and I think that the tips he gives will help you a LOT with all this frequency separation thingy :)

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There's a trick i've learnt and been using a bit. I have the kick and the bassline output routed to an EQ to cut out the bass frequencies of the rest of the track when the kick or bassline is playing. This gives the kick and bass it's own room to do it's thing when sounds are flying all over the place, but allows the rest of the mix to have full sounding bass when the kick and bassline arn't playing.

 

This seperates the kick and the bass from the rest of the track nicely... but I still need alot of work seperating sounds from one another.

 

Does anyone else do anything like this or have any other tricks? I'll have to have a look at Andi Vaxs vids when I get a chance. Any other good resources? I'm just getting back into trying to produce seriously and the production forums. :)

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There's a trick i've learnt and been using a bit. I have the kick and the bassline output routed to an EQ to cut out the bass frequencies of the rest of the track when the kick or bassline is playing. This gives the kick and bass it's own room to do it's thing when sounds are flying all over the place, but allows the rest of the mix to have full sounding bass when the kick and bassline arn't playing.

 

This seperates the kick and the bass from the rest of the track nicely... but I still need alot of work seperating sounds from one another.

 

Does anyone else do anything like this or have any other tricks? I'll have to have a look at Andi Vaxs vids when I get a chance. Any other good resources? I'm just getting back into trying to produce seriously and the production forums. :)

That sounds like a pretty weird use of ducking. Usually one might duck a bass track with a kick track (so that the bass lowers in volume when the kick hits) but not usually the entire track. Hell, just putting a compressor on the entire mix will do that for you, if the bass and kick are high enough in level.

 

There are a couple better methods. One is to write your song so that each instrument occupies it's own frequency space. I think this is somewhat less common in psytrance, so another method is to EQ each track to occupy it's own frequency space. So you listen to your kick sound and determine where it's fundamental frequency lies (using a parametric boost if needed to find the right frequency), and then make sure that no other instrument has an abundance of energy in that range. Also do the same with the bass, although the frequency range should be larger unless you have a boring one-note bass line.

 

Sometimes, this should be done for all sounds, so that all sounds in a song occupy a unique frequency space, but in other songs frequency masking of mid-high frequency sounds can be a happy accident. I think this "happy accident" situation can happen more in psytrance than in something like rock or metal, where separation of instruments tends to be more important. It all depends on the song.

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