Do you often find that your mixes sound a little bit dull and murky? There a whole bunch of reasons why this might be the case, but one that I’ve found in so many of my students projects is that the low end feels flat and isn’t contributing to the energy of the track. So in this quick tip I show you how in a few simple steps, you can bring up the vibrancy and energy of your mixes. This is definitely a cool technique that you can add to your toolkit!
Okay. So if you often find that your mixdown sounds a little bit dull and a little bit murky this tip is for you. Now, of course, there are a whole bunch of reasons why this might be the case but one that I find often crops up in my students projects is that the low end of the track feels a bit flat and it isn’t contributing to the overall energy and this can really drag things down so that
the whole tune starts to sound dull.
So have a listen to this track I want you to focus please on the low end of the tune it’s a mixed down it’s fairly well balanced but listen to the low end.
So it’s powerful enough but to me it sounds pretty dull. So the tip I’m going to give you is so easy but this is just so often overlooked, it’s unbelievable. What we’re gonna do is just cycle through some new kick drums whilst the track is playing and the important thing is that we’re focusing not just on the kick not just on whether it’s brighter or it’s more punchy but also on how it lifts the energy of the entire tune. So, first step, you’re going to want to duplicate out your kick track. Then, you’re going to turn off the original and keymap your on/off buttons to exactly the same key on your keyboard. So, now, we can just literally compare and contrast very very quickly. Then on our new kick drum track, obviously, we want a brilliant a new kick and we’re going to want to balance this we want a similar level between the two so we’re here in a fair comparison.
So, already, you can hear that that is sounding better right the whole track is getting a lift this is a punchier, more energetic kick but let’s see what happens if we hot-swap now. So you’re gonna want the hot-swap button that is in the actual window of the simpler, not the one that swaps out the device. Turn that on. And then, using your up and down arrows on your keyboard and enter you can keep swapping the kick in whilst the track is playing.
Okay, so I like this one there was a more punchier one early on but I think this one beds in a little bit more. So again, let’s compare and contrast. So much more energy, right? And just as check, look the volumes are near on identical here. Now once you’ve found the kick that you feel is lifting the energy of the mix, there is a second step, and it’s really important, and that is to make sure that this is bringing the same characteristics to the table -it’s gelling with the other elements- in the same way as your first kick was because ultimately, you picked this first kick for a reason. Right, so in this particular track, what I noticed is that the kick and the toms have got a nice little rhythm going on- it’s very important to the track. So I want to make sure that that’s working really well with the new kick and for me this new kick is just far too long it’s overtaking the tom drum. So let’s get that note length and brin that in -and another thing you might be looking at stuff like pitch as well- but note length is a big one and getting the groove right.
That sounds nice to me. So let’s have a listen now one other thing with this relationship I think the tom sounds a little bit weak at the moment so I’m going to fatten this up now. One of the tools that I love for this is SoundToys Decapitator – a bit of a go-to for me – but if you don’t have that: this is absolutely fine in Live- you’ve got things like the drum bass you’ve got saturate as dynamic tube lots of things to experiment with. But I always like to go for the quick wins if I can, and for me the drum fattener inside Decapitator often yields great results.
Okay so let’s have a quick listen to the before and after
Hear that extra punch extra energy coming as well in the top-end of this sound or so in that mid-range area and I’m just going to make sure that I map this as well. So now the is gonna turn off when we go back to our old kicks we get old kick an old Tom versus new kick and new Tom. So let’s have a listen we’ll start with a new version and then I’ll take it off so you can hear the difference. Remember to focus on the overall feel of the mix down
A huge difference right so much more energy and all we’ve really done is swap the kick out and do a few tweaks to make sure that it’s sitting with the other elements and it’s got the same magic that we enjoyed from our first kick.
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