B Reel

September 14, 2014 8:35 PM

I thought it fitting that my first Mefi Music post should be something I've never done before and is pretty well outside my usual realm of experience, so tada! This is a beat I made for a friend, but things fell through and now it's a lost soul.

My mixing chops are pretty weak, so I'd love any tips on that front.

posted by invitapriore (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

The squelchy funk of this up until the synth solo made me wonder if Anthony Kiedis from the 90s was going to show up and rap over it :)

Here are my mixing/production thoughts:

- The drums are a bit flat. If you're going for a hiphop vibe for this rather than cocktail jazz, I'd want them pumped up with some hard compression and a bit of distortion/overdrive. Also, they give themselves away by their lack of diversion from the loop. For instance, at 1.28 where they come back in after the break, there's no fill or device to re-introduce them. Have a listen to live drums - drummers don't usually just stop and start, they like to muck about a bit on entry and exit. And when drums are clearly processed, they usually get reintroduced with some kind of flourish, for example a bar right before they come in of the usual loop through a narrow EQ filter.

- The lead synth that comes in over the second half is crazy loud, and a bit jarring for me.

- It feels like it's missing a vocal/rap over the top, but I'm guessing that's where your friend who it was written for came in. I think something fairly minimal would work, are you a vocalist yourself, and if not, do you have any ideas you could give to someone else to work with?
posted by greenish at 8:35 AM on September 15, 2014

Thanks greenish, these are valuable tips! So, by hard compression on the drums, you mean basically keeping the attack long enough so that the drum's attack transient comes through unmolested, and then it raises the gain to give more body to the drum's ring? Should I put each drum on a different track and compress them all individually?

And, yeah, I can do vocals, but I can't rap for shit. This is admittedly a practice run for me anyway, so that's not so big of a deal. When I get better at it I'll start shopping things around. :)
posted by invitapriore at 4:51 PM on September 15, 2014

2nd on greenish's tips

Compressing all the drums through one effect can kind of glue things together. Sending the entire mix through a compressor can be a good call sometimes too. I find it's usually best to just give it a light touch when doing that. Attack and release settings should be done to taste and are both pretty subtle until you really start slamming the compressor.

Also, the hard panned clav and guitar are ok in the mix but seem a bit overly isolated at the beginning. There is a trick I use sometimes that makes use of the Haas effect. Duplicate the existing track, pan the duplicate track hard opposite the original, then delay the duplicate either by nudging or with a plug-in. The delay should be very short (10-15ms) to simulate the effect but you can go longer and get some interesting panning reflections.

Cool beat though
posted by dagosto at 11:52 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cool, dagosto, that panning trick sounds interesting. Thanks!
posted by invitapriore at 9:56 PM on September 16, 2014

It's a good groove.
posted by AppleSeed at 3:38 PM on October 2, 2014

« Older Adaptation   |   The Phone Calls - Phantom Status Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments