After reading @CalvinScarified 's thread, I realized that I didn’t have any random production clips up, so I started this thread to throw stuff out there for feedback / fun.
This one is a “commission” from a friend to do an intro for his podcast; he wanted something “Gojira-ish”, which I took as a full on rip off, lmao. I didn’t spend any time on the mix really, I just loaded up a drum instance that I had used previously, as well as guitar / bass sims. I might clean it up later, but for now he and his group loved it, so I didn’t want to do anything else!
Neato. Sounds great! What’s the learning curve like for the mixing/mastering side of things? Does it take a while to get going with? Are there some things you can start working on right away during the learning process?
For me, it honestly took a long time, or at least it felt that way. Part of it was my fault as I was obstinate and wanted to approach mixing in a very calculated way (dumb stuff like “well low E on guitar is 80 hz so I shouldn’t high pass more than that”). Part of it was also the fact that it was still kind of early in the days of “one person productions” that the likes of Misha Mansoor popularized, so there was not too much content on youtube to get info from. Luckily, there’s TONS of videos now of walk throughs / techniques, to the point that I can search for pretty niche things and I find a video on it. I’ve found a lot on URM academy, which has a surprising amount of free content and supposedly more in the paid membership I think? I hate to sound like a plug (I promise y’all I don’t have any association to the site, nor do I have a membership), it just so happens that they’ve had a pretty unbelievable amount of high end engineers / producers do content for them (even Tom Lord-Alge, but not Chris, as I assume he’s tied to the Waves channel).
Hope that wasn’t too much. Just take it slow and don’t get frustrated (even with things like DAWs, I had to spend a day or two figuring out Reaper as I was totally new to it).
You can start pretty much ASAP, and based on the fact that you already posted a song, it seems like you already have. The first step is to make sure you have a DAW that isn’t “amateur” (not sure which ones have limited support of plug-ins). Reaper is virtually free and comes with lots of plugins that cover most things you need, it might even have everything you need, I honestly haven’t looked through it all. Not only that, there’s great resources that cover issues you might run into, and plenty of youtube tutorials.
I have a list of songs that I LOVE the production of; I try to group them more or less by production style and keep all the tracks in a project in my DAW so I can click through them. I’ve more or less adjusted the levels of all of them to perceived loudness, so I don’t get thrown off by different loudness levels. When I match one of my reference songs to the one I’m working on (as a goal), I’ll drop it in the project as a track so I can quickly A/B between them and hear what I need to do to get there (make sure you keep perceived loudness equal, as most songs are mastered to some degree of loudness that unmastered songs won’t have).
I think the most critical elements for me in mixing is bandwidth management and transient control.
Bandwidth is limited, as only so much content can be in any particular frequency range, so you have to start thinking of where in the spectrum you want the elements of your mix to be prominent in. I think this was hard for me as I would (and still do) mix pretty low end heavy, so I had to get used to high passing things way higher than I thought was necessary. Once you high pass something, you can get away with very minor moves to the mids / highs (assuming they were recorded / sampled well). Then it’s a matter of playing different voices together to see how well they mesh.
Transient control is something that also took me a long time to hear, and honestly I had to develop a critical ear for. I’d recommend some “fast” headphones (I use planar magnetics) and listen at pretty conservative levels to get a feel for what happens to transients when you apply things (mainly compressors and saturators). Getting drums to have ideal transients is make-or-break for the mix IMO, as is overall mix compression so it all pumps together.
Mastering to me, defined simply, is just ensuring the frequency curve of your mix is in line with professional recordings of the track’s genre. Most people will also want similar perceived loudness, but the tradeoff is baking the track to the point that it’s harsh to listen to, or straight up bad.
At the same time… mastering is a dark art to me. So much music released in the last ~40 years seems to have been mastered by a handful of people (look up the mastering credits of “the Bobs”: Bob Katz and Bob Ludwig). I feel like their ears have more or less shaped what we’ve come to expect in a professional recording.
Hopefully this reads coherently, it’s late and I didn’t check spelling / grammar much, lol.
drums are Kurt Ballou signature. I LOVE GodCity Studios, so when Kurt released these I flipped. They released version 2, but I really like the sound I have with these!
Definitely on the more metal end, but I think I can do more extreme than this lol! The “energy” part I put a lot of effort into, since this style of music has more or less been shafted by bad productions that just slam a limiter on and hope it makes it energetic.
I could try! I’m loving the bass as is, but it could make it fit better. I’m not using any EQ plugins as to streamline things, so I wonder if the slider on Saturn 2 is centered around 500 hz (I’d assume so).