trance mixing failure (as usual)

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Harlin
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Feb 2018

Post 08 Oct 2021



At my wits end. Been using Reason for many years, have watched gazillions of tutorials on mixing, but still, my mix sounds like shite. Everything sounds in the wrong place, kick is distance, synths are overpowering. Any advice welcome on mixing Trance in reason is welcome. Really about to call it a day with making music, as nothing sounds like it does in my head, and I don't know why, so being creative is just now a pain rather than fun..


Thanks

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Rising Night Wave
Posts: 552
Joined: 03 Sep 2019
Location: Vransko, Slovenia

Post 08 Oct 2021

wtf is wrong? i dont see nothgin that would be wrong in this song. it is beautiful piece of work.
i am listening this song now on my studio reference headphones and it sounds very cool. almost amazing. lol really.
i dont know what is bothering you?

song is good. really. sounds amazing. i loved this track. i gave you one like and one repost on SC.

and i like the shortness of this song. typically songs of this genre and style (goa/psy) are much longer. but this your song is straight clean. no yada yada-ing and whatsoever like this.

:thumbsup:


ps: okey, it is welcome to strive to perfectness but this work is very good done.
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reark
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Joined: 01 Oct 2021

Post 08 Oct 2021

Listening to this on headphones (cos I have no monitors at the moment), the mix sounds fine to me. I can read the kick loud and clear right in the centre of the stereo field. If anything, I find the other elements in the mix subdued. I think everybody would like to know how to mix better, and I'm completely self-taught like you, but all I can suggest is:

(i) Layer the kick, it doesn't just have to be one sound. Your kick is quite clean and lean, and maybe this is what works best for trance, but I suppose you could also try layering with lower frequencies.
(ii) Give your pads more width. Poor man's way is to use e.g. chorusing and I've found Reason's Polar quite useful for this as well.
(iii) Your hihats could also be layered, and there's the usual trick of playing two or three of them at very slight time offsets. Pan them off-centre. Let all the high frequency stuff roam off-centre.
(iv) Sounds like you've opened a filter on the rhythmic synths for climaxes. Why not also add some grit as well (e.g. with Scream, Pulverizer, etc). Widen the hell out of all the higher frequencies. There are combinator patches for that, and you've probably seen the same Reason tutorials as I have from their website.
(v) Try putting an Audiomatic over the whole mix, or a Scream, and set on e.g. Tape... sometimes that adds some warmth you might want to keep.
(vi) I would be cautious about the 'reference track' idea of comparing your track to one of your favourite producers. The latter track is probably professionally mastered so it's difficult to make allowance for that and you beat yourself up unnecessarily.
(vii) Most importantly in my opinion: never mind the mix for the moment, are you proud of the concept of your track? In principle, a mix can be fixed, but are you excited by the musical ideas?

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Benedict
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Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 08 Oct 2021

Like others, I hear nothing that makes this mix "wrong" (if you do not know me, I make a living from mixing - not a great one I admit but a living nonetheless). The mix is clear and tight. It lets the work be heard well. It could be mixed another way, as could any song but nothing I hear suggests "fail".

What I do see however is someone trying to not accept what is there and make things hard for themselves. Just about everyone hits this wall at some time. It is inevitable with a certain approach - the "head-on" one. What you do now is what decides if you go on to become an Artist, someone who dabbles in spare time, or gives up.

I hit this wall in 1990 when after my first EP I was trying ever so hard to make a 'better" record. Better was defined in my stupidity as cloning Front 242. No matter what I did, I failed. Terribly. I was saying the same thing about tossing my gear out the window and devoting myself to being a banker. Thankfully something intervened and slowly I pulled myself out of it. It did take a very long time but the moment I decided that the approach was broken, I let myself find another one.

A bit later I got a letter back from Tom Ellard of Severed Heads who was known for being supportive of new acts. His letter I took as being insulting seeing I was arrogant and stupid. Later I realized that essentially his advice was that while what I was doing was potentially publishable (with a nip & tuck) it was not unique so could only fail. He gave advice to try to shake me into telling My Stories instead of laying out the Front 242 formula of "bleeps & bloops" (his words those).

It took a while for me to start to learn that true Art is come at sideways. And to get the experience to let it happen, to let the Song itself lead where it needs to be, I am not the God of my song. The Song belongs to itself - the Song Gods - my job is to listen and translate as well as I can. That takes Courage. Not arrogance about perfect freqs or clones of Squarepuncher 48 but the courage to be open to the songs that are there for you - that want to use you to have their impact on the world (even if that is tiny).

You show technical ability, now show courage.

:-)

Popey
Posts: 749
Joined: 04 Jul 2018

Post 09 Oct 2021

First of all i like the track so it would be a shame to call it quits when you have good creative ideas. I am very much a beginner having only written music for just over a year but people on here will help and have helped me a lot. To me this song is cool but i did think some sounds could have been louder in the mix to make it more balanced. I am not sure if this is frowned upon but i sometimes find it useful to rough mix my songs to pink noise as usually i then find them more or less in the ballpark and i can tweak things until i am happy.

if you are interested there is a video about it here (and a pink noise sample although a lot of synths have pink noise too)

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Benedict
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 09 Oct 2021

OMG that Pink Noise hack. Talk about getting something to do your job for you and not committing to anything yourself. Maybe it helps if you don't want to actually learn to mix and simply to cheat, but it sure ain't a thing I would ever advise anyone to do as it simply leads them off-track.

Mixing is an Artform. It is not following technical rules or hacks.
Mixing is about courage - as is anything else worth doing.
Then mixing is about experience - as is anything else worth doing.

Note that courage comes first. You can bluff your way about with experience but without courage you can fudge up a guide mix but not a great mix. If you don't believe me watch Chris Lord Alge mix. I don't like most of his records but that ain't his fault. He hurls himself at what he is doing and that is why his records sound big. He has courage.

Alan Parsons, Bob Rock, Bob Clearmountain... you name em, they all have courage.

Why not use this method:


:-)

PhillipOrdonez
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Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 09 Oct 2021

The kick is a bit upfront for my taste, but then again trance is the furthest from my taste possible. I think the synths could be more forward, and the bass could be bumped more as well. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

djadalaide
Posts: 233
Joined: 11 May 2018

Post 09 Oct 2021

The gated vocals and the kick and some of the other elements like the double clap are too loud, apart from that all you need to do is bring up the gain about 11db on the master (i use GClip for this)

The best way to figure this out is turning the volume down (there is a button on the bottom right-hand corner on the mixer) and seeing what is sticking out.

Try mixing again and come back and show us your new mix, don't give up!

Harlin
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Feb 2018

Post 09 Oct 2021

Thank you for all the replies. I think I had just got frustrated with the sound not how I wanted it to be in my head, and eventually (version 5) had drifted away from the original, without all the added 'fixes' I had tried to implement. I will revisit it again with a fresh view and see what I can turn out.

Thanks for the encouragement :thumbs_up:

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Greg Savage
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Post 09 Oct 2021

Benedict wrote: ↑
08 Oct 2021
The mix is clear and tight. It lets the work be heard well. It could be mixed another way, as could any song but nothing I hear suggests "fail".

Exactly, you took the words right out of my head. I hear some things I'd change, but nothing that makes or breaks the track. I think it sounds pretty good and should be something to be proud of personally. Keep up the good work.

- Greg
Music Composer/Sound Designer
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PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 2492
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 09 Oct 2021

Consider referencing. I think it is a vital tool to regain perspective when you are working on a mix. Good luck!

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Chizmata
Posts: 612
Joined: 21 Dec 2015

Post 10 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
08 Oct 2021


At my wits end. Been using Reason for many years, have watched gazillions of tutorials on mixing, but still, my mix sounds like shite. Everything sounds in the wrong place, kick is distance, synths are overpowering. Any advice welcome on mixing Trance in reason is welcome. Really about to call it a day with making music, as nothing sounds like it does in my head, and I don't know why, so being creative is just now a pain rather than fun..


Thanks
the balancing of the elements itself sounds fine, it appears the track would just need a kinda big boost in the lower regions. experiment with cranking up anything from sub bass to lower mids quite significantly.

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Jackjackdaw
Posts: 1017
Joined: 12 Jan 2019

Post 10 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
08 Oct 2021


At my wits end. Been using Reason for many years, have watched gazillions of tutorials on mixing, but still, my mix sounds like shite. Everything sounds in the wrong place, kick is distance, synths are overpowering. Any advice welcome on mixing Trance in reason is welcome. Really about to call it a day with making music, as nothing sounds like it does in my head, and I don't know why, so being creative is just now a pain rather than fun..


Thanks
Funny, your crits are almost opposite to what I heard. I'm getting too much kick up front and synths in the distance! (Through my shit headphones I listen to every day at work). Maybe you are over compensating for something unique to your monitor mix? Save that mix, start from scratch through different monitors or in a different room or something, change it up somehow and see where that takes you. Get some reference tracks playing so you get some comparison. Don't give up mate!

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Billy+
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Post 10 Oct 2021

Benedict wrote: ↑
09 Oct 2021
OMG that Pink Noise hack. Talk about getting something to do your job for you and not committing to anything yourself. Maybe it helps if you don't want to actually learn to mix and simply to cheat, but it sure ain't a thing I would ever advise anyone to do as it simply leads them off-track.
:lol:

I've never been in to using the noise trick either apart from level checking my monitors. Pink noise just makes me angry and that's never what you want before starting a mixdown..

I am curious what you think about reference tools in general though, I decided to get izotope tools for mixing and mastering software rather than fabfilter etc and one of the tools supplied is tonal balance and although I don't mix into it I will put it on the master bus when I'm happy just to see what it thinks, kinda like a fresh pair of unbiased ears.

I'm fairly consistent with its opinion of my mixes, usually it's reporting that my bass levels are slightly high and my high end is slightly low and I've always put that down to personal taste and room / monitoring setup but I've never just accepted that it's right because it's a machine, however I might try boosting the higher frequencies to cheer it up and see what it sounds like.

VST 2.4 MIDI It's definitely on the list of todos
What MIDI tools are you itching to use

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LaudusDeWire
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Joined: 29 Aug 2021
Location: Hamburg, EU

Post 10 Oct 2021

I like the idea and arrangement of this song. As mentioned before the kick seams to be too loud. I know that problem. Always hard to find the right balance in the mix. Usually the groove of the track get lost for me when the kick is too loud. Try to render three different versions of the track with different "choices" and compare them in your car, on your mobile etc.

Do you work with busses / groups for the different elements? (Kick&Bass, Synth etc.) That helped me a lot, not do get lost with all that faders. With busses it's way easier to decide what's the important element within the group and how to level the different busses against each other.

Keep going and don't be too hard to yourself. There are plenty of people out there who would be more than happy to create a track like yours! :thumbup:
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stillifegaijin
Posts: 83
Joined: 27 Oct 2020

Post 10 Oct 2021

I have to say I agree with nearly everyone else. This mix sounds pretty damn good. If anything, the kick is a bit too loud and aggressive & clicky for me. It's certainly not "distant" as you describe it. I wonder what your monitoring situation is like that you are hearing it as distant.

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 10 Oct 2021

Good points Billy
Billy+ wrote: ↑
10 Oct 2021
Pink noise just makes me angry and that's never what you want before starting a mixdown.
Starting a Mix angry is never a good thing. Mixing is an Art so the vibe you mix with is what the listener hears. I can easily hear the frustration or fears in mixes. That is not what I want as a fan. Would you go to the cinema to watch the Actors' and Director's fears writ large? No, you go to be entertained or to be taken somewhere that is above/beyond the daily fears & insecurities. Yes, even if the story is a "trapped" one like "The Guilty" we watched last night. While I know Jake G has his demons, that film is fascinating because it is about the story told and not making me grind through the fears of the creators that they tried to hide. That is the difference between good & bad work. The bad work focuses more on the fears of the creator and trying to hide them so much that they becoming glaringly obvious - more so than the story being told.
Billy+ wrote: ↑
10 Oct 2021
I am curious what you think about reference tools in general though?
The above about anger is very related to the second Q which is central to my point here:
- a Tool is a thing that you use to get the results your work needs.
- a Crutch is what you use to avoid doing the real work.

I do not use direct referencing at all. I have a life of listening to Great music: Bach, Pink Floyd, Queen, Iron Maiden, Candlemass, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Thompson Twins, Garth Brooks, George Benson... This means that I already know what music feels like. Sitting there flipping between Splurb The Dumble's "Clone The Sheep" and my song (or the client's song) is not doing my job.

My job is in having the courage to know how to deliver that Story. It is not in knowing enough Tipz n Trix to hammer it into the most perfect version of perfect according to a crowdsource of choonz offa Spotifry.

Nor can a faux AI tell me what that track should be. I tried one of those pattern machining EQs with Alan Parsons "Eye In the Sky" as the source (gotta start at the top right) and while it did indeed alter my mix and even raise some interesting questions about my decisions, it was no longer the same track with the same story. Therefore it is no longer music. Not art in the real sense. Those Crutches (that masquerade as tools) take far more than they give so my advice is either do not use them or use so sparingly that you don't need them.

If you have the courage to feel the story that your mix is telling, it will come through even if the mix has (apparent) technical flaws. That is music. People in groups telling you that your song would be worthy if you sorted the 325.45689714563 Hz by inverse negative 0.03254789 Db are merely writing their fears large.

:-)

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mimidancer
Posts: 39
Joined: 30 Sep 2021

Post 11 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
08 Oct 2021


At my wits end. Been using Reason for many years, have watched gazillions of tutorials on mixing, but still, my mix sounds like shite. Everything sounds in the wrong place, kick is distance, synths are overpowering. Any advice welcome on mixing Trance in reason is welcome. Really about to call it a day with making music, as nothing sounds like it does in my head, and I don't know why, so being creative is just now a pain rather than fun..


Thanks
The kicks are a little loud in parts. you might get a more desirable result if you turned down the kicks a bit and used sidechaining to make them stand out. Other than that it sounds like trance to me.

Harlin
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Feb 2018

Post 11 Oct 2021

stillifegaijin wrote: ↑
10 Oct 2021
I have to say I agree with nearly everyone else. This mix sounds pretty damn good. If anything, the kick is a bit too loud and aggressive & clicky for me. It's certainly not "distant" as you describe it. I wonder what your monitoring situation is like that you are hearing it as distant.
Currently using only headphones (semi decent Hyper-X). I've been messing about with Kick plugins and samples and will have a stab at the kick later this week.

Thanks @All again for all the input.

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Chizmata
Posts: 612
Joined: 21 Dec 2015

Post 13 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
11 Oct 2021
stillifegaijin wrote: ↑
10 Oct 2021
I have to say I agree with nearly everyone else. This mix sounds pretty damn good. If anything, the kick is a bit too loud and aggressive & clicky for me. It's certainly not "distant" as you describe it. I wonder what your monitoring situation is like that you are hearing it as distant.
Currently using only headphones (semi decent Hyper-X). I've been messing about with Kick plugins and samples and will have a stab at the kick later this week.

Thanks @All again for all the input.
hyper-x do mixing headphones? i thought they only did gaming.

Harlin
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Feb 2018

Post 13 Oct 2021

Chizmata wrote: ↑
13 Oct 2021

hyper-x do mixing headphones? i thought they only did gaming.
Yes they are gaming headphones, but I also use Audio Technica ATH-M50. Not sure if I need something specific for mixing in Reason that will improve\enhance mixing?

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stillifegaijin
Posts: 83
Joined: 27 Oct 2020

Post 13 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
13 Oct 2021
Chizmata wrote: ↑
13 Oct 2021

hyper-x do mixing headphones? i thought they only did gaming.
Yes they are gaming headphones, but I also use Audio Technica ATH-M50. Not sure if I need something specific for mixing in Reason that will improve\enhance mixing?
I don't know anything about the gaming headphones but I'm sure they aren't optimal for mixing. Neither are the Audio Technica, though they are great headphones. They are very boomy and bass heavy. I would suggest looking into open back headphones if you are going to mix on headphones. They more accurately portray the low end. Also, just having the different options to compare is good. I currently have a very nice monitor setup in a treated room, but I still regularly check against some very nice AKG open back headphones and some very mediocre Skullcandy earbuds that I just happen to know and trust.

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jam-s
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Location: Aachen, Germany

Post 13 Oct 2021

I think the mix is not bad at all. To get a more "polished" sound you could drive the whole track a little bit harder and add some FX sweeps like risers/uplifters/downlifters and booms/impacts.
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selig
RE Developer
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Location: The NorthWoods, CT, USA

Post 13 Oct 2021

I hear basically an unmastered mix, that's all. Specifically, I hear a lower than typical overall loudness combined with not enough energy in the bottom few octaves (for this genre, and IMO). The kick is plenty "present", with a nice "click" attack and good mid-range thump. It's just a bit top heavy, that's all!
With that in mind, there is room in mastering to really push some low end - seriously, when I switch to my big monitors with the 12" sub I hardly hear any difference from my other monitors without the sub (currently Frontiers, Equators, and NS-10s). I ran your mix through Ozone 9 Elements with some low shelf boost (around +6 dB @53Hz analog low shelf), a touch of widener, and enough limiting to bring your mix up from under 16 LUFS to at least 12 LUFS if not up to 8-9 LUFS short term for the "big" sections (like around 2:00 - 2:30) with no issues. Then I remembered a beta RE I had laying around and tried that just for fun!
Here's an example of some basic mastering applied to your mix, just to show the mix itself is fine:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0bvdk04mn5uc1 ... d.mp3?dl=0
Selig Audio, LLC

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Chizmata
Posts: 612
Joined: 21 Dec 2015

Post 14 Oct 2021

Harlin wrote: ↑
13 Oct 2021
Chizmata wrote: ↑
13 Oct 2021

hyper-x do mixing headphones? i thought they only did gaming.
Yes they are gaming headphones, but I also use Audio Technica ATH-M50. Not sure if I need something specific for mixing in Reason that will improve\enhance mixing?
those headphones tend to emphasize the bass a lot, which may lead one to add not enough of it - and low end is really what this track is missing. listen to what selig said, he nailed it.

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