>Step by step

Sonic pock­et­ing and ba­sic mix­ing while writ­ing

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Studio Startegies -

1 With my DAW (Cubase) set to a tempo of 174bpm, I’ve laid down a beats ’n’ bass groove com­pris­ing in­di­vid­ual hits and per­cus­sive loops. The over­all bass is bro­ken into two parts: sub and mids. At this stage, the groove feels muddy and clut­tered, so I want to get the mix un­der con­trol be­fore mov­ing on.

2 First, the drums. I solo the top-end per­cus­sion and shaker el­e­ments, then high-pass ev­ery track at 250Hz to get rid of un­nec­es­sary boom­ing fre­quen­cies. A slight boost at 2kHz ac­cen­tu­ates the up­per mids. So far, so stan­dard…

3 My break­beat layer is a lit­tle loose. To tighten the groove and create a ‘step­pier’ rhythm, Nicky Romero Kick­Start cre­ates a vol­ume sweep over a one-bar loop. A gate plugin with a very sharp re­lease tight­ens the break up fur­ther.

4 Next, I high-pass the kick at around 60Hz, mak­ing room for the bassline’s lows. I also EQ out overly res­o­nant low-mid fre­quen­cies. For the hats, a slight dip at 9kHz smooths out the pierc­ing tops, then FabFil­ter Saturn is used for sub­tle drive and tape sat­u­ra­tion.

5 Snares next. In the sam­pler, I fine-tune the snare’s pitch to slot it in with the rest of the per­cus­sion. A 250Hz high-pass fil­ter carves away bass. When EQing, I’ll avoid solo­ing too much, to help me get a han­dle on ev­ery­thing in con­text.

6 Now to ‘push up’ and en­hance the drums. I send in­di­vid­ual chan­nels to an FX Chan­nel, then ap­ply crunchy drive to the par­al­lel sig­nal. Next in the chain, the Eos re­verb pro­vides a tight ‘space’, and iZotope’s Ozone 8 Imager en­hances its stereo width. Fi­nally, a 400Hz high-pass fil­ter and 3dB EQ boost at 2kHz shift the sig­nal’s fo­cus to­wards the up­per mids.

7 With the drums sound­ing sweeter, let’s get the sub bass work­ing un­der­neath. For a punchier, tighter tone, I tweak the sam­pler’s amp en­ve­lope At­tack and Re­lease times. It’s still a bit ‘flat’, so I call up two in­stances of Cubase’s Tre­molo ef­fect – one clocked to 1/4 notes, the other to 1/1T – to create ex­tra vol­ume wob­ble.

8 My pro­cess­ing in the pre­vi­ous step has shaped the sub bass’s vol­ume over time, but its tone could be fat­tened up a bit – eas­ily done with a weighty 40Hz EQ boost. Then, by open­ing up a low-pass fil­ter with au­to­ma­tion, I add very sub­tle move­ment over 16 bars.

10 Re­mem­ber that top-end-en­hanc­ing FX Chan­nel I set up ear­lier? I now send my two midrange bass chan­nels to this same bus, which in­stantly gives them more ‘push’ and bright­ness. Us­ing send/ re­turn set­ups in this way, you can quickly meld dis­parate el­e­ments to­gether, sweet­en­ing the mix over­all.

11 It’s all com­ing to­gether now. Next, I route all the drum tracks to a drum bus, and all the bass chan­nels to a sin­gle bass bus. I’m a big fan of Slate Dig­i­tal plugins for group pro­cess­ing, so I call up Vir­tual Mix Rack on each bus and stack up the mod­ules, dialling in much-needed punch, glue and so­lid­ity.

9 Let’s move on to the midrange bass, com­pris­ing two re­versed, dis­torted bass sounds, both pock­eted into the midrange with tight EQ. Cho­rus from PSP Nitro and am­bi­ence from Eos give these vi­tal el­e­ments the char­ac­ter and move­ment they need.

12 Af­ter eval­u­at­ing the mix, it sounds like it could do with more RMS. A sin­gle par­al­lel com­pres­sion bus al­lows me to fat­ten up the el­e­ments that need it with­out dis­rupt­ing the mix bal­ance I’ve al­ready set up. Pip­ing the drum and bass bus sig­nals to this ‘squash­ing’ FX Chan­nel gives my mix the fi­nal stage of weight and glue it needs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.