PRO TIPS

Computer Music - - Make Music Now | Studio Strategies -

MIXDOWN AU­TO­MA­TION

As many en­gi­neers will agree, au­to­ma­tion is my best friend at the mixdown stage. Sub­tle changes to dif­fer­ent ef­fects can truly eek out that per­fect mix. For ex­am­ple, in busy seg­ments of a track, I au­to­mate the level of im­por­tant el­e­ments to make those sounds more prom­i­nent than oth­ers in the mix. This al­lows the track to breathe and sound less clut­tered. For ex­am­ple, with an im­por­tant el­e­ment like a brash stab or per­cus­sive loop, I’ll push up its vol­ume by a dB or so when it first en­ters the track. Af­ter that mo­ment, I bring that level back down slightly to keep its nat­u­ral space along­side the other mix el­e­ments. Over­all, less is more when it comes to this trick, but sim­ple vol­ume rises and dips re­ally do as­sist the move­ment and son­ics of the whole song: you can draw your lis­ten­ers’ at­ten­tion to­wards the sounds that have to take centre stage.

BOUNC­ING MIDI

De­pend­ing upon the project, I gen­er­ally use tons of soft­synths, plu­g­ins and au­to­ma­tion across many MIDI tracks, which can be a ma­jor strain on my CPU. There­fore, I like to bounce or ren­der the tracks down to au­dio once I’m com­pletely happy with the tune in its cur­rent state. I’ll then im­port these au­dio files back into a brand new ver­sion of the project. Along­side this, I keep the orig­i­nal project saved, al­low­ing me to go back into the MIDI ar­range­ment to make changes if needed. This speeds up my work­flow, and gives me vis­ual con­trol over the sounds in the ses­sion. Plus, I can ma­nip­u­late things even fur­ther – for ex­am­ple, I can chop up au­dio sam­ples and ap­ply quick clip fades. Over time, it’s also a great way to broaden your sam­ple li­brary, as you can throw these au­dio clips into a cus­tom folder for later use!

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