I put together a quick mix to test some new production techniques. It came out pretty good, so I feel like there was some good progress this time around. These are some fun tracks, the new techniques let me put them together which would have been much more difficult before.
If anybody likes hearing these details, this is what I did differently this time around:
- Dynamic range adjusted to center around a more “CD friendly” range. Beatport tracks seem to be designed with a very loud thumping club system in mind, so the dynamic range is quite broad. The affect is that if you do not alter this dynamic range, the quiet instruments and transients are inaudible due to the loud thumping bass and louder instruments. As I learn more about how to make beatport tracks more CD friendly, I’ll post a more thorough article.
- Avoiding warp mode completely, whenever possible. Ableton has very good warping algorithms. Unfortunately, you can still definitely tell the difference. I also believe now that warping artifacts become accentuated when additional processing is done (compression, etc). An unwarped track has a little bit extra warmth and there are some subtle details that are lost through warping. To my ears, this made a big difference.
- Cross-fader in addition to sidechain compression during all transitions. After analyzing the waveform of my resulting mixes, I noticed that the transitions were significantly louder than the body of a track. This makes sense, because I was layering two tracks at equal volume. The only reason this wasn’t super obvious is that a good limiter goes a pretty long way at automatically evening these out for you. Avoiding them in the first place with cross fading, however, is a much better option. Subtle details are retained, and you get to be a bit more playful with the energy progression throughout your transitions this way. Obviously cross-fading is a pretty standard DJ tool, but I wasn’t harnessing it before.
- Voxengo Elephant – If you produce/DJ, and you haven’t seen this plug-in, I urge you to check it out. This is the best limiter I’ve found. Most limiters you find, you’ll like them at first, but after you listen to them under various scenarios, you end up finding things wrong. This one is really solid and can be super transparent. This lets you kick up the overall volume of your mix without clipping. Combined with dynamic range altering, the volume gets kicked way up without hurting audio quality (in fact, it ends up sounding *better* since you can hear the details).
My holy grail at the moment is a method to decibel-histogram match (or at least, the ability to alter the dynamic range via histogram manipulation). I think this would be a very valuable tool. I’m exploring how this might be done with image processing tools on adobe audition’s export/import to BMP features.
Anyway, here’s the mix Caustik – Random 001.mp3.
Seva K. – The Jungle of Music (Sebastian Davidson Mix)
Chris Lake + Trophy Twins – Babaloo (Original Mix)
Moonbeam – Sky (Vocal Mix)
Moonbeam – Seeming Reflection
Petter – All Together