How to make sounds full (adding Harmonics)

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by BENZZER, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. BENZZER

    BENZZER Ultrasonic

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    Hello.
    Any Ideas how I can make my electronic synth sounds fuller?
    I want to give it warmth and fullness with distortion but it doesent seem to work for me, at least how I tried it.. (i always get muddy bass/mids... Trying with Klanghelms SDRR2, kilohears distortion etc..)

    Many sounds I make are missing low mids/mids and tone in the upper register; thats why Im thinking i need to add harmonics (?).
    Maybe there is another way of getting a full sound?
    Any good/creative tips on making sounds full and audible in all frequency bands are welcome.
     
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  3. Majestic

    Majestic Kapellmeister

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    My favorites for this task are:

    Kazrog True Iron (really good) :wink:
    ISM Ploytec Mango
    ISM Ploytec Aroma
    Overloud Sculptube
    Soundtoys Decapitator
    Softube Saturation Knob (adds "cream" to anything)
    Studio Devil Virtual Tube Preamp (underrated)
    Wave Arts Tube Saturator 2

    All in all, as of late, Kazrog's True Iron, along with Mango and Aroma, are probably my favorites.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  4. rudolph

    rudolph Producer

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  5. usernone

    usernone Kapellmeister

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    All of the above, plus:

    - Elysia Karacter, Either the Plugin Alliance version, or the hardware (the hardware simply rocks btw).
    - Vertigo VSM-3, also by Plugin Alliance
    - Acustica Nebula 3 Pro, or N4 (there are tons of phenomenal libraries for it, perfectly suited for the job)
     
  6. Amirious

    Amirious Producer

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    Guys, he didn't ask for a never ending list of your favorite plugins to pirate, install and never use it. he wants to know about methods and techniques
     
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  7. usernone

    usernone Kapellmeister

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    He can run any of his electronic sounds through any of the plugins or gear mentioned above to add more harmonics to his sounds. There's no trick to it. Each plugin and sound is unique - the fun part is playing with it all, and it's 100% subjective.


    Here's a specific technique - try doing some parallel processing of your sounds using a combination of EQ, and any one of the fancy plugins mentioned above, with perhaps some compression....
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  8. G String

    G String Platinum Record

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    You don't want to be trying to make sounds that are full and audible in all frequency bands. You want to be making sounds that fit in discrete portions of the spectrum and which all fit together to fill the spectrum, in a spread across a mix.

    In terms of light, all the spectrum together makes white. You have to subtract frequencies to get colours, not add more.

    I would suggest you try ruthless EQing of your sounds, rather than trying to make them fuller. Put each one in its own space /frequency. IF one listens to professional multitracks the individual instruments alone sound almost nothing like one expects - they're generally much thinner and narrower sounding than they sound all together in the mix.

    So, take all the low-end off higher instruments, take all the high-end off lower instruments. Cut both ends of the spectrum for mid range stuff.

    Look at the main frequencies for each element - subtract that frequency from all the other elements.

    Overdo it all, so that the mix sounds mad thin and each element is isolated and disconnected in the mix -- then go back and ease each element back into the mix. It will sound much fuller! ;)

    Then there's saturation, as you say. And stacking sounds (several plucks instead of just one - but EQed). And panning. Oh, and gain-staging, maybe some mid-side shizazzle, an exciter, EQ and brick-wall limiting the final mix.
     
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  9. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Like G String says...and if you still decide to use saturation try to pick the element in your mix that you really want to stand out.
     
  10. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    That's a pretty common approach and should work. Can you provide us with an audio example and some infos how you did it?
     
  11. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    That's it. ^^^^

    First you need to know which part of the spectrum you need to beef up to make this particular instrument beefier in the context of the mix...Use an EQ to find out the sweet spot, again, in context, never solo...It's easy to make wrong decisions when soloing an instrument, like "hey, now it sounds great", and then it sucks when you put it back in context.

    Then, create a send to a track with EQ>Favorite distortion plugin, and use the EQ's low and high pass filters to isolate this frequency range, so you wont be distorting the whole spectrum, but just the parts that matter.

    Adjust send level to taste.

    Some plugins like FabFilter's Saturn and already have inbuilt filters, so you don't have to create a send to use them. However, working in parallel allows to shape the distortion more creatively, using EQ, compression, etc...

    It works for me. Distortion plugins are suckers unless you really know what you intend to do with them. You've got to use them carefuly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  12. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    try a hardware amps or something can color the sound, push the drive up till the sound full, then record the sound with highest quality converter,
    digital shit never helps, delete them all and release your workspace
     
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  13. MMJ2017

    MMJ2017 Audiosexual

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    https://audiosex.pro/threads/the-secrets-of-music-hard-to-find-info-techniques.30049/

    What you want to do is begin thinking of each plug as if it was a component inside of a analog circuit.
    Then by doing that you stack plugins where each one is doing a tiny bit working on the nano level of the audio.
    You stack say 10 analog plugs from tube,tape,transistor,console,transformer and you do tiny bit each one so that your stack adds up to be a effect which adds great harmonic complexity .
    This gives you the ability to independently adjust the transient response ( thickness of a sound across frequency range) and frequency response.(eq)
    for example say you have created the perfect fx stack on a track and it is sounding perfect ( regarding harmonic complexity)
    you can make a kick drum fat deep yet focused in the range in say laptop speaker.
    instead of a kick drum that was just raised 45hz by 5db ( but is less deep and impactful.
    the secret is to think of transient response separate from frequency response. there is no connection between the two.
    amateurs will try to "eq" in order to control the impact of a kick or snare or vocal or synth.
    eq is only meant to adjust such that your track has equal energy in all frequencies.
    this is like how cheap stereos and radios have "loudness" knob or button to boost lows and highs.
    it is an attempt to compensate for shit transient response of amp and speakers.
    conclusion.
    build harmonic complexity the using plugs the same way real electronics circuits work at atomic level.
    once a thick harmonic layer is built (say a cranked guitar amp that still clean)
    you can adjust eq independent from transients

    the end result is to have transients equal across full frequency range.(as opposed to a crystal clean recording of say a kck drum not processed.) the drum natural is clicky on top a fast transient, yet tubby and loose around 250hz a slow transient response and farty and boomy at 45hz.)

    think of a transparent guitar sound compared to that same guitar going through a cranked amplifier, the harmonic complexity allows for the low E note at 80hz to be heard an octave higher.
    using this same method of harmonic complexity you can have deep subwoofer sounds be audible through laptop speakers or reg headphones.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  14. DieM

    DieM Rock Star

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    Have you tried a bit of chorus followed by a decent EQ?
     
  15. MMJ2017

    MMJ2017 Audiosexual

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    I have heard this perpetuated for many years floating around the internet.
    (I am saying i make no judgment on the poster of this cxomment at all.)

    this idea is false, wrong fake phony bullshit.

    the ONLY way to make your mix sound cheap, amateur and the opposite of all the greatest mixes in the world judged by the highest standards, is to cut big holes out of your tracks and chop off lows and highs with bandpass filters.

    1. it makes each sound tiny and dull.
    2. all the limitations on your playback speakers get emphasized by 10,000 %
    3. you lose width and depth
    4. you DAMAGE the transients of each track AND the entire mix.
    5. the music sounds dead and lifeless

    this method of gouging out holes of your tracks to make them swiss cheese and then smashing them together , makes it impossible to hear the music realistically, clearly, it loses any and all magic in the upper and lower ranges.finally you end up with the wimpiest most un-inspired mix imaginable.


    INSTEAD of the "swiss cheese puzzle pieces mix) method,

    make each track take up the entire frequency response from low to high. build a harmonic complexity with each track such that you get the transients perfect.


    I will now demonstrate example which comes to mind. first track is example of the "swiss cheese puzzle pecies" method ( carving big holes out your sound artificially then putting bandpass on each track then smashing together artificially.
    now both these examples have guitar tuned as low as bass and both are basically same song quality wise, we are going to listen for the mixing method only but seeing how it impacts the final mix.

    this first track is "swiss cheese puzzle pieces" method
    listen very closely
    next this next track is the same band with their recent album adopting a more professional and common mixing method of having each track take up the full range it exists in , next using techniques to make thick rich full and lively with width and depth as a focus. instead of making each track swiss cheese. listen closely to the mix method to judge for yourself think about the impact the methods have on final delivery.

    in the second example it is clear the band did less of the swiss cheese method yet still little bit of it, here is another song different band similar music but no swiss cheese method at all.

    again i am not making any judgment of the person speaking about the swiss cheese method, I am referring to the method itself.
    (it should also be said sometimes you want a special effect of that telephone sound of cut off lows and highs and chunks cut out of the mids)
    I am just saying using that as a way to deal with recording and mixing on everything leads to horrible results.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  16. quadcore64

    quadcore64 Platinum Record

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    The tone you are looking for should already exist somewhere inside the spectrum before trying to attenuate & modify it.
    Think of how a guitar sounds before being plugged in. How does that sound translate when plugged in, tweaked & distorted.

    Paul Reed's tone chamber is always part of the resulting sound & can sometimes be undesired.

    For ITB try a channel strip like SSL Duende or TBPro CS-3301. These both work great for me when looking to make sounds come alive.
     
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  17. G String

    G String Platinum Record

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    No offence taken. ;)

    Very interesting. Worth a topic on its own? It certainly spurs me to try dumping all my ^^^ advice and trying it as you suggest. If it sounds better...........
     
  18. MMJ2017

    MMJ2017 Audiosexual

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    hello my friend ,meant nothing against you. i did that swiss cheese technique myself for about 3 years , im just trying to share some info here and it seems like you understand my musical homey.
    yes you are probably right to do a thread demonstrating these things be pretty awesome.
     
  19. Amirious

    Amirious Producer

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    Maybe he doesn't know how it's done or he wants to get a general idea of how other producers apply EQ/Compression/Saturation to get a specific sound cut through the mix. it's way more fun when you know how to have fun with it.
    I was just trying to get people back to the topic.

    In the end we all want to help. but naming plugins won't do any good for someone new to the concept of mixing since they might spend more time collecting plugins each time they encounter a problem. he was just asking us for a direction, not our favorite brand of cars to try this week.
     
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  20. KungPaoFist

    KungPaoFist Platinum Record

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    Sounds like a job for saturation, in an extreme case maybe a little distortion but the synth sound itself should carry most of the fullness already IMO making the job of the saturation plugin just to sit pretty. Vintage plugin emulators use a lot of this, Amirious is right though. You won't know the color/harmonic distortion that a Neve has on a synth unless you try these things.
     
  21. KungPaoFist

    KungPaoFist Platinum Record

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    Are you positive of your theory on these examples? The first track might have just been mixed by an engineer who enjoys cocaine (which actually affects they way they percieve high frequencies). All I know is without a little swiss in my mix, that fullness that sounded good on my KRK's doesn't sound good in my earbuds.. Btw I like KRK monitors because they illustrate high frequencies better then classic flat monitors allowing me to tweek harmonic distortions better.
     
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