Workflow for mixing complicated arrangements?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by MaXe, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. MaXe

    MaXe Ultrasonic

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    Hi guys,
    I have seen tutorials about mixing and workflow. But the problem with most of those tutorials is they're mostly about pop songs or any song which does not have that much complicated arrangement. It is just not the template or workflow offering me to be able to handle complicated arrangements.
    I listen to some EDM or ambience mixes and they sound crazy as hell. Like lots of EVOLVING (which is done through mixing!) like the guy does crazy panning and literally changes frequency response in subtle ways that teases the ears! I know it is Fu*kin' automation but the problem is I don't know how the mixer handles lots of automation through out the mix while keeping track of gains and levels. It is just killing me. Like I know my automation moves (Imagining) but after I do 2 or 3 lines of automation the track seems out of balance ( Like I do balance but the shit doesn't have that static leveling quality )
    Another thing is the reverb like the mixer has put subtle different amount of reverb on every single drum hit. Do they really automate that?
    The craziest thing is the stereo imaging of each element which changes through out the mix and EVOLVES . God ! What's that?! it takes million years to automate all of those lines and not get out of balance. Well I try to stop here and not talk about the way other FX get mixed.
    Anyways, it is like I make the track in mind but it doesn't become reality.
    Guys give me some HELPFUL tips please!!!
     
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  3. black bounty

    black bounty Producer

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    first you should give concrete examples and add at least one reference track to your post to illustrate your question

    2, each track is unique, even if you can create templates regardless of the styles, there's always adjustments to be made.

    3 sometimes gains are dealt with by grouping tracks & aux. buses.

    however, it remains a good question, i'll be watching the thread too :)

    :mates:

    :bow:
     
  4. swavenation

    swavenation Ultrasonic

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    In the beginning stages of a song its best not to overthink all that stuff before you start, but as you go about adding different elements you should try to have an idea of what you want to hear next. Obviously tutorials will help but try to find a reference track and really listen to the changes and try to implement them. Practice really makes perfect in this area. Try not to do things just because you hear other people doing it, really listen to your track and think about what it needs. Something thats popular in EDM mixes are filter sweeps, maybe start practicing automating with filters if that's your genre of focus. Sometimes you need to give your ears a break, once you start overthinking you will start to lose focus and have poor judgment.

    In edm music automating reverb on certain drum hits is very common, it definitely adds more excitement. The stereo imaging could even be reverb being automated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  5. rah

    rah Member

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    can it help to watch this guy ?
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_CyR8Aqfl45kzFIDeMr-CQ

    Alex Moukala
     
  6. Nemenu

    Nemenu Newbie

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    my workflow
    1. keep in mind, what are you going to tell for the listeners. the melody from this or those instruments? positioning? dynamics? or harmony?
    2. then take a step on which instruments you want to show it (in other words this instruments is much like telling the story or as narrator)
    3. starts from the expression, velocity control, pitch bend, (it need a power or not? idk)
    4. then go to the backing instrument who illustrating the story. i can say you will do change from some instruments for "harmony purpose"
    such low left, mid right. then entering chorus you fill the mid left and the low right.
    5. adding effects.

    just don't be lazy to do automation. that's the key :rofl:


    example:
     
  7. Iggy

    Iggy Platinum Record

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    Lemme start off by saying I really, really hate EDM, but it's a form of music, and is processed like other forms of music, so I'll go from that. First of all, it sounds like you need to learn your DAW, your effects and whatever VIs or samplers you're using. It can all be overwhelming at first (it is for everybody), but all DAWs operate essentially the same way and all VIs essentially operate off of MIDI commands (127 of them). Once you know what those commands are, and how they affect your sound, you can pretty much do whatever the EDM guys you like are doing. But if you want to do it right, you'll have to crack open your DAW's or VI's owner manual and figure out what triggers what. It sounds like you want an instant shortcut to get that exact same sound, but (as much as I hate to admit it) most of those EDM dudes took the time to learn synthesis and how to operate their DAWs and VIs properly. Or you can just get some loop libraries, trigger everything with one finger and automatically sound like everybody else.
     
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  8. fiction

    fiction Platinum Record

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    So let me ask first:
    What is the material you want to arrange and mix?
    You don't start with complex stuff, tricks and automations.
    You start with your composition and arrange it until it sounds like a song, don't you?
     
  9. MaXe

    MaXe Ultrasonic

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    The problem is even in the arranging YOU HAVE TO AUTOMATE sometimes!
    Like some note should do pitch bend or have longer or shorter release.
    Consider you have a melody in your mind in which some notes have short attack or release and the other ones have longer release or longer attacks. What's the best workflow to instantly(as fast as possible) get those attack, release variations down? AUTOMATION!
    that's why I ask about a workflow for automation cause if I bounce that midi to audio I won't have the flexibility to change attack and release like I have in a synth for instance.
     
  10. mercurysoto

    mercurysoto Audiosexual

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    I don't think your problem is automation. Your problem might be in deciding on the arrangement, which can happen before you even open your DAW. Those changes in pitch, attack and release of notes is what makes a synth musician, well, a musician. If you know how to use your synth, then you consider it a "performance." Once you performed your music with it, the arranging comes around your lead instrument. If that synth is the sonic hook of your music, then the rest of the arrangement will serve it. Once that arrangement is set and done, mixing comes, with automation moves intended to enhance, heighten, or boost the vibe already there from the arrangement.

    Mixing is not like DJ'ing, where you get the "live" dynamic moves, and you orchestrate as you go. For listeners to feel that motion and excitement you praise in all the tracks you like, there's a lot of not so exciting moves that get decided upon in the arangement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  11. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    No, EDM is not my thing either but have respect for the artists that painstakingly, bent over their workstations write oodles and oodles of animation in order to reap their desired goal of sonic bliss or record their live moves as midi information, keeping what works or then tweaking that which falls short until they are satisfied with the result. I guess to keep track you either need a good memory and total command of your DAW as well as keep track notes and try to gestalt the whole darn mishagosh. Even songs that aren't "complicated" are many times gone over with a fine tooth comb by the mixer to fix drum hits, vocal parts that aren't pitch perfect and even to speed up or slow down whole sections in order to create what they feel is the best from the material they are given. With the tools today things are many times worked until even the artist is amazed (which in my opinion is not such a good thing...as the term "you can just fix it in the mix" creates laziness and not the need to master your chosen instrument).

    Check this out as an example of lots of working it...

     
  12. fiction

    fiction Platinum Record

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    What you're describing to me sounds like the best way to lose focus.
    I would start with the basics and do the details (like automation and fine-adjusting levels and EQ) later, when you've already used up your creative energy on the song itself :winker:
     
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