Hey there @Svalinn85
OK, let’s dive into this one
Several issues in this track, I’ll try to point them out for you, but before diving into the feedback, let’s talk about some main “ingredients” that can make a good track. It’s mainly choice of sounds, building rhythmic groove & musical phrases/parts with those sounds that are catching & retaining listener’s attention, arranging those musical parts into a progression that will retain interest through the all track duration, mixing all elements together to get a well balanced final track. Let’s forget about mastering here, which is just the final stage to “polish” and get a track ready for delivery depending of the medium.
For choice of sounds in this track, since you mentioned “Trance” music, it doesn’t work for me. Then the musical parts & melody built with those sounds is also not enough catchy, punchy & dreamy like we can expect from this genre. As a result it’s sounds quite “cheesy” in the end. While you retain a tempo ( probably 138 bpm ) that matches this genre, I think that the choice of sounds, tonality & key of the track and melody doesn’t work for a “Trance” track.
Then you have mixing issues : first of all the overall track is too loud and that’s probably due to the initial levels of your kick and bass. Levels addition themselves & build up across channels in your all mix. So basically, if you start with a very loud Kick, you’ll need to level up your bass to make them work together and then if you need to put a synth lead or pluck into the front, it will also need to be quite loud to get through the Kick & Bass. And so on & so forth, then you’ll quickly end up with a very busy mix and you’ll have a hard time to mix all elements together, your monitors are also gonna struggle to reproduce all this energy and you end up with a very cluttered mix and it’s gonna be difficult to make good mixing decisions.
So give yourself some headroom right from the start with Kick & Bass. It’s common practice to start with a Kick channel at -12 or -14 dB, it will give you more headroom & dynamic range. Mixing at lower levels is also a good habit for your ears, it trains them to listen to details. When we push something louder, we feel that it’s just sounding better, but that’s just our ears tricking us because that’s the way human brain perceives audio.
If you collapse this track to Mono, you’ll noticed that the synths almost disappear and we’re left with the Kick & Bass which are way too loud and with too much unwanted low end information taking all the energy & space in the mix. Raising the synths levels & widening them in the stereo field won’t help in this case. You have to go back to the start and lower down your Kick & Bass and filtered out the unneeded low frequencies.
No worries about all of the above points, this is nothing but very normal when starting, it really takes time & practice to get things quite right and even seasoned & established producers struggle to get there.
So what are resources or solutions to get better ?
As just mentioned : practice a lot, make tracks, make mistakes, learn, unlearn, re-learn ( this never stops, it’s a journey into music production, nothing’s gonna happen overnight, it takes time ) but if you’re passionate about it, then the hard work will be rewarding in the end.
Get a clear picture about what you’re trying to achieve when deciding to make a new track. For this, there’s nothing better than to listen to a lot of music, but not as a casual listener, you need to dive into critical listening, use other artist’s tracks as reference and deconstruct them : study the sounds choice, the progression and arrangement as well as the mixing.
So grab a track that you like or pick up a full Sonic Academy tutorial with project resource, and study it. When starting a new project, use a reference track to start with. If you import a track that works into your DAW, match the tempo, then it’s easy to deconstruct the different parts using markers or empty Midi clips to “slice” the track into parts. Next to have the track as audio, it can also help to have information like Key & BPM and a visual representation of the arrangement. You can for example pick a track on Beatport and make a screenshot of those precious information ( see the example pic below ).
Deconstructing tracks helps to learn about sound choices and the all progression, tension build and release moments, peak times & hooks, drops…etc : all the elements that make the track work for listeners.
For mixing, definitely watch this tutorial here on Sonic Academy ( 200% worth it )
Understanding Mixing Fundamentals with Phil Johnston
There’s also full series on EQ, Compression, “Tech Tips” and “How to use” abut tools & plugins that you can learn about along your journey and incorporate into your production among time and you’ll see that you will learn, unlearn and re-learn until you’ll find what works best for you & your workflow.
From the tutorial’s page on the main S.A website, there’s a magnifier icon on the top right side that you can use to search courses & videos by keywords, that’s really handy for browsing through the tutorials. I definitely recommend to get a subscription as well, it really worth it to be able to get access to all courses and the projects files & resources.
So in a nutshell, DO reference & deconstruct tracks, learn about existing projects and keep making tracks, share them with others to get feedback, be open minded to critical listening from others and keep on learning techniques and apply them into your own production.
Hope this helps