First song after switching from closed headphones to open headphones with proper audio interface. Very different sound. Most recognizable is that I cut much less in the higher mids/highs and that adding strong stereo effects don’t sound like a problem.
So, is this sound more or less acceptable? Compared to other songs it looks too wide in the lower mids and sounds too hard, my theory is that something between 100hz and 500hz is too much. What would be the term for it? Is it boxy, muddy, boomy?
It’s very defined, 100Hz to 500 and even to 1000 is usually about warmth and clarity VS muddiness. There’s no excess here if you play the track through a frequency analyzer. There’s just no low end in the track to get a sense of contrast, so that’s why it can sound a bit harsh and piercing IMO.
Yeah, the clicky kick is too much here, no sub or low end body at all in this kick which accentuates the previous effect. You could try to keep it and layer a sub kick with it, and experiment with adding some low end elements in the track.
Hey, thanks for your feedback. “there’s just no low end” … would you say that the lower frequencies are just too weak in general or does a specific area or element stand out to you?
Hope you also have a moment to answer two related questions:
How does mud sound? I get the theory, but I have no idea what sound to listen for or what shape in the analyzer to look for .
A big part of the sound in the song is created with distorted echo/delays, often with a 12db or 24db hi-pass filter between 300 - 700 hz. Thinking about it, it doesn’t make much sense. What approach would you choose to keep more of the low end of the fx tracks alive without getting into conflicts with other instruments?
Just meant that it’s missing a distinctive low end layer that would give more contrast to the track, but it might changed the intention for the track as well, so it depends what your after for this one, but I think that something like a sub bass or even bass synth or pad layer could add something. As it is, it’s the “clicky” attack of the kick that is taking over, try another kick and see where it leads without adding another bass layer, should change a lot already.
Well, you can’t really pin point frequencies for this, Mud is more about having less transients and clarity or when sounds feels like pushed back and not being in the front ( think about depth, stage, distance ), it can happen with compression and too much reverb decay time, or overlapping/dueling sounds in certain frequencies. It’s not the case in this track, so no issues with this here.
All of that said, terms like “Mud” are quite subtle, it’s usually used to say that there’s conflicting sounds in the Mids, Low-Mids frequencies, but basically it’s when a track lacks too much clarity.
If cutting less using Hi-Pass filter doesn’t give you good results or leads to sounds fighting for space and loosing clarity, then try to use saturation, you’ll keep your fundamental low end frequencies but saturation will add harmonics in a higher frequency range and that will help to push the sound forward in the mix.
With sounds processed with effects like echos or delay, timing, decay and feedback settings will give very different results, so it can help to adjust this as well.
The missing contrasting low end layer … technically it exists and the contrast you describe is what I would like to achieve. From playing around with the song it seems to be a mix of still too much hi-passing, also too much lo-passing on sub layers, too much sidechain compression/dynamic eq, and a lack of lower frequency action/groove in the arrangement.
Mud … the way you describe it, I think I know the sound. When it’s just a blurry mess, everything is drowning without a clear shape and there’s no space for anything and you’re always tempted to crank up the volume or 2khz+ frequencies on this or that track because you can’t hear it properly, until the whole song is a loud, harsh blob.
Thank you very much indeed. Am on Windows but started to make a lot of more use of the masking and conflict detection in Neutron and Fabfilter Q3 and using reference tracks and it makes a difference. Especially on older tracks it’s so clear that I was eq-ing a lot but in all the wrong places.