Hi there! I am trying to learn to produce my own electronic music. This one is the third track I make. It is unfinished, so I look for some comments to continue learning and improving the techniques until I reach my own style.
This track could be an interesting one because it’s very rich in terms of sounds & arrangement, so on a creative point, you did a nice job.
Now, mixing wise you’re having issues with levels and frequencies filtering IMO, the lo-end gets muddy & the hi-end is not balanced and takes it over the rest.
Don’t know if you tried to push the track on your master channel of if you started mixing with relatively high levels in first place but levels are really too loud here, resulting in a loss of clarity & unwanted distortion. I could see this looking at the size of the waveform but opening Sonarworks Reference confirmed that this track is clipping in the red.
You could easily lower this one from 4 to 6 dB, IMO, it’s not really important to try to have a matching commercial or loud track when you’re starting to produce and especially if you want to get some feedback. Gettting a louder Mix or Mastered track is another step.
So yes, interesting track on the creative process, but miss of clarity because of those levels, don’t let your ears be fooled by the “louder sounds better” effect when mixing, your goal should be to get a nice balanced mix for the listener to hear all elements in the track and you have quite a lot in this one, so try to make them sit nicely together, again, levels and frequencies filtering ( lo & hi-pass filtering with EQ to get rid of unwanted frequencies ) should really help IMO.
That’s why I wrote that mastering in another step in the process, your first goal should be to get a nice balanced mix in which your hear all elements, and yes, if you’re not sure about having room modes or can’t trust your monitoring for 100% ( which is a very common issue unless having full treated room & flat monitors ) it makes it more difficult & “dangerous” to try to master the track yourself.
A good pair of trusty & rather flat headphones with a decent frequency range can help with room issues sometimes. Reference 4 from Sonarworks is a real game changer in this regard, something to investigate IMO. If you think about the cost of room treatment it’s really reasonably priced I think.
But again, the first step after the creative process is Mixing, Hi-Pass filters & EQ are your friends as well as a bit of compression. Learning about M/S and taking care of what needs to stay in Mono and what you can spread more in the stereo field is also important. Mixing at lower levels is an habit to take and is something beneficial IMO. On your master you can eventually use a compressor just to “glue” elements and some multi band compressors like OTT from Xfer Records can help before reaching to any limiter if you need more “finished track” levels on your master channel.
Mixing is totally different than Mastering, but a good Mixing work leads to few things to do for Mastering