First electronic song since joining SA

Hello everyone,

So this it’s my first attempt at electronic music since joining Sonic Academy. I watched a bunch of tutorials, including James Dymond’s Uplifting Trance tutorial, from which I shamelessly lifted a ton of ideas :slight_smile: I would appreciate the feedback.

BTW, my first, pre-Sonic Academy electronic music is below, if you want to hear the difference :slight_smile:

Hi @jwnicholson

Good achievement since your latest track is much more melodic and quite busy in terms of percussion & instrument layers which makes it very much harder to mix together and maintain clarity, so that’s already a big step further. You should now try to get that levels right, the track is lacking of loudness and overall volume, but when I reached the volume knob to increase it, I was pleased to hear that the sound didn’t distort at all when cranking up the volume meaning that there’s already a good work done in gain staging & mixing. It’s more about pushing it at mastering stage to gain the final level & loudness. But that’s another step above and a different process so nothing to worry, you’ll learn that too.

So yes, keep on the good work & hope you’re enjoying the journey, that’s the most important thing :wink:

Cheers !

Hey @Tekalight thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. Yes, I didn’t really try to do anything about increasing the volume. I was concentrating on the mix. There is still a lot to learn :slight_smile:

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Like I wrote before, that will come in time :wink:

Cheers !

I’ve updated the track with some tweaks the the bass and the arrangement.

Hi @jwnicholson to my listening, you should roll off some low end from your kick & your bass using a high pass filter with an EQ, especially on the kick. You’ve got low frequencies in there causing a rumble effect and making the track sound a bit muddy.

If you put a spectrum or/and frequency analyzer on your master channel ( I recommend using the free Voxengo SPAN ) it will help you to monitor that low end much more easily & visually than trying to get it right by ear. It can also help to avoid any room modes issues ( frequencies cancellation or boost due to your listening environment ) by using visual analyzer with a reliable ( good quality & flat ) headphone. Playing the kick in isolation, then with the bass and finally against the all track should help you make high-pass filtering decision with your EQ. If you see frequencies beyond 40/30 Khz, you want to get rid of those with a -12 or even -24 dB High-Pass filter ( low cut ).

Removing unwanted frequencies can be applied per channel to craft your sound but it’s also good to have a good EQ on your master channel at final stage to fine adjust and cut some unwanted Lows & Highs. You can also use tools like the free OTT from Xfer Records to adjust multi-bands dynamic range on your master, this would help to adjust the 3 different bands: high, mid, low and maintain dynamic & clarity.

You’ll find that getting the low end right, and especially the kick & bass duo, is one of the most challenging point in mixing, so hope those few tips & insight can help :wink:

Cheers !

Also are you using side-chain on your bass against the kick ? They seem to be dueling a bit together, but I think first the kick needs to be high-pass filtered a bit :wink:

Hi @Tekalight

Many thanks for all of the detailed suggestions. I went back and took a careful listen to how the kick and the bass sitting together. I already had low pass on the kick and bass, as well as side-chain on the bass against the kick. I had a hard time hearing any issues, but I think I need to work on my listening skills. In some of the tutorials I have watched I also have a hard time hearing the difference when tweaks are made to the EQ. :no_mouth:

Anyway, I also took a look at both kick and bass using SPAN and added some more filtering to the kick. Hopefully that helps. Thanks again for the feedback.

Hello again,

Don’t worry the listening skills will increase, it takes time. Again I stress you on the room issue as well, if you work in an untreated room, the low frequencies are even harder to control sometime. It can then be good to reference your mix in another listening environment ( like the car or your kitchen radio, if you’ve got to much low end on a kick it’s gonna sound dull & muddy if your crank up the volume on those ).

Tiny filtering & fine EQ adjustment are very sudden for the ears too, so it’s all right to find them hard to catch by ears. That’s where tools can help for a more visual approach.

Voxengo SPAN can be tweaked in the Presets section to respond faster & be more accurate, which can help.
Here are my 2 personal presets for electronic music with SPAN, one is for monitoring using the K-14 Bob Katz metering scale and the other one if for full 0 dBFS.

Have a try to see if it’s giving you a better visualization with Span.
TK-Span Custom (7.4 KB)

For presets tweaks, load, save…etc RTFM man !! :smile:

Cheers !

Thanks for the Span presets. I downloaded them and will give them a try.

I have a decent pair of headphones (Beyerdynamic Custom Studio) so I can’t blame the room - only my ears :slight_smile:

Yes, the Beyerdynamic Headphones are reliable ones :smiley:

The span presets should give you a more dynamic visualization, it should respond faster to your music transients. I use the K-14 for mixing & gain staging and the full scale 0 dB to check frequencies & levels on the master channel after adding the limiter.

Let me know if you found them useful, within Span you have the option to load bank & presets, both are included in the zip file.

Cheers !

Can’t comment on the sound as my listening equipment is crap. From the arrangement it sounds to mechanicly to me. I listen it and can kind of see the Ableton project. x bars of this, cymbal, x bars of that, cymbal. Try to make it more organic, fluid. E.g. by adding a counter melody that is doing it’s own thing or do the deadmau5 and move everything but the first chord one beat to the right.

Hi @kuchenchef, Thanks for listening and for the feedback. I guess it’s not surprising the arrangement sounds that way. This is my first song after joining Sonic Academy and watching some tutorials. I did this song after watching the James Dymond uplifiting trance video, and this was the approach he used. I hope to make more complex arrangements as I get more practice.