Made a Tropical House track

Would like some feedback and some tips on what to improve.
I feel like the intro is to long or repetitive, tried adding and experimenting with more percussion but didnt work out. And couldnt get the buildup to chorus to sound right in my opinion.

Hey @jawal

Having a listening right now… My first concern is that the track is too loud, reaching 0 dBFS and clipping above here on the meters.

  • First overall listening without going into details : it’s quite an appealing track, get something like some Flume’s track with those plucks, vocals and not too heavy bass sounds. That’s nice for this genre, so musically it’s a track that can work IMO.

  • 2nd listening : I don’t think that the intro is too long, the all track itself isn’t that long BTW, 3:30 is a kind of minimal radio chart average I think. IMO the problem with the intro is that you start at full level and bring in many main groove & beat elements like the full kick. That’s supposed to bring tension and it does, therefore it’s more difficult to resolve when introducing the vocals. Taking off the kick and reducing levels is not a nice way to do it here IMO, it would be wiser to introduce less main beat elements during the intro. Next to that you have adjustments to make in terms of levels, this “kind of Santa’s bell or tambourine” percussive sound is way too loud for example.

Reaching the vocal and first verse, I found the vocals too loud and too much in the front too, though it’s a vocal track, many nice elements are left behind and don’t cut through the mix, which is sad because you’ve got very nice sounds in there.

  • Specific parts listening : yep, as you mentioned the 1rst verse / build up to chorus is not very efficient. You could try to stop that pluck around 1:35 instead of bringing that drums rolls fill on top of it ( this fits better in the next part around 2:25 to add a variation but not for the first drop to chorus ). Then listening further I have another issue which is the kick. So it might be related to the loudness and presence of the vocals, but the kick sounds a bit dull and too long for this kind of track. Have you experiment with a shorter kick with a nice click sound to cut through ?? Maybe something to try.

So overall, this is a nice track and it has got something catchy & appealing, so definitely one that could be pushed further. It’s a matter of levels adjustments ( which is IMO the first point you want to address ) and then it’s about the arrangement. Sometimes less is more and also playing with some automation to add variations could push this track further I think.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Cheers !

EDIT : browsed quickly through your tracks on SndCld and about “Snowman” & “SAJD” are you a Cosmic Gate fan BTW ? :wink: :smile: If not search for “Cosmic Gate - Barra” and you’ll get the picture… :wink:

Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to make this elaborate review.
You answer alot of questions i had and i feel i can make it alot better with the feedback you give. I usually just take a mental note and move on to another project because thats more fun =) but im gonna make the needed alterations for once.
I mastered it in Ozone 8 with a reference track and thought that i would try reuploading different versions to see which one would sound the best because i cant get them to sound good. I’ll try starting with the assistant on the streaming option.
I have a hard time getting the levels right, i can sit for an hour mixing and i think it sounds awesome, but when listening to it later it sounds bad and i make adjustments again. I try to take breaks between so i can reset my mind so to speak.
I really struggled with the transition from intro to the vocal part and i’ll try your tip for sure.
Making more automation between transitions is something i think about, but i think that ill do it later and then i forget it :disappointed: When im in the end stage i just want to finish it and move on to another project. It’s kinda boring and tedious with the automations sometimes so i repress it i guess.

SAJD is short for Sonic Academy James Dymond, made that one when following along his tutorial.
Snowman is when i followed along Rick Snomans tutorial on his website :smile:
Yeah I like Cosmic gate for sure, made 2 remixes of AR which are linked on soundcloud as well but since i wasnt allowed posting them there i just made a link to metapops website.

And again thanks!

Before getting to a mastering stage, I think it’s important to treat the source, meaning that you’ve got to have an already well balanced & good sounding mix before mastering. Mastering should be the step to push the track in order to reach commercial levels + other minors adjustments like a bit of saturation, compression, overall equalization… well those kind of things.

Here is a little story I got from a video once and resumes a lot :

  • An older mastering engineer talking about a younger one working on a master.
  • YG : I put an equalizer on the master bus.
  • OLD : Yea that’s fine, why ?
  • YG : because the drums sounds a bit dull.
  • OLD : Why don’t you treat the drums then ???

You got the idea, right ? Everything you’re putting on your master bus is affecting the all mix, it’s not done to correct that or this, it needs to sound already good before. Taking care of levels, dynamics and frequencies masking per track really can help. Busing tracks to groups like Drums, Synths, Vocals…etc before summing them all to a Master Buss can help to make adjustments too.

Try to mix at low levels and refer to LUFS or K-14 metering as well as using visual tools instead of just relaying on your ears. It’s a good habit to refresh your ears with breaks but the visual thing is also a good habit to take IMO. Another advantage to mix at low levels ( beside less ears fatigue ) is that when you hit some plug-ins like the hardware gears emulations, most of them are modeled after real gears waiting for a -18 , - 20 dBFS input. Not hitting those too hard and level matching before & after the plug-in is the trick. You want that plug-in to add the effect, not adding volume that would trick your ears in the end because it will sound better at first place.

Arrangement and efficient placements of elements in a track is another part of this art, one could be very good in mixing on a technical level but less good at arrangement and the track won’t “work”. Listening to other’s tracks and deconstructing them can help a lot. Take the track, put it inside your DAW and use markers to identify main sections like intro, verse, drops, breaks… and then for each important section, dive more into details and think tension & release and add new sub-markers to point what elements was introduced, which one was suppressed, or what effects or level automation makes the difference in a transition. If you’ve watched the latest Enamour course, he’s really taking care of small details that make all the difference. He’s not only producing a track, he’s also thinking in terms of Dj & audience.
There’s not a all lot in terms of main sounds if you think well, but many small fx, percs elements and a load of automation and filtering that make all the difference.

Hmm, shame on me… I still haven’t watched this tutorial :smile: So I couldn’t possibly recognize the track.

Keep on the good work and most of all the fun of making music, that’s the one you don’t want to loose !
If it starts to be painful or boring or giving too much frustration, then give it a longer break.

Cheers !

A lot of good tips and i’ll spend more time on the mixdown where i get kinda lazy. I usually mix as i go and not spending enough time on it at the end is where i fail i think.
I’m gonna watch Enamours tutorial, i heard him on the latest episode of the EDM prodcast btw. Would be cool if Sonic Academy had a monthly podcast interviewing artists, mastering engineers and so on. I would listen for sure!
I work as a painter(construction) so i listen to music about 6 hours a day. But thats passive listening mostly, about 5% active listening where i try to take mental notes on the arrangement and stuff like that. Since i started with musicproduction about 1,5 years ago i got kinda obsessive. Most of my awaken time is about music in some form now. I was afraid i was gonna get tired of music but its the other way around, i like it even more now. Well, getting offtopic, but again thanks!

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S.A has some nice interview series in the tutorials, there’s a lot to learn watching those too.

Yes, the Enamour course on “Ruby” is really a great one and I also recommend the all Protoculture’s courses, Nate is a great tutor and his pushing the technique very far but with very good explanation and background info.

For levels, Kirk Degiorgio did a good course too here Understanding Loudness and Metering with Kirk Degiorgio | Tutorial 01 - Plug-in Gain Staging Metering Device

EDIT : oh and BTW, this track and some others on your SndCld have really good points and if you just started 1.5 year ago, it’s already a good achievement IMO. So keep it on, especially if you really digging it as you mentioned. It’s a long & almost never ending learning journey IMHO :slight_smile:

OK, that’s all for me now… Be happy to listen to this track once reworked or other ones.

Happy music making 'till then :wink:

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ok i did some adjustments. I shortened the kick and made it less boomy. EQed the percussives and lowered the levels on them. Removed the fill at the drop part, it wasnt good there as you said. Some slight adjustments here and there.
According to Expose (from Mastering the mix) it should be fine for soundcloud now but it seems kinda low imo. But now it shouldnt be clipping :smiley:

So we’re talking about the “edited” version right ? Because you didn’t post the new link here :slight_smile: and I was listening to the previous one and that was still very loud… LOL

So I suppose it’s this version now : Stream Lonely by JaWa | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

I find it much better and no it’s not low in volume, actually I still have some peaks going in the red here when listening :wink: No red areas showing in Expose ?? Think you could still lower down the synths, especially the pluck and also the vocals and maybe try to put an EQ on your master with a High-Cut filter to remove unwanted highs frequencies above 10K. You could also try to treat this issue on the vocals tracks, the EQ on the master is a quick way to see where it brings the mix but it’s better to treat the source IMO. Once you’ll lower down the synths & vocals you will put back the beat beat more in front and I think the all mix will be much more balanced then.

EDIT : Was also a bit wondering why the kick is more weak now, a shorter kick should peak through the mix. Listening again it seems to me that you have a resonance in your bass sound, around 70Hz, that might be sucking a lot of energy out of the kick.

Oops sorry about the link :slight_smile:
Ye you got me, small parts in the drop section showed red in expose. Didn’t think it would matter much.
My leads and plucks tend to be too high generally, I guess I want the “good stuff” to be loud.
Not only did I shorten the kick I also adjusted the parameters in the amp section in kick2, I probably over did it. Going to try with a sample. You can sit there for an hour tweaking and don’t get a result you’re looking for when there are so many options and possibilities in kick 2.
I’m going to make some adjustments.

IMO you’ll achieve this more efficiently with frequencies filtering, EQ & a bit of compression rather than settings the levels louder. Writing some volume automation along the mix is also a good trick, especially on vocals.

Don’t be afraid to EQ and cut frequencies that the mix doesn’t need, in this case I think around 1khz needs a cut on your pluck synth and filtering above 10Khz on the vocals.

As for the kick, how does it sounds on it’s own ? I’m still thinking about that resonance in the 70Hz area, seems to be coming from the bass or pad. Make those & the kick working together before bringing other elements in, again EQ & compression + side-chain are your friends to do that.

Also try to work with a reference track to match levels, dynamic + loudness.

Take it easy and give you time between sessions, it does not have to be stressful, keep it fun. It’s a good point to keep project versioning between sessions in order to compare before & after + a backup solution.

And don’t you worry, you’ll get there, there’s so much to learn about and find out with music production, it just needs time, trying out things…etc :wink:

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