Sean Donnelly - Kathenotheism

Thanks for any listens and feedback! :slight_smile:

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Hi there Sean,

I haven’t listen through monitors yet, just headphones. Good levels & balance in this one and the gain staging seems quite right :wink: Haven’t been through too much details for now. So I don’t know if you applied the previous tips & guide lines or if this was a track you made before but it’s much better in terms of Mixing :wink:

You still have some extreme hard L/R panning, you can use lower values IMO and that low bass rumble synth might be a bit loud, might need dynamic ducking using Side Chain + tiny level adjustment.

This is a quick & raw edit to push the stereo image & levels of the track, also done on headphones. Just to show that when you have the levels right in the mix, and a lot of headroom, you can easily expand & push it for final mixing & mastering. I really didn’t bother too much to get it right, it might even be clipping a little :scream:
But again, just to demonstrate how it could sound fuller with stereo expansion.

You can definitely get there with this one if you expand the stereo image, use Mid/Sides EQing and add some saturation, compression & limiting.

Cheers !

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This is an older track so you’re right I haven’t applied any of your tips just yet. I’m still keeping them in mind though and I’ll use them to give this the polish it needs.

As always I’m extremely grateful for the tips and for you taking your time to edit the mix/master!

Cheers! :slight_smile:

Yea, was almost sure about this :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  • You know at some point you need structure & consistency in your way to learn Audio production, at least that’s what I believe in.
  • I don’t mind doing it, but I’m not sure if it’s valuable or not to you if you don’t try out by yourself and upload new tracks that you feel like some step/progress & new achievement instead of dropping older tracks or previous ideas.

When answering “Track Feedback” here, I try to focus on the mixing issue that I’m able to catch in my own listening environment, I’m not regarding about genre, and I’m less regarding about arrangement.

So far what I could get from several of your tracks was levels & gain staging and also stereo image to get a track sounding “fuller”. What could perhaps be constructive & beneficial is to try to put all this together and set a target to reach with a reference track and post again when you think you reached a result and needs a “check point” feedback.

Again, though I don’t mind trying to provide my personal feedback on several & very different tracks, I think it’s gonna be more confusing to received different information each time, covering this or that area. It’s like getting a new piece of the puzzle but you need a canvas and a full reference picture to build it :wink:

So again, structuring the learning & setting goals once you think you found a new technical tip that works for you, try to apply it and decide if this should be a part of your templates & workflow.

Beside the fact that creative sessions are nice moments, it gets even nicer when you are almost sure to get a good sounding result of that musical idea. That relies on structured & established workflow using basic techniques proven to work for your own music. The rest is more happy accidents and crazy experimentation ( that you also have to try of course ).

But, all of that is my own way of seeing things, and since it’s a forum, it’s meant to be discussed :smile:

  • Be sure to download & keep the edited version of your track if you need it, it’s in my own Dropbox and I might need to free up space later on.

Bye for now, catching up later ! :wink:

My next track will include all yours tips. I pormise!!! :stuck_out_tongue: :):):):slight_smile:

Thanks for all your help!

Cheers! :slight_smile:


LOL, let’s see if that works for you then :slight_smile: but it was not really the all point of my writing, it was more about structuring your workflow in general and keep going with some habits that works & give good results. It’s easy to save Ableton’s Live project as Templates, and keep the blank empty page for experiments :slight_smile:

Cheers !

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My workflow has got immensely better. I’ve about 30 loops on the go and I’m incorporating your tips into them all one by one. I can already hear a huge improvement in the sound quality! :slight_smile: Thanks Tek, you the best!!!

OMG… I’m fearing the next upload right now… :smile::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::heart_eyes:
Hahaha, just kidding… We’ll see, and no kind words before results please ! :wink::smile:

3 other free tools that might help as well :

  • iZotope Imager for Stereo processing
  • use it with the free Flux “Stereo Tools” to check ( and also correct ) stereo spread/Image
  • a free vuMeter ( always useful IMO ) from TBProAudio ( to check levels before & after plugins, especially if using 3rd party vintage gears emulation plugins like compressor )

So here is a very basic Live Channel setup to try as a starting point :

  • Your Audio or Midi Source with it’s Output Level ( 1rst available point of control & level adjustment )

  • The -Inf to + 0 Fader ( 2nd Level of control )

  • Utility Audio Effect ( you can use several instances per channel ) to trim or boost level, adjust the mono/stereo spread, write volume automation, panning.

  • vuMeter to check what level is sent to your Effect ( sweet spot is 0 dBvu = -18 dBFS )

  • your effect ( here a vintage comp. )

  • vuMeter to check what level is coming out of your Effect ( you want to get the effect only, not being fooled by louder sounds better ) so if your plugin doesn’t have an adjustable output gain to trim/boost, you will need another utility to do that. The goal is to have the same level before & after your effect.

  • Adding some stereo spread with Imager

  • Using the channel Volume Fader as the last element ( it’s a post fader ) to re-balance your track against the all mix. This has to be done several time when adding new tracks until the final Mix Down ).

On your MASTER Channel put a first instance of Voxengo Span with the K-14 preset first, then a first instance of Flux stereo Tools before your Mastering Chain ( Filtering EQ, M/S EQ, multiband compressor, compressor, limiter… Final EQ ) then a second instance of Span with the Full DBSF Preset and a second instance of Stereo tool to check the final Mix stereo image ).

This is one way to do it, I know it’s somehow cumbersome, but the thing is that doing it for some time, you will start to find more comfortable to do it by ears, you’ll learn about your plugins sweet spots & develop some muscle memory and in case of doubt you have tools to check the math & numbers behind what your 're listening to.

If you manage to have peaks around -10 dB but never exceeding - 6 dB and an average level around -14 or -12 dB Max and evenly balance each track in your Mix, you should be able to push it via your Master Chain and reach a “master” level around -3 dB and not sounding muddy.

The rest is about EQ and avoiding dueling frequencies, gate, side chain or LFO Tools for dynamic ducking, delays, reverb to create space & movement to the mix. When using virtual instruments, Midi notes velocity is also a key to bring live & humanize tracks.

All of this is just a canvas to play with, just trying to illustrate what I think is important to care about. The truth is that there’s probably a shit load of ways to get a good sounding mix, but what I do believe in is : screw up your levels right from the start, and it’s gonna be hard to get there :fearful:

So let’s be clear, I’m not saying that you HAVE TO work that way, it’s just about sharing what I think are good habits in audio.

OK, 'till the next track then !

How dare you not let me say thanks! haha.
I will use all that… on all of my 30+ loops :stuck_out_tongue:

Till next time Tek!

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It’s kind of embarrassing to get that red face :blush: in front of my computer :joy: :smile:

Cool let’s see if this method works for you then :wink:

Be sure to use a new topic for the next track, this one is already long and it’s easier for follow up on the forums.

Cheers !