Why is mixing and rendering in Ableton Live 8 such a nightmare?

The question is (and the details are below)

“Why oh why does my mixdown, when bounced out of Ableton, sound like someone put my sounds in a blender?”


Update: If there are any teachers out there, I will pay $ for personal lessons if you have a class, or one on one. Money is no object.

Just send me an email: headcircus@gmail.com

Update 2: I did see the tutorial on this site about mixing which was helpful, but it does not help me as much with my tracks which have a lot of what I call important and competing sounds


Putting aside for the moment my experience level, which is low… I do understand the basics of mixing, but cannot get consistent results with this DAW

I’ve been researching this for weeks. Every google forum post, asking people I don’t know… posting in forums…

I use Ableton Live 8 to create my music. When it comes to the mixdown stage… (and i know you’ve heard this before), Everything sounds AWESOME in ableton.

The drums are in the center and the kick is thick and clicky where it needs to be. The cymbals are bright but not ear-piercing, the pads are sweeping and are well placed in the stereo field, the reverb added gives depth.

But once that bad boy is bounced… holy hell… You can even see it in the waveform - the cymbal, say a ride (rides always give me hell)… its over 0 db clearly and punching right through the mix like a fist in your face.

The Pads are under water, in the back. The kick drum is a hollow thump somewhere on the moon, and EQ spaces I’ve carved out all seem to have disappeared into mid range soup.

When I export, I export as a WAV using 24 bit, no dither, no normalize.

When I resample, the results are just as bad, but sometimes things seem more stable.

My export settings I’ve checked 100 times and are not the issue - especially because resampling gives results just as bad.

This is my biggest stumbling block - Although I do get lucky sometimes and the mix sounds good. But how many hours have I spent tweaking the db of one hat, rendering… then the pads are off… fixing that… rendering… over and over, hour after hour…

Instead of mixing down what I hear, I am spending hours tweaking the music so that it just sounds good outside of Ableton, but it still to me sounds like crap, and I am using hi-fi speakers. genelec 8050 or sennheiser 595 headphones.

I am not here to promote my music, I am a student and just learning. These are results of my experience with tutorials and just playing around.

Examples. The closest I have come to what I would call a reasonable mixdown is this track.I consider it reasonable, but only after I spent 30 hours mixing it down. I can’t believe it has to take that long! Always exporting, testing, exporting, testing. Its never smooth in Ableton. I created it while i learned from the How to make Progressive House tutorial by Phil Johnston:


And this is an example of one I am currently working on that has not been mixed down yet, but I am creating from a tutorial on how to make Dutch House. Because it has not been mixed down, you can hear how off everything is. There isnt any reverb or delay really. This will give you an idea of what I start with when mixing down - and after the mixdown it sounds 100% worse. Again, this is before the mixdown.


From th esound of your first mix…

you arent stripping enough of the low freqs off tracks that dont need to be down there.

the sound fx for example have tons of unwanted low mid and bass.

Only thing that should be registering below 200 is the thump of the bass and kick… anything else should be filtered.

your bass is taking up way to much space in the mix… it needs to come down and then just emphasize the upper clicks/Attack or add a second sound just doing the top end stuff.

your reverb is very dark and heavy… try using a brighter one or EQing it… and slope off anything below 500hz

I think in general be a bit more ruthless about cutting holes and creating spectral gaps. use cuts as much as possible.

im also wondering is there a mismatch in sample rates… are your tracks slower after mixdown?