After reading Chrons Eric Prydz post I've been thinking a little about what he said.
As everyone knows mixing and mastering are two very complex things in music. There are hundreds of tech terms you learn over time and knowing how to use them correctly is just as hard as remembering them. At the end of the day each artist, song, and track all have very distinct sounds pre and or post mastering. Alot of it is based on the synthesizers you chose and the reverbs/delays you put on your send channels. Though the end result will usually come out to be a mix you want to achieve or somewhere near it.
Genres can play a big factor on the mix you are trying to create be it a Trance or House song the mix can sometimes define the genre that you are creating. Do you want a clean mix? How about one that is super atmospheric? Maybe tech-house is your style and you chose to make a very clean mix with short reverb that really only widens the synthesizers and drums.
Either way I'll try my best to explain what I'm getting at. There is no perfect mix but I still find it interesting how complex music is and would like to bring it up discussion on the little niches that make up electronic music and many other genres.
Aaren San - Apes From Space (Dirtyloud remix)
I found this song on the frontpage of beatport. It's kind of addicting I'll admit, the mix is fairly clean and booming. The most reverb I hear is based on the clap/snare and other drum elements. The synthesizers are very clean and don't generally have any delay and very small reverbs on them. So the mix is the main drive of this song right? If the mix was atmospheric it would be very dirty and lack the clarity the bass needs to keep a strong and driving melody. There is a lack of a "distinct" melody like... say you would hear in twinkle twinkle, you wouldn't be humming this song on the sidewalk on your way to school. It's a great tune to dance to but the mix and bass just don't seemingly have room to create a melody we can remember.
My Opinion: It's a very nice mix, I enjoy listening to it and the bass draws me in. There is nothing memorable about the song though except the clean driving bass. So in this case mix > song?
Next song (still clean)
Wolfgang Gartner - Bounce
This is not as clean as the last one, the FX used has more reverb but still the synthesizers are fairly unaffected by reverb. Once again the drums feature most of the reverb (including FX). The bass again is the main attraction keeping a beat and something to dance to. Maybe that's what drives some mixes, the lack of an outstanding melody and focusing more on the beat.
My opinion: The song I feel isn't as good as the first one, the use of reverb on more of the synthesizers keeps some of the song from standing out. Of course that could just be youtubes quality getting in the way.
Signalrunners - Meet me in Montauk
The single runners have a very interesting mix. They only put reverb and delay on things they feel need it. The song ranges from VERY clean to VERY atmospheric. This song probably would sound fine being atmospheric but during the breaks, if it were too clean it would lose it's draw. It's hard to say though. The use of reverb is still a very clean reverb and the drums never get lost.
My opinion: The clarity really draws me into this song but also the long atmospheric tails on the synthesizers and FX keep me listening. 9 minutes is alot to ask from a song but somehow they keep me interested.
Still in between clean and atmospheric
Tiesto & Sneaky Sound System - I will be Here (Tiesto Remix)
This song I would like to say is the best example I can give of a song still having a decent melody and featuring a driving bass that keeps the interest. The bass is very interesting and features the little changes that the previous clean mixed songs had. So it is possible to feature a "less then normal" bass in a mix that isn't as clean as the usual. There is more focus on melody rather then beat though.
My opinion: The song features a melody you can hum but I feel the main draw is the bass which causes the mix to be in between clean and atmospheric.
I know same song and a repeated artist but I feel it proves a point
Tiesto & Sneak Sound System - (Wolfgang Gartner remix)
Why the same song and Wolfgang again? Well it helps show that artists who understand how one mix work and add that style of mix to another and turn a song into something "different". The synthesizer plays a roll on the atmosphere but the drums stay fairly clean. The reverbs don't have huge tails and the use of delay is limited. The most atmosphere is placed on the vocals to give it a large "space" in the mix.
My opinion: I like this song more then any of the other versions because of the synth selection and new melody. I am a tad biased of course though.
Deadmau5 - Strobe
You had to know this song would be an example. Without the use of reverb and delay the mix and atmosphere of this song would be boring. It is 10 minutes long but still the dynamics of the reverb and delay on the synths seem to keep the song interesting and moving forward. While the production is still clean the song has a large focus on making the mix atmospheric rather then energetic.
My opinion: 10 minutes is alot to ask but it keeps me interested because I want to know what could possibly be added to make this song better.
Glenn Morrison - Contact
Large focus on reverb and little to no reverb on the drums. The synthes in this song are the biggest factor and the reverb has quite a long tail. The song is cleaner then an uplifting trance song because of fewer instruments but, the mix still causes some sounds to meld together.
My Opinion: Little goes on in this song but still manages to keep me interested. The use of reverb and delay keeps the mix filled rather then empty.
Mat Zo - Lucky Strike
This song melds many sounds together with the use of a very wide reverb and delay. The mix stays fairly clean until multiple synthesizers are added. The atmosphere created though is what draws me into this song. The bass is unique in its own way but also manages to keep the song melodic.
My opinion: After the break the song takes on a different form and its almost breath taking (I'm stupid i know). The synthes used would have to be very different without reverb or delay.
So I'm running out of room in my post and what I would like to discuss will be left open.
The way I see it is the mix you chose to make is driven by multitudes of different factors. Some factors may include but not limited to; Genre, Melody, Bassline, Drums, and the overall focus of the song. I myself find each style of mixing uniquely drawing but usually I'll be attracted to the in between or atmospheric tracks. It is most likely because they feature melody over beat. I only described a few mixing styles and I'm sure there are more for each respective category but I'm limited on typing room.
Discuss? What mix style do you prefer and what attributes about it cause it to be the way it is?