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spoydermon
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Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 10:52 PM Reply

HI!
So I would really like to step up my music making skills to the next level.
To do this, I think improving my mixing skills would be very beneficial, but I really don't know where to start.
I use FL studios 10, but is there some feature or other program i should utilize to mix my music? All I currently use is the default mixer that comes with Fl.
My music sounds like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/530061
And I would like it to sound more like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/75190
Haha I know I won't reach that level for a while (awesome song btw), but I am wondering how to get notes to be more dynamic, and to have the cymbals, drums, or bass mesh with other sounds.
Thanks,
-Spidy :D

HalfStepTides
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 10:55 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 10:52 PM, spoydermon wrote: HI!
So I would really like to step up my music making skills to the next level.
To do this, I think improving my mixing skills would be very beneficial, but I really don't know where to start.
I use FL studios 10, but is there some feature or other program i should utilize to mix my music? All I currently use is the default mixer that comes with Fl.
My music sounds like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/530061
And I would like it to sound more like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/75190
Haha I know I won't reach that level for a while (awesome song btw), but I am wondering how to get notes to be more dynamic, and to have the cymbals, drums, or bass mesh with other sounds.
Thanks,
-Spidy :D

Without a doubt, get a better DAW. REAPER, Pro-Tools, Sonar, etc. Are all finely tuned for mixing.

REAPER might be your best bet, as it's 'free' pretty much.

Breed
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 11:16 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 10:55 PM, HalfStepTides wrote: Without a doubt, get a better DAW.

I'm sorry I really cannot go without saying that this is complete malarchy. A DAW does not define ones mixing abilities. FL can use any VST just like the others you mentioned and audio in FL can be routed any which way one likes to.

@OP:

Besides practice time and experimentation, the thing thats going to help you most is core audio knowledge. I recommend getting yourself a nice mixing book (Mixing Engineers Handbook, Art of Mixing, and Mixing with your Mind to name a few).

Online can also be a great place to start if buying books isnt an option. There are great articles and videos explaining different effects, and different core knowledge concepts, as well as specifics to FL Studio to help you along the way. You just have to put some effort into searching this stuff, and the more you find out, the more specific you can be in these searches and the more results will pop up.

Ultimately though don't forget to just have fun and experiment and make lots of music. Time put into application turns the best results....we use the core knowledge and theory only to fix, sweeten, and give both purpose and direction to our actions....but not define them entirely.

Best of luck.

MetalRenard
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 11:28 PM Reply

To add to the previous post about books and core knowledge, here are a few tips to get you started.

You will need to learn things from the surface down and from the bottom back up to the top. By this I mean you'll have to start at both ends of the spectrum and try and find a place in the middle (after years of research and training). You need to start with "surface" aspects like what EQ is used for, what reverb is used for, what compression does and how to use it to mix music. You need to learn about loudness - how to make things loud without making them sound distorted etc.

Then, on the opposite end you'll have to learn the fundamental basics of mixing like how there is a frequency spectrum your ear is sensitive to, from a few hz up to close to 20 000 hz, and that all instruments have a place in this spectrum, in a song. You'll have to learn about how sound moves in a room (different walls/shapes/materials reflect different sounds), about preserving audio quality throughout a mix (record at 48khz, 24 bit, don't go below that unless you have no choice).

And of course you'll have to learn all the technical terms of audio engineering, sound design and recording (convolution, resonance, "boomy", "tinny", "shine", "sizzle"...) plus how to use every single virtual instrument you ever try.

This is a short list but it should give you a HUGE number of leads. Research every term I used here and everything related to all of them. This will give you at least a starting point. The rest is up to you.


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Breed
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 11:37 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 11:28 PM, MetalRenard wrote: To add to the previous post

I find it hard to define exactly how someone should go about it or what knowledge to start off trying to learn. Kudos for the post, but I think it should be more relevant to what he is currently doing, and what interests him most. Figure out the knowledge behind what hes already doing first, starting with whatever is the most interesting.

Example:

Perhaps Sytrus is being used with a preset as a main melody. So what is sytrus? Learn the ins and outs of that. Realize along the way that its known more broadly as a synthesizer, then more specifically FM synthesis, etc, etc....it keeps branching out.

Find interesting things, and apply them..... have fun with them so you can easily learn them inside and out instead of feeling like you have homework to do.

The hope is that with time, you will naturally find yourself having the background knowledge of everything youre doing, and it can always build.

DjAbbic
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 11:38 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 11:28 PM, MetalRenard wrote:
This is a short list but it should give you a HUGE number of leads. Research every term I used here and everything related to all of them. This will give you at least a starting point. The rest is up to you.

^ This.

It's going to be painful, but no pain no gain.

Good luck. The more you put in, the more you get out. I personally think I came quite late to all this, but I never asked nor did any research, so you should have quite a solid foundation to build on after researching all this. The rest comes with time.


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MetalRenard
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 7th, 2013 @ 05:53 AM Reply

At 4/6/13 11:37 PM, Breed wrote: I find it hard to define exactly how someone should go about it or what knowledge to start off trying to learn. Kudos for the post, but I think it should be more relevant to what he is currently doing, and what interests him most. Figure out the knowledge behind what hes already doing first, starting with whatever is the most interesting.

Of course, get to know your gear, it's a key part of the whole process. Still, I wish someone had written the post I wrote up there for me when I started out! :D

The way I described it, it's like giving a road map to key tourist attractions. You don't have to visit all of them on your first trip and you don't have to do them in any particular order (though I hear the Equaliser Springs are great this time of year!), but wouldn't you love to have a map to know they're even there in the first place?


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JacobCadmus
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 7th, 2013 @ 06:58 AM Reply

pretty much what the other dudes said. just time and study, and learning to trust your own ears. the toughest part is finding a balance between the science of mixing and "tweaking til it sounds good," but it's totally necessary in finding your niche. I have my own *unorthodox* methods, whereas my buddy Daniel does things mostly by the book. lol we fight all the time ^_^

oh and pay no mind to the DAW war; use what works best for you. I occasionally use FL, although my main DAW is PreSonus Studio One now. but before that, I've been using Mixcraft for years. heck, I tracked & mixed my band's entire album in Mixcraft!

OfBeauties
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 7th, 2013 @ 01:11 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 10:52 PM, spoydermon wrote: HI!
So I would really like to step up my music making skills to the next level.
To do this, I think improving my mixing skills would be very beneficial, but I really don't know where to start.
I use FL studios 10, but is there some feature or other program i should utilize to mix my music? All I currently use is the default mixer that comes with Fl.
My music sounds like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/530061
And I would like it to sound more like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/75190
Haha I know I won't reach that level for a while (awesome song btw), but I am wondering how to get notes to be more dynamic, and to have the cymbals, drums, or bass mesh with other sounds.
Thanks,
-Spidy :D

You may definitely want to look into VSTs, for a better sound with more of the dynamics you're looking for. There are loads of free ones out there. Once you've got all the instruments to have the tone and timbre you want, then you can start working on the over-all picture.


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LichLordMusic
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 7th, 2013 @ 01:35 PM Reply

Stick with FL Studio 10. It's fine.

What you should be aiming towards is getting some VST plug-ins to run some software synths inside of FL Studio. There are plenty of plug-in developers who offer free demo's of their plug-ins for you to try out before you buy any of them. I can list a few options for you below which are easy to use and consider to start off with looking at the style you want to play around with:

Tone2 ElectraX
reFX Vanguard
Cakewalk z3ta+2
Adamszabo JP6K
G-Sonique Renegade

For plug-ins which help you mix and master, I can list some affordable (and free ones) you can use:

Blue Cat's Freeware Plug-ins Pack II [Bundle]
eaReckon FREE87 Series
Minimal System Instruments Analogue Mixing and Mastering Collection


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Nechura
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 7th, 2013 @ 11:49 PM Reply

80% of a good mixdown is really just picking the right samples. If all of your sounds already fit together well then you only need to do minimal processing to glue it together. you should get into the habbit of referencing your song against commercial songs too. this will give you an idea of what instruments might need boosting/emphasizing in your mix and the overall loudness aswell. a good mixdown is also flat across the frequency spectrum. this way your track wont sound different depending on the system you're listening to it on. a decent, free spectrum analyser is voxengo span.

really though, just keep making tracks. getting your mixdowns to sound clean and polished is an aquired skill and all it really takes is practice. everyone gets there eventually.

frootza
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 8th, 2013 @ 08:10 AM Reply

This might not be the best link, but fellow NG poster Lachi started a similar thread where different NG users were explaining various mixing methods.

Here

It might help! Give it a quick read, and listen to the advice everyone has listed so far.

Pretty good in my opinion! If it gets too much to handle, you can always outsource your mixing to other NG artists although I'm sure some of them would require a small fee, others really want to get their resume out there.


Check it! :) //// Never stop making music. Play MOTORJOUST!!!Check it! :)

spoydermon
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 8th, 2013 @ 03:06 PM Reply

Thanks for all the great answers!!!
I am researching a lot of it and testing all these new sounds.

DJM4C
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 9th, 2013 @ 09:58 PM Reply

At 4/7/13 11:49 PM, Nechura wrote: 80% of a good mixdown is really just picking the right samples.

I can't express how correct you are lol. There have been so many instances where I have done all I can with my mixing capabilities and it ends up being "polished shit." If a sample is shit, mixing it well will result in a polished shit, which is a HUGE mixing cliche that you should definitely add into your vocabulary.

Anyway, with expertise comes experience, and if you are just starting up producing you have a long way to go. I have been producing for 2 years (started publishing 1 year) ago, and I would say my skills are average compared to most of the producers out there. I really hope you are passionate about this because you will need some tenacity and determination to become a great producer. Hope I helped you on your way!

- DJ M4C

spoydermon
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Response to Help with mixing Apr. 29th, 2013 @ 02:02 AM Reply

Hey, I would just like to say thanks for all these great replies.
It's been about 2 weeks since this thread, and I see improvement in my work thanks to all the help! :D
I was losing motivation at first, but now that I kind of get the just of things, music is coming out more how I want it to sound, as opposed to whatever sounds "close enough". Anyhow, thanks for being awesome newgrounds!

s-catastrophes
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Response to Help with mixing May. 1st, 2013 @ 04:42 PM Reply

At 4/6/13 10:52 PM, spoydermon wrote: HI!
So I would really like to step up my music making skills to the next level.
To do this, I think improving my mixing skills would be very beneficial, but I really don't know where to start.
I use FL studios 10, but is there some feature or other program i should utilize to mix my music? All I currently use is the default mixer that comes with Fl.
My music sounds like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/530061
And I would like it to sound more like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/75190
Haha I know I won't reach that level for a while (awesome song btw), but I am wondering how to get notes to be more dynamic, and to have the cymbals, drums, or bass mesh with other sounds.
Thanks,
-Spidy :D

To put it simple get fimiliar with your daw and your plugins, try having a play with Reverbs and delays etc, Flangers and other stuff can create cool sounds, it's all about experimenting!

Twune
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Response to Help with mixing May. 4th, 2013 @ 01:08 AM Reply

in simple terms. pre-pro > performance > recording > mixing > mastering

Learn to plan and prepare, learn to perform well, learn to record, then your mixes will flow much easier.

Advice for mixing only, starting out? Limit yourself to 5 instances of one compressor, 5 of one eq, 5 of one gate and one reverb. As many HP or LP filters as you want. No automation. If your mixes aren't decent when doing that, you're doing something else wrong. Once they start sounding decent, start expanding your dynamic and time-based processors.

Mixing shouldn't be about covering your tracks, it should be about enhancing your awesomeness.

stratkat
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Response to Help with mixing May. 4th, 2013 @ 09:04 AM Reply

An EQ with a visualizer can help a TON in my opinion, so the fl panoramic eq 2, and I'm starting to isolate certain things to stricter ranges in the mix, it's about getting a full sound, but I got a lot of stuff going on sometimes, so I don't want to drown it all out everything fits in like puzzle pieces, you gotta make 'em fit, and create a coherent pattern. I think good eq-ing in high on the list of things to do to really make a mix sound good.

Also shut off the fl limiter on the master channel on a song you've made before, if it doesn't fall apart, it was more likely mixed well, also that limiter can make it sound a little sterile a lot of times.

But maybe you already do all this. Also I'm not the greatest mixer, but I thought I'd share my thoughts.

BeProf
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Response to Help with mixing May. 7th, 2013 @ 10:39 AM Reply

Here's my patented, universal protocol for learning how to mix:

1 - Learn how audio works in the air.

2 - Learn how audio works on the wire in the analog domain.

3 - Learn how audio works on the wire in the digital domain.

4 - Learn how to listen.

5 - Learn how to mix with your eyes as well as your ears.

As a beginning resource to all of these (well... except for 3), I really can't recommend a book better than good ole' SRH (i.e. Yamaha's Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Gary Davis). Yes, I realize that you aren't asking about sound reinforcement, but reading at least the first few chapters of that book will give you a solid grounding in general acoustics and set you up for success down the road.

There are plenty of shortcuts, but don't take them. The stuff you don't learn from the jump will come back to bite you in the ass later. Trust me on this one. There really is no substitute for understanding how audio works and then letting your engineering work flow naturally from those first principles.