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My songs sound crowded and muddy

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Lethal-Input
Lethal-Input
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This has been happening to me so much lately. I think of a good idea for a song.

When I put together the parts of the song, it just sounds like the sounds are too close to each other and it will just sound really crowded and muddy compared to most pro songs. And every separate part will sound how I want it... It's just when I put it together, it sounds bad.

I EQ the frequencies, but that's all I really know how to do when it comes to cleaning up mixes. What else do I do to make things sounds full and grand as opposed to flat and muddy? Stereo separation? Panning? Are there tutorials on this subject? (I use FL by the way)

Some of my songs will turn out fine, but that's only like the 5% that makes my cut. I know, trial and error. I wont be capable of making everything that pops into my head at my skill level... The thing that's been making me extra mad lately though is the fact that these ideas seem very doable for me... Like I said, I can make the separate parts sound fine.. It's just when I put it all together, it sounds bad.

TheHipHop1
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 02:52:18 Reply

At 6/29/14 02:06 AM, Lethal-Input wrote: This has been happening to me so much lately. I think of a good idea for a song.

When I put together the parts of the song, it just sounds like the sounds are too close to each other and it will just sound really crowded and muddy compared to most pro songs. And every separate part will sound how I want it... It's just when I put it together, it sounds bad.

I EQ the frequencies, but that's all I really know how to do when it comes to cleaning up mixes. What else do I do to make things sounds full and grand as opposed to flat and muddy? Stereo separation? Panning? Are there tutorials on this subject? (I use FL by the way)

Some of my songs will turn out fine, but that's only like the 5% that makes my cut. I know, trial and error. I wont be capable of making everything that pops into my head at my skill level... The thing that's been making me extra mad lately though is the fact that these ideas seem very doable for me... Like I said, I can make the separate parts sound fine.. It's just when I put it all together, it sounds bad.

mind your monitors basically what you want to achieve in a mix is to get everything at its highest level without peaking i used to question that when i started off with fl studio but now i figured its either the use of whatever plug ins you have and how strong your chords are but remember never over guess yourself cut out the unwanted frequencies if you have something like a brass the lowest the frequency would go is to bass and the rest is up to mid or hi mid everything else is just effects reverb to your liking delay and etc your mix is your mix because only you have your ears so play around with a couple of the plug ins until you hear the sound you like

Ectisity
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 04:23:37 Reply

At 6/29/14 02:52 AM, TheHipHop1 wrote:
At 6/29/14 02:06 AM, Lethal-Input wrote: This has been happening to me so much lately. I think of a good idea for a song.

When I put together the parts of the song, it just sounds like the sounds are too close to each other and it will just sound really crowded and muddy compared to most pro songs. And every separate part will sound how I want it... It's just when I put it together, it sounds bad.

I EQ the frequencies, but that's all I really know how to do when it comes to cleaning up mixes. What else do I do to make things sounds full and grand as opposed to flat and muddy? Stereo separation? Panning? Are there tutorials on this subject? (I use FL by the way)

Some of my songs will turn out fine, but that's only like the 5% that makes my cut. I know, trial and error. I wont be capable of making everything that pops into my head at my skill level... The thing that's been making me extra mad lately though is the fact that these ideas seem very doable for me... Like I said, I can make the separate parts sound fine.. It's just when I put it all together, it sounds bad.
mind your monitors basically what you want to achieve in a mix is to get everything at its highest level without peaking i used to question that when i started off with fl studio but now i figured its either the use of whatever plug ins you have and how strong your chords are but remember never over guess yourself cut out the unwanted frequencies if you have something like a brass the lowest the frequency would go is to bass and the rest is up to mid or hi mid everything else is just effects reverb to your liking delay and etc your mix is your mix because only you have your ears so play around with a couple of the plug ins until you hear the sound you like

Just comment the first below:
First of all the point with MIXING, that seems to be the problem here, is not to get everything as loud as possible. You're probably referring to mastering, but mastering won't help to make the sound ledd crowded. Masterings main purpose is to make your song sound good on all speakers, but good mastering won't help you if the mixdown is bad. Thus I mainly think what you need to work with, Lethal, is to eq properly. It's a problem I struggle with all the time, so I might not be in position to learn anyone how to do it, but I think that's what you're struggling with. Do you have any examples of tracks u think sound crowded and muddy?


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Ectisity
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 05:16:02 Reply

Noticed that I sound very arrogant in the post above =_=.
I don't mean to act like I'm a pro or anything (Only started making music 7 months ago). It's just that I have experienced the exact same problems recently and know what worked and didn't work for me. At the beginning, I thought mastering would fix everything, but I later found out that mastering dosen't mean anything if the mixdown isn't at the same level. Sry if I sounded arrogant X3.


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MetalRenard
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 05:22:54 Reply

Can you upload an example of a song you want help with, let us know what it's called in this thread and then I'll have a listen and pinpoint your problem.


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SoundChris
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 05:26:58 Reply

At 6/29/14 02:06 AM, Lethal-Input wrote: This has been happening to me so much lately. I think of a good idea for a song.

When I put together the parts of the song, it just sounds like the sounds are too close to each other and it will just sound really crowded and muddy compared to most pro songs. And every separate part will sound how I want it... It's just when I put it together, it sounds bad.

In most cases this is a sign for either a bad arrangement or too much low frequency action, no / wrong panning or the wrong use of reverb:
- If you have to many low frequency instruments playing the effect will be a very muddy sound. I would try to mute some of the low instruments tracks and see if its getting clearer. You also could try to use a low pass filter on any other instruments. Lots of samples (even those who are playing higher) mostly have got some low frequencies. Thats not a problem if you have just a small number of instruments. But those frequencies in all your instrument tracks sum up. So dont underestimate this effect.

- If the arrangement is badly crafted even heavy EQing can barely help you out. You have to arrrange your tracks wisely to give each instrument its room to flower out. Dont know what kind of music you are composing. In orchestral stuff a bad arrangement is the reason for a muddy sound in almost any cases. First you always have to tray to avoid too many instruments simultanously. The more instruments are involved the more you have to take care of this aspect. E.G.: Its a bad idea (in my opinion) to let an oboe play in the same frequency range like a english horn which sounds very simmilar. This causes a collision. Your ears wont be able to dicede which instrument is the more important one and everything will sound unclear and confusing. So try to plan when the single single instruments are playing and when they have to be silent. THats in my opinion one of the hardest things when composing.

- A muddy sound also can occur if you are using reverb not correctly. Too much reverb causes mudd - especially when used on low instruments. Choose a shorter reverb tail. Also do not combine different reverbs (spaces) within one piece. Use one room, create effect busses and control the reverb tails. Use sends.

- Also panning is an important factor. Unpanned every sound is coming from just one spot in the room - the center. If you are looking at the seat positions of a classical orchestrayou will notice that these positions are chosen very wisely. Sometimes you can see the french horns also panned right - but i n my opinion its wrong. You should pan it to the left to have a counterbalance to the celli and double basses which are located on the right.

I am also still struggling with muddiness in my mixes and its still a long way to go to finally achieve good resulst. Maybe every composer has got this problem - so cheer up :D Learn more about arranging / orchestrating / panning / reverb / compression and EQ. But really: In most cases its the arrangement.

Good luck


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DamienFleisch
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 10:18:00 Reply

Everything SoundChris said is really good advice. You should also try to consider what part of the music is most important/you want the listener to hear most. Your ear is naturally going to hear the highest and lowest frequencies best because they are the outer parts. So, if the part you want to stand out is in the mid range somewhere, you need to make sure it has room to come through clearly and not be interfered with, like SoundChris' Oboe/English Horn example.

That's just one possible solution, there are plenty more so be creative! Also keep in mind that the lower mid range is prime mud zone, so if you have too much happening in there, no amount of panning or EQ will fix it.

Sequenced
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Response to My songs sound crowded and muddy 2014-06-29 11:33:06 Reply

just get a pair of audio technica or sennheiser headphones, if you don't have flat line monitors

listen to professionally done tracks in what ever genre you are making . after that, try and replicate the way they EQ'd their frequencies to your track.

this has helped me A LOT in the past few years.


lel

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