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.