Best way to go about producing/mixing?
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Old 27-12-2013, 01:53 PM   #1
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Best way to go about producing/mixing?

Hello all, I was wondering which way would be best/more efficient/preserve more clarity when composing a song: to either compose my song with many different midi and a few audio tracks then just record the entire track when done, OR bounce my midi or certain midi tracks to audio and then record and export. Thanks in advance!

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Old 27-12-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

There's no best way, only the best way for you.
You haven't really given us much info on style, equipment, what you want to achieve and where you think you're failing so I'd just say give it a go and see which you prefer, find out which gives you more flexibility and control or whatever you're after and go with that.
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Old 27-12-2013, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Thanks for the quick reply. The style is progressive/big room/electro house and the specific tracks i would be bouncing would be the lead synths as well the the chord progression and possibly the bass. I want to preserve clarity of each track throughout the mix without compromising the nature of each sound, and this may be something to do in the mastering stage (which it probably is).

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Old 27-12-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

It seems a bit weird to me that you know which tracks you're going to bounce without necessarily knowing why you're going to do so.
Why not bounce the drums down for example?

Again, without knowing what gear you have it's hard to be accurate on specifics so I'll just assume you're working entirely ITB for now.

Certain techniques are a lot harder to achieve unless you bounce your tracks to audio and would require multiple in/out audio interfaces and some hardware gear to do in realtime.
Sidechaining being a good example.

Have a read around, this subject has come up many times before here.
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Old 27-12-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Clarity has nothing to do with bouncing track vs. not bouncing and everything to do with how you mix.

and 'fix it in mastering' is never the answer. Only for very specific mix styles. Learn to create the best mixes you can. Don't think about mastering.
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Old 27-12-2013, 04:19 PM   #6
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

As far as equipment goes, i have nothing hardware. I'm working with ableton live 9 and all of its features, as well as iZotope's Ozone and the Sausage Fattener by Dada Life. I understand that there are general purposes for bouncing to audio, like using effects (like the stutter effect) and other filters on certain sounds, but more specifically... Would EQing a track, for example, be more efficient to do to an audio track in order for it to shine better in the mix vs midi? A good example would be trying to get my lead to stand out against my chords. Some of my lead's lower frequencies get lost with the chords and it loses body. I know this means i just need to lower some of the frequencies conflicting within the sound, but this generally changes the sound greatly to me. Would it be better to, say EQ a midi track, bounce to audio, and then EQ the audio to taste?
I was looking at getting fabfilter's eq in order to achieve more accurate EQing, maybe that would help.

Overall, i'm wondering if bouncing tracks to audio would better help my mixdown.

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Old 27-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

bouncing or not will not make your mixing better or worse. learning to mix better will make your mixes better. it doesn't matter if you do it with all audio files or bounce to tape or work with purely midi.

bouncing saves cpu and lets you do editing you couldn't otherwise. it's efficiency and creativity, not mix quality. if your mixes aren't good enough it's because you're not mixing well.
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Old 27-12-2013, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Edit: Ooh! Simultani-post.

I think a lot of people used to bounce to audio partly because of memory restrictions which aren't so prevalent anymore, but essentially, so long as you have a decent (transparent) EQ it shouldn't make much difference.
Personally I like to keep the raw untreated audio so that I can go back and change it if I change my mind later, or want to use the part in a way I hadn't thought of at the time. If you've cut frequencies from the original recording you'll never (without extreme hassle) get them back. It's a bit like people do when recording guitars into the computer these days and "re-amping".

I don't see any benefit in EQing twice as a rule if it can be helped either tbh.
Do it once but well and you should be ok although fine adjustments may need to be done later.

Your mix isn't self-aware. It doesn't know what it's constituent parts are doing or where they come from, and consequently the source of your sounds (midi or audio) are irrelevant to the mix.
The quality of the mix depends largely on the engineer.

It sounds like you may be cutting too much from your sounds if it greatly changes the tone. Try making the 'Q' (range) on your EQ smaller and only cutting clashing frequencies.
A spectrum analyser may help you with this.
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Old 27-12-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

I'll go to the mixing section to expand on that further then. One last thing i'm curious about is how you go about tracking... Does simply extracting a loop of your entire song vs recording the entire track and then saving the audio file make any difference?

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Old 27-12-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Only so far as it depends on how good you are at setting levels for mixdown vs the default preferences of the software you're using.

But essentially nope.
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Old 27-12-2013, 07:16 PM   #11
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Alright, thanks everyone, you've answered my questions, and ive manage to do a little more EQing to solve my problems for a bit. I've also automated my eq on one of my sounds, because as i open the filter the higher frequencies rise. Not really anything important, ive just never automated an EQ before other than a high or low pass filter

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Old 28-12-2013, 10:20 AM   #12
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

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Old 06-01-2014, 12:43 PM   #13
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Re: Best way to go about producing/mixing?

very carefully
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:52 PM   #14
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Re: Best way to go about producing/mixing?

Just my preference: record with all midi as quickly as you can. Just get your ideas down, and you can edit them as the arrangement comes together.

Make sure your parts are all edited and arranged as you like so you can hear the full song, then export everything as audio to do your mix. You'll not only have more CPU to mix with, but you'll be able to make better decisions when your goals are clearly defined as mixing vs composing/producing.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:15 PM   #15
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skye Myles View Post
I'll go to the mixing section to expand on that further then. One last thing i'm curious about is how you go about tracking... Does simply extracting a loop of your entire song vs recording the entire track and then saving the audio file make any difference?
ummm

im lazeh and usually render out a .wav of the mixdown then put it into a mastering project

i have frozen my midi into stems but im lazeh usually =))

working with .wav is better for the 'puter than vsts and midi, especially cuz really nice mastering suites eat up cpu

EDIT i should add that i wait to finish the mixdown until rendering because leveling doesnt just consist of faders and compressor chains, sometimes just keeping the synth open gives me more flexibility

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Old 14-01-2014, 07:25 AM   #16
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Re: Best way to go about producing/mixing?

Bouncing to .wavs can be a pain at first, but once you get a work flow worked out it really does help save cpu. And if you're producing on a laptop and are working with projects and plugins that really test the limits of your setup then saving cpu is a must (or just shell out $$$ for a new machine).

As for being able to go back and edit arrangements or synth sounds I recommend have separate projects. Fo instance, have a project for tracking that includes all of your synths and live/raw audio. Then bounce those .wavs to another project where you do the mixing and such. This way if you need to make an adjustment, you just go back to tour tracking project do whatcha gotta do and then transfer the changed .wav to the mixing project.
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Old 15-01-2014, 06:32 PM   #17
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Re: Best way to go about producing/mixing?

Just keep playing with your DAW and you'll get it if you want it. There's no easy answer here.

midi is only a way to speak to instruments. Nothing more. A track with a midi instrument is still a track. Bounced it's the same track but you can see the waveform.

The more you do this the more you know how to mess with audio specifically and how to get midi to do what you want. You'll end up going between the two like the exact same language. I like bouncing to audio just because I can spot treat tracks way more effectively. It isn't that you can't do it with midi, it's just a bitch to do with midi sometimes. Same with audio.

And if you're getting down like it's 2007 then bouncing will keep your computer from flipping out and constantly losing projects.

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Old 15-01-2014, 07:09 PM   #18
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolirl View Post
Edit: Ooh! Simultani-post.

I think a lot of people used to bounce to audio partly because of memory restrictions which aren't so prevalent anymore, but essentially, so long as you have a decent (transparent) EQ it shouldn't make much difference.
Personally I like to keep the raw untreated audio so that I can go back and change it if I change my mind later, or want to use the part in a way I hadn't thought of at the time. If you've cut frequencies from the original recording you'll never (without extreme hassle) get them back. It's a bit like people do when recording guitars into the computer these days and "re-amping".

I don't see any benefit in EQing twice as a rule if it can be helped either tbh.
Do it once but well and you should be ok although fine adjustments may need to be done later.

Your mix isn't self-aware. It doesn't know what it's constituent parts are doing or where they come from, and consequently the source of your sounds (midi or audio) are irrelevant to the mix.
The quality of the mix depends largely on the engineer.

It sounds like you may be cutting too much from your sounds if it greatly changes the tone. Try making the 'Q' (range) on your EQ smaller and only cutting clashing frequencies.
A spectrum analyser may help you with this.
i kind of disagree on some points i have enough memory on my system (32 gigs of fast ram 2.1ghz)
but i prefere to work with audio mainly because i like looking at waveforms lol.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:48 AM   #19
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Re: Best Way to go about composing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joem View Post
i kind of disagree on some points i have enough memory on my system (32 gigs of fast ram 2.1ghz)
but i prefere to work with audio mainly because i like looking at waveforms lol.
I like looking at the waveforms! HAHA
One thing we all producers like the most!
There is a lot of information on this thread but it all depends what you like to do! Some people like to mix and master at the same time! In one Hardwell's Q&A episodes he said that i believe!!
But BOUNCING it to wav files and then mixing it would really save lots of pc memory though
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Old 19-02-2014, 07:33 AM   #20
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Re: Best way to go about producing/mixing?

i started playing around with loops in my "studies" and have been learning about warping..

kinda tricky, but FUN.

in ableton (i know i know whatever) its awesome to freeze a painstakingly warped track, then slice to midi and BOOM!! whatever drumkit at whatever tempo you could want

to anyone who can get by with the warp button alone... i salute you. its only been possible for me by dropping warp markers. but im still using 8

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