The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.
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Old 17-02-2017, 01:40 AM   #1
Bluesh1ft
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The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

I find it hard to create a busy enough background without being too busy or the sound not complimenting the song. Sometimes I feel I need a pad, then try to whip one up and then feel it just doesn't go with the song or that it makes it too muddy. Then there is the more sound scape physics model.... absynth type of stuff with all the textures which is hard to create. Maybe I should try white noise more? Any advice?

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Old 17-02-2017, 08:05 AM   #2
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

When it comes to pads, I EQ and duck (sidechain) the hell out of them, and drench them in reverb and a nice thick phaser. In my stuff, the pad is pretty much non-existent when there's a lead, bass, drums, and maybe a rhythmic stab playing, but you can just hear it if you listen for it. When it really shines is during the breakdowns, as it carries the chord progression without any other instruments. I often write my songs as basic chord progressions on a pad before adding other instruments, so for me it's more an issue of making everything else fit the pad.

A note on sidechain, I have the kick do straight volume modulation of the pad, but most other instruments do frequency-dependent volume modulation using multi-band compression, other wise there would just be no pad during the full sections of the song.

The other way I know of to fill out a dry mix is to dial in some delays on a few instruments, maybe a layer or two of reverb (usually on an instrument by instrument basis) to thicken up the midrange. With delays, set it by ear, with reverb (on my setup, which is headphones), I set it by starting at the bottom and coming up until I can just hear it for the first layer, then taking it back. Turn it off and on to confirm it's doing something, then you can add a big fat hall or a plate if you want.

I set saturation/distortion on many instruments throughout a mix much the same way, and keep that part towards the beginning of my FX chain so that I can still EQ out any rumble the distortion might add or accentuate if it were after the filter.

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Old 17-02-2017, 04:24 PM   #3
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

I think WhiteNoise covered things pretty well...but to ah...hehe...speak on white noise...

...Yea, I use U-he Stain usually on my 2bus, the drum bus, and maybe a few other places...like four instances per tune for saturation (sometimes an extra one for delay)...most of the settings I like involve some tape noise and it does seem to fill things out/make things sound a little more organic.
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Old 18-07-2017, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

It depends on the aesthetic you're going for. Sometimes the missing element can be brought with some randomization on percussive hits, slight tuning changes, envelope changes, nothing too audible, but can lead to fuller more organic playing. Also, noise of all sorts - synthesized and recorded goes a long way, but it was mentioned.
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Old 18-07-2017, 07:16 PM   #5
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

I think the main key is to keep layers not too loud and to fade them in and out as needed. DO NOT KEEP THEM CONSTANT. Keeping too much stuff constant makes them both annoying and boring. Good luck.
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Bluesh1ft (31-07-2017)
Old 18-07-2017, 10:05 PM   #6
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesh1ft View Post
I find it hard to create a busy enough background without being too busy or the sound not complimenting the song. Sometimes I feel I need a pad, then try to whip one up and then feel it just doesn't go with the song or that it makes it too muddy. Then there is the more sound scape physics model.... absynth type of stuff with all the textures which is hard to create. Maybe I should try white noise more? Any advice?
If it HAS TO BE a pad, then can't really give any advice (because I suck with pads).

But... does it have to be a pad? I mean whenever I'm in that same situation, I go for the percussion first. If that doesn't work, I go for synths. Things like chord stabs, synth fills etc.

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Bluesh1ft (31-07-2017)
Old 18-07-2017, 10:42 PM   #7
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

maybe you are mixing them in too loud? try heavily reducing the level of them during the main parts of the track, so you have room for the key elements, then pushing them forward more during the less busy parts.

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Bluesh1ft (31-07-2017)
Old 19-07-2017, 04:58 AM   #8
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

Good information in this thread.
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Old 27-07-2017, 12:39 AM   #9
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

I record the room with me moving around in it. Any loud taps or noises I make I then edit into place for timing and depth to a kick or snare etc.
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Old 27-07-2017, 10:22 PM   #10
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

Thats why i always record drums , bass and 1 more instrument only... just kidding anyway i think the key is Volume and Frequencies...For me the most important thing is setting the volume of each element correctly , dont keep the instruments at the same volume ofc , and dont make the instruments "fight" for the same freq.
I dont know what else to say..

Peace.
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Old 31-07-2017, 03:19 AM   #11
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

Update: I have tried cleaning up my fx line by putting more sends to a dedicated fx instead of creating an effect for every track. That seems to help. I think its worth mentioning that having multiple effect instances could create phasing issues, and thus a more muddy sound. I also pulled fx down from some of my synths. If you start with a preset synth sound, you might want to check to see if you really need all the fx that came on the preset. Lowering those has helped a bit.

One thing that I also did was tightened the attack and release of some plucks so its easier to hear things when those plucks are playing. Sometimes a sacrifice is a gain in overall quality. There is only so much room on the frequency spectrum, and speakers are only so good to reproduce frequencies.

I still feel like I am missing the sonic ability to cut through speakers like butter, The sounds that sound like nothing that is heard was by accident.

I still gotta try some more dynamic volume/eq, ducking, frequency compression, etc. among other things mentioned.

I guess there is two sides to this arrangement and mixing. I have deficits in both XD

Thanks For All the Great Responses!

Last edited by Bluesh1ft; 02-08-2017 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:57 PM   #12
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

I use noise as a background pad, feeding to a really long reverb. This then can pump with the sidechain or not.

Another technique is using delays on the other instruments with some slightly off time delay, quiet in the background. This makes things move a bit without adding another instrument.

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Old 04-08-2017, 01:08 AM   #13
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

i've noticed that reverb can really be useful as a tool to help create separation between the foreground and background. even just some white noise running through reverb at a low volume can be interesting with modulation and some fine tuning.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:33 AM   #14
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

One nice trick is to print reverb onto some drum one shot samples, but keep a whole lot of others dry. And then when you program your sampler, mix them up together. Then, when the rhythm plays, it will sound like automated reverb, when really it isn't.

Shifting back and forth between wet and dry really adds depth.

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Old 05-08-2017, 09:30 AM   #15
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Re: The Fine Line Between Dry and Busy Sounding.

wrong thread.. fk.

Sorry

Last edited by LDKitz; 05-08-2017 at 10:09 AM..

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