Samples with a decent Signal to noise ratio, sample rates, recording equipment, the lack of or conversely proper usage of artifacts in various frequency spectrums, eqing so that frequencies dont conflict or cancel out phases when messing with the stereo field, with a scouch of compression and properly balancing the different dry/wet signals for each sound would be my guess
So many great tips in this thread!
The one that keeps apearing over and over is eliminating overlapping low frequencies from different tracks. it’s all about clearing the mud!
Second most popular is creating space in the frequencies moving up spectrum… so really… the same “clear the mud” starting at the bottom and moving to the top.
It’s interesting that the same philosophy applies to composition … in other words “Space! the final frontier…” (cue the the theme to Star Trek)
I miss that Jean-Luc Picard Face Slap Imogee!
When in doubt, chart it out! Infographs like these have always helped me “visualize” a clean mix as I write in new instruments and patterns, put them on the mixer and tweak them accordingly.
One ‘trick’ or helpful approach I’ve learned when using synths + large amounts of reverb: let the reverb be your ‘sustain / release’, rather than your synth. If you hold sustaining synths (pads come to mind, of course) while also applying lots of reverb for a big spacey ambient sound, you wind up doubling a lot of freq content between the two. One answer is to heavily EQ the reverb, which is often a great approach. But, Sometimes you want the reverb to remain as rich and dense as it sounds without any EQ. So, cut off your notes / chords much sooner than you ‘normally’ would, and let the (long) tail of your reverb act as the sustain and release of the sound. Tweak the attack and release of your synth so the transition feels smooth.
If you listen to Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works Vol II, I feel like he’s doing this over and over again. It allows the tracks to have excessive amounts of reverb without getting muddy or clogged with ‘ugly’ frequency buildup / resonances.
Not a fan of these mixing charts. It’s very misleading for experimental compositions where each track can be very individual unless you’re making some very rule-driven music that has this generic selection of “instruments”. How much you gotta boost the kick, etc…, exact frequencies… Nah, I’ll pass there formulaic guidelines.
What I realised after all these years is very obvious one: you got less content in a track you got less stuff to clean. When too many layers happening at once tons of post-processing to get it “right” won’t be in your favour. Mixing on a go is/was always the answer but even then you need to remove stuff to clean up the mix sometimes. Some layers become very unnecessary once you get some dominant ones that take the most of the track. If you can barely notice that one micro-layer just get rid of it, there’s no reason to keep it in.