How to achieve such a clean mix?



and this

add and remove instrumentation as needed then adjust the elements with filters, EQs, gainstaging. Trap = done.

Then come back to me when you figure out how to do shit like this, that’ll really put the whole concept of complexity into perspective.


I think this is the paradox of the ‘clean mix’. Most music (probably even modern pop) has a lot of dirt and grit to it, and things can (and probably should) get a little messy sometimes.

What I hear on soundcloud a lot is mixes that are so clean and sterile that they’re just flat-out boring. I’ve noticed this a lot in my own work as well; when I’m going for a clean and tidy sound, the result is usually lifeless and uninteresting. If I’m aiming for a decent sound with many loose ends, the results are just that much more organic sounding and somewhat closer to the bands I’m trying to emulate.

Clean mixes are great, but if that’s your only goal you might be missing out on what traditional music has sounded like for decades


Just like anything else - frequency separation. Most tracks in that IDM style are only playing a couple things at once (though very, very quickly) and there’s not a lot of sonic overlap. You can just ‘press go’ and things sound clean and distinct because there’s nothing to compete with. When there’s several things happening at once (pads/synths on top of beats, mostly), everything is really carved out so you can hear every detail. There’s no kick bleed into higher registers, etc. You put a hall reverb on any of it and it all falls apart into mush.

Honestly, that stuff seems considerably easier to mix than a 5 piece rock band, or really anything with several acoustic instruments.


The Richard Devine track hasn’t really got many very layers that overlap. Throughout the whole song it’s mostly just heavily processed glitch drums, with some reverbs washes, textural sounds, and sub bass to compliment. And usually only two to three of those things play together at any given.

Vaetxh’s track in comparison definitely more layers. The very first hit alone has a kick drum, wavetable bass, melodic stab, stereo widened pad sound, and a sub bass all played together simultaneously. While I do agree there is often a degree of separation between those elements throughout the track as they don’t always play together at the same time as a 5 piece band would, namely the mid section around 2:30 where it’s just glitch mangled drums, sub wavetable basses, and the background pad, in the beginning and final sections there’s a complete set of drums, sub bass, wabetable basses, glitch sounds, the melodic synth line, the filtered pad, and whatever textural sounds are buried in there. Balancing all that in a mix is about the same difficulty as any other type of musical genre but with the added complexity of the processing that’s involved in creating the types of sounds in the genre and the actually programming of all the micro-editing that comes with it.


I think the best thing about being into the music you’re linking is that the landscape is very sparse. When you get the sounds, you’re going to be able to get the levels, “Easy”. But with any sub music you have to figure out the right sub, level, eq, etc. You could even try finding sub samples and starting there, if you haven’t already.

I will say, writing sub elements that’s specifically time with kicks and/or snares, staggered even so slightly ‘ms’ wise definitely help. But they don’t represent the whole mix, like some typical bass elements.

Keep at it my dude, you can get there. at that bottom end, you’re just making some really kick ass drums, is the way i usually look at it. However, you need some context…I usually have to go to my car to really get my bass issues, settled.

I’ve also written some sub bass stuff(like played with keys) at higher octaves, to get better tonal values for the bassline, only to pitch them down afterwards. Since it’s difficult to perceive issues on the low end.


I had a lot of issues because I forgot about frequency splitting somehow. I was FXing the shit out of my basses but it wasn’t solid. Now I just cut the bass under 80hz and add a clean sub layer with a volume shaper to keep the attack of the kick.

And, I’m really discovering high frequencies. Before I was just trying to deal with those. Now I generate layers between 3khz and 12khz, with a careful combinated use of Ableton’s Vinyl Distortion & Erosion, soft clipping and a Utility to deal with phase issues (Vinyl Distortion reverses phase) to emphasize my sub, just to have this little gritty amp feeling. Things feel cleaner since I do this, and deeper.


This is so true but so hard to appreciate until lots of experience with it. Two tricks that I’ve learned (the first from this forum the second from YouTube)

  1. Mix at low volume… I mean turn your monitors down to where you have listen with attention to here it
  2. Before you cut on the EQ do a tight notch boosted pretty high and slowly sweep it across a short loop of a track. If you here something weird or that you don’t like experiment with cutting near that frequency range on that track with the rest of the mix.