My latest Complextro Track

Nilo Cortex (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey there HEthens!

I’ve recently created a complextro track and feel pretty good about how it turned out. However, I can praise myself to myself all day long and get nowhere. I don’t have a strong friend group who are musically inclined, nor caring, so I haven’t really received ANY feedback on my track. If you have the time of day and can spare a second, i’d love if you gave it a listen and either tell me whats missing (wrong, not working, etc) or let me know any positive feedback.

I appreciate it! I’ve been studying night and day between my work schedule to get my music passion skyward, just need to know that my tracks sound as good to others as they do to myself.

Also, I’ve done two remixes and another original track that are on my SoundCloud if interested.

February 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm
1.61803399 (247) (@drunkmonkmeth) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@nilocortex, what you use?

Nilo Cortex (25) (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@drunkmonkmeth, I created this track with Ableton Live 8. Thoughts?

Anonymous (19) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Sounds good man! I’m a little chilled right now but I’m sure I could get down to this if in an appropriate mood.

Nilo Cortex (25) (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@frustratedpanda, I appreciate it man! It’s definitely a track (based on my opinion of course) that is for the more upbeat and energetic moods.

Sarah Gill (5) (@nostalgicending) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

I must say, it’s quite good! I need to get myself into an energetic mood to study, so this definitely helped. The fact that I wanted to dance, must be a sign that it’s good :)

Nilo Cortex (25) (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@nostalgicending, Glad to aid in your dancing desires, friend! XD I appreciate the good words as well!

Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@nilocortex, Dude that’s an absolutely SWEET song idea and arrangement. I love it.

But, the production is no good. It’s easy to fix though.

First of all, the kick. The kick is the main driving force of an EDM track, it’s gotta come through with a lot of punch and clarity. In your track it doesn’t.
It gets masked by the other sounds, especially the main bass, and it’s muddy and lacks treble. Drop the 200-500hz range a bit, and give it a boost somewhere around 1 or 2 khz, depending on taste, to get more “click.” That fixes the timbre issue.
To make it come through more, try the standard kickdrum compression, to get a sharper transient. Also, sidechain compression or fader riding to give it some space, make the clashing elements duck when the kick drops. If you don’t like the pumping effect, then skip the last step and instead drop the volume of the synths that play during the busy parts.
Also, complextro kicks tend to have a lot more sub content. House music in general relies on the kick for the sub content, your track leaves that to the bass. I’m not saying you should change that, but if you want more power in your track you’ll probably want to boost your kick somewhere between 60-80hz and roll off the synths at 100-120hz.

Now the snare, no offense mate but it sucks. Use a different sample, give it a bit of 0atk compression and a little bit of reverb, to get a fuller snare with a longer tail.
The claps, well they don’t fit into the mix at all. You could use EQ to give it more treble and less low frequency content. You could also try raising its pitch a bit. But it’s probably best to use a different sample.

The synths sound really good, but they’re too loud compared to the drums. The main bass could use a slight treble boost, or some distortion. It also has too much sub-bass. The crazy bassy thing is fine as is. The woop synth needs a high-pass filter. The lazer is fine, but could do with a bit of gain reduction and maybe some high-pass filter too.

The VEC3 “BAM!” shout is already overused, I would switch it for something other similar instead, but that’s a matter of taste.

The whole mix is very muddy, but most of that should be taken care of if you apply my EQ and filter suggestions. Also, high-pass all sounds except kick and bass around 120hz or even higher unless that negatively changes the timbre of the sound, this clears up the mud. You might want to give the master channel a slight notch (with a wide Q setting) in the muddy range (~200-600hz.)

For the mixdown, pull all the faders all the way down to silence. Then start with the kick, set it around -14db. Then you raise the main bass until a good kick-bass balance is found. Then you raise the snare until it’s in balance with the kick and bass. When these three channels are balanced, check the master output, if it goes above -10db you need to lower them a bit. Once these three are properly balanced, just introduce the rest of the elements one by one and set them to an appropriate velocity in relation to the others.

If you did that right, when you’re done you should have around 6db headroom. This is good. If you have no headroom left, you need to mix them at lower volumes, if you have “too much” headroom that’s no problem, that will be dealt with in the master.

Now for the master. Start with a compressor, nothing too drastic, it’s just there to glue everything together and tame the bass. If you have a saturation unit, put it right after this compressor, don’t go overboard with it though. Next, you’ll want to use a multiband compressor, to really squash the fuck out of the bass without losing the dynamics in the upper range, and you can raise the treble a bit too since you don’t have hi-hats.
Now comes the stereo imager, to widen the mix. Always keep the bass frequency range in mono though, widening the track will really give it that little extra.

And the final piece in the mastering chain: the brickwall limiter (aka maximizer.) Most mastering limiters have good presets for this type of music, use one of those. The goal is loudness without clipping, while maintaining dynamics. To make sure you don’t ruin the dynamics, use a visualizer (some limiters have this function built-in) and make sure that the difference between the max peak (kick) and the average level is not less than 5db.

Most of this advice applies to your other tracks as well.

But dude, keep up the good work. I really like your tracks, they just need some polishing.
And trust me, once you get the hang of mixing it’s just as fun as the other aspects of composing. And it is crucial to a good sound.


Anonymous (24) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

sigh… The sausage mixers. Try to get some debth and warmth in the mix. Not just loudness, ffs…

If you wanna get a good mix & master I suggest you overlook the above post, as this isn’t a recipe for good sound; only loudness.

Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@iphenomena, Bro, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

This is not a formula for a “sausage mix.” You can’t mix a sausage with that much headroom, and there’s not attenuation on the compression to flatten it.

This DOES add depth and warmth. Depth by reverbs, EQ and stereo imaging, and warmth by saturation and compression.

This isn’t a loudness master, but a balanced K14 master. Like I said, not much attenuation and plenty of dynamics. The only thing that gets squashed is the kick and bass, and that has no negative audible impact, it only tames the low end and makes a more solid sound.

Anyway, this is EDM and it doesn’t need much dynamic range. Weight and power is much more important. It’s made for raving, not sitting in your armchair with a glass of gin, listening on your hifi system to enjoy the pretty sounds.

This is nowhere close to sausage or flat response. It maintains character and dynamics.
Although if you want a mastering, you don’t master your own tracks, you leave it to a dedicated pro with a fresh pair of ears.

Good sound doesn’t come from the mastering, good sound comes from the choice of timbres and the mixing.

Nilo Cortex (25) (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@manimal, I can’t thank you enough for your constructive feedback! This is exactly the response I’ve been looking for! I’ve wrote all the tips down and will definitely implement them into all my upcoming tracks (if situation presents itself of course).

Seeing as you are very knowledgeable and have a great attention to detail, am I right to assume that you either producer or do track mastering?

Nick (195) (@nickc2007) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Who isn’t these days :p It’s marketing yourself properly that makes a difference.

Nilo Cortex (25) (@nilocortex) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@nickc2007, Ha, good point. However, to find such detailed answers are a bit more uncommon unless it’s a forum troll telling you are complete shit instead of helping you out, or someone with mastering/production experience looking to help a fellow music dreamer out.

Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@nilocortex, I’m a producer and songwriter. I’ve done a bit of mastering, but I’m not that good at it.

I think it’s easy to hear things that sound off in a track though, unless it’s one’s own track, then it’s a lot more tricky because your ears are too used to it.
Usually when making a track, I can barely stand it when I’m done, because I’ve listened to it over and over so much while mixing. And I still don’t know if it sounds good haha.

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