Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

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Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by Electroluver » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:31 am

I found this article on FuctStereo.com years an years ago and copied it. Since then, then website has disappeared. Feel free to poke holes.


Introduction*


In this article I am going to be using some harsh words about the realities of sound engineering and some of the things that beginner engineers and even magazines say. If you are offended by these….good, I hope it gets you offended enough to sit up and think about what you are doing, how you are doing it and to realise that there is no magical piece of equipment or plugin that will make your music sound terrific 

I've thought long and hard about writing this article because none of us want to give away our 'secrets' and believe me when I tell you that if you want to make your dance music sound stunning then this is THE secret. You will need to know much more than just this but without this knowledge you are going nowhere.
Why am I doing this? There are two reasons:
Firstly over the past year there has been so much badly produced c**p thrust onto the market that it has become saturated to the point where distributors around the world won't touch certain styles with a barge pole. They know that only one release in twenty will be any good so they don't want ANY of it. So rule number one, if you genuinely care about the music you are making don't let your ego take over, "I'm the best producer in the world because I've got a record out, my mates all think I'm fantastic". Yes, but no one in the industry does, they think you are a joke because you are killing the music that we all love with your garbage and you don't even realize it. Please, please, please do not even THINK about releasing something yourself or trying to get it released with a label until you are absolutely sure (and be honest with yourself!) that you are good enough and ready to produce the goods time and time again. Don't be desperate to get a record out, learn your craft, pay your dues and be patient. After all you want a reputation for releasing great music and not the other kind, don't you?
The second reason is this and again it is to do with ego. After a while, it could be six months, it could be five years: who cares? No one is counting. You will be writing music that is good enough for release if you have the talent for it, without a doubt but you may not have handle on the mixdown. In other words you can program great drum tracks, brilliant bass and synth lines and arrange it all perfectly but when you listen to your recordings they don't sound right. They lack volume and punch, the clarity isn't there, the bass doesn't cut through; they sound right but they don't sound right: that professional 'sheen' isn't there.
I'm sure everyone has seen on letters pages in magazines and on web forums a query where someone says something along the lines of:
"My track needs to be louder and kick more, it's nothing to do with compressors, EQ or limiters as my mix is perfect. It's just that the sounds need to stand out more. Should I use a different keyboard for my bass sounds? I was thinking of buying that WalNord Super Lead. I've mastered the track using the Super-Thrasher Maximiser. That may be the problem - if I only had the newer version with the tweeter fryer add-on my music might sound how I want it to"
The reply will follow saying that the WalNord is indeed superb (they advertise in that magazine) and yes the tweeter fryer is great (they've just given it a superb review) and you could also try to compress the life out of every single track separately, buy the new YamiRolorg super expander, put cheese in your ears etc. etc. 

ALL WRONG AND ALL UTTER UTTER GARBAGE.
The mixdown isn't good enough. End of story. No amount mastering, Eqing or whatever other post-mix trickery will make a terrible mix sound good. You cannot polish a turd. The person that asked the question will be making the same mistakes over and over because he isn't asking questions of himself - he already stated that his mixes are nigh on perfect - how can you improve on that? Whatever anyone makes, even top professionals, it is never perfect. There is always something that can be improved. Also, always remember that while magazines can indeed be very informative, they are also there to sell you things.
It can take years to learn to perform a mixdown properly - you may not have the time or the inclination, in which case I recommend that you hire a studio to mix your tracks down for you. There are several well-known producers and engineers that supply this service, myself included. Yes, even this article is trying to sell you something but at least it is something worth buying if you really care about your music and want it to be the best that it can be.
If you ever get the opportunity, get yourself in a studio with someone that knows what they are doing - you will learn more in one afternoon than you will learn from reading twenty articles like this because you will see what is being done and you will, more importantly, hear the results.
Whatever kind of music you are making, any mixdown should have punch, depth, width and space. It cannot have any of these if the bass end (bottom end) isn't mixed correctly. The bottom end is the foundation on which the rest of the mix sits, get it wrong and you are on very shaky ground.
This article assumes that you are making dance music, in particular hard dance music (four on the floor kick, heavy bass line). The principles work just the same for any other kind of music but some of the ingredients and proportions may be a little different.

Mixing the two together*

The mixdown is usually the last thing that gets done to a track, after all the programming, writing, arranging etc. Mute everything apart from the kick and the bass (which incidentally must have their own separate mixer channels), you are going to be listening to this for quite some time and at high volume so your neighbours are going to hate you if you aren't sound-proofed. Don't be tempted to try and mix anything else in your track until you have your foundations in place, you will be wasting your time.
There is a minimum of facilities that are required to be able to get that pro sound in the bass on every track that you mix. It can be done with less equipment but much more time needs to be spent when you create the kick and bass sound in the first place (as will become apparent).
An absolute must is a decent pair of monitor speakers, positioned correctly and with you sitting in the correct position. Your room needs to be well damped and you will find from time to time, if you are in a small control room or project studio, that depending on what frequencies are in the sounds you are using different items in the room will buzz or vibrate - you need to damp or shield these so you can hear what is coming from the speakers and nothing else.
Also required is a mixing desk or facility (could be in your PC) where you can group tracks together, a compressor and decent EQ. If you are using an analogue desk you will probably not have enough EQ to do the job and will need to insert extra parametric (preferably) or graphic EQ on both the kick and bass channels.
So, first things first - listen to any hard dance records and you notice that the kick and the bass are at roughly the same volume level. So, presuming that your desk is normalised, solo the kick and adjust the volume so that it is peaking at around +3 to +6 DB on the main output meter (if your mixer goes to +15). You want the maximum amount of volume coming from the kick channel (if you are in software you can set this to slightly below maximum) while leaving enough headroom on the main outputs to fit the rest of your mix in. Why is the kick so loud? We want to get the best signal to noise ratio possible and to use the full bandwidth available on the mixer.

The same process is then done with the bass, solo it and set it to the same (or just slightly less) level on the main meters.
Listen to the two sounds together and note what the main meter is now doing - depending on what parts you have written the output will be moving around somewhat. Ideally you want the volume level in the bass end to be fairly constant otherwise headroom will be used up for no reason and bass 'power' will be lost. Compression needs to be used to smooth the levels out. This has the effect of increasing the average volume whilst using no more headroom. Both the kick and the bass need to be compressed together so the two channels need to be grouped and a compressor placed on the insert of the group. How the compressor is set very much depends on the material and there are several articles on compression out there. A good starting point would be to use 6:1 compression with a fast attack (to let the peaks on the kick to come through) and a release of around 150ms. The amount of gain reduction again depends on the source material.
Depending on the speed of the track the compressor's release setting can cause 'pumping' - that is where the overall volume pumps up and down in time with the track. You may want this effect or you may not. If you are going to make the mix pump be very subtle otherwise it just sounds naff. The compressor type will affect the character in the bass end so use the right one - you might want to use a fairly transparent compressor or you might choose to go with a very hard compressor for a more noticeable and aggressive effect. One thing to notice is that on notes where both kick and bass coincide, the volume of the kick will lessen if too much processing is applied.
Volume and compression are now set. Already the bass mix will seem to have much more energy than when you started out. Now comes the difficult part.

EQ'ING THE BASS*


Previously creative EQ has been used to make new sounds (art). Now EQ is going to be used in a much more technical way to perfect the bass mix (craft).

A couple of notes before we start, if the bass sound is bass light don't try to simply boost the low end EQ - it makes for a muddy mix. Always remember that if you cut one end of the frequency spectrum comparatively you are boosting the other end. So to boost that bottom end you would roll off the top end and increase the volume level back to where it was previously. EQ cuts sound much better than boosts when mixing down, especially in digital systems.

To get a tight mix you need to be very accurate with your Eqing so be warned, this is going to take time, especially for a start. If it means spending a couple of hours just to EQ the bass then put the work in, the results will be worth it.

Every kick and bass you mix together will be different so there is no point in having or using the same 'magical' EQ settings unless you use the exact same sounds every time. I would recommend sitting down and listening to the bass end in some really well produced tracks. What do you notice? The kick and the bass don't interfere with each other, they sound 'tight' and they don't bloat out the whole mix. They 'sit' right.

Now we are going to get our bass to sound like that. This is where the decent monitors come in, without them you will really struggle to do the job.

CRANK UP THE VOLUME!
That's right really crank it up! If you are using near-fields you should be around 3- 4 feet away from the speakers, you need to be monitoring loud enough so that you are really 'inside' the sound. Don't monitor so loud that your ears start to hurt, go numb or ring - if you do you are monitoring too loud to be able to hear things properly and you will be doing yourself some damage. Don't try and mix the bass by monitoring quietly - what you have already probably sounds great when listened to at those volumes. It isn't! This is heavy music that is played loudly in clubs, not on tiny home stereos.

A quick note on 'harmonics'.
All sounds are made from a combination of sine waves. If you want to see the maths behind this look on the web for 'Fourier Analysis'. In any sound there is a fundamental (or root) pitch plus a combination of harmonics. A harmonic is simply a multiple of the root pitch, i.e. the second harmonic is a sine wave at twice the pitch of the fundamental. So a square wave for example is made from a root sine wav plus every other odd harmonic going upwards in diminishing amounts. 

Listen carefully to the bass. If it sounds bass light in comparison to the kick, use a high cut EQ (or the lo pass filter in your sampler) to reduce the high frequencies and thus boost the bass. The frequency to cut to depends very much on the bass sound itself. If it is almost pure bass you could get rid of everything above 500-750 HZ. If the bass has a clanky attack you may want to keep that clank in and cut at a higher frequency - 1000 to 2000 Hz maybe. It's all relative to the sounds you are using.
After each EQ change check the volume of the bass on its own again to make sure it is still at the correct level. If it has changed alter the volume accordingly.
You will notice that as you progressively EQ the bass that it will start to sound very different to the sound you started with, this is normal and nothing to worry about, you've just got used to hearing the sound in its' unaltered state. Don't get into the mindset where you can't EQ the sound in a certain way because it makes it different to how it 'should' sound. It has got to sound that way to work with the kick.

EQ'ING THE BASS - CONTINUED*

Listen very carefully at the lower end of the frequency spectrum. Does it sound like there is a constant hum or note down there that runs through the notes that are being played. If there is then that is a 'ringing' harmonic - in other word one that isn't needed, all it is doing is using up valuable headroom and bloating the mix out. If you listen again you will also perhaps note that it makes the mix sound too fat and interferes with the kick, frequencies around 110-115 Hz are the usual culprits.
The frequency needs to be isolated and reduced until things sharpen up. The best EQ to use for this is a parametric as specific frequencies can be isolated but a graphic can be used at a pinch. The results will never be as sharp though. You now need to listen elsewhere for harmonics that ring out or whistle - these can be anywhere in the frequency spectrum. You might want to keep one or two of them in there if they are in tune with the bass notes playing (a-la Klub bass) but be careful what you leave. If you leave the wrong harmonics, especially as you start to move into the 200Hz region they will start to interfere with the lower-mids of the sounds in the rest of your mix. Again when you get a handle on where the 'bad' harmonics are, isolate them with a band of parametric EQ and reduce them until they no longer ring out.
So that's the bass Eqed. Well, not quite. The sub end of things needs to be looked at, if there is too much sub in there the mix may sound great on your small speakers but when you play it on something larger you could max out the amps or blow the cones out. A nice little check is to listen to the mix through headphones. For a few seconds crank the headphone volume right up and listen to the kick drum - it will be making the headphones buzz quite a lot. Now listen to the bass, if it's making the headphones buzz about the same amount then things are OK in the sub department. If it's REALLY making the headphones buzz then you have too much sub on the bass. Another check is to look and see how much the bass sound makes your speaker cones flap in comparison to the kick - if it looks like your cones are about to blow with the power then, again there is too much sub in there. If your speakers are larger or you have a sub box then you are laughing. I bet the neighbours love you! A low shelf at 49Hz with about 2-3 DB of reduction will suffice if you have too much energy in that region.
It's almost there now. It's now a good idea to add an open hi hat, set a rough volume level for it and then listen to see if there are any harmonics that shouldn't be there between the 'real' bass and the hats. If there is, again, using parametric, get hold of those frequencies in the bass and EQ them out. That's the bass Eqed.
Now go back to listening to just the kick and the bass. Listen with more of an emphasis on the kick. Mostly you don't need to do any EQ work on the kick but sometimes there will be just the odd harmonic that seems to 'ring' out on top of the kick and the bass. If it's too much and clouds things up, reduce it, again with a parametric.
Along with this article are two samples using the kick and bass from Ravage 4 'Resident 4 President' so you can hear before and afterwards. Please "RIGHT CLICK and SAVE AS" to download the sample.
 HYPERLINK "http://www.fuktstereo.com/music-product ... Before.wav" 
Unprocessed Sample
 HYPERLINK "http://www.fuktstereo.com/music-product ... /After.wav" Processed Sample
The EQ settings on this example were as follows:
Bass
Lo Shelf @ 49Hz 2.5db cut
Parametric @ 112Hz 10.4db cut Q on max
Parametric @ 279 Hz 2.5db cut Q on max
Hi Cut at 1500Hz 
Kick
No EQ used
Compressor settings:
Ratio 7:1
Attack 10ms
Release 142 ms
Threshold -28db
If you apply these EQ setting one at a time to the un-EQed sample you will be able to hear the 'ringing' harmonics in the bass (remember in real life you would be Eqing the kick and the bass separately)
And that is it. Job done. The track should now have a tight and punchy bottom end that will rock on any sound system. There are now just the other 50 sounds to sort out.

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by Yoozer » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:03 pm

I found that article too, sent the guy an e-mail, and put it in a Wikibook ;)
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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by GeneralBigbag » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:25 pm

I find that the 'Compress then EQ' approach doesn't do it for me, I often EQ then compress so as not to raise the level of portions of the spectrum that I don't want anyway.
But then, I'm the kind of guy who highpasses his kick around 120...
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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by pflosi » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:38 pm

nice article. who's the author?
thearticle wrote: I'm sure everyone has seen on letters pages in magazines and on web forums a query where someone says something along the lines of:
"My track needs to be louder and kick more, it's nothing to do with compressors, EQ or limiters as my mix is perfect. It's just that the sounds need to stand out more. Should I use a different keyboard for my bass sounds? I was thinking of buying that WalNord Super Lead. I've mastered the track using the Super-Thrasher Maximiser. That may be the problem - if I only had the newer version with the tweeter fryer add-on my music might sound how I want it to"
The reply will follow saying that the WalNord is indeed superb (they advertise in that magazine) and yes the tweeter fryer is great (they've just given it a superb review) and you could also try to compress the life out of every single track separately, buy the new YamiRolorg super expander, put cheese in your ears etc. etc. 

ALL WRONG AND ALL UTTER UTTER GARBAGE.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

s**t in s**t out......

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by wickfut » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:41 am

I think a shorter version is needed...
I'm Awesome and you're s**t, I'm fed up of listening to your s**t and because I'm so awesome I'm going to tell you a secret (A secret that is so secret that everyone already knows it and is printed on every mixing tips webpage or article)

Here's the tip:-

Compress and EQ your kick and bass

the end.
My old stuff from yonks ago (1999-2001)...
click me for lofi music player
click me for main page

Somebody somewhere in the UK must have a decent condition, none modded tb303 to flog me ?

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by GeneralBigbag » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:51 am

Either that or 'I make trance'
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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by vincent08 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:39 am

Electroluver wrote:I found this article on FuctStereo.com years an years ago and copied it. Since then, then website has disappeared. Feel free to poke holes.


Introduction*


In this article I am going to be using some harsh words about the realities of Sound engineering courses in Kerala and some of the things that beginner engineers and even magazines say. If you are offended by these….good, I hope it gets you offended enough to sit up and think about what you are doing, how you are doing it and to realise that there is no magical piece of equipment or plugin that will make your music sound terrific 

I've thought long and hard about writing this article because none of us want to give away our 'secrets' and believe me when I tell you that if you want to make your dance music sound stunning then this is THE secret. You will need to know much more than just this but without this knowledge you are going nowhere.
Why am I doing this? There are two reasons:
Firstly over the past year there has been so much badly produced c**p thrust onto the market that it has become saturated to the point where distributors around the world won't touch certain styles with a barge pole. They know that only one release in twenty will be any good so they don't want ANY of it. So rule number one, if you genuinely care about the music you are making don't let your ego take over, "I'm the best producer in the world because I've got a record out, my mates all think I'm fantastic". Yes, but no one in the industry does, they think you are a joke because you are killing the music that we all love with your garbage and you don't even realize it. Please, please, please do not even THINK about releasing something yourself or trying to get it released with a label until you are absolutely sure (and be honest with yourself!) that you are good enough and ready to produce the goods time and time again. Don't be desperate to get a record out, learn your craft, pay your dues and be patient. After all you want a reputation for releasing great music and not the other kind, don't you?
The second reason is this and again it is to do with ego. After a while, it could be six months, it could be five years: who cares? No one is counting. You will be writing music that is good enough for release if you have the talent for it, without a doubt but you may not have handle on the mixdown. In other words you can program great drum tracks, brilliant bass and synth lines and arrange it all perfectly but when you listen to your recordings they don't sound right. They lack volume and punch, the clarity isn't there, the bass doesn't cut through; they sound right but they don't sound right: that professional 'sheen' isn't there.
I'm sure everyone has seen on letters pages in magazines and on web forums a query where someone says something along the lines of:
"My track needs to be louder and kick more, it's nothing to do with compressors, EQ or limiters as my mix is perfect. It's just that the sounds need to stand out more. Should I use a different keyboard for my bass sounds? I was thinking of buying that WalNord Super Lead. I've mastered the track using the Super-Thrasher Maximiser. That may be the problem - if I only had the newer version with the tweeter fryer add-on my music might sound how I want it to"
The reply will follow saying that the WalNord is indeed superb (they advertise in that magazine) and yes the tweeter fryer is great (they've just given it a superb review) and you could also try to compress the life out of every single track separately, buy the new YamiRolorg super expander, put cheese in your ears etc. etc. 

ALL WRONG AND ALL UTTER UTTER GARBAGE.
The mixdown isn't good enough. End of story. No amount mastering, Eqing or whatever other post-mix trickery will make a terrible mix sound good. You cannot polish a turd. The person that asked the question will be making the same mistakes over and over because he isn't asking questions of himself - he already stated that his mixes are nigh on perfect - how can you improve on that? Whatever anyone makes, even top professionals, it is never perfect. There is always something that can be improved. Also, always remember that while magazines can indeed be very informative, they are also there to sell you things.
It can take years to learn to perform a mixdown properly - you may not have the time or the inclination, in which case I recommend that you hire a studio to mix your tracks down for you. There are several well-known producers and engineers that supply this service, myself included. Yes, even this article is trying to sell you something but at least it is something worth buying if you really care about your music and want it to be the best that it can be.
If you ever get the opportunity, get yourself in a studio with someone that knows what they are doing - you will learn more in one afternoon than you will learn from reading twenty articles like this because you will see what is being done and you will, more importantly, hear the results.
Whatever kind of music you are making, any mixdown should have punch, depth, width and space. It cannot have any of these if the bass end (bottom end) isn't mixed correctly. The bottom end is the foundation on which the rest of the mix sits, get it wrong and you are on very shaky ground.
This article assumes that you are making dance music, in particular hard dance music (four on the floor kick, heavy bass line). The principles work just the same for any other kind of music but some of the ingredients and proportions may be a little different.

Mixing the two together*

The mixdown is usually the last thing that gets done to a track, after all the programming, writing, arranging etc. Mute everything apart from the kick and the bass (which incidentally must have their own separate mixer channels), you are going to be listening to this for quite some time and at high volume so your neighbours are going to hate you if you aren't sound-proofed. Don't be tempted to try and mix anything else in your track until you have your foundations in place, you will be wasting your time.
There is a minimum of facilities that are required to be able to get that pro sound in the bass on every track that you mix. It can be done with less equipment but much more time needs to be spent when you create the kick and bass sound in the first place (as will become apparent).
An absolute must is a decent pair of monitor speakers, positioned correctly and with you sitting in the correct position. Your room needs to be well damped and you will find from time to time, if you are in a small control room or project studio, that depending on what frequencies are in the sounds you are using different items in the room will buzz or vibrate - you need to damp or shield these so you can hear what is coming from the speakers and nothing else.
Also required is a mixing desk or facility (could be in your PC) where you can group tracks together, a compressor and decent EQ. If you are using an analogue desk you will probably not have enough EQ to do the job and will need to insert extra parametric (preferably) or graphic EQ on both the kick and bass channels.
So, first things first - listen to any hard dance records and you notice that the kick and the bass are at roughly the same volume level. So, presuming that your desk is normalised, solo the kick and adjust the volume so that it is peaking at around +3 to +6 DB on the main output meter (if your mixer goes to +15). You want the maximum amount of volume coming from the kick channel (if you are in software you can set this to slightly below maximum) while leaving enough headroom on the main outputs to fit the rest of your mix in. Why is the kick so loud? We want to get the best signal to noise ratio possible and to use the full bandwidth available on the mixer.

The same process is then done with the bass, solo it and set it to the same (or just slightly less) level on the main meters.
Listen to the two sounds together and note what the main meter is now doing - depending on what parts you have written the output will be moving around somewhat. Ideally you want the volume level in the bass end to be fairly constant otherwise headroom will be used up for no reason and bass 'power' will be lost. Compression needs to be used to smooth the levels out. This has the effect of increasing the average volume whilst using no more headroom. Both the kick and the bass need to be compressed together so the two channels need to be grouped and a compressor placed on the insert of the group. How the compressor is set very much depends on the material and there are several articles on compression out there. A good starting point would be to use 6:1 compression with a fast attack (to let the peaks on the kick to come through) and a release of around 150ms. The amount of gain reduction again depends on the source material.
Depending on the speed of the track the compressor's release setting can cause 'pumping' - that is where the overall volume pumps up and down in time with the track. You may want this effect or you may not. If you are going to make the mix pump be very subtle otherwise it just sounds naff. The compressor type will affect the character in the bass end so use the right one - you might want to use a fairly transparent compressor or you might choose to go with a very hard compressor for a more noticeable and aggressive effect. One thing to notice is that on notes where both kick and bass coincide, the volume of the kick will lessen if too much processing is applied.
Volume and compression are now set. Already the bass mix will seem to have much more energy than when you started out. Now comes the difficult part.

EQ'ING THE BASS*


Previously creative EQ has been used to make new sounds (art). Now EQ is going to be used in a much more technical way to perfect the bass mix (craft).

A couple of notes before we start, if the bass sound is bass light don't try to simply boost the low end EQ - it makes for a muddy mix. Always remember that if you cut one end of the frequency spectrum comparatively you are boosting the other end. So to boost that bottom end you would roll off the top end and increase the volume level back to where it was previously. EQ cuts sound much better than boosts when mixing down, especially in digital systems.

To get a tight mix you need to be very accurate with your Eqing so be warned, this is going to take time, especially for a start. If it means spending a couple of hours just to EQ the bass then put the work in, the results will be worth it.

Every kick and bass you mix together will be different so there is no point in having or using the same 'magical' EQ settings unless you use the exact same sounds every time. I would recommend sitting down and listening to the bass end in some really well produced tracks. What do you notice? The kick and the bass don't interfere with each other, they sound 'tight' and they don't bloat out the whole mix. They 'sit' right.

Now we are going to get our bass to sound like that. This is where the decent monitors come in, without them you will really struggle to do the job.

CRANK UP THE VOLUME!
That's right really crank it up! If you are using near-fields you should be around 3- 4 feet away from the speakers, you need to be monitoring loud enough so that you are really 'inside' the sound. Don't monitor so loud that your ears start to hurt, go numb or ring - if you do you are monitoring too loud to be able to hear things properly and you will be doing yourself some damage. Don't try and mix the bass by monitoring quietly - what you have already probably sounds great when listened to at those volumes. It isn't! This is heavy music that is played loudly in clubs, not on tiny home stereos.

A quick note on 'harmonics'.
All sounds are made from a combination of sine waves. If you want to see the maths behind this look on the web for 'Fourier Analysis'. In any sound there is a fundamental (or root) pitch plus a combination of harmonics. A harmonic is simply a multiple of the root pitch, i.e. the second harmonic is a sine wave at twice the pitch of the fundamental. So a square wave for example is made from a root sine wav plus every other odd harmonic going upwards in diminishing amounts. 

Listen carefully to the bass. If it sounds bass light in comparison to the kick, use a high cut EQ (or the lo pass filter in your sampler) to reduce the high frequencies and thus boost the bass. The frequency to cut to depends very much on the bass sound itself. If it is almost pure bass you could get rid of everything above 500-750 HZ. If the bass has a clanky attack you may want to keep that clank in and cut at a higher frequency - 1000 to 2000 Hz maybe. It's all relative to the sounds you are using.
After each EQ change check the volume of the bass on its own again to make sure it is still at the correct level. If it has changed alter the volume accordingly.
You will notice that as you progressively EQ the bass that it will start to sound very different to the sound you started with, this is normal and nothing to worry about, you've just got used to hearing the sound in its' unaltered state. Don't get into the mindset where you can't EQ the sound in a certain way because it makes it different to how it 'should' sound. It has got to sound that way to work with the kick.

EQ'ING THE BASS - CONTINUED*

Listen very carefully at the lower end of the frequency spectrum. Does it sound like there is a constant hum or note down there that runs through the notes that are being played. If there is then that is a 'ringing' harmonic - in other word one that isn't needed, all it is doing is using up valuable headroom and bloating the mix out. If you listen again you will also perhaps note that it makes the mix sound too fat and interferes with the kick, frequencies around 110-115 Hz are the usual culprits.
The frequency needs to be isolated and reduced until things sharpen up. The best EQ to use for this is a parametric as specific frequencies can be isolated but a graphic can be used at a pinch. The results will never be as sharp though. You now need to listen elsewhere for harmonics that ring out or whistle - these can be anywhere in the frequency spectrum. You might want to keep one or two of them in there if they are in tune with the bass notes playing (a-la Klub bass) but be careful what you leave. If you leave the wrong harmonics, especially as you start to move into the 200Hz region they will start to interfere with the lower-mids of the sounds in the rest of your mix. Again when you get a handle on where the 'bad' harmonics are, isolate them with a band of parametric EQ and reduce them until they no longer ring out.
So that's the bass Eqed. Well, not quite. The sub end of things needs to be looked at, if there is too much sub in there the mix may sound great on your small speakers but when you play it on something larger you could max out the amps or blow the cones out. A nice little check is to listen to the mix through headphones. For a few seconds crank the headphone volume right up and listen to the kick drum - it will be making the headphones buzz quite a lot. Now listen to the bass, if it's making the headphones buzz about the same amount then things are OK in the sub department. If it's REALLY making the headphones buzz then you have too much sub on the bass. Another check is to look and see how much the bass sound makes your speaker cones flap in comparison to the kick - if it looks like your cones are about to blow with the power then, again there is too much sub in there. If your speakers are larger or you have a sub box then you are laughing. I bet the neighbours love you! A low shelf at 49Hz with about 2-3 DB of reduction will suffice if you have too much energy in that region.
It's almost there now. It's now a good idea to add an open hi hat, set a rough volume level for it and then listen to see if there are any harmonics that shouldn't be there between the 'real' bass and the hats. If there is, again, using parametric, get hold of those frequencies in the bass and EQ them out. That's the bass Eqed.
Now go back to listening to just the kick and the bass. Listen with more of an emphasis on the kick. Mostly you don't need to do any EQ work on the kick but sometimes there will be just the odd harmonic that seems to 'ring' out on top of the kick and the bass. If it's too much and clouds things up, reduce it, again with a parametric.
Along with this article are two samples using the kick and bass from Ravage 4 'Resident 4 President' so you can hear before and afterwards. Please "RIGHT CLICK and SAVE AS" to download the sample.
 HYPERLINK "http://www.fuktstereo.com/music-product ... Before.wav" 
Unprocessed Sample
 HYPERLINK "http://www.fuktstereo.com/music-product ... /After.wav" Processed Sample
The EQ settings on this example were as follows:
Bass
Lo Shelf @ 49Hz 2.5db cut
Parametric @ 112Hz 10.4db cut Q on max
Parametric @ 279 Hz 2.5db cut Q on max
Hi Cut at 1500Hz 
Kick
No EQ used
Compressor settings:
Ratio 7:1
Attack 10ms
Release 142 ms
Threshold -28db
If you apply these EQ setting one at a time to the un-EQed sample you will be able to hear the 'ringing' harmonics in the bass (remember in real life you would be Eqing the kick and the bass separately)
And that is it. Job done. The track should now have a tight and punchy bottom end that will rock on any sound system. There are now just the other 50 sounds to sort out.

Hello,
Nice article about Sound engineering. :D :D :D

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by jxalex » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:41 pm

Why bother?!
There is more than just a crappy producer.
The next article should be riot about why radio stations mess up all the dynamics for analog radio and digital broadcast too.
The broadcast stations always use mp3, multiband compression with their own way and continue to use it.
I think THAT *radio* *stations* continuing loudness war kills all the quality, and nothing is left from the nitpicking precision work what was done in a state of the art studio.

But thats not all end of the nuisance. At the end of the chain there is listener with its earbuds or crappy speakers with inadequate EQ settings which renders the result unrecognizable!


...but it should be in a broadcast radio forum society.

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:13 pm

jxalex wrote:why radio stations mess up all the dynamics for analog radio and digital broadcast too
That's easy...it sounds better when reproduced over low powered audio systems being used in noisy environments. Most people listening to radio or streams are not using audiophile sound systems.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by jxalex » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:20 pm

becouse of noisy environment.. why that compression was not even done already in a studio (wait, yeah, there has been loudness war).

well, it comes down to even lower than that -- the psychology or belief that the listener stays to the station which plays LOUDER. :D Right? When it is about FM broadcast then becouse of the limitations it may apply, but...

...why all this compression in this case is not included in the receiver in this case ? So, listener have not got a choice to turn off that compression.

there are some several different thoughts about it.

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by nuketifromorbit » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:29 am

Didn't read since its too long, also I don't know the first thing about mixing and production, but I still make garbage electronic music despite these facts. Woot Woot. Yay its another necro thread on vse.
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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by jxalex » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:28 pm

nuketifromorbit wrote:Yay its another necro thread on vse.
Does it matter if "necro thread" or not? And why?

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by Solderman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:26 pm

I agree, the OP's clipping comes off as a bit cavalier just to make a few basic points. If you want to really take time and learn about the process of recording and mixing, I recommend reading through the very lengthy cockos forum post "Why do your recordings sound like @ss?". Lots of valuable insight, delivered by a user named "yep", in a friendly, colloquial, often humorous manner. I guarantee it will take a few hours at least to get through.
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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:35 pm

jxalex wrote:why all this compression in this case is not included in the receiver in this case ?
Back in the 1970s dbx sold some companders (can do both compression and expansion) for home stereo use. The idea was to use the expansion on overly compressed recordings and the compression for making tape recordings (which could be expanded on playback, reducing noise). Of course, the compressor could also be used to get higher listening levels from recordings with very wide dynamic range (like classical music) without needing more amplifier headroom.

Image

The compression used by radio station is mostly hard limiting. In the USA there are FCC regulations concerning the maximum broadcast audio levels. Radio stations can put limiters just before their transmitter and drive the c**p out of the levels.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Sound Engineering Techniques for Dance Music

Post by jxalex » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:41 am

The compression used by radio station is mostly hard limiting. In the USA there are FCC regulations concerning the maximum broadcast audio levels. Radio stations can put limiters just before their transmitter and drive the c**p out of the levels.
Are they really going out of their allowed deviation to get higher levels? So far I thought that the deviation is still the roof which dictates the max levels and that keeps them from driving high the VFO input stages. In some other places the FCC alike organization says "turn it down" when going out of bandwidth even for a moment.

hard limiting... thats bad. I thought that the commercial stations were using dbx encoding by mistake with J17 emphasis becouse of the killed dynamics and too sharp levels. :D :D
Still I have not, yet, tried if listening with dbx expander makes radio stations more listenable.

There were on old days some vinyls with DBX encoding? ;) If the Dolby C tapes were not painful to listen without the proper equipment then DBX tapes sound awful without dbx expander.

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