how to mix and layer exceptional frequencies?

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how to mix and layer exceptional frequencies?

Post by jonah » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:50 am

Any tips for mixing beyond what is done for "regular" music?

Most classical recording/mixing techniques are like "don't record/use that sound/frequency in the first place"! :lol: The "noise theory" I've read has instructions mostly along the lines of "just do it". I find that works fine for creation, but even when I make noise I want it to sound "right" in the end.

I feel like I spend an awful long time mixing and more often then not sounds start clashing, they end up destroyed, less than the sum of their parts and basically one big boring sound rather than a bunch of novel sounds. I think a lot of noise music suffers from this problem. :razz: I'm thinking maybe there is something I should do before I start recording? I don't know what though. :despair: :lol:

As an example I really like mid-period noisy Oval(*). I recently rediscovered Ovalprocess. I had forgotten how dense and full it sounds. I'm not even sure you can call it noise. I find the interplay of elements staggeringly beautiful. Maybe more like electronic free jazz?


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Post by Repeater » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:37 am

a few things that helped me...

be conscious of frequency overlap between instruments/layers. try isolating each instrument/layer into a very narrow frequency range. try using eq only to remove frequencies.

oval is the good shit.

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Post by authorless » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:30 am

Filters, filters, filters, filters. I will high pass filter each track individually (or instrument in the case of drums), start with the cutoff low then increase until i can hear it start to cut into the sound. Basically, I try to get rid of any frequency components that do not add to the sound in the context of the song.
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Post by shamann » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:43 am

I agree with Repeater and authorless, filtering/EQ is the best way to avoid clashing sounds. Easing back on volume is helpful to, so that everything isn't hitting the mix at full volume.

Surprisingly, a lot of standard mixing advice is pretty helpful for dealing with noise.

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Post by ndkent » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:14 am

Well when someone says "don't record/use that sound/frequency in the first place" they might very well mean it won't reproduce (reliably or at all) or if it does it will reproduce unreliably, even taking other sounds with it.

That's a different situation than the more artistic and perhaps sometimes psycho-acoustic decision making process involving mix levels.

When you combine sounds they should compliment each other rather than fight each other. Past trying to adjust mix levels I'd say the 2 main techniques, which can be combined, are using EQ to change the levels of frequency ranges, and dynamics adjustment like compressors. Though one can't rule out entirely that some mixed sounds just don't go together.

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Post by Control » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:34 pm

I tend to adjust the EQ of each sound and then use panning for it to cut through the mix.

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Post by ignatius » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:44 pm

echo what's already been said..


cutting is better than adding.. once you start adding gain to frequencies with EQ you'll end up with phasing issues.. it's much better to cut.

panning.. even just a bit off center will open up the soundscape.

i don't know what you mean by exceptional frequencies though...

maybe you are referring to things outside of human hearing?

if so..these things are in all music already.. it's why people cut below 30hz or whatever freq they like.. rolling off the low end below what's audible can be very helpful sometimes and also help when it comes to mastering since all the stuff down there, even though you can't hear it, adds a lot of energy to a mix. it's in there. sometimes it's good to leave it all in for the harmonics and how it adds to other sounds but many times your mix wil sound better by rolling it off... and you can get your mix louder too... w/o removing all the dynamics.

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Post by Johnisfaster » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:03 pm

ndkent wrote:they might very well mean it won't reproduce (reliably or at all) or if it does it will reproduce unreliably, even taking other sounds with it.
What do you mean by "won't reproduce" ?

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Post by dualmono » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:19 pm

Kind of abstract and less technical maybe (good things have already been said) but: Look at mixing kind of like painting.
If you mix all colors (depending on which type of paint) all you get is mud
Try to visualise the sound. Place them besides each other. If sounds take up the same place in the mix frequency wise, try to embed them in each other. Stress one, soften and darken the other. Let one come towards you when the other one steps back. Let em clash if you like.
Use depth as in space, not only panning left right.
Remember the funk. Often the gap, the emptyness between sounds is as important as the sound itself. Let is leave an impression. Leave space for the listener. Let go of the plan sometimes and listen to whats already there. Try to take things away/down rather than add things up too much.
Listen to a mix with someone in the room. Often it totally changes how you hear things.


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Post by shred » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:36 am

this is a question i've had recently too, lots of good info in here!
also I must say thanks for introducing me to Oval, i was unaware of them(him) and its simply fantastic
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