Whilst there are so many things to learn in the music production journey (and the journey never ends), applying any one of these 5 quick & easy tips will instantly take your EDM productions to the next level.
Give them a try and let me know how you get on in the comments section!
1. Quick Master
Whilst this isn't going to fix a bad mix, it’s a great way to test your productions quickly and have them sound nice and loud. Keep your master channel at 0dB. Take all your other channels down to zero and start your mix from scratch, making sure the master channel is not peaking above about -6 or -7dB. Then, add an equaliser and a limiter on the master channel (in that order). Use the EQ to take out the frequencies below 30Hz (you won’t hear them anyway and they’ll take up valuable headroom), then bring up the limiter’s input slowly until it sounds nice and fat without distorting.
2. Structure Blitz
Do you spend ages caught in a 4 - 8 bar loop? Rather than relying on trial-and-error, try following the structure of a professionally released song and translating your composition into the same structure. Here's how: Find a song you love, load it into your DAW, then map your own track into the same structure (e.g. Intro, 1st Verse, 1st Break, 1st Chorus, 2nd Verse, Break, 2nd Chorus, Outro), adding and removing elements where appropriate. Check out this post for an in-depth example of how to do it...
Tired of wimpy lead synths and want them to sound fat (like The Swedish House Mafia or Laidback Luke)? Try layering up two or three different patches playing the same melody (make sure you turn off the reverb effects for each separate patch, though, and process them together as one to avoid a big mess!). You can also layer drums…just make sure to EQ out any clashing frequencies (e.g if you are layer kick drums, you’ll want one of them hitting the low-end, and one the top-end, so EQ accordingly).
4. Auxiliary Effects
Rather than using reverb and delay plugins on each separate channel, try using just one reverb plugin on an auxiliary channel, then use the “send” knobs on your mixer to send a little of each signal through to the reverb. This will keep your reverb in check, and stop your mix becoming awash with too much of it. Try the same on a second auxiliary channel for delay. You can also use side-chain compression and/or filter out the low-end on these aux channels to make even more space in your mix.
5. Parallel Processing
For a bit of extra weight and punch in your drums (without compressing the life out of them), try parallel processing: Create an auxiliary channel in your DAW, and put a compressor on there with a high ratio and low threshold. Then, simply use the send knob from your mixer’s drum channel to mix a little of the signal into the compressor. This basically mixes the heavily compressed drum signal with the punchier original signal, giving you the best of both worlds: Drums with punchy transients and lots of power!
We’ll go into detail with all of these techniques in the future, but as a quick way to up your game, try them out and let me know how you get on. 🙂
If you want more free tips, drop me your email below and I'll get them over to you each week. Cheers!
What quick tips do you have for getting a pro sound? Let us all know in the comments below. 🙂