Question About Mixdown/Mastering

Hey guys,
I am still new to music production and I was wondering if there are any tricks you would be willing to share with me concerning mixdown and mastering

Something like in this soundcloud clip

What do you think is applied to the synth, could anyone tell me how this technique is called so I can look it up?


Multiband compression.

I’d like some tips too. ^_^

On the synths in this clip however i think there are automated/LFO’ed filters and some ducking or whatever people calls it. These things has nothing to do with mastering though, but that shouldn’t be the main focus.
I’m new to the concept of “ducking” myself, but i believe in this case it basically means lowering the volume of the synth every time a drum hits or something like that to get a “pumping” sound.
You can do this with the signal follower in Renoise, it will not do this by default settings so you will have to tweak some sliders to get this effect (you can start with Dest. Min 100% and Dest. Max 0%).
Just remember that the track you want to affect with the signal follower has to be to the right of the respective track.

To make a filter move could be as easy as attaching an LFO to a filter slider, but there are many other ways too.
Everyone has their way of doing things, so it’s hard to say how other people work by hearing a clip.
I don’t know if this will be helpful at all, i’m no expert and i’m still learning new stuff every day even though i have used Renoise for several years. :P

Okay thanks for the replies I will try and read about that and also try the thing with the signal follower

Nearly every situation and song is asking for a different approach of mastering.
Unfortunately there is no universal remedy you could squeeze into a few lines of text.

Good mastering is based on a combination of profound experience and basic knowledge about sonic and psychoacoustic relationships.

Just dig around on the internet or buy some related books. This will give you a general idea of what mastering is about and how you approach it correctly.
I think that would be more helpful than anything that could be written here in a few lines.

If have a particular mastering/mixing problem however, it’s a totally different story - but then you’d have to phrase it first ;)

A few of us here have excellent knowledge and experience in this matter. I agree with Keith, if you’ve got some specific questions I’m sure we can help out. Writing general advice here would be writing an epic tome which none of us have the time for.

MMD has written some Renoise In:Depth articles which go into some detail on a couple of mastering/mixing techniques.

I have to make some more time to do more. Life’s been a little crazy lately! :clownstep:

While producing I would say the mix-down is more important than the Master. A lot of people often confuse the two though and in the modern, digital/electronic age the lines between the two have become very blured.

Oh, and keep in mind: Never ask me for help on mixing and mastering.

If you want help on pattern editor and effects, though, I’m you’re guy.

That is really the most important part, forget about mastering, it’s the composing that should be the focus and where the magic happens.

It’s all about organising energy at different stages of maturation:

You start with notes. Usually a set of seven notes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - sometimes less, sometimes some more in between. But the ideas and emotions of the relationships of The Seven is what makes music happen.

You define and focus secondary factors - rhythm, texture, dynamics, intensity, spatiality, progression. An overall form takes shape.

You add and subtract from that form in effort to provide character, personality, and detailing that creates a micro-experience that compliments the macro experience.

You graduate the completed form to the non-creative stage of technical processing. Sounds are mixed for a specific purpose. Mixing is dance between aesthetic and science.

You can then master the work, often in relation to other work, for a final unquestionable crystalisation of form. There is NO creativity in mastering. It aspires to pure science. It honours purpose precisely. If the mix is brilliant, then the method of mastering is as unobtrusive as possible - working only to what is necessary. It can be incredibly boring and tedious. But so is polishing a mirror to the point where you can’t tell there’s a mirror there anymore - only a perfect porthole to another reality.

@mmd: never looked at it that way, great description, from which it is obvious you have put a lot of thought in the process of making music.

So basically, let people who knows their shit master your stuff for you. :P

i partially have to revert my previous post to some extent, as there are mixing/mastering tips that can be applied in a general context.

when writing music you will usually have certain instruments that have a certain frequency range where they are most dominant.
for example, vocals are usually most expressive in the range of 500 - 2800 hz and bass instruments like kickdrums or basslines feel cozy at around 30 - 200 hz.

so my little tip is to try keeping the frequency range as clear as possible of interferences, especially in the low frequency area, because this is where the most energy lies.

according to that, you’ll never go wrong by adding a high-pass filter with a preferably steep slope (eg. butterworth 8n) at around 200hz to everything that usually should not have any bass, even if you think there is no bass - believe me, there is if the sample or instrument isn’t pre-filtered.

i personally apply it to everything except the bass instruments, where individual EQing is being used.
that means, for 99% of the time i have a Butterworth 8n HPF (the renoise internal one, it just rules) on hihats, cymbals, vocals, strings, guitars, fx, snares, claps, melodic synths, reeses, etc .

this way you will clear a lot of energy and headroom in your mix for the actual bass instruments to breath and excel at what they’re supposed to do -> to sound lush and juicy.
and the best is, you won’t even miss the cutted frequencies of the other instruments, because they were either inaudible anyway or they were audible and therefore causing a real mess in the bass department.

great post keith303, really useful stuff.
to expand a little bit:

an EQ chart filled with even more info than what keith303 already let loose in his above post, you can find here:
(also, i’ll shamelessly plug my own cheatsheet, as it has that link on it as well, and i remember it through the cheatsheet, so do yourself a favor and keep it handy somewhere)

from my own experience, something i do a lot when trying my (inexperienced) hand at some mastering, is to solo a particular track and open up the Master Spectrum to get more visual feedback of where that sound is placed, frequency-wise. it also does well to show the effect of the Butterworth 8n Hi-Pass Filter that keith303 is talking about. in my experience, when you see the bass-frequencies pop up when your bass plays, and stay down when it is not playing, that is when you are doing it right. you can adjust the filter to taste to allow a certain amount of rumble under 200hz (or 0.20khz as the filter in Renoise displays it), and again, this rumble is visible on the Master Spectrum. it is truly a very cool part of Renoise. in the Ideas/Suggestions subforum you can find some threads on how the Master Spectrum could be even cooler.

still experimenting with reading out the Phasemeter, but very cool and useful as well.

Thanks for the new posts guys :)

I see that in general it would be easier if I put an example of the sound I am talking about so you can give me advice in a specific direction. The things mentioned and linked keith303’s and in rhowaldt posts are very helpful. Let the reading begin!

And mr_mark_dollin funnily enough, the sciency bit in music is what interests me so much. One of the reasons why I chose to “make music” (I don’t really consider myself doing a good job at it and I don’t call myself a producer, just an enthousiast :) ) is because I am really interested in the process of making electronic music, finding out as much as possible about how the music I love is created. I am not sure whether I will ever come up with a song that I am happy with myself, thank god I am not doing this for a living :D I still have a really long and exciting journey before me.

Now we’re getting somewhere, great tips! :)

@evermind: i’m not entirely sure, but i think most people on these forums don’t make music for a living. i believe we are a big bunch of enthusiasts, and some of us are good/lucky enough to make some money from it as well. wonder if anyone on here makes music full-time without a job on the side (except for vsnares and such of course)

i don’t know how long you’ve been at it (making music), but from my own experience i found that when you keep it up, read stuff about it and keep practicing, keep making tracks (even though they are not as great as you want them to be, or even though they’re unfinished or whatever) and you’ll eventually get to a point where you are steadily getting more happy with your own creations. consider joining some competitions around here. don’t worry about your skills, people are friendly and the effort is respected and appreciated as much as the result. and i can guarantee you that it will boost your skills tremendously, especially with things like the Keith303 compo where you can check out xrns files from a skilled artist, or the Dead Dog compos where most of the time people post their xrns as well. all is just for good fun, and you’ll learn a lot.

also, read stuff even if you don’t fully understand it yet. i’ve read tons of mastering info and have only half of an idea of what it is all about, but if you keep it at it you’ll come across the same words and methods multiple times and start to get an understanding of it. try some of it out yourself on your own tracks and you’ll learn.