This might be useful to someone out there. Maybe…
If a tune is sounding a bit lifeless, you might want to try this:
Put a very subtle reverb (small room, not much width, quite a lot of damping, low tracksend level), some EQ (boost the bass and treble a bit, and cut the midrange a bit - or try playing with it until it sounds right), and a compressor on the master track (put the effects in that order).
The difference can be quite noiceable. I had a tune that was sounding a little dull and muddy, and adding these things to the master track made it sound brighter, wider, and a bit more ‘pro’. Still a rubbish song, but hey - that’s a different issue )
Like I say as well, be creative with the EQ (not just the obvious ‘smile’ shape): on the tune in question, I boosted one or two of the midrange bands very slightly as well as some bass and treble, and it gave the song a really nice edgy sound.
I can’t remember the compressor settings, but I just played with it until the song had that slight ‘pumping’ quality to it.
I realise this is self-evident to a lot of you, but if not you should try it!
(for the record, I used the built in reverb and EQ10, but I used the mda Dynamics plugin, it is a little more versatile than the built in rns compressor)
Hope this might help someone out there.
It’s true that using reverb can make a track sound more lively and wider, but in the end it’s of course best if you treat every instrument individually, unless of course you’re aiming for an effect of the music appearing as if it is coming out of a particular room (I don’t see much point in this, actually).
And usually the way of reducing muddiness of mid-range instruments is to use your equaliser to cut at 200Hz (peak EQ with a Q of 1.0 if you’re using a parametric EQ).
I’d have to disagree about EQ being a creative process though, especially in this scenario. If you’re looking to fix up your overall mix through EQ, you really need to know what you’re doing instead of just boosting a couple of bands. Always cut more than you boost, as you can’t boost what’s not there. Rolling off on the bottom end, for example, will unmask the top end and so give your tune more clarity.
As for compressing the overall mix, you’d really be best of using a multiband compressor, but as Renoise only has a single band one, I recommend using a low ratio value and both a short attack and release time, and set your threshold value according to your mix. This will compress only the loudest peaks above the threshold and leave the rest unchanged, allowing you to increase the overall volume of your song.
Just a few things I thought I might add.
Yeah, I realise what I posted is not generally considered the ‘best’ practice for the overall mix of a track. But the method I used totally transformed one of my tracks, so I thought that it might get people thinking about ways of getting their mixes sounding that bit better by using the Master track in ways they may not have thought about.
Any recommendations of a good multiband VST compressor (pref. a free one)?
I’m not sure about a free one actually, but you could try searching Google.
Oh, and a good commercial one can be found here.
A pretty good source for all VST’s is KvR-VST