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Quora Answer : How do electronic music producers balance different sounds to sound loud and full, while also being clean and clear?

Feb 8, 2020

To cut a long story short.

EQ : that is, give each instrument or sound "ownership" of a particular frequency range, and use EQ to cut out or diminish any other harmonics of that instrument that are leaking into other instruments' frequency ranges.

Don't have two instruments fighting for the same frequencies, where they'll interfere and muddy each other.

A particular synth may try to occupy a large chunk of frequency spectrum because of its rich harmonics. Don't be afraid to be ruthless with the EQ and cut it back to only the range you allocate to it. Those other frequencies are going to be occupied with other instruments. And no-one's going to miss these harmonics.

Compression : within the range that any sound "owns", use compression to amplify the quiet bits of that sound. Yes, this removes some of the absolute dynamic range from instrument. But the dynamics aren't gone altogether, and the overall sound gets to fill as much of its bit of its frequency space as possible.

And because it's clear and audible, the listener can still hear and understand the transients, even if they are "lower resolution" than before the compression.

Stereo positioning / widening : not nearly as important as the first two, but once you've done them, you can also space higher frequency instruments (NOT lower frequencies, which should be centre), in different places to make them sound even more separated.

Between these three techniques you can maximize the space you are filling with sound (ie. loudness) while keeping keeping everything clean and distinguishable for the listener.

Quora Answer : In order to make good sounding music, do I have to mix the same way the pros do, or can I do it my way if it still sounds really good?

May 10, 2020

The main problem is that professionals mix in standard studios with a range of speakers which are a good approximation to the various places other people will listen to the music, and have a good intuition about how to mix things so they sound good on a wide range of devices in a wide range of situations.

The problem with going your own way and doing what sounds good to you is not that there's anything necessarily wrong with your taste, which is probably OK. But that you'll be mixing for the idiosyncrasies of your listening setup : your headphones or your particular speakers in your own room.

I've had too many embarrassing incidents where I've produced something that sounds fantastic to me on my headphones, taken it around to a friends' to show it off, and then found it to be truly cringe-worthy ... utterly horrible on that friend's hi-fi or speakers. Bass so loud it crushes everything to an incoherent mush. Or something that sounded clean and crisp enough to me, just sounding drab and muffled. Heavy, compelling grooves that sound weak compared even to wimpy average pop music, and don't retain any of the energy that they seemed to have when I was composing them.

I haven't solved this problem to my own satisfaction yet. But I have come to respect the professional mixers / masterers. And their mysteriously expensive equipment and studios.

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