Mixing and Mastering processes used in Reason
Ok, I have been tampering with Reason for about a year now, and I would say that I'm not a newbie by any stretch, nor am I a professional by any stretch, I'm suspended in the middle somewhere.
I thought after all this trial and error (pretty much a whole year and thousands of CD's with one or two of my songs burned on them) I thought I had figured out how to mix my songs and have it sounding professional.
Basically, what I have been doing for the last month, is composing and arranging my beat.. first of all..
and then while all instruments in the mixer are still at 100 and 0 Pan, I crank the master Mixer volume up to 127.
I then go through each of my instruments solo, and adjust their master levels up or down until they are a few decibals below the clipping point. (I watch the red 'Audio Out Clip' light in the bottom left corner as my guide, and adjust the levels until the light goes off indicating the instrument is not clipping at any point.)
After adjusting all the instruments individually I bring the master volume back down to 100. The beat sounds cleaner and more quiet, and nothing is clipping.
Then I use my ears and my studio monitors to evenly distribute the sound using slight volume adjustments and panning in the main mixer.
I hook up compression to my Kick and my Snare to boost their power a little but make sure they do not clip, and I find that a Stereo Imager set to 'Solo Lo Band' filter with the Lo Band knob all the way to the left and the X-Over frequency set to 210 will help when applied to you Kick and your Bass. it will help keep it centered in the mix and add a little punch.
Finally I hook up the MClass Equalizer in between the Audio Interface and the Mixer. I enable Low Cut, turn the low frequency Q all the way up usually keep the Fequency just under 0 dB. Then I progressively cut the Frequency response as I see fit heading to the right of the graph. The two middle frequency points will have fairly low Q, and the Hi Freq. will have a moderate amount of Q. My graph will look like a squiggly line slanting down to the right slightly dropping the signal about 6 dB over all.
At this point the beat sounds pretty quiet and nothing is clipping, so I add a Maximizer underneath my Equalizer with fast attack and release, turn off the limiter and 4 ms look ahead.. (what is that anyway)..? and while it is set to 'Peak', I boost the input gain until the signal goes into the red. Then I bring it back down a good few dB until there is no red, and nothing is clipping, keeping it pretty close to 0 dB without going over.
I'm using an Audio Interface set to a 44800 Sample Rate, and I export the beat to file at 44800Khz and 24 bits. Put the beat into another prog so I can re-save it as mp3, and save it as an .mp3 at 44800Khz and 320Kbps.
My waveforms look pretty healthy when I export them, but STILL when I compare my work to other producers (I make Hip Hop and Hip Hop type instrumentals, mostly) theirs always sound so much more crisper, so much more clear and louder. The instruments sound much more 'seperated'.
When I play them in my car it sounds like my instruments are low quality, the overall quality of the beat sounds a bit 'muffled', even though I can get the bass and the kick to sound very nice.
I seem to have run out of ideas for mixing my beats, and at this point I can't figure out how to get them sounding louder and clearer because it seems like I've got them as loud and clear as they are going to be. Other producers work just sounds so much more 'full' and 'clean'. I can't figure out how to move forward from here. How can I make it more clear? I thought about EQing individual instruments but wasn't sure if it is considered a good idea, and wouldn't know how to EQ instruments anyway. EQ to me is a foreign city which I have been lost in for some time, and being lost in it for some time I have come to know a few landmarks here and there, a few nice little cafe's, but I still can't speak the language or figure out exactly what the hell is going on here.
Anyway, anything that would help me out here would be appreciated, thanks for your time.
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