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Thread How do I get my mixes to sound good in ALL systems...

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  • 9 participants
1 How do I get my mixes to sound good in ALL systems...
I have been mixing hip hop on and off for a couple of years and it feels like I have reached a barrier. My mixes always sound OK but I just can't break through to that next level. Whenever I compare them to mainstream hip hop mixes, I can't, its just not comparable. You can pop in a professionally mixed cd anywhere and it sounds great. I am not looking for any miracle fix, but I am lookin for a few tips that will help me on my future mixes. I have uploaded a sample to my yahoo briefcase so you can have a listen for yourself:

The sample is in the "SDP Mix sample" folder.

Beware their is some explicit lyrics so please don't listen if this offends you.

Hi ! your sound is good enough...for what i've heard and seen tillnow in a few studios- the only thing now is to use some Hip-Hop drums from a Professional...Like Professionals do...Did You ever tryed BigFish Cd samples ?
you got a few dvd ( wav, aif and rex files on each) called " Off The Hook Hip Hop: East Coast "

Off The Hook Hip Hop:WestCoast &

Off The Hook Hip Hop: dirty South GREAT SAMPLES ! almost anythin' you've ever heard on 50 cents, Eminem, Jay Z etc etc etc ... Listening to the Big Fish -hip hop samples ,You ALmost Recognize the Hit-Songs that everybody Knows: ) each Kit - folder classified on tempos, include drumloops , One shots, instrument loops and a demo mix - The DVDs are new Releases 2006-2007

and another DVD called Heat Seekers too... (is as great as the other 3) This could be THE NEXT STEP ! :)

https://www.bigfishaudio.com/4DCGI/detail.html?1249 (here you can hear some demos of the dvd samples-price is 100 $ EACH DVD)

I did not hear enough songs of yours to tell you exactlely..but to Get Value on almost any song of many styles
it's a Wise thing to Add a few STRING Instruments...like Guitares ,strings
:) even on "To Many Addictions" you can ad some... HOPE I've Helped A little (Just Try the Big Fish - Uthank Me Later :)

First of all, i dont agree with the person above saying you should change your samples by buying different drums. A real musician shapes the sounds they have to fit. You will learn far more by learning layering techniques like, imaging and dimension as well as extracting punch and dynamics. A couple of points:

1. You are monitoring too loud, if you turn the volume down a bit you will get a nicer high and mid range.
2. The drums can hit harder and the vocals need to be compressed a bit more.

I tried to do my best with the track you linked up, all you need is a bit of mastering / effects.

I took your mp3, and passed it through some vintage Siemens ECC803S tubes to give a nice warm slam to the drums. Then bussed off a track to a delay line hooked up to an EQ to place the rapper's voices. Then hooked up a gate and reverb unit and compressed to the timing of the track. I doubled it to make it thicker. Finally eq matched by ear, gently compressed, soft clipped, and limited dithered down to cd and mp3 to the correct RMS for a commercial release.

By the way, your left channel is -6% that of your right channel so i rebalanced the recording, hope you like it. Let me know if you want the wav file as this was mixed at 96khz 24bit before mixdown.

this is how we mix it in the UK! ;)

download here:


will be happy to do more for a little paypal reward!

PS: The reason I did this was because I wished someone had done the same when I was learning how to produce.
What U did is olright...its an OK

what i can tell you is just compress ur voice a little bit more...
let say if the ratio 4:1, make it higher like 5:1 to 6:1..right?

and use a multiband-compressor to make the whole track thicker or more Punch on ur track..

Apart from that, the beats is good just more air on the track it'll
be perfect..

thumbs up!
A note about using better samples: You dont need to buy ultra expensive sample packs. You don't need to buy ANYTHING. You can create perfectly fine snares with a synthesizer and a decent sound editing program. A microphone can help greatly too as you can sample yourself banging on objects then manipulate them to add additional sonic qualities to your snares.

What you are going for is a good MIX not a blasting snare drum and fat ass sub tones.

First you need good monitors and good room accoustics. You need to KNOW THE FAULTS in your monitors so that you can compensate. No monitor is 100% perfect and all rooms have slightly different accoustics. Experience is the answer you are looking for. I've produced nearly daily for 7 years various styles of music and I still have trouble getting my mixes down. They are never really what I want either.

Do not get confused with your mixing and mastering. Leave your master channel clean of all fx. NOTHING ON IT. I do put a compressor or something on it for net released music just to bring the volume up a bit and glue it together.

All of your sounds should be fixed AT THE SOURCE before using fx to fix them.

My suggestions:
- Rework your sound design (unless you are using all samples, which imo is a NO-NO for production, unless the samples were created by you)


- Take everything off your master channel

- Pull all your mixer faders all the way down, then slowly push them up. Don't push them up too much maybe let your mix sit at around -6 db. All of your volumes should be about even except for leads, hooks, and vocals. Even is a round about term, because your bass will have to be slightly louder for it to be as audible as the higher frequencies. So you will turn your kick and bass up a little more than the rest of your instruments. Although they are turned up they should still perceivably sound about the same volume as everything else. The hi hats you can turn down slightly relative to the rest of your instruments, because high frequencies are more audible than low frequencies. So they require less power to be audible in your mix.

- Manipulate your bands, use grouping to group channels together. For example: bus your entire percussion section to one bus and use the same compressor setting for them. This will give you that glue type feeling you are looking for in your high end assuming you have already done appropriate layering and such.

- On instruments like pads or instrumends that occupy a wide range of frequency place very narrow frequency cuts on a parametric eq in key areas that other instruments need. You can accomplish this without thinning out the original sound hardly any at all, yet still bringing out your other instruments more.

ADDITIONALLY - Check for phasing problems with your low end instruments. Phasing sounds like shit.

- eusid
Y don't you try out some good home recording softwares.. i think that will work for you......

Jenny Jobs
Technical reviewer
Hey SPD,
I know this wall all too well,
There will be dozens of them to come.
I think rather than any specific info, the best this I can suggest would be sit down and mix with someone else.
Even if you have to pay money. I'd be worth asking someone else to do a mix of one of your tracks, someone you respect, with a good ear.
Or ask if you can sit in on a mixdown.
Learn what each part does.

Then finally, once the mix is 'right' It's the mastering engineers job to make it sound large :)
main thing is tho,
Don't stress, enjoy making music and you'll get better every day.

Peace Out.

I know the answer!! I was trained to mix beats by the man who mixes down Scott Storch's Beats! First you have to have a good ear for music and you can not have your instruments all panning together. Isolate the instruments to create dimension and dont over compress!! NEVER NEVER compress a bass or a BD. You have to know your EQ rules! Knowing when to cut your lows. It all depends on your ear and on what mood you want! BUT TO MAKE IT SOUND GOOD IN ALL SYSTEMS.. You must buy some Pretty good Monitors!
Good overall mixes start with good source material. If your sounds are not recorded well, it will be a fight to get them to sound good later. EQ helps.

You must mix down to very flat sounding speakers. Speakers have different frequency responses and headphones are the worst. If you mix down to speakers with no bass, your mix will have too much bass and over extend small cheap speakers creating muddy distortion. If you have the money buy some good Studio Monitors. I mix down to some KLH speakers I got for $20 each.

After you get good speakers, mix down and pay special attention to the bass. Then mix down at a moderate volume level. Speaker frequency response changes with volume. You also get more apparent compression at louder volumes so everything sounds good loud! Then listen to the mix at a level you can barely hear. This will tell you if something is too low or if something is really too loud but the high volume compression is masking it. Looking at the waveform data of the final mix will also show if something is too loud (Bass Drum hits, etc)

Use your compression wisely to get loud things under control so you can increase the apparent volume.

Then immediately play it thru some small cheap speakers (car, boombox, etc).