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APZX - Amalgamize
This one was difficult because of the huge number of synths; but I've tried not to use too many fx on them. Most of the tracks have only EQ and nothing more.

I hope you like the result!

.mp3    APZX - Amalgamize.mp3 --  (Download: 9.9 MB)

mixing since April 2013
hello spain...which city?

this sounds like a difficult mix. many sounds, many frequencies! i think you did rather well to EQ all of this...great clarity and separation.

i think you were wise not to use FX...the synths were doing rather well on their own Smile But how about reverb to help create some depth and placement?

i found the high end quite bright and fatiguing, so perhaps have a look at which synths you want to have a presense in the mix, and which you can afford to roll back. when "mastering" the high end doesn't get even brighter with reduced dynamics which can easily happen too. i use a multi band compressor almost out of habit with synths because they have such wide spectral content which lends itself well to multi band compression....perfect too for taming the high end, incidentally. dynamic EQ is perfect for synth taming Smile

did you think about which elements were providing the rhythm and which were more melodic?

if you are going to have another look at this, i'd be interested to hear how v2.0 sounds.


by the way....if you haven't used spectral graphics to help assess or flag up issues, have a go, they can offer additional support...there's some quite decent freebies on the web. hasta..
Beware...........Cognitive Dissonance!
Hi, Dave! thank you for this very useful information. You've given me things to pay attention to when mixing synths. I confess that I've been reading and learning a lot about drums, guitars, bass and vocals ever since I started mixing a year ago, but not much about synths and I always had the impression that there was something missing there when they were present in a mix.

Yes, I still keep this project so I'm going to apply some changes in the next few days. Lately I'm kind of busy and I don't have too much time for mixing. But don't worry, I'll PM you when it's ready. I'm interested in knowing your opinion.

I live in Seville, in the south of Spain. Have you ever been here? do you speak Spanish?

... and again, gracias!
mixing since April 2013
Dave, I've been working again on my mix and trying to apply what you suggested. I hope that I'm now on the right way!! thanks again!!

.mp3    APZX - Amalgamize V2.mp3 --  (Download: 9.9 MB)

mixing since April 2013
Very good advice from Dave on this one. Great EQ work balancing all of those synths, but I still think V2 is too dry. The thing to be careful with on this one is to resist the temptation to bus everything together and apply the same reverb/delay to all of the parts. Go for higher predelay settings on things you want further toward the front of the mix, and shorter reverb tails. Tempo synched delays are probably your best best for most of the lead parts though, since many of them have a fair bit of reverberation inherent to their sound design.

I'd suggest applying parallel distortion to several of lead lines on a track like this because many of the synths are only operating on one oscillator, which sounds kinda thin to me, especially in the mids. Distortion will add compressed harmonic content to these lines to thicken them up, which might give you more leeway on rolling off the highs without killing all of the harmonics, which would make it very hard to retain the nice clarity and separation. The nice thing about applying distortion in parallel is that you can very precisely target where you'd like the distortion to beef up the harmonics, and you can also adjust the wetness/dryness with much more precision.
I'm grateful for comments and suggestions. Thank you for listening!
Hi, Pauli. I've been wanting to get better sounding synths because when I hear other mixes, I hear them 'big' and mine are just another instrument in the track. Maybe what you pointed out can help me get that big sound I was looking for. THANK YOU!!!!
mixing since April 2013
No problem! I used distortion in parallel all the time on synths of this kind that have so few harmonics. You'll find that the extra harmonics give you a whole lot more power in shaping the sound with EQ if you're going for more edge, more warmth, more welly, more anything. Just send the combined signal to a stereo bus and EQ it to taste!

Modulation effects like choruses, flangers, and phasers are also good tools for getting synths to sound wider, because they alter the harmonics in a pattern. Stereo widening tricks pay the bills, too... try duplicating a synth track you want to sound bigger, and insert graphic equalizers on each. Boost every other band all the way and cut the remaining bands all the way on the first one, and use the exact opposite settings on the duplicate track, and pan them about 20% in opposition. Since either track is going to have a significantly different sonic character, and contrast is the key to wideness, this has the effect of making the synth sound muuuuch bigger than it is... and added bonus is that since the EQ settings are opposite, when collapsed to mono the effects effectively cancel eachother out, so although you lose the wideness, the tone and volume don't appreciably change, so your balance will remain untouched. I used this trick on my mix of human mistakes (the lead synth line during the choruses) if you want to hear what this might sound like. It only works for synths in my opinion, though... for more natural instruments or vocals you're better off using a pitch shifting based technique. Hope that's useful!
I'm grateful for comments and suggestions. Thank you for listening!