The BEST tips, techniques, and production secrets on the web

The BEST tips, techniques, and production secrets on the web
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Remixing - Six Tips You Won't Want to Miss

  1. Envision the finished product before you start. Make sure you have an idea, even a general one, of how the overall mood will play out in your version. You might work better with an open-ended project that could branch off into many surprising ways, but a clear vision of the desired atmosphere is the key starting point. Was the original slow, somber and moody? Think about how you can put your own unique twist on that. Perhaps you want to completely change the mood. Speed up the tempo, throw in some energizing synths, unique percussion, polyrhythms, etc. Dominate the vibes. With attention to the bigger picture, your remix will take a shape of its own and each section will seamlessly blend into the next, leaving you with a cohesive final product.

  1. Screw the original version. That’s right, forget all about it. By disassociating with the sound of the original song you let your creativity take control and steer the direction rather than subconsciously mimicking the aspects of the original. Though on the surface it may seem to be important to have an understanding of what you might want to make different, the truth is that getting that “different” sound you are looking for means letting the vibes do the work. You are continuously in the process of perfecting your signature sound, whether you are aware of it or not. Let that subconscious instinct be the drive for your remix, not the desire to be different.

  1. Use phase cancellation to isolate vocals. If you can track down a good quality instrumental version of the song you are remixing, you can use it to extract the vocals from the original song by inverting the phase on the instrumental track. (If you are not sure how to do this, please read my article that explains this process in detail: “How to Extract Vocal Samples Using Phase Cancellation”).

  1. Make room for your own drums. If you are using a WAV or mp3 of the full original song rather than separate stems (i.e. isolated vocal tracks, drums, bass, synths, etc.) sidechain the original song’s audio track to your kick bus. You can even route both your kick and snare to the same bus if you should so choose, so as to allow your drums to replace the original beat. You may run into some issues depending on the complexity of either your drums or the ones from the original song so use your ears and if what you are doing isn’t working, don’t do it. It isn’t fool proof, but it can make life a heck of a lot easier when done right. At more complex breaks where you want the instruments to shine through over your sick drum fill, simply bypass the compressor you are using to sidechain.

  1. Slice up the original. Clip the beginnings of each beat on the original WAV or mp3 to make room for your own drums. This works effectively in conjunction with the aforementioned sidechaining method. It isn’t easy working with a single block of audio, and to make your touch really stand out you need to “take over” the song. The best place to start is by implementing your own drum samples. By splitting the original song on all of the main downbeats and clipping off a few milliseconds immediately following, you will allow your drum samples to snap through the mix, as if they were the original drums. It is an illusion but an effective one!

  1. Change the chord structure. Pay attention to the melody line of the vocals and think of ways in which you can tear out the “foundation” of chords underneath and replace them with ones of your own. Familiarize yourself with the circle of fifths and as much music theory as you possibly can. This will allow you to have a better understanding of what is going on in the original, and what will work (and won’t) in your remix. Most importantly, use your ears! If a minor chord sounds boring, make it a minor 7th and see if that fares you any better. Most likely it will. Keep things fresh, interesting and unpredictable.

1 comment:

  1. Mhh. yes. Some great tips. Looking foward to use some of them.
    But meanwhile lets enjoy some good dubstep music J:Kenzo my favorite. From Kent, Britain(UK).