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1st post, Electronic music and wave forms

Hello all, this is my first post!

I took some time to read about what to post and not post. I also spent 2 hours browsing my searches and didn't find yet what I need. So here goes...

Who am I?

I'm an independent label owner, producer and self-trained studio engineer. We release digital, vinyl and CD releases and I do the pre-mastering and mix downs, since we're pretty poor. Our music can be described as experimental to non-generic techno.

I'm also french so this explains why my English might suck too! :lol: :oops:

Anyway, so 2 questions:

In our scene, the sound is more than often pretty compressed and we see a lot of use of limiters on the end mix. That aesthetic is still lively and loud but it provides a wave form that look like a black square. I know this is not that good for the purists...

I've been really impressed with the mastering of people like Beck. His sound is still very loud and clear, as loud as ours and this, without providing a "black square" image.

I'm so intrigued to know why!
My guess is EQin' and proper gear... but i'm lost there (and there's the reason why I came here to learn more in general)

Last question:

I'm a big fan of warm, analog sound and I've been interested in passing my mixdowns in some compressor (like a Manley, or maybe there's better). Do I need to record the output of the compressor to an anolog device to keep the same warm feel?

I hope I did ok for my first post. Thanks for your patience and cooperation!


Michael Fossenkemper Thu, 06/21/2007 - 06:42

Welcome to the forum,
recording and mixing style is how they achieve that sound. Usually that style goes hand in hand with the gear used and the medium to which it was recorded and mixed to. The end result is a very analog looking wave and sound, even though no one probably looked at the waveform. It starts from the beginning of the process. You kind of have to know the sound you want to record and then have the tools to record it that way. It's really ear training, knowing the tone, and then achieving the tone. The ME then retains or enhances that tone. Listen to it, don't look at it. Listen to each element and let it sink in. Some people listen to something and in their mind, see a shape or a color or light and dark. Listen to where it sits in the stereo spectrum, does it sit high, low, etc... Once you train your ear to hear it a certain way, then you'll have a much easier time knowing when you get there. Knowing your tools and what they can and can't achieve helps a lot too. But ear training is the key to shaping the sound.

anonymous Thu, 06/21/2007 - 10:20

Thanks for the reply! It really makes sense to me. It's basically what everyone has been telling me: trust your ears. People say I do a really good job on the pre-mastering but since I've been self taught, I thought I was not doing it right.

I'm sure I will learn a lot here. I really like this approach of images and colors - philosophical work is something of value to me.