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Mixing synths and transitional sounds

From: Remixing a Song in Logic Pro

Video: Mixing synths and transitional sounds

Now that the drums and bass are in good shape it's time to start adding in the synths and the transitional sounds. Now you'll notice from the last movie I actually did unmute the transitional sounds. But we'll actually zoom in on them in different sections of the remix where all of them are playing. Let's begin with the foundational synth parts and make sure that those are sitting nicely in the mix. So what I consider to be the foundational synth parts are the Pad, Dark Pad 03 as well as the Basic Velo Patch. And what I've done with the Basic Velo Patch is added reverb as well as an EQ.

Mixing synths and transitional sounds

Now that the drums and bass are in good shape it's time to start adding in the synths and the transitional sounds. Now you'll notice from the last movie I actually did unmute the transitional sounds. But we'll actually zoom in on them in different sections of the remix where all of them are playing. Let's begin with the foundational synth parts and make sure that those are sitting nicely in the mix. So what I consider to be the foundational synth parts are the Pad, Dark Pad 03 as well as the Basic Velo Patch. And what I've done with the Basic Velo Patch is added reverb as well as an EQ.

So if I click on Bus 3, we see I added in AVerb right here under the Reverb menu, pulled down AVerb, and I actually just went for a Logic preset, the default is what I used and I brought the return down so that there was not too much of a wash on the reverb. I will solo that out so you can take a listen. (Music playing) You'll notice that I had Bus 4 set up and then I took it off. The reason I did that is because I felt that adding in delay made the track messy.

There were one, too many rhythms with the delays, echoing, and bouncing around within the drum and bass track. But just for the purposes of letting you A-B, what it sounds like with delay and without, I'll Option+click and turn it back on. (Music playing) So you can hear the echo, and that definitely adds another rhythmic element to the part but it wasn't quite the right rhythmic element for the mix. So I Option+click and turn it off.

Now I'll unmute the Basic Velo track and we'll go ahead and listen to the Dark Pad and the Basic Velo along with the bass and drums. (Music playing) In addition to the Side Chain Compressor on the Dark Pad 03 track, I went ahead and added EQ.

I rolled off 150 Hertz on down because generally with textural synths, or like synth pads, most keyboard sounds actually, I like to roll off around 150 Hertz on down with a high-pass filter because that gives the bass more room to live. And I pop the high end a little bit with 6.5 dB at 5200 Hertz or 5.2K. I'll close this, I added reverb and some delay, and because the part is a held-stained part, the delays really don't factor in, in terms of getting in the way of the other elements.

It just adds a little bit of a dimension to the part. So we can take a listen to this part soloed out. (Music playing) It's not a drastic difference between listening to it dry and with effects, but it's just enough to add a little bit of sheen and give the sound a slightly different timbre. So again, let's take a quick listen to these two elements in with the rest of the drums and bass and transitional sounds.

(Music playing) So now I'll bring in the Grand Piano and the low saw wave synth that we call Dance Basic from the EXS24, and let's take listen to the track bringing these two elements in. (Music playing) As I go to the Grand Piano track, you'll notice I added reverb and we can take a listen to the reverb on the Grand Piano track.

(Music playing) And here it is without any reverb. (Music playing) It's much more of a two- dimensional sound without reverb. So I add the reverb, it gives us a nice front-to-back a three-dimensional sound. (Music playing) Little bit of the decay there on the reverb, and then let's take a listen to the Dance Basic track which I also added an EQ after the compressor which is side chain by the kick drum. And I rolled off at 86 Hertz here as opposed to 150 because I'm actually looking to have this sound support the bass just a little bit.

It's not meant to be a bass layer per se, it's just a low synth part that happens to have enough low-end that when you layer it in with the two bass parts, it adds a little bit more meat in that frequency range. So let's take a listen. (Music playing) And we'll put everything back in. (Music playing) Now we'll add the last of our keyboard parts.

We have our Trance Travel Synth, we have our Electro Emotion Synth, and these are our two Apple Loops. We'll add these two in first before we add the high-end keyboard parts. (Music playing) So you'll notice with the Travel Synth, I added a plug-in from the Pedalboard and all we need to do to access the Pedalboard is to click and pull down the menu to Amps and Pedals and there is the Pedalboard plug-in.

I double-click and here's a PHAZE plug-in that I put on the Pedalboard. Basically simulates a stomp box, a guitar stomp box phase pedal. And all you need to do to bring a pedal onto the Pedalboard is double-click it. If you leave the cursor on the Pedalboard for a few seconds, a description of what the pedal is pops up. All we need to do to remove a pedal from the Pedalboard is to highlight it and delete it. So here's the Travel Synth soloed and we'll listen to it first with the Phaser off, and I just simply press the silver button here and I will pop the Phaser in and out as we listen through the chord cycle.

(Music playing) So now you have an idea of what it sounds like what the Phaser on and off. Let's explore a couple of the parameters within the Phase Pedal and I'll push them around to an extreme setting so you really can hear what's going on. The Sweep has to do with how drastic the actual whew of the Phaser sound is.

(Music playing) You'll notice as I selected the rate, it was giving me Half Note, Quarter Note with a Dot, Half Note Triplet, Quarter Note.

Because I've chosen the Phaser to be in sync with the BPM of the song, it allows me to choose different note values. I've restored the settings pretty close to where they were before I took you through sort of the Phase Pedal. So let's go ahead and close this out and I actually added a little bit of compression because the Phaser sweeps and there are peaks and valleys in the sound, it's a little bit dynamic and I wanted to make sure that the compressor grabs some of those peaks. (Music playing) You can see the compressor working a little bit.

It's not just a steady grab, it's pulsing a little bit and parts of it are half a dB all the way up to three dB of compression. So let's unsolo this and take a listen to the other Apple Loop which is the Electro Emotion Synth. All I did here is simply add an EQ boost, really just a gain. I like to put these EQ plug-ins on in the event that I want to do an EQ cut or a boost. I also have a Master Gain if I'd like something to be boosted 2 or 3 dB. You're certainly welcome to boost your volumes over here with the Master Fader.

I just happen to do it over here with this Master Gain, and I've slightly panned these off to the left and right. So the Trance Travel Synth is at about 10 o'clock and the Electro Emotion Synth is at maybe 1 o'clock. Let's move on to listen to the last two keyboard sounds and the Analog Bass from the ES2 which is being played in a higher register as well as the Solina Strings sound which is really our lead line hook. (Music playing) With both of these sounds, all I did is add reverb and delay, Bus 3 and 4, just to give them a little more space and dimension much like with the other sounds that I've added reverb and delay to.

I added a little bit of gain with Solina part, boosted it a few dB, and with the Analog Bass sound, I actually rolled off at 220 Hertz so that it really has a smaller sound to it. Let's solo it out and take a listen. (Music playing) You can hear as I was disengaging and engaging the high-pass filter on those low notes, it really makes a difference.

I wanted this sound to be a little bit smaller so that it wouldn't step on the other elements of the mix. Let's take a moment to explore the transitional sounds, I'll move to the Measure 32 area where several sounds are coming in at the same time. At Measure 33, this is where all of instrumentation comes in, in full force. So several transitional sounds are happening here leading up to the downbeat of Measure 33 and we'll just take a listen to those. (Music playing) And you can hear as I stop the playback that there is some delay that's continuing to carry on with this sound, TransitionFX1.

Remember, I applied the Tape Delay setting several movies ago, and we have a 51% feedback, but it's a high -pass filtered feedback. So it carries on for a while, it just adds a little bit of a white noise type sound underneath the whole mix, something that's not very audible but if I were to mute it, you would notice that something was missing from the main mix. This should give you a good overview of how to blend your synth sounds after you've already set up your drums and bass, and think about reverbs and delays, EQs and compression. Panning as well, left to right, front to back as far as adding effects, adding depth.

It's very easy to go a little crazy with delays and reverb so you may find yourself washing your mix out at first but then having to scale things back, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with putting up the volume knob a little bit high at first to make sure that something is poking out the way you want it to poke out. But remember, all of the decisions that I've made during the mixing process up until this point are made in support of the vocal. So as we move into the next movie, which is mixing vocals, we'll see how all of these elements tie together.

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This video is part of

Image for Remixing a Song in Logic Pro
Remixing a Song in Logic Pro

35 video lessons · 6644 viewers

Josh Harris
Author

 
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  1. 16m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using Logic Pro as a remixing environment
      4m 45s
    3. Optimizing Logic's performance and monitoring system usage
      4m 29s
    4. Working with software synths
      3m 15s
    5. Using the exercise files
      58s
    6. Relinking audio files
      1m 39s
  2. 22m 51s
    1. Setting up your session
      2m 34s
    2. Determining and verifying source BPM
      1m 30s
    3. Lining up vocals over a kick drum
      5m 36s
    4. Choosing destination BPM and time-stretching in Flex mode
      4m 30s
    5. Exporting time-stretched vocals and importing into a session
      4m 23s
    6. Thinking about your direction
      4m 18s
  3. 22m 50s
    1. Using Apple Loops
      6m 8s
    2. Auditioning drum loops
      5m 46s
    3. Layering drum loops
      4m 45s
    4. Drum loops and drum programming
      6m 11s
  4. 19m 56s
    1. Chord changes and harmonic structure
      4m 18s
    2. Getting bass sounds and programming bass lines
      8m 50s
    3. Layering bass sounds and side chaining
      6m 48s
  5. 34m 20s
    1. Choosing foundational synth parts and sounds
      11m 46s
    2. Layering synth parts
      10m 21s
    3. Lead line hooks
      5m 37s
    4. Synth candy
      6m 36s
  6. 12m 19s
    1. The importance of arranging
      2m 26s
    2. Arranging your track
      9m 53s
  7. 23m 3s
    1. Creating vocal samples and transitional sounds
      11m 57s
    2. Advanced vocal editing techniques
      5m 44s
    3. Filling holes in the arrangement
      5m 22s
  8. 47m 30s
    1. Mixing philosophies
      6m 30s
    2. Mixing drums and bass
      5m 40s
    3. Mixing synths and transitional sounds
      12m 14s
    4. Mixing vocals
      10m 36s
    5. Final touches, referencing, and mastering your final mix
      5m 17s
    6. Listening to the final mix
      7m 13s
  9. 47s
    1. Final thoughts
      47s

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