Advanced Production Techniques – Remix Assignment

Link to Remix – Remix of Craggz & Parallel – Future Shock

For my assigned track remix I decided to pick the genre which is most understood, well known and greatly appreciated by myself. I decided to do a tech house remix which is very melodic and slightly minimalistic. We have learnt a variety of different production techniques to create my remix which I will cover the overview of and also explain how I have used these techniques during my production.  I have decided to use a 4:4 beating since the genre it is most fitting for the genre I chose, I also quantised my sounds to a 1/16 note.

Remix

The drums have a very important role in my genre, best being a mixture of organic and synthetic sounds with a tempo between 122 – 129 bpm, I decided to use 124 bpm. In piano roll window I set the swing to 55 since it is common to be between 50-60%, also setting the value of velocity to 100. Since a single kick drum did not have the power to be clearly heard over the other channels, I decided to use three 808 sample based kicks which I loaded into Ultrabeat and also two synth generated kicks by using the electronic drum kit in logic library. My percussions consist of four different channels, one of which being the snare which I used the Boutique 808 GB electronic drum kit inside logic. I also used the same drum kit to get a simple high hat in combination with a soft shaker for a slight variety; I set each note with a different velocity so that each time the high hat strikes it will have a different amount of power, intensity and brings out a more slinky and loose groove. The high hats also reinforce the kick drums. In the electronic drum kit library I decided to make a channel using the Indie disco kit for a cymbal which I wanted to include in my track. The third channel I used for my percussions I decided to use an Ultrabeat drum synth with the step sequencer that is built inside of it with a 66% swing this time. Ultrabeat was very helpful since you can control a variety of different aspects of the sounds which the synth outputs, similar to the EXS24 synthesizer.

Ultrabeat1

Being able to control and manipulate each of the 25 voices in this synth allows you to be even more precise when trying to program a specific sound that you are looking for. For example of some sounds or samples like my kick drums, I made sure that there was no attack set on them and also most importantly I have to bring back the decay to about 45-50 ms since a lot of high frequencies came through towards the end of the sample. Alongside you also have a variety of different filters and options like the cut-off filter which I also used to only bring through a certain range of frequencies. Ultrabeat also came in very handy when importing my different sampled kick drum for editing and then finally using the step sequencer to write out the pattern which I could then simply grad and drop into my arrangement. I used this technique for all of my separate drums since it is a very straight forward method and is displayed very nicely and efficiently. You also get the option to change the velocity of notes in the step sequencer, adding an accent to the first kick for example. There are up to 32 steps for each pattern which range from an eighth note to a 32nd note, also being able to adjust the velocity/gate of each row. Ultrabeat has a variety of different drum kits but which you can load a single sample into if you do not think that a specific one is needed or right for your mix.

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I also used automation throughout my mix with allowed me to fine tune each different aspect singularly throughout my mix with panning, volume, EQ and effect parameters, which can be very useful when needing to bring up the dB of a channel during a certain section of the mix. I find it very important that in future I spend a lot of time concentrating on a perfect automation sequence throughout my track so that I can add more dynamics and interesting variety to my songs, which gradually influence the overall song. I preferred the volume automation a lot more than the fade tool since I felt like I have a more precise control over the amount of dB that was coming from a certain channel. Automation I used a midi keyboard which has assignable parameter controls that are controlled over faders and rational knobs.

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I used the Arpeggiator on a plucked synthesizer which I set to a 1/16 rate with notes that go up and down, with the variation set to 1 and the octave range set to 1. I set the note length to 30% with 0% randomness and a velocity of 50%. This allowed me to simply create an arpeggiated arrangement or pattern, which is a MIDI effect that I can use with my software instruments in logic pro x. Another great MIDI plug-in is the chord-trigger, which allows the user to play entire chords by just pressing / playing a single note, which is really helpful when freeing you up for obvious reasons.

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Flex time was also a great technique which I used to help me edit the timing of my audio samples, by selecting the algorithm. I used Monophonic flex time on all 5 different bass line channels that I got from the original tracks stems, I also used monophonic flex time for the vocals changing the bpm from 172 to 124 so that it would fit into my remix. I also decided to use who sample based loops from the logic library to add a little more volume to my track, they were the shakers and conga which were not at 124bpm, so I decided to flex time those two as well. For the shakers I used a rhythmic algorithm and for the conga I used monophonic flex. This technique is great because once choosing an algorithm the content of the track is analysed for certain peaks or the transients in the wave forms, which are then shown inside of the audio regions. By moving a flex market on the audio track, the audio is time compressed or expanded. I did not use the flex pitch technique but it would come in very handy in future projects to allow myself to quantize and edit the pitch of the material I am working with. This process detected the pitch of the audio track and is visualized by a plotted marking on the pitch curve, which can be corrected so that it fits in key with the different elements in a track.
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Flex markers grants you change the timing of an audio sample and are created manually but can also automatically be set during quantization. Creating multiple flex markers in an audio file allows you to change an entire or partial area of a sample. When altering or moving the positions of set flex markers the audio material will become time-stretched, moving it to the left will compress the file and to the right will expand the time. This is great for manual and precise editing of audio material which does not suite the time scale, pitch or other in your track. The different modes benefit different aspects when trying to flex time audio material, monophonic is used for single notes such as a vocal or bassline, polyphonic is for files that have multiple notes at different pitches, such as a piano playing chords, and rhythmic for percussion elements for example from a drum kit.

Logic has 64 permanent busses which are available at all times do not need to individually be created; this is located in an insert slot of an aux channel strip. A great way of using this feature is to send a controlled amount of signal to a separate channel to the effect, which is very effective when wanting to apply an effect onto several audio signals at the same time. Each signal coming from each channel can individually be sent to an aux channel strip by using a bus; the amount of signal which is sent can be set by a send knob, which is located on each channel strip. Once this is completed the audio is then processed by the effect which is applied to the aux channel strip and is then mixed into the stereo output.  This technique saves you a lot of processing power which also saves you time in comparison to inserting each effect on each channel strip. Once you have selected a bus which you would like to send a signal to, logic automatically creates the aux channel which the signal output automatically uses. So in conclusion buses are generally used to sub-group multiple channels into one output channel. On the other hand normally if a reverb or such would need to be patched in, then this signal would be sent to an aux send which would be received back on an aux return. There is nothing wrong with not using a traditional method as long as the mix sounds how the creator wants it to.

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I have started to use loop layering in this remix that I am working on which was for the kick drum since it did not have near enough power, to not be lost over the over several layers of synths that make up the track. I ended up uses five different kick drums, three of which being sample based. I also enjoy layering synth or other instruments like a violin for example, in this track I have two channels with a violin sound when combined together makes a much fuller and richer sound for the melodic layering which I am aiming for.

Channel equalizers are highly adaptable and accomplished multiband EQ that have eight frequency bands. The integrated Fast Fourier Transform allows you to visually see the frequency curve of the audio, and the entire frequency spectrum as a visual representation. Equalisation is used to shape the tone and sounds of each track or audio files so that it fits into the overall mix, the visual representation and graphic controls make the task a lot simpler and straight forward when working in real time. When looking at the graphic display you can see which certain parts of the frequency spectrum are louder than others and which ones peak at certain points, or stay at a low volume level throughout the mix. It was very important for me to reduce unwanted frequencies that would have a noticeable clash throughout my mix, or making the quite ones louder so that they are more dominant throughout the mix. The bands 2-7 I used to affect certain frequencies in my mix, either making them more pronounced or more in the background of my mix, maybe even getting rid of noise of hum completely. It is also important to know about the phenomenon called acoustic resonance, which is when a sound which has the same frequency of another of its own natural frequency. This process amplifies these frequencies and is where the EQ can be very helpful to get rid of those clashing frequencies. The spectrum analyser in the channel EQ makes everything a lot simpler since there is a visual display that shows the frequencies with the amount of each signal of frequency which is output, and is displayed on a scale from 20 – 20k Hz. Each channel with audio has its own EQ which I have set depending on the different instruments frequencies in my mix; I used surgical EQ which is filtering out problem frequencies with a very narrow EQ band so that only the problem frequencies are affected. I first made sure that I have my corrective EQ finished before I would move on to any creative EQ, I also went back to fix certain frequencies that would clash when adding a new channel of audio.\

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A great technique which is used is mid / side EQ which allowed me to create a really full, rich and wider sounding mix which instantly makes the mix sound more interesting. After duplicating the channel I wanted to use this technique on, I went into utilities and put gain on both. I then selected mono and selected phase invest right and left on either one, finally I sent both channels to a single aux channel, this technique also worked great on both of my violin channels.

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One thought on “Advanced Production Techniques – Remix Assignment

  1. Well done Jamie your remix was really well done and executed, clearly implementing all the techniques learnt in class. The arrangement was very genre appropriate and your written report covered current chosen trends you applied in your remix covering tasks 1 & 2 (GC 1.1-3.1). excelent work

    Like

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