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Mixing & Mastering in Logic Pro X | EDM

August 04, 2017

Mixing & Mastering in Logic Pro X | EDM


In this tutorial, JT will show you how to treat your kicks, use channel strips to jumpstart your mixing, sidechain everything and mix your melodic elements to create those edgy, ultra loud EDM mixes.

In a nutshell

  1. Kicks: Tune them. Boost on root key. Dip in low mids.
  2. Channel Strips: Logic Pro X can really accelerate your learning and the quality of your mixing. Load them up and retro-engineer.
  3. Sidechain compression: contrary to old mixing adages, there's never enough. Go from subtle on percussion elements to incredibly aggressive on basses and leads.
  4. Melodic elements: Subtle delays and reverbs before the side chain will work wonders.

 
I know, I know.

 

Why did we have to learn to mix and master a pop rock song before doing the fun stuff?!

 

Well I had to Myagi your asses first, in order for y'all to truly master the fundamentals (one does not simply start dunking, you got to learn to lay it up first).

Here's the kicker

Working with a tuned kick is at least half the battle. So pitch shift this bad boy using a sampler or your trusted Ableton pitch shifting tool (where were you all my life?!) before doing any EQing.

Next you will want to find the musical / fundamental frequency of your root note. That will give a nice roundness in the exact place you need it. I won't usually low cut anything on my kicks, as I'll be doing this on the bass rather.

Finally, a nice little trick I've come to love is to create a medium dip anywhere between 150 Hz and 300Hz. It makes the kick sound less boxy and creates nice room for the bass.

Logic Pro X channel strips

Make sure you install Logic's additional content. I repeat: to make the most out of your trusted DAW, install additional content (look out for the electronic Jam Pack as well as the Alchemy presets). Besides being a pretty cool DAW, Logic's true power lies in its additional content, which will bring a wealth of presets to jumpstart your learning of any genre (trap, EDM and the like).

Sidechaining FTW

It could be argued that sidechain compression is more production than mixing, as it gives more of an effect. But because sidechaining sh*t will create incredible room for other elements, you really want to fine tune it during the mix down process. With that being said, I will give you 2 pieces of advice I learned from the master David Guetta: side chain EVERY EFFIN' THING. Second: put your sidechaining compressor AFTER all other effects. Thank me later.

The Meat

Once you have a strong backbone (drums and bass), it's time to put some meat around it. First things first: high pass  / low cuts are your best friends. Honestly, I would literally load one of these on each of the tracks with chords and melodies. This is drum and bass land. No intruders are allowed. EQ with separation in mind: high frequencies to add air to leads, mids for chords and pads, etc. Then, create space and dimension using chorus, flangers, delays and reverbs. Always a good idea to use no more than 3 reverbs. Actually, these days, my reverb addiction is controlled by my trusted Valhalla Vintage Verb. I slap one on each element, use the same tail length and simply dial in the right amount. Boom.

That Grit Tho

Often overlooked by beginners because of their subtle altering quality (unless you go full on Justice in their early days), saturation and distortion can literally make THE difference between a pro-grade mix and a dull newbie one. As NTGHMRE once stated in a masterclass: "I put a saturator on every track". The trick is to use it sparingly on every chord and melodic track, so when the distorted harmonics pile up, it actually still sounds musical but very in your face at the same time. Another good trick is to keep frequency separation in mind when entering the distortion party.

The Cherry On Top

As Skrillex once said, his tracks sound the way they do because of the way he mixes. It has nothing to do with some famed mastering engineer's voodoo. This will sound sacrilegious to some, but if your mix is right, sometimes all you need is to limit the sh*t out of your mix. No compression mastery. Maybe a bit of smiley face EQ. Maybe a bit of stereo enhancing (which I have come to hate in recent years).

That's all folks (well it actually was a lot, my bad).


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