I rarely ever run all my tracks under the same compressor. It can really kill a lot of the "crisper" sounds. But I do use compression on singular instrument tracks, or combined tracks.
Two good things to run through compression though are bass/kick drum tracks, and bass tracks. Depending on the frequency, attack, and other elements of whatever sound you're using, you might have to really work with compression to get it to where the kicks and the bass are throbbing hard and loudly, but without wasting precious decibels that you'll want in the final mix. You can also apply a limiter so that the volume does not peak over a certain volume. But in the end it's worth it, because you will have saved decibels and without the penalty of distortion or clipping. But it CAN make things sound muddy
Another good thing to do is run an EQ on every track. Every track. Rarely do you find a sound that is 100% perfectly ready for your mix. Even the same sound used in two different songs should have a slight change in the EQ that is applied. Remember, bass and kick drums always push the lower end of the spectrum, hi-hats and cymbals push the higher end.
Aside from running EQ on every track, it's also good to turn down the low-frequencies of almost every sound just a little. Even the bass and kick tracks. Believe it or, it doesn't make tunes sound bassless, because doing it for every sound means that in the end, the bassiest notes and sounds will still be the bassiest notes and sounds, but the tune won't be as drowned and muffled by low bass and sub-bass tones that aren't even all that important. Unless you're making a sub-bass heavy song as in drum and bass music, hip-hop, dubstep, and others. But even then it's best to turn down the lower frequencies on all tracks, and just make a brand new instrument track specifically dedicated to lower-bass and sub-bass frequencies. The reason I say this is good to do is because low frequencies are harder for the human ear to hear, but still carry signals. When all the instruments pile up in mixing, it's not uncommon for the low bass tones to have racked up from each instrument, causing unnecessary spikes in the low end.
It's also a good idea to turn down the extreme highest frequencies of hi-hats and cymbals by just a notch. It's also to easy to turn up the volume a bit too high on these. But a really sizzling hi-hat isn't fun to listen to, especially if it's part of the clipping. In my initial mixes of songs, I usually always find that I have these hitting the peak limit at some mark. When I go back and listen to really old tunes of mine, I find it atrocious just how loud I have hi-hats and cymbals sometimes. I guess it's something you have to learn over time, but yeah.
Anyway, as for this song specifically.
It's suffering a lot from two things I just talked about and a few other things. When the song begins, I don't even hear that many low frequencies. Some mid range, but not too much low. However, the low-frequency end of the oscilloscope is what's spiking. I think the instruments need to be ran through EQ or compressed or something, and some of this low-frequency killed, because these alone barely leave any room for the bass and kick drum to come in without distorting.
When the kick does drop, it's distorting because of two things. One, the low ends are already pushing pretty high, and two, it's just too loud. It needs to be turned down some. A lot even, in my opinion. Even a lot of modern commercial tracks have a little clipping or distortion, but this is too much. It's audible and noticable. The kick is important in a techno track as it's the pulse that keeps everything glued. So of course you want to make sure it stands out. Just be careful not to over do it.
And then there's the hihats on the other end. They're hissing. These should be brought down some notches too. Especially when you bring the kick down. Because the kick as it is is still dominant over the hihats, but if you turn down the kick, the hihats are going to sizzzzzzzzzzzzzle.
Basically, the frequencies on the low end should be lowered, the kick should be turned down, and the hihat should be turned down.
These are in no way rules that are written in stone. But they're things I've learned to do when making mp3 recordings. They work for me, and even if my tunes aren't composed very well, mix and balance wise they're usually pretty good. Again, in my opinion.
Last edited by mittens
on Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A.K.A ~ GoophBaLL / PsQueak