Okay guys, here are a few generic tips to get your music sound tight.
I’m not gonna go through everything in this post – I feel it would be better to split shit in different parts and I just can’t recall or come up with every single production-related tip at this particular time. Moreover, some important things have already been covered in this blog, e.g. frequency ranges or song structures.
Listen and learn from your favorite artists. Don’t try to rip or mimic their sound but try to find the core qualities, like what makes that particular sound so great in your ears? Ask yourself, how is it made?
A family of sounds
Take time to sculpt and program your sounds. I myself am into flexible sounds that I’m able to pitch, move, wobble and modulate in several ways.
Try to make a couple of different basses with similar essence (like a family of sounds) and have them play along and shit. Try to find out what fits and have the song context decide what kind of sounds you should extract.
Keep it simple
I’m a minimalist, well mostly. I try to get out as much as possible of every sound, not layering too much. And in my compositions, I usually jam on a keyboard, quantize and remove unnecessary notes.
Introduce motifs and have them coming in and out with different variations in your song structure. Try, perhaps, to play the riff with different sounds on different parts of the song.
My arrangements are relatively sparse. But that’s just me – a lot of great music works in an opposite direction, resulting in a wall of sound.
Check yo width
Place different sounds on the whole stereo image. E.g. a call and response bassline could have the call pumping with great width and the response somewhat narrower. Or have the low frequencies narrow and plug the higher with some kind of stereo effect. Pan certain sounds hard and let other roam in the middle. I’d say that a finished mix should wrap the whole width of the spectrum.
Try to use the whole frequency range of your mix, or at least most of it. Don’t cloud one frequency with too many sounds at the same time. Do spread across the frequency range.
Contrast for affect
Don’t saturate all your master buses; contrast a saturated bass with a cleaner pad or something. Actually, you accent the distortion by contrasting with cleaner sounds around.
Also contrast close and distant sounds with different levels of reverbs.
For further studies, see YouTube or Vimeo. For example, Future Music Magazine got a lot of great video content, but unfortunately most amateurishly recorded. Still, it’s truly awesome for nerds to be able so see masters at work in the studio.
Also Michael Cole and SoundWorks Collection make great video segments about the sound and music of feature films and video games.