7 Tips How To Add More Clarity & Loudness To Your Mix

In Audio Advice by MusicGearo

Do you ever wonder why other tracks have so much clarity and loudness? The secret would be to stick to the right techniques, learn them, and improve over time. But remember, often less is more, and you don’t need to force that, understand the fundamentals, start using them, and you are good to go. Here is the list of 7 tips that would help you get a more precise and loud mix.

1. Place Your Sounds Properly

First, You want to make sure that sounds are actually on the grid; otherwise, it wouldn’t be as much quality as it should be. This is also the sign of quality, and if your sounds, samples, effects, whatever are “off the grid,” it’s a real shortcoming. To do that, make sure that you have your Plugin Delay Compensation (PDC) in your DAW is correctly set up. Most of the DAWs have Automatic PDC, so you don’t need to worry about it, like Ableton.

However, for instance, in FL Studio (at least in the older versions, you have to make some manual tweaks to make it work properly.). However, just keep that in mind if you prefer older DAW versions. Second, by placing sounds correctly, you can make your sounds to be heard better. Not everything should be placed precisely on the timeline, but the main elements should be.

To be more specific, if you want to add that little swing or groove character to your shakers or tambourines, you would slightly shift them to hear them differently. Also, adding more wide stereo imaging on these sounds would optically change the placement that would result in a sweet and distinctive character.

2. Make The Main Sounds To Be Mono In The Sub Frequencies

Mono is adding clarity to your sound. Don’t worry too much about the lack of stereo, because you will probably
add various instruments that will make your mix wider. As we talked in earlier posts, it’s also good to be in mono, especially
in your sub-region. When it comes to bass, you have to consider to decrease the stereo field based on how wide is your stereo field.

You don’t want to create some huge stereo widening, but to hear the sides a bit in your bass would be perfect and also if you don’t want to make your bass completely mono. Also, there is a Kick as a pillar sound that should be in the Mono, at least in the Sub Frequency Region. With this, you will avoid the correlation issues. Check this post that explains to you further how to make your kick wider without correlation errors.

If you don’t do that, the balance wouldn’t be unstable, and the correlation of your phase would damage your track with negative rates. In the end, keep in mind to make a solid low-end to make your track more transparent and without any issues. Because the higher the frequencies are, the wider stereo, you can do.

3. Make More Significant Transitions Between Passages

This is more like composing advice than mixing. Anyway, if you are looking at that from a different angle,  this would also contribute to bringing more clarity to your track regarding the perceiving of your track. Let’s say your track is too flat without any significant changes, transitions don’t include any new things. There are just playing the same patterns and sounds almost all the time. In that case, you want to make sure that these passages evolves and graduates to make the composing clearer for your fans and listeners.

4. Don’t Add Too Many Layers For Specific Sounds

Also, a good tip to keep in mind that you don’t want to use many sounds because it may start getting overwhelmed without the desired effect. Instead, try to use less and more straightforward sounds that you will more easily hear and perceive without getting into useless details.

For instance, you would use seven layers of the Snare Drum. After a time, you would realize that four layers are pretty enough and making your song clear, and the Snare would sound more natural and honest.

Consider this advice if you want to achieve more clearance.

5. Learn How To Use Order Plugins Properly In Your Chain

This is really crucial because the order of your plugins in the mixer chain would affect the final sound. A good example will be if you practice it on your main Drum Bus.

6. How can I make my drums sound more clear and loud?

In this tip, I will share with you some plugin’ formula on how I am approaching to use plugins on the main drum bus with specific plugin’s formula to get clear, transparent, and loud drums. Also, I will mention specific presets of the plugins I use a lot to achieve the standards I seeking for. Let’s check it out!

1.  Compressor/Limiter (Cytomic The Glue)

I always start with the main compressor/Limiter plugin, which holds the beat perfectly together. I try not to get it as much loud as possible; rather than that, I try to keep the space for the headroom for the other plugins. My favorite plugin for this is the from the Cytomic called “The Glue.”

cytomic the glue vst compressor

It includes pretty awesome premade presets for your drums. Still, I like it mainly because it’s a compressor and limiter in one package. In case your purpose is to have a clear, transparent, but also loud track, then you would follow this formula to see the brilliant results on your drums. I use preset explicitly from this plugin called “full parallel hipassed,” which will do the main thing – compress and limit your drums.

There is also similarly preset “full parallel.” However, I prefer to use the hipassed, because it keeps the highs still sharp and doesn’ affect it too much, which I will shape later with the other plugins-So let’s say this is our first plugin on our Drum Bus. Before you add another plugin, you want to make a little tweaking in the plugin to get the best outcome – remember to keep it clear in this stage, and do not add volume unnecessarily.

Find more about “The Glue.”

2. New York / Parallel Compression (Cytomic The Glue)

If you have a feeling that your drums are jumping and aren’t so consistent as you would want to, even though the Single Drums sounds pretty lovely, clear and just sounds quality in general, then it’s time to use another plug – Yeah, it’s also “The Glue” from Cytomic! I’m so addicted to these presets from this little plug, but it worked on any drums I ever made, so that’s the also reason why I recommend it.

So, in this case, we will add more transparency by making an excellent headroom and also create better conditions for our plugins that we will use in the next steps. In this case, there are three good premade presets that I am using a lot.

The First is called “New York Adding Sustain,” which basically adds the nice transparent feeling and holds your drums nicely together.

The Second – “Gentle Compression” – Use this when your drums sound a bit smoother than usual and aren’t so sharp. This will compress them slightly without changing the character of your main drums. Also, don’t forget to tweak the “Makeup” knob to find the perfect transparent sound.

And that’s the beauty of it – you don’t need to change the other parameters too much. However, it all depends on how many drums are playing to determine what to use. Still, as I suppose, you probably have many drums playing together because it’s a Drum Bus where most of your drums are linked into one group.  Anyway, pre-made plugin presets are really good to achieve consistency in your sound and also in your future tracks without changing the character and style of your sound.

cytomic the glue vst compressor

And Third Preset I using a lot in Cytomic The Glue is “New York Catch The Front.” It’s similar to the first preset I mentioned, but with slight changes. It’s good to use this if you to achieve transparent and consistent drums with nice sustain.

3. Multiband Compression – (GranComp3 Free Plugin)

As a next plugin, I like to use multiband compression to be able to preordain the potential of the drums.  I’ve noticed this excellent tool just recently, and the actual sound of that is enormous. I like to use this effect when I want to add more density and still keep the clarity on the point. It adds the direction, and it will bring the power and dynamic range to your drums. Whenever I applied this thing to my main drum bus, it was just a pleasure.

GranComp 3 multiband compressor

Specifically, there is a preset called “Master Heavy2” that impressed me with the transparency and power it has.

Get this MultiComp plugin for free Here.

4. De-Esser (SPL De-Esser Dual-Band)

As you may know, there are not too many producers using De-Esser on the drum bus. The reasons for that would be many. One of them would be like it won’t sound professional if you use this plugin on the drums with the cold statements. Always, when I compared my drums with and without De-Esser, the highs were too edgy, and my ears would go tired very fast. On the flip side, if you will use the De-Esser, just a little tweak would make improvements in your main drum bus.

For this example, I like to use SPL De-Esser Dual-Band, where you can tweak, whether “High S Reduction” or “Low S Reduction.”

What it does it make the highs more subtle and you perceiving main drums as a whole and not too separated. This is great if you are planning to make some fat and rolling drums.

SPL Dual Band De esser

7. Add fewer instruments and effects

Even though more sounds adding magic to your music, it’s harder to achieve this level of mixing. First, you must understand the basics and realize that you have to make a significant relationship between your sounds across the various things like – EQing, compression, stereo relationship, saturation, and also many other things.

Conclusion

There are plenty of great plugins that you would use for your main drums. It could be exciters, imagers, saturators, it all depends on your actual sound, and if you might afford to use that particular plugin in the situation. You would also make great single drums that sound punchy, loud, have great excitement and equalization, so keep in mind that’s not necessary to use too many additional plugins for your Main Drum Bus.