Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Practical tips for recording, editing, and mastering.

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strato_steak
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Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Postby strato_steak » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:21 pm

Hi there,

I'm actually producing something in that style, using Ardour4, Hydrogen (with custom drum samples),
Guitarix and Calf plugins. I'm trying to keep things plain, but im currently looking for ways to "pro" my song,
and raise my bar using these programs. I've posted this song over the internet, and people usually complain about
"the guitar should be louder", "the bass is too loud", "The drums are ok", those kind of things.

But im wondering... If there are any stoners out there... what do you think?
If someone could give me a tip on how to improve my music towards that style...
please give me some direction!

Sample:
https://soundcloud.com/majorana-band/ma ... acuum-demo

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sysrqer
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Re: Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Postby sysrqer » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:32 am

I'm no expert about this style or about anything else but I'll give you my opinion anyway.
There seems to be an area in the low end which isn't being filled, the bass is very low and deep, and the guitars are lacking any low end. For the guitars, I would duplicate all the recorded tracks and process them with different amps/cabs and fx and really boost the bass, then turn the level all the way down and bring them up slowly until they fill out the frequency range and blend in/layer with the existing guitar tracks. If you play your track next to an Earth track you'll hear the frequency gap I mean.
You could heavily compress the second layer or send all the guitars to a aux bus to compress and scoop out mids, then blend this in to the mix too, so you would then have the original guitars, the low end boosted layer, then an aux bus of all the guitars as well, blended in with very strong compression. You can achieve really thick textures doing things like this, layer, process differently (eq, amps, fx) and then blend in under everything, possibly panning as appropriate.

The drums sound a bit weak but not drastically so, I have heard similar sounding mixes with pro tunes. I think they really need compression. Maybe add a little saturation to beef them up, then compress them. You could do similar things as I mentioned with the guitar here, parallel compression is very common for drums. Send them all to an aux bus, smash them completely with strong compression and scoop out some range with eq and blend in with the original signal. You could do multiple versions of this trick, one for compression and eq, one for overdrive/distortion, chorus, reverb, gate, whatever...the choices are endless, experiment.

Overall though, compress things individually and gently and/or strongly compressed layers under the original signals.

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Re: Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Postby apathity » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:46 am

I don't work on Stoner music but I do have some Death Metal kind of stuff planned right now. In any case I would always begin with improving the actual performances of the musician(s), raise them to whatever level of quality you're looking for. Then you can care about mixing. If you think your playing is good, practice the same songs for one additional month and then see how things have changed for the better!

Also first you need some kind of reference. Do you know a band that has the sound you want? Sometimes you can watch studio reports or live videos and check which gear they're using there (guitars, cabs, ...). For example doom and stoner bands use Gibson type of guitars a lot.

Stoner stuff like this doesn't need tight playing at all, but it needs a lot of emotion in your playing and ultimately it is the combination of all instruments that make a demo sound like a weak rehearsal room miced up with one microphone, or a strong band on a stage kind of illusion.

With Hydrogen I think there is a lot you can do by simply swapping the samples to some different, better ones before you begin the mixing.

With guitars and bass you can improve a lot of the sound by experimenting with different strings and the way you attack the strings with your pick. Record two or three guitar tracks and pan them around. This can be a night and day difference. I've found that a lot of stoner and doom bands also play exclusively on the neck pickup of the guitar, it gives it some extra low end.

Then if you're serious, record a really good performance of the song and send it off to some professional people and let them have a go at mixing it. Then ask as many questions about the mixing process as you can so you can do it yourself later on using Linux.

By the way I'm working on presets for stoner stuff, right now the preset I've made is called "Dope". I think you could find it on YouTube or on the guitarix forums.

apathity
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Re: Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Postby apathity » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:48 am

string gauges I mean

strato_steak
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Re: Tips/tricks for doom/stoner/sludge music production?

Postby strato_steak » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:20 pm

apathity
Hey man, its you from Guitarix forum! Ha! Its me again!
I'm using .13 gauge stings on the guitar, that is turned to C standard.
The bass also has some tick strings, too. Thanks, man. Those are good tips,
sure gonna follow 'em.

sysrqer
Yes, there's a gap in the low end frequencies. I've tried adding some by using some plugins,
but could only achieve a subtle change. Also tried using some multiband limiter in order to boost some frequencies
and attenuate others, no dice. Thanks for all your suggestions, I'm gonna try them on! Thanks!


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