Many times EDM producers will ask me for advice to get their mix sounding right and I’ll always be hesitant because I don’t want to impede their artistic creativity (because I firmly believe the rules were meant to be broken!). However, it depends on what stage of your artistic journey you’re in and how well you know those rules, because a lot of times, especially with new EDM producers they’ll make the same common mistakes. Luckily for you, I’ve written down a few of them below and hopefully you’ll avoid making these mistakes on your next banger.
1) Sound Clash
The biggest mistake EDM producers make is having their bass line and lead synth clash. Remember, you can’t have a big bass line that takes up all the room on your song AND a big sounding synth lead going off at the same time. You’re ether going to have to eq out the low and mid range of the lead (which will make the lead sound unsatisfactory) or add it to another part of the song where there’s no bass or get rid of it all together.
A big part of producing is arrangement. Just because you can build a house, doesn’t mean you can design a house. The same is true with production, just because you can make a beat, doesn’t mean you can make a song. This is why producers like Rick Rubin, whose famous for stripping down Kanye’s Yeezus to it’s bare essentials, is regarded as a music guru.
2) Where’s The Sub Bass?
Many EDM producers likely because they’re producing without a sub woofer, think that their bass synth is going to magically fill out the bottom end of their track. It’s not. However, an easy way to fix this is to add a sub bass under the bass synth that mimics the bass synth. The only thing to watch out for is to see how much of the low end the bass synth is taking up as it may need to be carved up to allow some room for the bass synth (be careful as this may have some undesired effect on your bass synth).
3) Clean Kicks
The kick is the most important element in any EDM song and that’s why you need to use high quality kicks (I feel like I’m sounding like a “As Seen on TV” ad). Many companies are selling their drum kits online, go upgrade your kicks with a clean and tight sounding kick with a sharp attack and not too much bottom end (since your sub bass will be occupying the low end). Having high quality sounds will not only make your productions better, but it’ll also be easier for your audio engineer to mix and master your song (and who doesn’t want to make their audio engineer’s life easier? Am I right?).
4) Low Quality Accapellas
This is just a personal gripe and probably most people wont care but I’ve noticed when an EDM producer does a remix of a popular song they’ll always use a poor quality vocal recording. I get that it’s difficult to obtain the official accapella and you sometimes have to do some creative editing to the accapella but I think it would be more interesting if they just got some cover singer to record the vocal tracks. It would sound much cleaner and if you’re submitting your song for some remix contest, the judges would likely love the extra effort you took (presuming this isn’t against the rules).