The Laidback Luke forum is in my opinion the holy grail of production knowledge on the internet. If you’re serious about music production you should be on there and definitely check out the Production skills, tips, tricks and techniques.
Unfortunately a lot of people don’t take the time to read the topic before asking their question so a lot of questions are asked (and answered) over and over again.
So that’s why I decided to analyze the most asked questions from the last 6 months and answer them in this article.
- What are busses and do I have to use them?
Busses are individual channels grouped together. This gives you the opportunity to process all drums at once for example. This is not only a huge time saver but it also takes some load of your CPU.
I personally have the following busses in my default template:
Drums – Bass – Synths – FX – Vocals
- How to determine the key of a track?
I personally use the program Mixed In Key to analyze the key of a track.
It’s simple to use and it can also add the BPM and key of a track in your file name or ID3-tags which I think is very helpful.
- How to find the key of your kickdrum?
Get yourself a frequency analyzer like Voxengo Span or a regular EQ with frequency analyzer and put it on your kickdrum channel.
Check the fundamental frequency of the kick drum (it’s pretty obvious: the highest peak).
In this case it’s at 61.7Hz.
Now you just have to look that frequency up in a frequency chart to find the corresponding key.
- How much to compress on the master channel?
This really depends on your track and mixdown in particular, but I’ll quote mastering engineer Bobby Owsinski from the Mixing & Mastering with T-Racks guide.
These are typical buss compressor settings which you can use as a starting point or reference:
|Ratio||1:15 or 1:2|
|Attack||50 ms or slower|
|Release||Auto if available, 250ms or faster|
|Gain Reduction||Inserted toward the end: 1 or 2 dbInserted at the beginning: 3 or 4 db|
- How to make a big room drop?
I’m surprised that this question is asked a lot because this style of music is really straight forward to me. This famous clip by Delari showcases all the elements needed:
The most important elements in these types of tracks are the kickdrum and the lead sound. A lot of these tracks have a distorted kickdrum, so play around with a distortion plugin on your kickdrum.
Make sure you add a punchy kick on top of the distorted kickdrum, because from my experience when you distort a kickdrum it loses a lot of punch.
The lead sounds have a load of reverb to make it sound huge and to fill out the frequency spectrum and to make it sound full.
- How to make the Merk & Kremont signature lead sound
Also mentioned was Michael Brun’s upcoming release Zenith, which is kind of the same. I tried to do a track in this style (this is for demonstrating the lead sound, the overall mixdown is pretty bad):
It’s the default Sylenth1 preset with a very short plate reverb. But the key to this sound is a vowel filter. I used Sugar-Bytes Wow Filter, which has a lot of vowel presets which will do the job.
- How to make the famous endless Leave The World Behind Riser?
This has to be the most asked question ever. For a reason, it’s a great riser!
Forum member Fadi made this video showing you how it’s done:
If yoy don’t want to re-invent the wheel you can also use the FX stem from the Leave The World Behind remix pack and sample it.
Fun fact: If you Google ‘LTWB riser’ you see the LBL forum in the top results.
- How to get your lead soud big, loud and clear in the mixdown?
I’m not sure who gave me this tip but when I start the mixdown phase I always have 4 focus points in the mix. The elements I want to stand out and be loud and clear in the mix.
9 out of 10 times these will be the kick, snare/clap, bass and lead sounds (if you have a vocal, that should be one too). Pull every fader down and only check the focus elements and make sure they all have their place in the mix.
Now fade the rest of the channels back in and make sure that your focus elements don’t get lost in the mix.
- What pitch plug-in to use?
My favorite one is Waves SoundShifter, if you have a better one please send me a Tweet. Because SoundShifter isn’t perfect either but a lot better than Logic’s stock pitch plug-ins in my opinion.
- Should I mix in mono?
There are fewer applications for mono, but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect it.
Make sure you’re mix sounds great in stereo but check your mix in mono to make sure that you’re mix sounds great in mono also.
I make sure that my focus point elements are mono (or at least have a mono layer, my lead sound is obviously also stereo).
My kick, snare and low end bass are always in mono so I’ve got that covered at all times.