Mixing long progressive house songs
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Mixing long progressive house songs

    I'm learning how to mix and literally all of the songs I play last about 8 minutes and have really long intros and outros (I like progressive house). I never know when to start mixing in to the next track. I want to condense the songs, of course, because people will get bored listening to the same thing for 8 minutes, but there needs to be build-up to the melody/theme, too. Sometimes I try and mix into the song right when the main melody is playing, but then it ends up being a bit awkward. The previous song transitions right into the first peak of the next, then there's a really long breakdown, then another peak, and then into the peak of the next song. And then of course there's the issue of dealing with the EQs when you're mixing over such a long period of time (64 bars, for example). I just don't know if I'm doing it right. Any advice? The stuff I read in the recommended reading seemed to be more geared towards mainstream house--five minute long songs with a verse and chorus.

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    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    give us two examples songs to youtube. I will attempt to help you find the natural breaks in the tracks and try and point out good spots for changes.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithace View Post
    give us two examples songs to youtube. I will attempt to help you find the natural breaks in the tracks and try and point out good spots for changes.
    Thanks!

    Here are two that are both in the key of F minor:


    Last edited by dolcem; 09-06-2016 at 03:35 PM.

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    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    two pretty decent tracks...

    IF you are wanting to play them together I would play Pharoah after flying.

    Start Pharoah at the change at 5:50 in flying. Filter out some bass and start it low. You have until 1:34 in Pharoah to make sure its the main sound of the two tracks. You have plenty of time to slide Pharoah in you can keep some of the elements of flying but dont junk it up.

    Flying: make the push in at 1:04, make it the main track by 2:10, from 2:10 to 5:50 is the meat of the track, start next track at 5:50, definite start the next track by 6:50

    Pharoah: the meat of the song is from 1:34 to 4:59, plenty of lead time on both sides to get this track in
    Last edited by keithace; 09-05-2016 at 12:43 PM.
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  5. #5
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    the long mixes need to be tended to gently. Work the EQs and use just a touch of the filter to gently get tracks to flow together. I don't mess with the main track until it's time to push attention over to the incoming track. Once it becomes the secondary track you can FX, EQ, filter, slider, cross fader it out. But it still needs your attention until it's gone.
    Last edited by keithace; 09-05-2016 at 12:52 PM.
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    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Yeah, gentle use of the EQs means you can control frequencies that might clash. Harmonic mixing is also much more important with prog, as is phrasing. Don't forget, as well, that cue points can be your friends. If you place them at points where the music changes, you can quickly jump to a section if you're running out of the previous track.
    Last edited by astromech; 09-05-2016 at 01:39 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the tips guys!

    Forgive my ignorance though, I'm very much a novice, but what do you mean by "filtering?" I know one of the effects is called filter (I have Serato and the choices are Combo Filter and LFO Filter), but how can you "filter out the bass"? Do you mean just keep the bass on really low through the use of the EQ's (turning up the mids and highs first, then turning up the bass later)? Or are you talking about something else? I have a Numark Mixtrack Pro II by the way.

  8. #8
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    play a song, use, filter knob left and right, take notice of what each way does what, report back please

    This explains it better than me. Thanks DJTT writers.

    "One of the big advantages to a filter is the way that there’s just the one knob to worry about. Mixing with a filter can be really subtle, because of the smoothness with which frequencies are added to (or taken away from) the mix."
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  9. #9
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    Thanks guys!

    I wanted to pick two new but unknown tracks that I like in the same key, and I've been really enjoying 'Flying' recently, and thought Pharaoh fit the bill. Both DJs are really talented and from Belarus--I bet anyone would be hard-pressed to find two DJs from a country so far off the map.

    Quote Originally Posted by keithace View Post
    play a song, use, filter knob left and right, take notice of what each way does what, report back please

    This explains it better than me. Thanks DJTT writers.

    "One of the big advantages to a filter is the way that there’s just the one knob to worry about. Mixing with a filter can be really subtle, because of the smoothness with which frequencies are added to (or taken away from) the mix."
    So I tried it with combo filter first (btw, my controller doesn't have a filter nob, so I just use the filter as an FX). If you twist the nob all the way to the left, it completely cuts out the sound. If it's low on the left, it's bassy and the highs have been cut out. If you twist it so that it's 90 degrees, the sound is completely normal. If you twist it all the way to the right, everything but the highs cut out.

    Then I tried the LFO filter. If I changed the "beats" upward, to 8, it sounded a lot more like the previous filter. When the beats was set to 1/16, it sounded spacey and like it was repeating the same thing. When the beat was set to 1, it seems that it's like the previous filter, but that it alternates between turning the nob up and down. On some beats the bass comes in, on others it doesn't (while the highs come in stronger).

    So my guess is that when you said "filter out the bass a bit," you meant twist the Combo Filter nob so that it's just over 90 degrees (just to the right). And that when I bring in a new track, rather than just use the EQ to keep the bass low, I can use a combo of EQ and the filter (twisted a bit to the right). Then when it's time to bring out the new track more, I'll start turning up the bass (and mids and highs, although they've already been turned up some) and turning the Combo filter nob to the left.

    Let me know if I've understood this correctly (more or less). Sounds like it will take a lot of practice to get it just right.

    I should also share with you guys my very elementary understanding of mixing so you can correct it. The little I do know I read from the links in the 'Recommended Reading' thread on mixing (and a few youtube videos, but again they only used mainstream pop music with 5 minute songs, choruses, and really obvious drops, and it seems like a whole different set of techniques for that genre of music). What I usually do when mixing tracks is keep the nobs on the new song (deck B) far to the left. The bass is the farthest down, then the mid, then the high. Then when I start playing the new track, I twist the high and mid nobs on deck A slightly to the left as I raise the deck B gain. Then, as time passes, I slowly turn down the highs and mids on A and slowly raise the highs and mids on B. I don't know the best way to describe this but my goal is that the sum of the angles (well, their absolute value) of the two nobs equals 90. So as I raise the volume on the highs of B, I need to turn down the highs on A to the same extent. The goal is that when I completely cut off deck A, there is still a bit more I can raise deck B. At the beginning I would raise the EQ's on deck B to 90 degrees while I still had a bit of deck A playing, but then when the track finished or I cut it out, things would get quieter. So I've learned to not turn up the EQs on deck B all the way until deck A has completely cut out. Anyway, I just sort of do this process until I've completely cut off deck A and brought in deck B. And of course I do this with the bass the very last. Usually I don't bring in the bass on B until I'm almost done with the mids and highs. Then, I bring in the bass on B and cut it out on A completely, and then end by finishing up the mids and highs.

    Maybe I can record a mix between two songs and get your guys' input (awful pun unintended).

  10. #10
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    leave the EQs at flat and use just the regular filter and fader to mix two songs. Just a little to the right so it cuts the bass and not much of the mid, start the second track with the fader about half way up. The second track should compliment the first track as the first tracks energy starts to fade.

    mixing it that way will show you exactly how the filter works and teaches you level control.
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