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Thread: Mixing R&B and Rap Music

  1. #1
    adrianlatino is offline Newbie
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    Smile Mixing R&B and Rap Music

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    I am 5 years in recording my own r&B and rap music. I am using a digi 002 for my console. I am constantly trying to learn new mixing techniques and would like input on mixing rap and R&B music. All of my tracks are individual, i.e. Kick, Clap, Snare, Hi Hat, Crash, Synth, Sample1, Sample 2, etc. Some of my quesitons are:

    REVERBS: When/Where would you suggest using? On vocals only? Snares? etc.

    PANNING: I keep my kicks, snares and claps centered. Where should I pan synths, Hi Hats, adlib vocals, etc.

    COMPRESSION: Where would you suggest using compression? I always use on a lead vocal should I add to overdubbs, any instrument parts, etc?

    Whatever advice/input you could give regarding mixing Rap & R&B music in PRO TOOLS 7.1 would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Ironklad Audio is offline 1K Silver Member
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    i would say to use reverb whenever you want a particular instrument/track/whatever to sit differently depth-wise in the mix

    as far as panning goes, i would probably keep the kick/snare down the middle, but maybe try to play around with the claps...maybe copy the tracks and pan out a little, or use a stereo chorus. i personally think that claps tend to sound better when there isn't a really localized source - i like them to sound like they're around, not in front, of me.

    i also like to turn up the high end(10-12k+) in the claps and little accents like that, as it can sometimes give them that extra little bit of "snap".

    as for the rest of the stuff, i say pan it where it sounds cool - close your eyes, hit play, and play with the pan knob until something sounds awesome - whether it's a stationary spot in the L-R spectrum, or it's swirling/bouncing back and forth, do whatever makes you go "ohhhh shit, that's IT!".

    and for compression...i say just squash the shit out of rap/hip-hop. unless it's something that has more of a truly musical R&B flavor to it, you know people just want it to bump for their party or car or whatever. compress the kick/bass, snare, vocals, and whatever else you think might need it - i just make sure not to rob the thump out of the low-end transients

  3. #3
    adrianlatino is offline Newbie
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    Thanks for the feedback! Will using lots of compression have an effect or hurt my mastering at all? I know I hear mastering engineers say "don't put too much compression". Do they mean don't apply to the master fader? Thanks.

  4. #4
    adrianlatino is offline Newbie
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    Also, where are GATES helpful?

  5. #5
    TragikRemix's Avatar
    TragikRemix is offline I am NOT a Gear Whore. ;)
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    too much compression, meaning that you are using compression and it is absolutley audible, when it really shouldnt be.

    compression, unless you are going for a special effect, can really hurt if you arent using it right.

    i compress to control dynamics, i try not to compress things that don't need to be.

    on a master fader, if you are going for a mix and have no intentions of attempted to master, i guess you could slap on a limiter to raise overall volume, but once again, in a software app, i'd avoid that too.

    i use a compressor on my PA system, in the effects loop, just to control dynamics and try to prevent from some idiot blowing all my speakers. i don't do that with my studio monitors, because, well, its usually so quiet already that i dont have to worry. just don't crank the monitors..

    reverb is tricky too. too much makes it sound cheap sometimes. then again, if certain parts are too, dry say?, then that doesnt sound good either.

    i'm saying, read up and practice getting into the happy zone with comp, verb etc. learning how, where and how much to use is purely dependent on some real trial and error. software makes it easier.
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  6. #6
    ikon's Avatar
    ikon is offline I Want To Learn Audio!
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    this what i do for rap
    well panning i usually do 2 sets of vocals exact same and pan the second one like -10 a and turn the volume way down to barely audible but enough to thicken the first set of vocals...then i do 2 sets of overdubbs on top of that of just keywords (make sure the exact same for both lol) then i pan one about -30 and 30 and turn the volumes down on this same as i did the doubled vocal

  7. #7
    WesP1106 is offline Junior Member
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    I do things a bit different altho im no expert in no way.
    I record the Vocals 5 Times 2 L @ 2 R and i centered the last track. then i add the effects n the compression to which ever sounds the best. then i do 2 tracks of adlibs and split em up L n R. i also close my eyes and hear what sounds cool. im probaly doing it worng but it sounds pretty good i guess..

  8. #8
    Ironklad Audio is offline 1K Silver Member
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    im probaly doing it worng but it sounds pretty good i guess..
    there's no such thing as wrong

    as long as the end result is what the artist/engineer/producer/manager/label/whoever-else-has-their-hand-in-the-cookie-jar want it to be, then nothing else matters at that point

  9. #9
    adrianlatino is offline Newbie
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    Nice. Thanks guys! Keep the tips coming. I would really like to know more about using gates, reverbs, compression, delays etc.

    Thanks to everyone giving me feedback.

    I have a real nice r&b track I think you'll like. I should be finished mixing it tommorow. Will try to post for feedback.

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