Making Dark Electronic – how to start
Sample rate and bit depth
People are often confused what sampling frequency (sample rate) they should use in their DAW – there is plenty of options. You can use 44.1 kHz, the higher sampling rates will give you little/no quality improvement and will slow your system down. The bit depth is not important (you can use 16 or 24 bit) as long your render (mix down) your final song to 32 bit floating point. The bit depth when working on your song will only affect the way it sounds during production, the final mixdown can/will bypass your working settings.
Your first song – how to master it
Ok, you finished your first song, rendered it to a nice 32bit floating point file, it is time to master it. Of course, nothing is stopping you to master your song by hooking the mastering plugins at the sum in your DAW. This way you can tweak your mix during mastering. Some people like to separate mix from mastering, both approaches have their advantages.
The subject of mastering is complicated, but not as much as the mastering guys would like us to believe. Mastering is a final touch, where you do final equalization of the whole song, make it sound richer, correct stereo and finally make it sound as loud as possible without deteriorating the overall quality. This is an extremely simplified description.
To get the best possible result without big knowledge use one of the integrated mastering suites – T-Rex or Izotope Ozone. You can pick presets that will make your song sound really good and loud without going into technicalites. All you really need to adjust in those guys is the volume maximizer section.
Professional mastering – does it make sense?
Does it make sense to get my song mastered in a professional studio? It does not. Cheap mastering will be a little better (if at all) than the one you can get from presets in the likes of T-rex. The expensive one obviously will sound better, and it is going to be, you guessed it, expensive.
Another problem is, that many of those mastering guys know nothing about the industrial scene. Say “Aggrotech” to them and they will think it is a country music for farmers. At best, they know how to master techno. In the worst case scenario they normally master guitar music – their master is bound to be a disaster.
Do not get fooled by them saying “you will send us some mp3 reference, we will try to match it”. Nonsense. If you hire a mastering engineer, you pay for his/her experience, you can have the same tools at your home. Hire a guy who has experience in your scene.
I hope I shed some light at the subject of making some dark and noisy music, I tried to keep it short and concise. As you can see all this is not easy. Try solving one problem a time and you will build up your skills in no time. The most important information here is to learn from videos as opposed to written tutorials and to engage in making real music from the day one.
This article is a work in progress, I am going to expand it over time. If you want to give your opinion, feel free to use contact section of this page – I will appreciate your input.
I wish you luck, I hope we’ll hear about you soon.