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How to get that "hard" sound...

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inthebush +

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How to get that "hard" sound...
Howdy,

Been out of touch for a while. Currently own Cubase, Reason 5.0 and have access to several software synths and the Native Instruments Drum package.

Recently have been setting up ideas in Reason, however, i find the sounds (samples) a bit "thin". In other words, they do not have that loud, fidelity sound to them that you find in a lot of commercial dance music.

I have recently been advised to use Cubase as my DAW and rewire Reason in and use other software synths in etc. I think, from memory, i used to map out ideas using midi, then record to audio, then use Cubase to arrange in.

I am looking for a thicker, phatter sound and am hoping that using Cubase as my main DAW will achieve this. Without giving anything away, what is the secret to getting that well-produced, phat sound?!

Any advice appreciated, thanks in advance
inthebush +

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Getting that "phat" sound
Howdy,

Been out of touch for a while. Currently own Cubase, Reason 5.0 and have access to several software synths and the Native Instruments Drum package.

Recently have been setting up ideas in Reason, however, i find the sounds (samples) a bit "thin". In other words, they do not have that loud, fidelity sound to them that you find in a lot of commercial dance music.

I have recently been advised to use Cubase as my DAW and rewire Reason in and use other software synths in etc. I think, from memory, i used to map out ideas using midi, then record to audio, then use Cubase to arrange in.

I am looking for a thicker, phatter sound and am hoping that using Cubase as my main DAW will achieve this. Without giving anything away, what is the secret to getting that well-produced, phat sound?!

Any advice appreciated, thanks in advance
Essi +

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skill….at end of day picking right sound or better yet making them, then understanding where they fit in the feq spectrum i leant this when i was 17 and back then stuff used to not be as flexible as it is today so you should manage if you have good room/monitors
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inthebush +

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^Sorry, double post (different title). Unable to delete.
Joe-Trojan +

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All down to sound design, which includes FX.

Various types of distortion from subtle to aggressive, reverbs, chorus, delay, doubling up tones octaves apart, layering different sounds together.

Mess about to learn what works for you.
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Fewsion +

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And layering if you're using Reason. Not known for stacking their presets or factory samples to sound fat.
Spectrum +

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Layers, subby bassier sounds layered with middy high range sounds. If adding distortion, mix some of the original unaffected sound back in, or retain some bass sounds without distortion, or you'll lose the low end. Run the final sound through a compression to keep it upfront in the mix.
inthebush +

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Ahh, thanks everyone, I think I 'get' it now :-)
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Also to go along with what others have said about layering, you could also explore different panning settings with the layered sounds.
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I reckon limiting is a good way to get a harder sound.
Brings up the quieter stuff and makes it seem closer and more in your face

Last edited by DJ ORDEO: 17-Feb-15 at 12:35am

Reason: thoought of some more

inthebush +

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Hey everyone,

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it!

I've just been turned on to FL Studio, and it seems like a good idea to use this with VST plugins and soft synths as my main DAW (have been deliberating this process for months and months!). I've learned that 'affecting' the sound is important, as I was previously using dry sounds. Layering is also an awesome (and necessary) thing to do.
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There's a million ways and nothing is set in stone. Whatever works. Here's a few….

a) Compression - Once you have finished your song place a compressor on every track. Lightly compress each track as needed. Maybe a bit more on the drum group. Compress to taste

b) Distortion - Yeah just distort shit. Analogue distortion sounds a lot better but plugins will still do it just don't go too crazy

c) Use tough samples to begin with. Get a DAVE the Drummer sample pack and use his kicks or something

d) Tell your mastering engineer that you want a hard sound. He/she will add the icing on the cake (usually with good analogue equipment).

Aah just read your bit about a thicker phatter sound. Good analogue equipment will get you there. Also sample vinyl that works as well
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Radic +

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Quote:

Originally Posted by inthebush View Post

Hey everyone,

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it!

I've just been turned on to FL Studio, and it seems like a good idea to use this with VST plugins and soft synths as my main DAW (have been deliberating this process for months and months!). I've learned that 'affecting' the sound is important, as I was previously using dry sounds. Layering is also an awesome (and necessary) thing to do.

Ableton, FL Studio, Reason, Cubase…….blah they all sound the same. Use whatever your comfortable with and invest in some good analogue equipment that's what you need.
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DJ Carter +

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Personally I find Reason much harder to get a fatter sound out of. It's not that you can't. It's just that you have to work so much harder to achieve it.

For a fatter sound ...

1. Unless it's a kick drum or bass, slap a high pass filter on all your channels. Filter out unnecessary low frequencies. As a general rule you should try to filter out everything below at least 100hz. That will give your bass and kick room to breathe, and will help prevent the track from becoming muddy.

2. Depending on what styles of music you compose, consider adding a tempo-synced delay. A subtle ping pong delay can do wonders for weedy sounds. Reverb is good too, but don't overdo it.

3. Sidechain compression is awesome. You don't even have to get a full Eric Prydz "Call On Me" pump. Even just a light pump will add extra dynamic and make the track sound tighter and more exciting.

4. Yes limiters are good. Don't be too reckless with them though, or you'll end up with unwanted audio artifacts in your tracks.

5. Learn to layer your drum tracks. As an example, here's a snippet of a clap/hi-hats/cymbals line I laid down for a track earlier tonight. I usually keep the kick drum on a separate track, and will even create a second hi hat track to fatten the sound if it's too small:


6. When writing drum tracks, subtly pan each sample left or right a little, giving it more dimension. Also work on dynamic - ie. make sure you control the volume of each drum hit (this is usually done by adjusting velocity for each note). The different shades of notes in the picture above denote different velocities, and thus a lighter note will hit quieter than a darker note.

7. A little distortion / overdrive / saturation can make something sound harder and more gritty if done right.

8. Finally ... some craftsmen can blame their tools. Get some good ones. Find a few good VSTs and drum libraries - they're a producer's meat and veg.

The next step is learning how to mixdown and master a track, which is something that takes a lot of time and patience to learn, so for now focus on these.

I reckon you'll have more luck now that you're using FL Studio. Keep us updated on how you go! Send me a PM if you have any other questions - I might be able to help you.
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