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Dyldo 2007-12-18 04:02

Interesting problem...
Out of my years and years of recording experience I've hit this snag today that I've never encountered before and I can't seem to figure out how to fix it.

I have two tracks playing. One is a very thick string progression and the other is another thick beat that is playing. The problem is when the beat plays at a certain volume (not very loud, just enough to stand out in the track) with the strings it makes the strings (along with most other things)sound a little distorted and it cuts in and out like crazy. Its driving me mad!

I've tried lots of things to fix this. Heavy compression, auto gating, etc. If it would help I can post a clip of what I'm talking about.

Can anyone help me?

kleenx 2007-12-18 04:20

what are you recording on?

the only things i can think of are
-exceeding the limitations of your soundcard/computer
-clipping due to levels

Soulinsane 2007-12-18 06:20

Make sure it isn't the speakers resonating. Curtain freqs will cause distortion in some speaker enclosure designs. Its much like overdrive. If it's not just the speakers then isolate those parts of the track with distortion and remix just those parts with a EQ that majorly cuts the resonating freg. In the over all scheme of things the tone will be leveled and the sound will seen the same even during the EQ cut parts.

sqol 2007-12-18 08:54

If you could post a clip, that would be useful :) My initial thoughts are perhaps the two tracks need to be EQ'd slightly differently, or maybe pan them apart a little (that's assuming they are panned centrally right now). The cutting in and out sounds like it could be a phase issue, but without hearing the track, i couldn't really say :)

Sycophant 2007-12-18 11:47

First thing that came to my mind was a phasing problem like Sgol mentioned.
Then thinking about it, I was wondering what it does actually sound like. Does it seem like the bass drum is "chopping up" the mix so it sounds like you have a tremelo pedal over everything? In any case, isolating and EQ'ing the part as Soul and Sgol have suggested would totally fix the problem. The part may sound shit by itself, but good within the rest of the mix.

Olmonatron 2007-12-18 15:01

Other than the solutions already posted, I'd say it could be de-constructive interference. I'm assuming that the strings track is very full, with a lot of various frequencies in it. first of all, is the strings progression an actual sound recording of instruments or is it midi?

okay lets say that the strings track is playing (with a vast spectrum of frequencies) and then you add a thick beat onto it. lets assume that the thick beat and the thick strings track both have some of the exact same frequencies. and lets say that the sound wave is at its peak with the beat and at its valley with the strings. if that happens, they both cancel out and you hear nothing for a second. if they are both at a peak, that frequency will get louder (called CONstructive interference). and if either of these happen frequently it can sound pretty weird.

maybe the bass drum and the string bass or cellos are competing with each other. does it cut out more when the bass drum hits? try to find a pattern of where it cuts out relating to the beat.

to test this, play both tracks together and go into a graphic EQ for the beat. cut a hole in a frequency so that it's almost completely out of the mix and then sweep that hole across the spectrum until you find your trouble spot. or instead of cutting a hole, boost a certain frequency and stop when it gets the worst, and then bring it down until it solves the problem. there's probably more than one trouble spot. it sounds like a big EQ job ahead of you, assuming that's the main problem. (sometimes i like to cut a hole in a thick track to let another instrument shine through. it's a fun technique)

this may not be the only problem though, but possibly a contributing factor. try the phase this as well. considering that you also hear a distorted sound, this probably won't completely solve things. but try it and see what happens.

Dyldo 2007-12-18 16:58

I think the problem may lay within Olmonatron's suggestion but I will post a clip of it in an hour or so so you can all hear it.

I'm using Cubase SX and I have monitors (KRK Rokit 5s) so I don't think its a speaker problem.

Dyldo 2007-12-18 17:17

Here it is. It starts off the just the strings and then the beat comes in. I begin to slowly raise the level of the beat so you can hear what I'm talking about, then I bring it back to normal level, then I do it again.

I don't plan on bringing the beat to that volume, but I would like to tweak it up a tad. You can also hear when its at normal volume it distorts the strings a tad. I noticed that when I turn down the bass about in the EQ of the beat it does help, but its the bass that I want!

Hope this helps!


Here is the beat isolated in case you'd like to hear it. It take a second to come in and I pan the volume up and down in the same way.

Sycophant 2007-12-18 22:26

I just checked it out and it's what I thought. The bass part is splicing up the strings like that because there's probably a ton of bass frequencies going on that are like under 250 hz. This is the same thing that happens when you take an album in your car that has a really powerful kick drum mix with fast drums and turn the bass all the way up on your stereo. It dominates all the frequencies and "chops' everything up. Similar to what Olmonatron said. I think.

EDIT: Nothing is distorting by the way, though it sounds like it because of that "faux-splicing" phenomenon that's happening.

kleenx 2007-12-19 13:00

you should get a mastering plugin to rein in the frequencies on that 'beat' track, it sounds like fucking merzbow.

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