Category: Production

A Quick Tip – Getting Wide By TeeBee

Legendary Drum and Bass producer, TeeBee, shares a quick tip on getting things sounding wide

A simple way to get wide is to pan a sound hard right/left and change the pitch on each side -12/+12 %. Then sum up the two parts on a bus, mono check to avoid phase issues, and then dial in stereo field to taste. I sometimes put a centre one in too and blend to taste. With mono drums, bounce short wet reverbs and cut and  layer on source sounds to match waveform/blend to taste (I say cut as reverb tails tend to mud mix, and if you want wide, creating side info is the way to go). Most perceived width is created from 800hz and upwards so spread your tops really wide.”

A Quick Tip – Stereo Image and Placement

To understand width you must first understand the opposite of wide – mono.

Mono is the ultimate narrow. Mono or rather a sound “panned center” just means the exact same signal is coming from the left and right channels. Thus it follows, the more different the left and right sides are, the wider things will sound.

If you take a sound and delay one side by 30 milliseconds, it immediately sounds wider. It’s just how we perceive things. If you use one mono sound on the left and another mono sound on the right, say a buzzy synth and a clean guitar, it will sound very wide.

The more you can make the left and right different, in phase, tonality, timing, rhythm, dynamics, harmonic content, the wider they will sound.

Aside from that, MS processing is always a great way to go, just be smart about it. Like anything, Too much and it sounds terrible.

For dance, pop, or EDM, you don’t need much below 100 or 200hz on the sides. I’d probably say 150-200hz. For rock/alt/country/indie/folk/jazz or any genre with live instruments, I’d argue 80-100hz. Those genres can generally stand to be a little looser than electronic or synth heavy stuff. But that’s all opinion. If you particularly like keeping it mono below 125.446hz, go for it. L

Try to avoid “Big Mono”. Look it up. It’s a thing. Drop a side and pan it, or delay a side. Big mono is not wide. It kills width.

Be very choosy about what goes up the middle. Only the best stuff can go up the middle, in ANY genre. You should be able to solo the Center panned elements and it should sound GREAT with those things. No masking. No weirdness. Solid height from low to high frequencies… if you’re not familiar with that analogy, look it up! (Height in regards to frequency) Then worry about the stereo stuff.

I’m also a fan of LCR panning with the VERY OCCASIONAL 50/50 spot. Like maybe 2 or 3 things in a 60 track mix. Usually it’s just the toms or something very sparse.

Kendal Osborne is a super talented engineer/producer and owner of The Closet Studio in Tulsa

Got 5 Minutes For A Chat? – Erb N Dub

What’s your current studio set up? 

I built a studio complex in the Kent countryside in 2014. I also use a killer studio with some good friends of my home town Brighton.

In my Kent studio I use a Mac Pro 3.5 Six Core Machine running Cubase 9 & Ableton. I have a lot of UAD plugs ins and the standard Fab Filter, iZotope, DMG, Native Instruments etc etc.

My Monitors are Nuemann KH310A, Egg Monitors, Avantone, Sub & Sub Pac.

My rack is Apogee Ensemble, Focus Right Isa One Pre Amp, DBX Compressor, 5 Channel Headphone Amp, Access Virus B, and a few other bits.

Mics – ADK 67 tube mic (that is next level), 3 Zigma Solid State Set, AKG D112, SM58 & 57’s, Okamod Solid State Vocal Mic.

Drums I am sponsored by Yamaha and play their electric DTX750 kit. Acoustic, I play a custom made Vince Clarke kick drum, 1960s Premier Toms and snares. Zildijan A Custom & K cymbals.

DJ wise I have 2 Nexus 2000 Cdj’s & 850 Mixer. 2 Technics 1210’s, Serato, Korg Koas Pad, Sennheiser hd25 & Yamaha DXR PA.

 

 

How did you get into dance music? What made you take the step into production? Are you a DJ who started producing or producer that started DJ’in? .

I’m a drummer that started DJing and then producing. I grew up playing DNB drums in a band that had releases on Virgin. Whilst in that band I started learning how to scratch and eventually to mix Drum & Bass. When that band ended I couldn’t find the right musicians to work with so I started producing in my bedroom.

What’s an average day in the studio like for Erb N Dub.

Its always different. I tend to start around 10am and finish when I finish. Some days I spend a whole day making new sounds and the following day start a new tune. Or if I’m in mix down mode I focus on that until its done. I am one of the rare producers that likes mixing a track down. Each track is different and I love the feeling of when a track is finished, whenever that is….

So where do to get you creative influences these days? What music inspires you and gets the creative ideas flowing?

I get them from many areas. Sometimes its writing a sick drum loop or a killer bass patch. Also, DJing helps a lot. Dropping fresh music on the dance floor and seeing what the crowd responses like, is vital. D&B and music full stop is changing all the time so its key to create current of future thinking tracks.

What is your approach to writing? Do you go in with an idea already in your head or is a more spontaneous approach?
I’m spontaneous as I’m not a keys player. Yeah I can write drums in my head but keys is something I can’t. I feel if I were to learn how to play piano it would help a lot but it would also slow down my current output. Learning piano is on my long list of things to do very soon!
If i’m tired or don’t feel creative I write sounds so no studio time is waisted.
Sound Design – How important is it to the Erb N Dub or are all about sampling? In a track how much of it is built with your own sounds? How much time do you spend on pre-production/collection samples/sound design before you start a track? Or do find stuff as you work?
I make 99% of my sounds now. Gone are the days where I would draw for sample packs. I find using other peoples packs slow me down. Endlessly skipping through samples (esp drums) becomes a blur!
I have my own library of sounds and presets I keep online that I can access in any studio. Having made my own library (that i’m constantly adding too) I have banks of drums, bass, sound effects, synth presets and more. I know exactly whats in my library. This allows me to get what I need when making music. For instance, I have some go to drums I use when starting a track, I may replace them later but straight away they sound great in any tune and I can focus on composition rather that sound design.
 

Let’s talk BASS! You get such a clean, tight, balanced and phat bottom end. . How do you make your bass lines? Favourite synth? Do you process them in a particular way?
Thanks! I use all sorts of synths. My favourite at the moment are Serum & Reaktor 6. Both these synths are limitless in capabilities. Once I have a solid bass patch made I will then process using effects like Trash & filter using EQs such as Equality or Pro Q 2. I use a lot of clipping tools creating my basses and add reverbs to taste. I tend to write riffs and hooks bounce them and repeat.
I resample a lot. Whether I keep it in the audio domain or put it in a sampler I keep twisting the basses focussing on great stereo, sonic weight and limit the hell out of them in the final stages.
I sometimes add a separate sub to the sounds but a lot of the time I balance the basses so they don’t need it.
Drums – process on there own or do you group them on a buss and then stick on the effects? Use much compression on them?
Being a drummer I love working on drums. I process each drum / loop individually. I side chain my percussion off the kick and snare and group everything together and using limiting on the group. I use Addict Drums a lot. Esp when making Neuro. I also record my own DNB loops with my acoustic Jazz Kit. Putting loops in I’ve played live gives me the edge on other producers. I doubt anyone cares I don’t know but at the end of the day I do!
 
Do you still stick anything on you master channel or do you keep that free? Do you master your own music?
Yes I use a limiter when making the track. I am very precise with my settings and keep an eye on all levels. I do master my own music. I have enough skill to get the master to sound how I want it too. Mastering is essential and if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself don’t! There are some incredibly skilled mastering engineers out there that will do an amazing job with your music!
Care to share a tip?
The weight in all music is the lower mids. Get that right and your music will thump on any sound system and even small speakers.
What’s your vision for the future  – what’s YOUR sound moving forward and where it’s going?
I will not stop pushing my sound! I love making all styles of DNB. Some days I might make a Neuro track then the next a dance floor banger. Every tune I make I learn many new techniques. My vision is to put some melody back in my music and get my mix downs even louder that they already are. Crest Factor is important too! I see music making as a vast computer game with no end. As long as I’m having fun and making a living I have no reason to stop!
Punk Rock, the new single from Erb N Dub alongside North Base is out now

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