Mastering loops for Ableton live



over 7 years ago (edited)

Hey guys.. I am fairly new to using loops in worship. I am currently creating my loops in Logic X... Exporting all the tracks as wav files and running them in Ableton Live 9 during worship. I am looking for advice on mastering tracks before I export from Logic. I would like the overall volume of each song to be similar in my worship sets. Does anyone have any suggestions on EQing and making sure all the songs are set to similar volume levels? Should I be looking at the output of the whole song or should I be focusing on each stem? Thanks!!! -Jimmy

over 7 years ago

I am a neophyte to this realm, so take what I say with a grain of salt. After much prayer and deliberation, I decided to go into this whole "production thing" with abandon. I first took a year to decide on a DAW, and while reading and watching tons of videos I settled on Ableton. I have not regretted my decision for that. Here are some things I've learned: Master each track to be optimum as a stand alone work, or with the mind set of being that. Once they're all loaded together (resist the urge to skip steps in this process) begin to adjust track levels using the track envelope view. Don't use the channel strips to adjust these levels. Keep those set at 0. (It's usually about 2/3 way up on the slider) You can EQ the individual channels, or the entire mix later, or both. Just don't stop thinking critically each time you change things. I tend to waste a lot of time doing this, but I still learn something every time I do it. Listen to your playbacks on ear buds, over the ear headphones, studio monitor speakers, a home stereo, on your church's PA, in your car stereo, etc... and with an emphasis on making all those situations optimal. Try to find a "happy medium." Effects to consider on a track by track basis: EQ- You may need more highs to give definition such as stick attack on a cymbal, or the pluck of a pick on a high string of a guitar. Then again, maybe you need to get rid of those things for your particular situation, so EQ it for more lows to lose that. Your call Compression- My experience is this tends to give a particular track more presence in the mix. It's like shoving the track "up-in-your-face" and bringing it forward. Tweaking the settings on a compressor for maximum effect can take up an entire day with me sometimes. Gate- Allows sound to come through to the ear only for the specified amount of time. Gating your toms, kick, and sometimes snare is a popular thing to do for those who record drums that are tuned open... with no muffling. Gating still allows the pure sound, but not for too long. Gating other sounds for effect can be fun, or yet another waste of your time. Panning- Lots of people overlook this one, but it's amazing how you can give the sounds a nice spread so they don't interfere with each other. I usually keep kick, snare, bass, and vocals panned to the center. Guitars slightly right or left, and keys slightly right or left opposite the guitars. Strings and percussion (tamborines, shakers, etc...) I pan farther right or left. Couple this with compression, and you might be able to achieve separation front to back and right to left. Tracks become more interesting for the listener. Of course, it can also be a too busy for the listener too, if you try to do too much with everything. Also, once realizing this tendency keeps me honest with myself, because I tend to waste a lot of my time by tweaking things past the point of sounding good. (Are you sensing a theme here yet?)

over 7 years ago

I should've been more clear on the panning... I pan kick, snare, and BASS GUITAR, as well as lead (and usually background) vocals to the center. The drums and bass are considered foundational to a band track, and vocals are central for obvious reasons in pop music... it's what the industry standard seems to be.

over 4 years ago

Recently I have come across the same issue - how to get each of the loops/ tracks I make for each song at a consistent and similar level. Nelson, I gather from your response great mixing and balancing of a singular song, but I a, still unclear as to what would be an appropriate method for balancing a batch of songs. This process is much easier when you can just throw some FX on the master fader, but when making multi- tracks to be used during live performance putting FX on the master fader is kind of a "no-no." Any help/ clarification on this subject would be much appreciated.