Layers

A standard of audio production today is the practice of layering. The basic idea is to take instruments, vocals, and samples and layer them, blending the sound to create the sound that you are looking for. Many producers have made names for themselves though their signature style of employing this technique.

As I was driving the other day a song came across the radio that made me wonder if this technique was become so standard that it is in danger of over use.  The song is DJ Drama’s “Oh My”, during the chorus the vocals are layered with different samples interlaced to create the hook. To me it was disorienting because the vocals sounded like if the singer was trying to sing over himself.

I think that producers should use a rule in their mixing that keeps the samples spread between three levels. Top levels should have vocals and solo instruments, middle level should have background vocals and short loops, while bottom levels should have the long instrumental loops and sound effects.  Another aspect that I think is crucial is the timing if samples overlap too much they lose sync and that ruins the listening experience.

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About Stephen Ellis

Creator of Auditory Asylum, a Dallas based online startup music magazine. Interested in social media and new media. Working on developing new business uses for social media, my goal is to eventually craft my own digital publishing empire.

Posted on July 8, 2011, in Industry Talk and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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