I’ve been asked this question recently, several times. And while there are infinite ways to accomplish such things, there are a few common traits I’ve noticed when working specifically with sessions done with software synths from Garageband, Logic, Ableton, etc. Here are some good guidelines:
1- If using electronic instruments, especially software based (ie Garageband, Logic, Reason, etc.) make sure you’re using LFO’s, modulations, panning and things to give the sounds movement. Be subtle though, you don’t want a distraction but simply an almost subliminal movement. This also includes using loop pattern’s that are longer than a bar and making things slightly asymmetrical. Mess around with decay times of samples in loops, for instance one snare hit longer than the other.
2- Get rid of unwanted low end and low mids. This applies even to kick drums and bass. The video below should give a good example of this.
3- Prioritize sounds, decide who your protagonist is. Pick your #1 sound and then get the others out of the way. This creates focus and clarity for the listener. Hard panning puts things on the side. Literary on the side. Center panning makes things feel more focused.
4- Add ambience to your main sounds, give them depth and realism.
5- Attack and Presence. This is done with EQ, the video below should give you a good example of this as well. Enjoy!
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