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Making a great mix CD

Discussion in 'Music' started by Dustin D, May 8, 2003.

  1. Dustin D

    Dustin D Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone, I'm trying to make a mix CD and need some advice on composition, etc. What do you think is important in making a mix CD? Feel free to go all High Fidelity on me here.
     
  2. Cam S

    Cam S Well-Known Member

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    Just put all of your favorite songs on there. I make a fair amount of mix's, and when I make one, I try to keep the songs in the same genre, like rap, jazz, rock, R&B, etc etc. It doesn't really mix well when you have 2Pac and Norah Jones on the same cd.
     
  3. Ray B.

    Ray B. Active Member

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    Yeah, I make "mood" CDs. I usually have the heavy stuff on for the ride home, when I'm in the mood to shoot people, and the relaxing stuff for Sunday afternoons, etc. Going from Disturbed to Luther Vandross is not good for the psyche. [​IMG]
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Well-Known Member

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    When I used to bartend in the early 90's, I would bring in mix tapes (before CD-Rs) to play for the crowd. My theory was to alternate between popular songs you might hear on the radio and more obscure songs that were of a similar genre but maybe never made it as a single. I think people want to hear something they recognize once in a while.... at least the corner-bar crowd does. [​IMG]

    And I would work from heavier stuff to mellower stuff slowly.. never jump from one to the other.

    Actually, if you're unfortunate enough to work in an office that pipes in Muzak, if you listen, there's a method how the tunes are laid out. They're broken up into 15 minute blocks where, first you start with a slow song... then a somewhat faster one, and finally a dancy-upbeat song. Then they start again with a slow one.

    I'm sure there's some productivity study that showed this progression made people work harder... I don't know if that's true... I found it distracting trying to figure out what that song was I was listening to being butchered by Muzak.
     
  5. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Well-Known Member

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    If you're making this CD for someone else, a cynical warning: he or she will probably listen to it once, maybe twice, and forget it. It will never mean half as much to that person as you think (or hope) it will.

    And definitely don't load it up with too much obscure stuff. Dave's right: people want to hear songs they're familiar with. They don't want their horizons expanded.
     
  6. Stacie

    Stacie Well-Known Member

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    Chuck says:

     
  7. Grant B

    Grant B Well-Known Member

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    I always put snippets from movies, TV cartoons etc in between the songs and people seem to like that aspect of them.
    On one tape I merged the song "My Way"... it started with frankie crooning it and ended with sid vicious screaming it
    Or themes are pretty cool. I did a 90 minute tape and all the songs had 'Blues'in them....everything from 'Yer Blues' to 'Stuck inside the Mobile with the Memphis Blues again"'
     
  8. Camp

    Camp Well-Known Member

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    No one seems to have mentioned it but the 'change' from one song to the next has to have a good flow to it. The end of song A should have a stylistic or lyrical similarity with the begining of song B. Alternatively, there may be times when you want strong contrast between songs (song A ends slowly while song B starts heavy) but balance these carefully.

    If you can master that and give your disc a theme you'll be really proud of yourself.
     
  9. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Well-Known Member

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  10. Michael Hughes

    Michael Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I listen to a lot of styles and usually put some of my favorite songs from my most recent CD purchases for the first 10 tracks or so, then I hit some past faves and balance out the remaining songs with some one hot wonders like "My Sharona" and some fun guilty pleasures like "Viva Las Vegas".

    My most recent mix I went from the Dan Bern, to the Doors, to Aerosmith, to Frank Sinatra, to Shania Twain to Smokey Robinson to The Wallflowers..

    I have found people are most receptive with a 50/50 mix of some interesting new songs and some old well known classics. Mixing styles as well.

    Some fun themes:
    Song with Girls Names
    Songs based on teh Title Track of the Album
    Your Own Greatest Hits Collection of an Artist
    Best Songs of the year
    Romantic Songs
    Rockin Songs
    etc..
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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    Kinda on-point ("Can Sheryl Crow/Mick Jagger/etc. make a good mix tape?"): http://slate.msn.com/id/2082743/
     
  12. John Watson

    John Watson Well-Known Member

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    One thing about compilation theme mix CDs - once you've carefully recorded and sequenced the tracks, and have a music program that demonstrate your great awareness and hipness, and committed the compilation to CD-R - then you think of one more track that would have been perfect on that mix [​IMG]
     
  13. Jim_F

    Jim_F Well-Known Member

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    I like trying to make seamless transitions, so that a compilation moves gradually from one genre to a completely different one.

    For instance, Traffic's "Low Spark..." can be juxtaposed with Brubeck's "Take 5" and I can go in a totally different direction. Likewise Genesis'"No Reply at All" can lead into any number of Earth, Wind and Fire tunes, which can lead into Sly and Family and so on to maybe some Funk or Classic Rock.

    Have fun!
     
  14. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Well-Known Member

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    I like puting some dialog on the CD at the start or ending and even throughout, but the middle ones have to be short. One problem I have is that the songs will take that -02, -01, play, 01 and if I have dialog that ends quick I haven't been able to get a song to start right away and there is a second or two pause. It bugs. I definantly agree that people want to hear songs they are familar with, mostly in a party atmosphere.
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Well-Known Member

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    ahh...the perfect mix tape. what an elusive treasure hunt.

    in high school, i was sort of "known" for my tapes. i spent a lot of time making them. i calculated everything: theme, recording levels, fade-out at end times, etc. it wasn't unusual for my tapes to get copied over and over and passed around. of course, no one appreciated all the skill and talent that went into them. [​IMG]

    for me, i think my strong point was that i choose mostly alternative stuff...songs people didn't hear every day. plus, i lived in a small town, but always went to LA to get my tunes.

    anyway, i think that one should consider who they're making the tape for. if you know someone's preference, then you can fine-tune the selections. if it's for yourself, then you'll (obviously) already know what you're going for.

    these days, when i make a mix, i tend to only put on stuff i want to hear myself. i rarely make mixes for anyone else anymore.

    some of my current mix themes: big hair 80's, chick bands, return of the disco-duck, eclectic ear, etc.
     
  16. John Watson

    John Watson Well-Known Member

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    Ted Lee, your comments remind me of Rick Nelson's classic song GARDEN PARTY :

    "You can't please everybody, so you've got to please yourself"

    I started making those tapes in the 80's, and it will be worth my while to get eventually them on cd, considering the tons of obscure long-gone vinyl I got a lot of my tracks from ...

    [​IMG]
     

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