How to make the OP-1 sound wider, richer, less 'thin'?

I’ve had the OP-1 for less than a year and mainly use it to make sampled based music. But I had a stab at making a bunch of beats that 95% used all the built in engines and drums etc.

One thing that jumps out was that all my tracks sound quite thin and I’m not sure why. It’s like they’re lacking width or something.

  1. I’m not sure whether I need to start messing with panning the tracks? (up until now I’ve never bothered looking into it, but seen there’s loads of good threads about panning etc)

  2. I don’t know if I need to just layer more sounds over the top of the tracks I’ve been making?

  3. Whether it’s just a characteristic of the OP-1?

Or maybe a combination of all of the above?

Above is a link to a playlist I made of the tracks I talked about at the beginning of the thread so you can hopefully get an idea of what I mean.

I listen to something my friend’s created in Ableton (I know, it’s not really a good comparison) and it always sounds richer and wider but I’m not that experienced when it comes to production to put my finger on what it is…

Any tips would be appreciated or links to useful threads.

First, it’s always a good thing to read about mixing / production ^^
Now would be a good time, as you’re asking the question. My advice: Mike Senior’s “Mixing Secrets”.

One thing you learn is that bass frequencies eat all the energy, so you have to be very cautious with everything low (bass, kicks, toms, but also big synth pads).

Another aspect is compression: on the mixer you’ll find one that is good enough with settings 30/80.

Last thing, maybe first in fact: get a good pair of monitors!
You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is driving with eyes open, so to speak.

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Are you bouncing tracks to a DAW and mixing from there? This sounds more like a straight up mixing issue rather than a OP-1 issue.

Other than the suggestions already offered, I’d throw the finished track in some kinda DAW and add a PEQ, pick a band in the middle, keeping the Q somewhat narrow, and crank it all the way up and sweep around until you find the frequencies that add fullness (Im gonna guess the 400-800 range?) Then do the opposite, cut those frequencies out completely and move it around until your track really feels super thin.

Pay attention to what instruments you hear the most/least when you do this exercise, then go back and EQ your individual tracks using the info you’ve gotten from the sweeps.

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No I don’t really have access to a full on DAW this is straight out of the OP-1.

I have access to Adobe Audition which does have some EQs, Compressors etc. But I usually just record my finished track to the album on the OP-1 then just do some tweaks in audition, mainly normalize and compression to make it louder.

I did wonder whether my next step would be to start bouncing out the individual tracks and tweaking each track individually.

Although I do like to do as much as possible on the device. I definitely prefer hardware to software, which is what drew me to the OP-1 in the first place.

Yeah truth be told while it’s possible to do full tracks in the OP-1, it’s limited functionality makes it pretty hard to produce a fully mixed and mastered track unless you really know how to sound design your synths so well they fit nicely in the mix without a lot of extra tweaking. Theres a certain lofi minimalist aesthetic that many op1 lovers enjoy because it harkens back to an era where we simply didnt have the tools to make a super professional clean mix from home, but if thats what youre looking for you may need to outsource it.

Bouncing the individual tracks to Audition is a fine solution. Audition has perfectly fine PEQ and GEQs… At least CS6 did and I cant imagine they took features away.

If it were me what I would do is grab the 4 tracks from your OP1 tape folder and bring them into audition and mix from there.

However, if you’re set on keeping as much as possible in the OP1 one option is to take your master track, and make 4 copies of it (5 total) keep one centered, pan 2 hard left and right, pan the last 2 50% L and R. Itll help create feeling of wideness. You can then bounce that master track and use a process called parallel compression to help fill out the song. Basically you copy the track, compress the ever loving bejesus out of one copy, then take its volume all the way out of the mix, then veeery slowly add the compressed copy back in just enough to give your track a little extra beef.

TL;DR

The OP-1 is a great tool for creativity and sound design, but relatively impractical for producing fantastic mixes. But dont let that stop you!

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Battles are good examples of tracks that were done without DAW, on OP-1 only, from recording to mastering.
Some sound good enough :slight_smile:

Minimalism is a good way to learn.

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panning will certainly add and life and thicken your tracks

think of a song as a sound cube that you need to fill up using three things –
1/ eq (moves sounds up and down the cube),
2/ pan (moves sounds left and right in the cube)
3/ reverb (moves sounds forward/back in the cube)

so, for example,.you fill the centre bottom front of the cube with your bass and kick. no panning, no reverb and you eq out top end. and don’t try and place anything else in this space, it’s now full.

if that doesn’t make sense, do a search for something like musical cube and someone will explain it way better than me.

specifically for the OP try this. have track one and two centred. place kick on one, bass on two. have track three and four panned a fair bit left and right.
now start placing melodies, chords, percussion on 3 and 4. having one clap on 3 and another clap on 4 will really fatten it up.

a really look example of this is OP-1G.S on YouTube. he walks you through his track making and shows you how he uses panning.

also, when I comes to mastering stage – drop your op1 track into a daw and place a stereo spreader on the master bus.

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A little reverb on your master does absolute wonders for stereo width.

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Nice explanation!

Analog Filter of any sort is a great Addition.

iam Running my OP-1 into 2x Neutron for stereo processing and modulation within the Stereo field.

I’m no expert OP1 user but a fatter sound can also be obtained with multiple oscillators playing the same note (but slightly detuned, + or - 2%). An octave (12 semitones) up or down played with the original frequency can also fatten the sound. Hope this is helpful.

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OP internal engines can sound a bit samey without careful modulation / nitro, but that’s the character for you. It’s not going to become a early 80’s lust synth with the press of a button, but if you start with harmonically rich samples you’ll have more to play with. For concepts and tips for pushing the limits check out https://forum.sequential.com/index.php?topic=3449.0

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wow…reverb on the master works well. great tip.

Why 2 neutrons?

can I ask what you automate?

iam using them together as a stereo synth, one panned hard left and one panned hard right, the op1 is then routed thru both Units via split cable.

iam mostly automating the LFO speed and LFO type from the OpZ thru a Keith mc millen Qunexus :new_moon_with_face:

raspberry pi involved :yum:

One thing I always struggle with when it comes to making tracks sound fuller is the fact that the OP-1 doesn’t use stereo effects until the master. You can add a good amount of reverb on the master chain and you’ll get a nice outcome…except that also means you’re sending your kick and drums through that reverb as well, and the result is pretty terrible for most use-cases. Because of that, I’m never able to use as much reverb as I want, since it has to be so little as to not destroy the drums. Effect sends on a track basis would be amazing…

ear is life dude

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