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Share your tips/secrets on producing!
Old 12th November 2013
  #61
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohsnap View Post
Your mastering problems probably are mixing problems.
Your mixing problems probably are arrangement problems.
Your arrangement problems probably are composition problems.
i agree.
Old 13th November 2013
  #62
Gear Head
 
sketcho's Avatar
 

I've got a few secrets that I can't disclose, but I can share a few of my methods

1) I like to create drum breaks and sample myself, and I still sometimes use classic drum breaks .. They're all over the internetz

2) Sample vinyl, listen to vinyl, get inspired by vinyl. It's really easy for producers nowadays to just skip over the whole vinyl world, but it's also really easy to get into and you learn a lot just by listening to stuff you've never heard before. If you never have, you'd be surprised just how much music is out there that you've never heard of ..

3) It never hurts to record a live bass line (find a friend who's a good bass player), you get a lot more character in your sound that you can't get with MIDI

4) I try not to think too much when I create. When I say to myself, 'I want to make a beat so and so would use!' it always ends up being forced. Just spazz out, try out quirky things that nobody else is doing and see where you go with it, you can't really lose because either way at least your learning. Then once I have some nonsense captured, I just reduce. Reduction is almost more important than anything, you gotta know what to take out -- don't be so sensitive to all 8 of your pianos takes for goodness sake. Even if it was good, you gotta know when to take it out.

5) Step away from your song. Don't sit in front of it for more than 2 hours without budging, your brain has already memorized everything in the song and your problem solving skills have become so dampen at this point. Just step back... listen to some funk to clean your pallet or something

6) One thing that is overlooked by a lot of people in music production is rhythm. Because music is seen as so mathematical, people completely disregard the space in between the beat and they only focus on the beat itself. The space in between the drum sounds is just as important if not way more important than the drums themselves (this is up for debate, just my humble opinion). I find that a more human rhythm is easier to mix, easier to compose and just sounds a million times better (so use those drum breaks + bongos son..)

7) Study the best ones to do it. This goes without saying, but something I like to do is literally take a snippet of a song that I love and throw it in Reason. Then copy the drums + the tempo and see if I can get a drum cadence that's close to the song. You can copy a drum pattern all you want, but you won't get the same 'cadence' unless you capture that exact rhythm

8) Don't tie yourself to the grid, that's the worst thing you could do. Unless you're making 80's pop music.

That's all I can think of for now.. hopefully they're helpful to someone
Old 13th November 2013
  #63
Lives for gear
 
Cgbravo's Avatar
 

Work with what you have - before purchasing new gear or sounds check out a tut on your daw or synth of preference see what you can discover and implement into a new record.

Spend some time on the finer things, the details, automate some parameters and experiment by layering sounds fine tuning levels to gain some solid results.

Practice/warm-up by playing some scales or chords, a lot of the time you'll find yourself starting to produce your track like that you won't be able to help yourself!
Old 13th November 2013
  #64
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Birdland101's Avatar
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Old 14th November 2013
  #65
007
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007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sketcho View Post
I've got a few secrets that I can't disclose, but I can share a few of my methods

1) I like to create drum breaks and sample myself, and I still sometimes use classic drum breaks .. They're all over the internetz

2) Sample vinyl, listen to vinyl, get inspired by vinyl. It's really easy for producers nowadays to just skip over the whole vinyl world, but it's also really easy to get into and you learn a lot just by listening to stuff you've never heard before. If you never have, you'd be surprised just how much music is out there that you've never heard of ..

3) It never hurts to record a live bass line (find a friend who's a good bass player), you get a lot more character in your sound that you can't get with MIDI

4) I try not to think too much when I create. When I say to myself, 'I want to make a beat so and so would use!' it always ends up being forced. Just spazz out, try out quirky things that nobody else is doing and see where you go with it, you can't really lose because either way at least your learning. Then once I have some nonsense captured, I just reduce. Reduction is almost more important than anything, you gotta know what to take out -- don't be so sensitive to all 8 of your pianos takes for goodness sake. Even if it was good, you gotta know when to take it out.

5) Step away from your song. Don't sit in front of it for more than 2 hours without budging, your brain has already memorized everything in the song and your problem solving skills have become so dampen at this point. Just step back... listen to some funk to clean your pallet or something

6) One thing that is overlooked by a lot of people in music production is rhythm. Because music is seen as so mathematical, people completely disregard the space in between the beat and they only focus on the beat itself. The space in between the drum sounds is just as important if not way more important than the drums themselves (this is up for debate, just my humble opinion). I find that a more human rhythm is easier to mix, easier to compose and just sounds a million times better (so use those drum breaks + bongos son..)

7) Study the best ones to do it. This goes without saying, but something I like to do is literally take a snippet of a song that I love and throw it in Reason. Then copy the drums + the tempo and see if I can get a drum cadence that's close to the song. You can copy a drum pattern all you want, but you won't get the same 'cadence' unless you capture that exact rhythm

8) Don't tie yourself to the grid, that's the worst thing you could do. Unless you're making 80's pop music.

That's all I can think of for now.. hopefully they're helpful to someone
Excellent post!


Stepping away from the song is a huge one for me.
As mentioned, take a walk, listen to some classical music or any other genre in the background as you're making dinner.
Watch a good documentary, a good film, read some poetry, a few chapters of a great Vonnegut book, etc.

When totally stuck on your track not knowing what to do next, leave it entirely for the next day.
You'll be amazed and what you hear - or not - the following morning.

There's also the listening to unfinished tracks syndrome we all have done at some point.
Unless you're really just starting out, there's a good chance you have that folder with a bunch of projects you never finished, some may only be a few measures, some may be a few minutes, regardless, when you come back to them after some time, it's amazing to find little gems you'd forgotten about. It could be just a 4 beat section that sounds so incredibly awesome amidst an otherwise crappy arrangement.
Do a 'save as', eliminate the waste and start a brand new track with that little golden nugget.

Another huge one is to step outside of your comfort zone.
We all have one, or a few, and things can get rather stale when abiding to them.
Self-explanatory this one and been mentioned before, but man, just go fvcking nuts.
Why? Because you can.

When using midi data assigned to VI's, duplicate the track and change the sound/patch and copy the region which will play on the new track.
Then, transpose it, by octaves, by steps, and keep trying new sounds until an interesting combination happens; wash, rinse, repeat.
Layering is a beautiful thing. Do it poorly and it can scream train-wreck; do it wisely and you'll be smiling ear-to-ear.

Go nuts with effects, not necessarily with the amount applied to a given sound.
Just don't be afraid to experiment routing your reverb send to delay send which then sends to 2 other delays, with different time signatures, even in tiny amounts, you can get some really interesting results.

When using drum breaks, from vinyl or wherever, layer them on separate track and nudge the second break by 1/16th or 1/8th (or whatever increment) on the grid. Filter them in accordance of lion's share of frequencies, hi-pass the second one so only a few of its hits come through, do the opposite on the third one.
Boom, your drums just got way more interesting.
You get the idea.

Group your sounds and buss them, apply compression, distortion, etc.

Don't be afraid to use plugins on sound sources that weren't necessarily meant for it.
Hint: NI Guitar Rig (don't even get me started on the wonders that thing can do on just about anything)

When mixing, do the song justice; carve holes so everything breathes, mute stuff, tell a story, feel the mix.
Don't mix with loudness in mind, that will come later, just make it sound good, for it's not how loud you make it, it's how you make it loud.

Most importantly, stay true to yourself no matter what you create in whatever field.
It has also been mentioned before but it's so spot-on.
I find one the main reasons a lot of artists/producers go through lulls is the constant second-guessing about their work.

Confidence can be a bitch; nurture it, own it, and heed its directives.
If you're feeling on a track in progress, no matter how weird, or strange, or how commercial or experimental it sounds, go with it, finish it.
It's yours, truly yours, and it's how you will innovate instead of imitate.

I can go on and on...

Google Brian Eno's 'Oblique Strategies' and download it.
They can be applied to whatever genre of music you make, they're stupid simple and utterly brilliant.
Old 14th November 2013
  #66
Lives for gear
 
Birdland101's Avatar
Wear the same underpants till the album is done.
Old 14th November 2013
  #67
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
There's also the listening to unfinished tracks syndrome we all have done at some point.
Unless you're really just starting out, there's a good chance you have that folder with a bunch of projects you never finished, some may only be a few measures, some may be a few minutes, regardless, when you come back to them after some time, it's amazing to find little gems you'd forgotten about. It could be just a 4 beat section that sounds so incredibly awesome amidst an otherwise crappy arrangement.
Do a 'save as', eliminate the waste and start a brand new track with that little golden nugget.
.
What a great post, so many gems lay in there. You really busted a lot of the little things that separate a great mix from a cheap mix imo.

But this one I love. Most of the material I work on and love the most are the decades old projects that I started not knowing what I was doing, but that stuff is raw inhibited material that I would overthink if I did today.

Part of the process for me is translating the project, these are old formats, some projects were done on PPC Mac, VST1, 32 bit, old Cubase versions using bridge, I've got stereo percussion everywhere, virtually no high passing and a ton of EQ boosting everywhere. Somehow I got vibe out of that stuff.

Redoing it is such a lesson in itself, and with that much passed time, I tend to articulate some of the musical ideas a bit clearer, I can be more deliberate, and it feels good to be able to trash 50% of the meaningless garbage for headroom.

The sad part is that I know that I would have never come up with some of those ideas today. Don't throw away material, chances are if you made it, you were trying to say something, but maybe not having the proper perspective at the time.

oh. Brooooklyyyn
Old 14th November 2013
  #68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdland101 View Post
Wear the same underpants till the album is done.
You have a point. What I do when I am creating a new record is leave anything in the room untouched. Example if I am writing a verse and scrap a page I'll throw it in the room and it becomes apart of the energy and when I am taking breaks in the process I get inspired by looking at the steps I've taken visually around the room to help out with the creative process
Old 15th November 2013
  #69
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by griploc_1981 View Post
You have a point. What I do when I am creating a new record is leave anything in the room untouched. Example if I am writing a verse and scrap a page I'll throw it in the room and it becomes apart of the energy and when I am taking breaks in the process I get inspired by looking at the steps I've taken visually around the room to help out with the creative process
But what about soil (feces mainly) in underpants if you accidentily soiled yourself?

Shall it remain?
Old 16th November 2013
  #70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aktuator View Post
But what about soil (feces mainly) in underpants if you accidentily soiled yourself?

Shall it remain?
Clothing is optional, so if it is on chair it must remain
Old 17th November 2013
  #71
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by griploc_1981 View Post
Clothing is optional, so if it is on chair it must remain
You need a lot of stolen gym towels to get away with this imo.

In any case, if/when you get to those sections where you've dropped the music and left some beat elements, whatever they are, drop those high passes accordingly for that section, use all your headroom there. When the song comes back, release the automation.
Old 17th November 2013
  #72
When I record keyboard instruments in a session I have my input as hot as I can get it before clipping. When I am mixing the instruments in a session start with drums first, usually from kick to high hats and get a nice level with about 3 db of headroom for lead sounds like synths and bass instruments. The mix will sound considerably quiet if you are staging your faders to have your master output not clipping but this will ensure your dynamic range will sound great. I will then create a instrument bus and drum bus to send the tracks to and adjust levels if needed in the bus after processing the busses. I'll then bounce down the instrumental in pt and save as in the same session to move into the vocal phase of the session. I apply microphone techniques for vocal leads and dubs, ad dons and hype takes with appropriate hw EQ and hw compression when recording the takes. I have plenty of headroom to work with given the instrumental is properly mixed and can be lowered with a simple adjustment of the fader. I'll apply processing on individual vocal takes and create busses for group vocals ie chorus, vrs, bridge etc... I'll stage the the individual vocal takes to ensure no clipping occurs in the busses. Ill process the busses accordingly. I'll create a rough mix of the vocal session with the master track under 0 db. I'll then begin to master the session as a whole applying compression EQ and limiting till desired level has been reached without too much loss of dynamics. What I receive is a great sounding mix with full open sounding instruments and clean big vocal passes.
Old 17th November 2013
  #73
Here is a link to an example of my own recent mixes all original of mine from the beginning to end This Is How I Do TEASER - YouTube
Old 17th November 2013
  #74
Here for the gear
 

2 things i like to do:

1) if i have a 75% of a song, drums, bass, melody, some chords...but i feel its missing something i like to play the song hang and my head out my window (maybe smoke a cigarette/spliff)...my speakers would now be behind me so the song is in the background.... and see how the world around me interacts with my music.....it can be something as simple as a crane swinging, that rusty sound might not necessarily be the sound that i am looking for but it will definitely act as a catalyst to get my mind working in the right direction....also there have been many times that i could swear i heard birds singing along to my songs lol.

2) when sampling i like to take me sample copy it onto 3-5 tracks....split each one into different different frequency ranges and then process each one differently....add chorus and auto pan to one, automate the volume of the next with a lil phaser, drown one in reverb....etc.....opens up the sample in ways you wouldnt have thought imaginable
Old 17th November 2013
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajno_S View Post
2 things i like to do:



2) when sampling i like to take me sample copy it onto 3-5 tracks....split each one into different different frequency ranges and then process each one differently....add chorus and auto pan to one, automate the volume of the next with a lil phaser, drown one in reverb....etc.....opens up the sample in ways you wouldnt have thought imaginable
How do you do this without getting a phasey sound? I've tried it and my stuff just doesn't sound that good..
Old 17th November 2013
  #76
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajno_S View Post
2 things i like to do:

1) if i have a 75% of a song, drums, bass, melody, some chords...but i feel its missing something i like to play the song hang and my head out my window (maybe smoke a cigarette/spliff)...my speakers would now be behind me so the song is in the background.... and see how the world around me interacts with my music.....it can be something as simple as a crane swinging, that rusty sound might not necessarily be the sound that i am looking for but it will definitely act as a catalyst to get my mind working in the right direction....also there have been many times that i could swear i heard birds singing along to my songs lol.

2) when sampling i like to take me sample copy it onto 3-5 tracks....split each one into different different frequency ranges and then process each one differently....add chorus and auto pan to one, automate the volume of the next with a lil phaser, drown one in reverb....etc.....opens up the sample in ways you wouldnt have thought imaginable
Smoke something? you sound like a fien.

Sent from my SCH-I415
Old 17th November 2013
  #77
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchGeist View Post
How do you do this without getting a phasey sound? I've tried it and my stuff just doesn't sound that good..
Because he was high and thought the birds were singing to his track.

Sent from my SCH-I415
Old 17th November 2013
  #78
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchGeist View Post
How do you do this without getting a phasey sound? I've tried it and my stuff just doesn't sound that good..
Lots of people do stuff like this these days mainly when they're somewhat new to it all, because it sounds like a good idea when thinking about it.

Their ears haven't quite learned phase yet, they may hear it but may not understand the implications.

You can't cheat time with any amount of knowledge, you can know everything but without the Matrix auto-upload sort of deal you can't instantly give your ears 5000 hours of critical listening experience. It's no ones fault and later on you go "oh that's why that sounds like that, woops".
Old 18th November 2013
  #79
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchGeist View Post
How do you do this without getting a phasey sound? I've tried it and my stuff just doesn't sound that good..
mainyl automation, panning, eq, mixing......i mean to be honest i probably do have a problem with phasing but i like the sound this technique creates.
example:

https://soundcloud.com/qbnblue/howcaniloveintro-73

bare in mind i might add, i am still trying to carve out my own lane, i guess you could call me a beginner, and dont know the whole "science" behind music.....so the sound i like, may be the sound that everyone is trying to avoid.

edit: yeh like everyone said, im relatively new to the intricacies behind making music
Old 18th November 2013
  #80
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdeezy View Post
Because he was high and thought the birds were singing to his track.

Sent from my SCH-I415
most def homey
Old 18th November 2013
  #81
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajno_S View Post
mainyl automation, panning, eq, mixing......i mean to be honest i probably do have a problem with phasing but i like the sound this technique creates.
example:

https://soundcloud.com/qbnblue/howcaniloveintro-73

bare in mind i might add, i am still trying to carve out my own lane, i guess you could call me a beginner, and dont know the whole "science" behind music.....so the sound i like, may be the sound that everyone is trying to avoid.

edit: yeh like everyone said, im relatively new to the intricacies behind making music
Just keep making crap and doing crap and all the intricacies reveal themselves, in my opinion you're doing exactly the right thing

One mistake is worth a hundred lame YouTube tutorials

You can know all the science and still be basically worthless at actualizing it.

Here's a lame analogy for you, if you had to go into a shootout with one of the following which would you choose:

A. A guy who knew every single aspect of how a firearm works, the physics, mechanics, knew every component of every gun in the world but only actually shoots once a year

Or

B. a guy who knows only the absolute basics of using a gun, loading it, aiming, etc, but who goes shooting every day for 3 hours a day.

I want B.

Mistakes are king make as many as you possibly can, do whatever the fvck you want, try every single thing you ever think of, it'll help a lot

Just DO DO DO
Old 18th November 2013
  #82
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Well, there is a Dave Pensado tutorial going over the technique of splitting a sample into 3-5 different frequency bands and processing them differently, and his example sounded good. I just don't know how often this technique could work say for example in a busy mix.
Old 18th November 2013
  #83
Old 18th November 2013
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchGeist View Post
thanks for this....i stand by my view of splitting samples over different tracks...though i may not have taken phasing into account, i know somehow it is possible.......i will definitely watch this video.

and @Aktuator
thanks for the constructive reply
Old 19th November 2013
  #85
Gear Head
 
Johan Lopez's Avatar
 

Repetition makes people better.
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Old 20th November 2013
  #86
Gear Head
 

Don't think just do.... every composition i've ever created... and where talking the tens of thousands... have all happened in there own strange organic way.. sounds corny but its like a snowflake.. so my most productive times is when i'm not trying to sound like this or out do that.. i'm just quickly adding pieces to a complex audio puzzle!
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