Great Advice and Tips Thread

From scales and semitones to pentatonics and cadence patterns. It's all about the science behind the expression, here.

Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Fl Brony » 24 Mar 2014 08:02

Learn your DAW and VSTs, play with things. Make some dumb songs if you need to, just mess with everything.

Also-
NO DAW IS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER, DON'T BE AN ELITIST ABOUT IT.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Mr. Bigglesworth » 15 Apr 2014 21:03

^ always change things up a little but I wouldn't do it all at once. Ease yourself outta the comfort zone, there's no need to rush c:
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Stuntddude » 20 Apr 2014 18:14

FLAOFEI wrote:If somebody gives you advice, ask why, and test what happens if you do the exact opposite!

This, this, a million times this! There's no way to lose if you immediately and deliberately disregard the advice you recieve - either you'll get a better understanding of why it's a bad idea, or you'll actually find a really cool sound on accident while doing it, and it can save you from spending a long time blindly following advice that turns out to be bad or unproductive. Making music is foremost a personal journey of discovering what sounds good and why, and how to use that for yourself. I have yet to find any supposed rule of making music that is not better taken as a suggestion or a guideline, and the most likely outcome of strictly following any set of rules for making music is that everything you make will sound extremely generic and not enjoyable (see: a lot of EDM, rock, and classical/pre-classical music).

As for a suggestion from myself, one thing I've found helpful is, anytime you're sitting back down to work on a song after not hearing it for a while, listen to it all the way through once or twice and make a list of things that sound "off" as you're listening. Most of these things will sound normal again after a few times listening through, so it's important to take note of them while you're still listening with somewhat of a fresh perspective, because other people listening to your music will likely notice them, even if you don't.

EDIT: Oh, and twist knobs. Always twist knobs. Especially ones that you don't know what they do.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Acsii » 11 May 2014 05:21

eery wrote:Compression is one of your most important mixing and mastering tools. I'm all for dynamic range, but by not doing compression, you're just missing out.

Exactly, Compression helps you to give an instrument a new sound or make existing sounds from it sound better, like a snare.

My advice: When recording make sure everything is at an average of -15dB. I find this a good level because for mixing it's not too low and not too high. This may mean you need to adjust levels halfway through recording and record again. As I always say "It's best fixing something at the source"
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Fl Brony » 12 May 2014 07:50

Keep I. Contact with people who your collabing with, if you don't the whole thing will fall apart.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Pulse Wave » 18 May 2014 03:13

Acsii wrote:
eery wrote:Compression is one of your most important mixing and mastering tools. I'm all for dynamic range, but by not doing compression, you're just missing out.

Exactly, Compression helps you to give an instrument a new sound or make existing sounds from it sound better, like a snare.

My advice: When recording make sure everything is at an average of -15dB. I find this a good level because for mixing it's not too low and not too high. This may mean you need to adjust levels halfway through recording and record again. As I always say "It's best fixing something at the source"

Both depends on what you want to make and how you work.

Compression, for example – master compression in particular – wasn't a means of sound design before the 1990s. In the 80s, for example, the expander was more popular, especially as a gate used to put gated reverb on certain drums (or on all drums if your name was Phil Collins).

And if you're using hardware synths, record them as loud as you can live with without clipping/distortion. Crank the sounds up all the way, and then crank your synths up as far as you can as long as the inputs of your interface don't clip. The louder you run something over an analogue signal path, the higher is the signal-to-noise ratio: No matter how loud your sounds are, your synth always produces noise at the same level on its analogue outputs (unless you've got noisy FX in that thing, but even then there's some basic noise). And the A/D converters of your audio interface always produce a wee bit of noise, too, which doesn't depend on the incoming signal.

It doesn't matter whether the volumes match or not. You can still adjust them when doing the final mix.

This doesn't apply to a 100% digital signal path, of course. However, the louder signals are, the more use they make of the available bit rate.
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Stuff I learned

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 06 Jun 2014 19:07

I relied on stuff like this to enhance my skills...so I feel obligated.
1. High pass of 20hz, Low pass of 2500. This is good for clipping
2. If the track isn't exact tempo to beat ratio: You can do a 5 db no-fade auto duck with the drums on bottom to help sync a little.
3. Drums Drums Drums....Recording 2 or 3 drum tracks off the sound card using a VST such as drum Burst with the "Wasapi" option, and cutting them in later is what I do. If you really want to do the midi work well...that's for you to decide.
4. A touch of realism such as an acoustic intrument in your track *even if it's recorded using your lame computer mic, can help things out alot. It's very liberating, and with proper use of noise removal, and a pinch of leveler.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Stuntddude » 07 Jun 2014 01:54

Regarding drums,
1. program your own percussion lines
2. program your own percussion lines
3. if you're going to use pre-made drum loops unironically, chop and glitch and reconfigure them all to hell
4. seriously, nobody wants to hear generic premade loops
5. don't use kick snare kick snare or four-on-the-floor or default drums unironically
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 07 Jun 2014 02:04

whoa whoa, Drum burst, Hammerhead, atlas? requires you to pick out the sounds, adjust tone, pitch, decay, and attack. It's a version of the tr909 basically with more features...and doing multiple tracks is still work. Midi isn't everything...although it seems to be...with live dubbing those things I listed have came in handy for me, but I see maybe I'm out of my element here...To what extent can you go using electronic drums...other then banging on a real drum-set? Enlighten me...
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby eery » 07 Jun 2014 10:24

Stuntddude wrote:Regarding drums,
1. program your own percussion lines
2. program your own percussion lines
3. if you're going to use pre-made drum loops unironically, chop and glitch and reconfigure them all to hell
4. seriously, nobody wants to hear generic premade loops
5. don't use kick snare kick snare or four-on-the-floor or default drums unironically


How bout this?
Dont overcomplicate stuff just to feel like a "real" producer.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby FLAOFEI » 07 Jun 2014 18:45

How about this: Don't be lazy?
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Stuntddude » 07 Jun 2014 21:11

RCYouKnowMe wrote:To what extent can you go using electronic drums...other then banging on a real drum-set? Enlighten me...

I'm not sure I know what you're saying/asking. Could you rephrase it, maybe?

eery wrote:Dont overcomplicate stuff just to feel like a "real" producer.

Duly noted and agreed, although as far as I can tell it isn't relevant to what you quoted.
Unless you're saying programming your own drum lines is "overcomplicating stuff," in which case, I can't say I follow...
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 07 Jun 2014 21:55

...I don't think you guys are aware that techno music actually usedto be like... ten times easier when it was analogue. I was shocked to: but you know all that 90's techno...wellll they prettymuch were lazy compared to the everyday DAW producer using tons and tons of effects, and many many hours to put together midi's...nah they got in a group of two or three: One person worked the drum machine, one the sequencer, and the other the synth, and maybe some vocals...and that was that, but I see things have changed, so I was wondering what you meant by "Programming" Like...do you mean making the sounds from scratch? then running them through a sequence?
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby DJGaugen » 07 Jun 2014 22:18

eery wrote:
Stuntddude wrote:Regarding drums,
1. program your own percussion lines
2. program your own percussion lines
3. if you're going to use pre-made drum loops unironically, chop and glitch and reconfigure them all to hell
4. seriously, nobody wants to hear generic premade loops
5. don't use kick snare kick snare or four-on-the-floor or default drums unironically


How bout this?
Dont overcomplicate stuff just to feel like a "real" producer.


But that's not over-complicated at all, and I would think that most people would agree with Stunt.

I got some tips though:

- Reverse engineering is the way to go, if you're entering sound design (specifically synth design). Can't figure out how to make that neat crunchy bass? Download one that's similar, and take it apart. Repeat until you know enough to make your own without referencing someone else's.

- Pads are delicious.

- Don't be me.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby FLAOFEI » 07 Jun 2014 22:49

@RC I think what stunt dude was saying is: Don't just copy paste a drumloop you found somewhere. Be original and maske it your self. What you use to create it is less important, it can be a drummer, a drum mashie or samples or whatever.

But people wherent lazy in the 90s. They might have made simpler music, but that might have been the sound they where looking for. And that's what eery said, don't let quality suffer just cause you think it needs to be complicated. Things can be simple and beautiful.

Also, because of your reaction, I think you might want to concider some earlier advice i this thread: If someone tells you not to do something, try it and see why it's so bad. You might find a way around the problem, or you may find it makes a sound you like.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Stuntddude » 07 Jun 2014 23:32

RCYouKnowMe wrote:I was wondering what you meant by "Programming" Like...do you mean making the sounds from scratch? then running them through a sequence?

No, I only mean writing/sequencing your own drum parts and making your own patterns, as opposed to just slapping in a pre-made drum loop and calling it good. I don't mean making drum samples from scratch, although that can be a lot of fun imo. Sorry for the ambiguity!

Also, to be clear, my issue with slapping in ready-made loops isn't that it represents a lack of effort so much as that it almost always results in music that's not nearly as good as what it could be, because premade loops are almost never going to fit with the song nearly as well as something you've designed yourself. There are a lot of ways to do that, obviously - recording/synthesizing your own drums, sequencing custom patterns from machines or samples, using various forms of processing to create new sounds out of existing samples, chopping up and reconfiguring existing loops, etc. But you're almost never going to find a premade loops that works as well in the song as what you could make yourself. In my experience, when a piece of music has effort put into the percussion, it really shines through.

FLAOFEI wrote:And that's what eery said, don't let quality suffer just cause you think it needs to be complicated. Things can be simple and beautiful.

Agreed - I'm pretty big into minimalist stuff, and I don't mean to imply that music should necessarily be complex or over-engineered. I'm just saying that it's generally best to design each piece of a song of your own make to build upon and cohere with the other pieces, rather than trying to fit together a song out of other people's premade pieces. That is to say that music should be considered as a sculpture rather than a jigsaw puzzle.

Sorry for the super long and preachy post!
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby eery » 07 Jun 2014 23:42

eery wrote:Dont overcomplicate stuff just to feel like a "real" producer.

Duly noted and agreed, although as far as I can tell it isn't relevant to what you quoted.
Unless you're saying programming your own drum lines is "overcomplicating stuff," in which case, I can't say I follow...


Moreso the thing about kick-snare-kick-snare
Using a shakerloop for instance, its just stupid to chop that up for instance. If it sounds good as it is, and if thats the aestetic you wanna go for, theres no reason to breakcore it or whatever. Just that it seems pointless to have it in mind that "Oh, I cant keep it like this because its just the loop" and more so thinking "I could do this to the loop to make it more intresting."
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby FLAOFEI » 08 Jun 2014 03:08

eery wrote: theres no reason to breakcore it or whatever.

There is always reason to breakcore it.

But yeah, you can use some loops, but the piont is that a pre made loop will almost never be exactly what you need. Even shakers, it may seam like such a simple instrument that you don't need to edit the loop, but you can't just ignore it of the loop puts accents on the beat when you want them off beat.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 08 Jun 2014 18:06

I read it all: Yeah I agree, you win, yep.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Stuntddude » 09 Jun 2014 23:06

Sure but the shaker loop is 99% sure not going to be your only percussion going on for any length of time, and if it doesn't sound just right, then one shouldn't hesitate to chop and reconfigure

Also, editing a loop =/= breakcore, at least that's not what I was trying to say. Just some EQing and a simple reconfigure can be enough to make a generic loop sound genuinely interesting.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 10 Jun 2014 17:12

yes, agreed stuntdude. hey, I have a question: ummmm,,, have you ever just like totally went crazy on a track just like- whatever, and then reform it from there... or do you think it over weeks and stuff.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby FLAOFEI » 11 Jun 2014 04:38

Lol, going crazy on tracks is basically all I do!
Don't think this os the right thread for that though.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby RCYouKnowMe » 13 Jun 2014 13:40

...I think it's relevant considering you can go a few ways of making a track. You can just go crazy, sort it out later...or you can meticulously do every, deliberate, note, or on one part of the track you can spend lots of time on, and the next is freeform. I think it's good to experiment. You might come up with new noise you've never expected. Then again a pre-meditated track has the advantage of...well you know some people can't come up with things on the fly so they haveto think about it. I think it happens sometimes. I've spent days just thinking about a track, and then there are ones wiht just minutes. Neither necessarily sounds better, just different points of inspiration.
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Re: Great Advice and Tips Thread

Postby Mr. Bigglesworth » 21 Jun 2014 03:30

RCYouKnowMe wrote:yes, agreed stuntdude. hey, I have a question: ummmm,,, have you ever just like totally went crazy on a track just like- whatever, and then reform it from there... or do you think it over weeks and stuff.

I don't go crazy as much as I just start from scratch and come up with a concept on the spot. I can premeditate melodies and stuff, but it's counterproductive for me because I get caught up trying to make it the exact way I thought it up and end up scrapping it. It suits me better to just go in blind with no expectations.
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