Getting Better

IXM

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I wonder how to get up the stairs as soon as possible. Now working in a DAW, I definitely miss the techniques that made the song more interesting. The drums are steady, the leads are straight with no depth. The structure of the piece is very clichéd, I do a lot of things with my untrained ear. If today you were a person with a basic understanding of DAW operation, how would you most efficiently use your time to get to the next level? Would you produce a lot at low quality? would you focus on individual elements and bring them to perfection? Or maybe you have any other suggestions?
 

Gagi

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Hm, interesting question. I only regret I didn't finish tracks, regardless of their quality. Would've definitely learned more about mixing. Otherwise, progress requires time and effort. No going around it.
 
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jetflag

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Would you produce a lot at low quality?
yes, and I have.
would you focus on individual elements and bring them to perfection?
yes, and I have.

these are both good ways in combo to work yourself up in music production to the next level. Music production is a multi-talented field. Practice & lots of time/efford invested in multible aspect of the field (songwriting/ working out technical details/ sounddesign etc.) will over time generate pathways in your brain to not only make you do them quicker, but better.

and in addition to @Gagi 's comment. Train yourself to finish stuff. even if you think its crappy. it will, at the very least. give you material to work up to perfection post hoc.
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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I like to get one thing right, and move forward. For me, its usually a kick drum and I do spend a good time on it. Its never just a sample.
 
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IXM

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I like to get one thing right, and move forward. For me, its usually a kick drum and I do spend a good time on it. Its never just a sample.

what plugins do you use to edit the kick?

so far I only use the equalizer, sometimes transient designer. | But I know that editing in some kick plugins gives you unlimited possibilities
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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what plugins do you use to edit the kick?

so far I only use the equalizer, sometimes transient designer. | But I know that editing in some kick plugins gives you unlimited possibilities
I make my kick in a software called metrum. It has to be the best kick making software I have used.
 
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delphion

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topic is efficient use of time in production and youre talking about making your own kicks :D i honestly think thats just WASTING time not saving it, lol just use one of those 100 000 kicks already available like everyone else, then just fine tune it, i just eq heavily from bottom and top and thats it, contol tale ofc. Then just make bassline that you like, add lfotool with eq so it only cuts lows that intefere with kicks, about 120-300hz until you start to hear it, add more basses to fill gaps for mid and high bass etc and and thats it your bass mixing is pretty much done done. remember cut lows under 30 and mono under 120 i usually do, Then put +3db on your kick after mixing the bass in its always too loud hehe

So I think most important is to first learn to make a good mix fast. Then you can go more experimental more easily and production doesnt feel like work but more making music
 
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jetflag

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topic is efficient use of time in production and youre talking about making your own kicks :D i honestly think thats just WASTING time not saving it, lol just use one of those 100 000 kicks already available like everyone else, then just fine tune it, i just eq heavily from bottom and top and thats it, contol tale ofc. Then just make bassline that you like, add lfotool with eq so it only cuts lows that intefere with kicks, about 120-300hz until you start to hear it, add more basses to fill gaps for mid and high bass etc and and thats it your bass mixing is pretty much done done. remember cut lows under 30 and mono under 120 i usually do, Then put +3db on your kick after mixing the bass in its always too loud hehe

So I think most important is to first learn to make a good mix fast. Then you can go more experimental more easily and production doesnt feel like work but more making music
dunno man, skimming through 100 000 kicks to find the right one seems a hell of lot more timewastefull then tweaking a few knobs in an editor.
 

delphion

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dunno man, skimming through 100 000 kicks to find the right one seems a hell of lot more timewastefull then tweaking a few knobs in an editor.
Takes couple minutes for trained ear to fine the right one! Its amazing how quickly you can go trough samples ha
 
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jetflag

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Takes couple minutes for trained ear to fine the right one! Its amazing how quickly you can go trough samples ha
In the initial phases i agree. But believe that more tweak options down the line and in the final mixdown phase are a blessing rather then a nuisance in terms of time saving
 
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IXM

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In the initial phases i agree. But believe that more tweak options down the line and in the final mixdown phase are a blessing rather then a nuisance in terms of time saving

I don't want to create samples. There is so much to know ...


every topic I would like to explore in production turns out to be an ocean
 

jetflag

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I don't want to create samples. There is so much to know ...


every topic I would like to explore in production turns out to be an ocean
its a bit like a synth. you can use/download presets, but you also have far more post-hoc editing options.

as for complexity, yes. there's a whole librairy to read uppon say: compression. but its a bit like martial arts. Its better to get the basics really well, then the advanced stuff really basic.
 
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IXM

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its a bit like a synth. you can use/download presets, but you also have far more post-hoc editing options.

as for complexity, yes. there's a whole librairy to read uppon say: compression. but its a bit like martial arts. Its better to get the basics really well, then the advanced stuff really basic.

there are priorities, today where to start, but most of all I want to be myself and create


I am missing a lot of regrets that I can not show you myself, but maybe someday
 
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jetflag

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most of all I want to be myself and create
I can't give you any other advice on that other then, go for it.

at the end of the line, there is no "right" formula to make music ;)
 
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LostLegend

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Shouldn't this be in the Producers forum? ;)

If we're talking about a speedier workflow, then obviously learning your DAW inside out, all the keyboard shortcuts that you use the most is a good start.

Perhaps taking the time to set up a couple of templates for yourself could help you get ideas out quickly.
I watch a fair few other producers on YouTube to see how they work, what techniques they are using etc. and one of my favorites is 'Disclosure'
What struck me the most was how fast Guy Lawrence can get ideas out into new tracks. Most of that is due to his template he has set up for himself. It's over 80 channels worth of various drum kits, his favorite synths, premade vocal chains, external synth channels, Ableton rewire, white noise/vinyl crackle samples and some sidechain options. This means he and Howard can get ideas out very quickly with these placeholders, before refining everything later.


Watch from around the 40 min mark and see how much of the track they get done in the next hour. It's absolute madness how good the track sounds in so little time and most of that is due to having everything set up in such a way that they can get ideas down very quickly.

My own blank template is much more modest (Click for bigger):



A Loopcloud channel, Sidechain controller, a blank audio track for dragging samples/acapellas on, the Kick channel has a Drum rack with around 10 kicks I really like, a bass buss with a couple of different sub patches and a basic pluck mid bass followed by a selection of basic synths, pads and piano. I've also set up a few different return channels with various reverbs with long and short decay settings and a drum room reverb.
Everything in there has been volume balanced and gain staged (roughly).
Most of it is place holder, basic sounds that I can replace later, but this allows me to get ideas out very quickly without having to fiddle around setting everything up.
 
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Gagi

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Yeah completely missed that, it's moved now. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

As far as templates go, I really dedicated a couple of days to creating an all-encompassing template. Colour-coded, properly named, mixer-routed and all the bells and whistles. Turned out it was pretty much a pointless hassle, didn't help me at all. For getting your ideas out quickly, what helped me was organizing my plugins by type (additionally by vendor) and knowing what's where in my sample and preset packs. That way I can quickly drag & drop pretty much what I want, and in searching I sometimes find inspiration which sometimes takes the production in a different direction.
 
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