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Old 30-06-2014, 04:14 PM   #21
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

To add on to what was said, I understand what you're trying to get at Neal Rame, but I also agree with what RFJ and the others are saying in response to it.

A suggestion if you will, try grabbing that same "reference track" you're talking about and dropping it on an audio track with a spectrum analyzer in your DAW (make sure you have a spectrum analyzer for your track as well). From there solo between the reference track and your track, carefully looking at the differences in the spectrum analyzer during different parts of the song.

This might give you a better idea of what your track may be lacking or over compensating for in comparison to the pro track. Well it's helped me at least, so figured I'd pass on the idea to you.

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Old 30-06-2014, 04:19 PM   #22
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

What is with all this "looking"? It is audio! You listen to it!

All joking aside you really shouldn't trust your eyes on issues like how much high or low end a track has compared to yours.
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Old 30-06-2014, 05:26 PM   #23
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Re: Whats the best production tip you've learned/discovered so far?

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
Being a musician first and an audio engineer second.
this could be the most important one.

At first I just focused on the music, then I realized how my mixes had huge flaws. Then I focused on production quality for a loooong time. Now I'm trying to forget all of that and just make music. If the musicality is excellent.. people will likely dig it, and you can always refine the production towards the end of the process.
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Old 30-06-2014, 05:32 PM   #24
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Re: Whats the best production tip you've learned/discovered so far?

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Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post
this could be the most important one.

At first I just focused on the music, then I realized how my mixes had huge flaws. Then I focused on production quality for a loooong time. Now I'm trying to forget all of that and just make music. If the musicality is excellent.. people will likely dig it, and you can always refine the production towards the end of the process.
I went into this mess wanting to make dancefloor ready DnB (whatever that means exactly)...everything I read on DOA lead me to believe that the mix was the most important thing. I spent years reading about and learning that stuff. For years I wondered why I had lame tunes. I didn't know shit about song writing, music theory, arrangement etc. I just kept making tunes that weren't that exciting.

It has only been recently I started to care a lot about all the things I just mentioned. The mix is important, but if you tune is musically boring or it just doesn't work rhythmically or harmonically what is the point of even bothering to fine tune the mix? Why polish turds?

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Old 30-06-2014, 05:41 PM   #25
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Re: Whats the best production tip you've learned/discovered so far?

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
I went into this mess wanting to make dancefloor ready DnB (whatever that means exactly)...everything I read on DOA lead me to believe that the mix was the most important thing. I spent years reading about and learning that stuff. For years I wondered why I had lame tunes. I didn't know shit about song writing, music theory, arrangement etc. I just kept making tunes that weren't that exciting.

It has only been recently I started to care a lot about all the things I just mentioned. The mix is important, but if you tune is musically boring or it just doesn't work rhythmically or harmonically what is the point of even bothering to fine tune the mix? Why polish turds?
lol.. fucking DOA

same fucking thing here. I remember when I was starting, reading all those goofy threads.. "If you want your break to sound good you have to layer 7 breaks together each with different effects chains and bounce them down and start over again layering 7 more breaks with the resampled one. Do this 12 times and your break will sound wicked init. Oh yea and don't use fruity loops m8 the sound engine is shite!"

I did learn to make some good textures that way, but I thought that this type of approach is mandatory. It took me watching my friends starting to make electronic music and not knowing anything yet being able to craft decent mixes just intuitively to realize that you can actually get a decent mix relatively easily.. It's mostly about sound selection and setting levels! That's %75.. then eq is maybe %15, then everything else is the rest.
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Old 30-06-2014, 05:42 PM   #26
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

One of the best things I've learned for getting a good mix is simply don't over process things. Only eq where you need to, don't compress too much unless it's beneficial to the sound you're trying to achieve. And so on for everything, including layers and tracks in a project.
Simply put, less is more
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Old 30-06-2014, 05:53 PM   #27
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Re: Whats the best production tip you've learned/discovered so far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post
DOA

same fucking thing here. I remember when I was starting, reading all those goofy threads.. "If you want your break to sound good you have to layer 7 breaks together each with different effects chains and bounce them down and start over again layering 7 more breaks with the resampled one. Do this 12 times and your break will sound wicked init. Oh yea and don't use fruity loops m8 the sound engine is shite!"
This is what I remember as well. Haha. I thought they were having a laugh. But some of that nonsense netted results! Haha. At least with mad Reese rinse bass.

Your post reminded me of the update of the FL sound engine from 8 to 9 and how it blew my mind. Haha.
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Old 30-06-2014, 07:32 PM   #28
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benwaa View Post
One of the best things I've learned for getting a good mix is simply don't over process things. Only eq where you need to, don't compress too much unless it's beneficial to the sound you're trying to achieve. And so on for everything, including layers and tracks in a project.
Simply put, less is more
I recently opened one of my old tracks. Compression. Compression everywhere. Compression on simple square waves that have no dynamics in and of themselves. Ugh. Why.

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Old 30-06-2014, 11:25 PM   #29
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

I liked learning that a DAW is like an instrument in itself.. more of a realization than a tip.
Something i do a lot of is bouncing/re-sampling.. Audio is elastic. Sample yourself.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:00 AM   #30
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Follow your instincts, try stuff and judge for yourself if it sounds 'right' or 'wrong'. It's helpful to read up on general practices, to learn the rules of engineering music, but dare to forget them completely too.
So follow your instincts and make music you like.

A bit similar to what relic said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
Being a musician first and an audio engineer second.
Make music, don't engineer sound.

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Old 01-07-2014, 04:29 PM   #31
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benwaa View Post
One of the best things I've learned for getting a good mix is simply don't over process things. Only eq where you need to, don't compress too much unless it's beneficial to the sound you're trying to achieve. And so on for everything, including layers and tracks in a project.
Simply put, less is more
In response to what everyone has been saying, musicality is definitely the most important thing to understand hands down, not gonna argue that for even a second. Took me forever to realize that having 975957589 different layers and throwing on plugin after plugin wouldn't magically make my song better.

However, knowing how to engineer sound is a very close second in importance and shouldn't be overshadowed by musicality either. Take deadmau5 for example. Some of his most popular songs are composed of only a handful of layers (not to say he doesn't have a good number of complex tracks as well). But what makes his music so successful is how he engineers it. Every sound has it's place and stands out just like it should, and he's even said something similar to what Benwaa said in the past.
"Don't over-egg the pudding" were his exact words I believe, and it's true. Just let the music come naturally and try not to obsess over the "perfect mixdown" (a battle I sometimes still struggle with haha).

Last edited by Cylotic; 01-07-2014 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:49 PM   #32
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

In a recent class I heard a tip that was pretty cool. The tip is to use an app that measures db's and to use that to measure the sounds around you so you can get a good idea of how loud things are in your environment and use that to relate to your mixing. Also going along with that, always mix at the same volume because when you turn the volume up and down you are changing what you hear.

Loudness is relative, just like in a quiet room you will hear and notice subtle things, keep that in mind when you make music. The louder the background is the less you will hear.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:34 PM   #33
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

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Originally Posted by Muse-ic View Post
Loudness is relative..
Like a whisper in the dead of night ..
Album title right there.

Very true, loudness is relative and our surroundings are getting louder.

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Old 02-07-2014, 01:44 AM   #34
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Less is more, filtering and everything having its place.
Some of the best advice I have ever heard.

Learning more about how an orchestra works improved my song writing and mixing so much.

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Old 02-07-2014, 07:06 AM   #35
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Don't use resonance on every synth sound. I'm still struggeling with this rule

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Old 02-07-2014, 08:07 AM   #36
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

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Don't use resonance on every synth sound. I'm still struggeling with this rule
BURN THE HERETIC!

...well yeh, ok

Some of the random things I learned. There's some bias here too and some others have posted...

Super top analogue tip: In an analogue synth often the best use of resonance (*not* always - no rule us ever absolute except to formula-monkeys) directly relates to the decay levels on amp and filter envelopes. Offsetting the decay levels of your amp and filter envelopes and choosing the right amount of resonance gives the sexiest squidges ever. It varies depending on the sound you're going for. Seriously, make sure the amp and filter decays are slightly offset.

Always be Batman.

EQ out everything below 60Hkz by default unless making a conscious decision its needed for a sound.

If reverb has its own built in EQ, be ruthless with the frequency range so that it matches the sound I'm using EVEN if i'm post EQ'ing the sound within the DAW anyway. There are subtle differences in how the sound ends up.

Don't put reverb on bass drums. Unless I want to. And oh lawdy I want to.

Limiters = Kryptonite. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Until its time to use them. Get my sound sources as loud as possible without using any FX or clipping/distortion etc, then reduce the volume on the console. This sounds obvious. Still worth mentioning. I hardly ever use limiters on anything at all. To me they'll always be the last resort if I can't sort out the loudness of a sound in any other way. Yeh yeh, do the sharp intake of breath thing, I know they are the default tool for certain breeds of music. Not for me.

If I'm shouting to hit notes, that note is out of my range, time to weep and do something else. This is why all my tunes are middle C only and have no other notes.

Practice is overrated*

Mix as quietly as comfortable where I can still hear all the components. My ears are my most important mixing tool and I want them to last a long time. I crank it up from time to time for fun and to check stuff, but generally I keep it down.

Do not allow Beagles in the recording area. I cannot overstate this. On a related note, do not keep food in the recording area

When I'm not feeling creative, I do something else. This is usually when I learn most of my noodling techniques by faffing around 'just to see'.

Regular bowel activity is important for a healthy body. And its good to catch up on the manuals that I can't be bothered with at other times.

Everything I do is awesome. Until the next morning. I try not to post up tracks publicly until at least a week later. Less chance of epic shame.

Start a mix quietly. I find -18 is a good default place to have those sliders to start with. I recall reading that Benwaa starts at -16. The exact number doesn't matter, its the principle that is important. Its much easier to mix stuff louder later than find I've got 30 tracks to mix and I'm not sure how to easily get it back under control.



*by stupid people.

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Old 02-07-2014, 09:41 AM   #37
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Some of the best tips I can think of right now:
  • Subtraction and division before addition and multiplication.
  • If you want to make it louder, start by turning everything down. My default project templates have all track gains set to -12 dB and I treat -12dB as unity gain. If a track gain is getting above -6dB then I switch to turning everything else down. Then when it comes to mixing down, I start with all of the faders at infinite gain and pushing the faders up, instead of starting at 0 and pushing the faders down. Feels more real that way.
  • When compressing, set the threshold to minimum to hear what the compressor is doing. When you're happy with the shape of the gain reduction, turn the threshold up until you can't hear the compressor and you're set.
  • And also on compression, never use make up gain.
  • To give breath to your mix, bus everything to a short reverb (0.35 to 2.0 seconds) at varying levels depending on how far back you want things to sit in the mix.
  • Also on reverb, pre-delay is the time it takes for the reverberation to travel from the point of reflection to the listening point. If a reverberation has a pre-delay > 0.10 seconds the listener does not perceive the reverb as separate to the source as the reverberation arrives at the listening point at the same time. To create a sense of space setting a longer pre-delay is more effective than a longer reverb time. 0.35 - 0.45 seconds is approximately a small to medium room. 1 second plus is a cathedral etc. And if you are using a longer reverb time, a longer pre-delay will make it sound more natural.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Rame View Post
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for example, take these 2 waveforms, top is my track, bottom is pro track, something I'm doing is clearly wrong? Even though the pro track has similar risers/fade ins/filters ins etc?...

The difference is in the dynamics processing. You can see in the top track that the transients are much higher in relation to the body of the sound. The result is that the bottom track has a higher RMS amplitude as evidenced by the light blue section of the waveform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Rame View Post
The peaks in the pro track are more or less symmetrical, whereas mine are all over the place, more often than not way more to the positive than to negative, giving way less headroom to fool around in.
It's not so much that the peaks are symmetrical, more that the transients have been limited which allows for the overall gain of the track to be increased. If you look at the RMS value, the range between the high energy and low energy sections of the second waveform is actually more dynamic than in the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Rame View Post
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: while I do agree mastering "improves" the way things look/sound, I doubt it improves _so_ much to be so apparent when looking at waveforms. After all, isn't mastering just some finishing touches to the track?
Actually, yes it does. Consider that a mastering engineer would ask for your track rendered to peak at -6dB FS and will most likely provide you with a master that's peaking at -0.2dB FS (6/3 dB FS/SPL = double the power), that's a massive change. Before they even get to pushing the gain up, the engineer will be compressing the track and limiting its attack transients.

And you can see that when you compare waveform 1 to waveform 2. The RMS value on the second track is much higher. And you're right about your track, if it's properly mixed and has a good gain structure and you gave it to a mastering engineer, you could expect to see a similar waveform in the master they provide you with.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:49 AM   #38
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

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Some of the best tips I can think of right now:
[*]And also on compression, never use make up gain.
Why is that? You mean auto make-up I suppose?

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Old 02-07-2014, 10:19 AM   #39
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

Use the fucking stereo field.
And use it properly!

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Old 02-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #40
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Re: What's the best production tip(s) you've learned/discovered so far?

QUESTION everything that other people say. Look for at least couple sources for any advice before blindly believing someone in any production related things.

Learn something new everyday, read tutorials etc

That being said, stop reading those f*cking tutorials and get to work !

Google is your best friend.

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