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Thread: Producer tips

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    Wink Producer tips

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    Hi all

    Just here to give some producer tips on the process I follow to create a track and get the overall sound correct. Many years I’ve struggled with my productions and it was kinda depressing at a point, not getting the sound right, building loop after loop and then abandon it. In the end I got it right so want to share what my mistakes was, why and what I did to fix it.

    TIP 1: Room treatment

    I cannot stress enough how important this aspect is, however if you are in a situation where you cannot afford it, don’t worry. If you do not have a well-treated room, go to the next best thing. Studio headphones. Many producers run out and buy Studio monitors, yet they don’t consider the room acoustics. Why is this a problem? Even though you have great monitors does not mean you will get the correct results. Sure the monitors will give you the nice flat response but your untreated room will amplify certain frequencies in the spectrum, which in turn will contribute to wrong decisions and adjustments. What I am suggesting is that you create the track from start to finish using headphones, and then you switch between headphones and monitors / or other reference systems in the mixing/mastering process.

    TIP 2: DB Meters

    Yes, they are there for a reason, but can completely fool you as well. I spend years unmixing a track because I was obsessed with getting the DB levels, visually right / close to each other. I even went as far as putting a limiter on each channel, giving it a -12db ceiling and push the sound until I see a little bit of kick back. My point was that if all the DB levels are leveled then .. umm the mix should be leveled. LOL. The thing is you do get some kind of solid/leveled overall sound with this method, which sounds ok, but together with the thought, something is wrong here. If you want, you can see why this does not work, playing a kick together with white noise both on -12 db. White noise will be much louder.

    DB Meter is a tool you use in the mixing stage to check if there aren’t any crazy differences between the channels. Many times, the presence of some loud sub frequencies can influence DB levels so if you find big differences in let’s say the bass bus and the rest, go investigate it with a frequency analyzer. Before the mixing stage you leave them meters alone. Don’t even look at them.
    When I compose in Ableton I only work in Arrangement view and do not even go to session view when I create the track. This is nice, cause it takes the visual DB levels away and so I am forced to adjust volume by ear alone, obviously giving the best results.

    TIP 3: Processing (EQ and Compression)

    This is the most important point of all. This can damage your mix from the start if you don’t know what you are doing and can cause the whole track to down spiral as you create it. Let’s make an example. You open a new project and start with choosing a nice kick sample. You listen to it for a while, then throw an EQ on it and cut some mid frequencies you don’t like. Then add a compressor and get some db reduction. What is the problem here? Well the problem is that you know have a processed kickdrum in isolation. So, your first building block is a processed sample. As you start adding other sounds to it your ears will lean more towards the processed signal you are hearing, ending with you processing every sample to fit the processed kickdrum. You do not have a natural reference point anymore. This is what I meant with spiraling down, cause processing wants more processing wants more processing, to get it sounding right, however you are not going to get it sounding right, cause you are moving deeper into the hole.
    The solution here is simple. Build up the track without any EQ, compression or any processing, until it’s finished. As you compose only use volume, reverb, delays, phasers/chorus effects. If you have some lead sounds with a bunch of low-end, then rather consider changing the octave up higher or changing the sound. Most of the time we don’t want to put a sound into an environment where it is not comfortable/forcing it to be something else.

    If you feel that you do want to cut all the low-end information out of the rest of the sounds, then rather use a basic high pass filter plugin. Start cutting the low end slowly while listening, not watching the analyzer, until you hear the audible sound (mid-range) start to change. Then push it back a bit and move on. Here we do not want to filter out the audible sound, only the low-end frequencies (20hz-100hz/150hz)

    Then after you have created the track and have a rough mix, then we switch over to the mixing stage. Here, instead of jumping in and EQ’ing everything, listen and ask, where is EQ needed. Do compression mostly on busses and in the end, on the master channel. Not on every sound. The main question always is, where is it needed.
    By following this you will end up with better sounding music, because of the main point here. Keeping sounds mostly in their natural form.

    Last edited by X on Q; 05-10-2019 at 01:47 AM.

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