Lorn reacted to Matt Freak Flag in Newbie producer looking for advice
Welcome to the forum
I'm actually pretty similar to you musically. While I don't care for trap, my live set right now ranges from downtempo breaks and psybient-infused trip-hop to midtempo glitchy funk. I also chose Logic for production, though I still have to hack my way through Ableton (slowly) for performing. I also use a guitar a lot, too: for my chill sets, mostly on soundscapes dripping with reverb; for, the dancier stuff, it's all about that clean 70s Strat spank.
You've got awesome gear already - top notch albums have been made with far less, so don't let anyone tell you you need this or that flavor-of-the-week. What's your monitoring situation, though? Good monitors are invaluable. They don't have to be ridiculously good, but headphones or stereo speakers are NOT acceptable substitutes in my experience. KRK Rokit 5 (not 8), entry level JBLs, or used Adams or Dynaudios would be my suggestions on a budget.
As for synths, the fact that you have Logic and therefor Alchemy means you already have what was until recently considered a top-tier third-party soft synth rivaling the likes of Omnisphere etc. If you learn Alchemy inside and out, that will serve you forever, and you will always find new ways to use it creatively.
As for what to learn... I'm not sure what your current skill level is, so forgive me if something I say is either too simple or too complicated.
I don't know much about trap percussion, but I think the same rules apply as with any other genre. Mainly, sample selection is king. More often than not, no amount of processing will substitute for a well-picked (or, well-made) sample. Can't polish a turd and all, and it's easy to suck the life out of your sounds if you try. If I could go back and do one thing differently from day 1, I would spend less time polishing turds and more time keeping a better organized, well-curated sample library. 20 kicks that you like and can actually use are worth far more than 3000 unsorted kicks with 100 you might use but never be able to find, endlessly digging through samples while your creativity finds a corner in which to hang itself.
If you're making bass music, you'll want to know the basics of... well, bass. Yes, sidechain compression is a staple of the genre. The now ubiquitous "wobble" or "wub" is a staple, too, and I'm of the opinion that making a good wobble takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. I'd learn what a Reese bass is, too, and at least a few methods of making one. Both wobbles and Reeses can be aggressive and heavy or mellow and smooth depending on your execution.
For the psybient stuff... there's a few staple sounds in psytrance/psybient that are worth at least learning, but you don't need to use them everywhere (or at all). The psy-squelch or psy-fart, the trance gated pad or vocal, the sample-and-hold sequence, and more than I can think of are all still used all the time. Time-honored techniques like the dub delay are used in virtually every genre.
If you work with vocals, consider learning a few advanced techniques. Pre-compression, an underused form of side-chain compression, is amazing on vocals (or anything else) and surprisingly easy to do; learning how and when to use pitch correction is also key. Logic has a very useable pitch-correction plugin, great for creative spacey auto-tuned effects.
Logic's compressor is awesome for a built-in plugin. Learn the models - they are very different from one another. I think an oscilloscope is a ridiculously useful tool for learning how different plugins shape a sound, especially if you find that you like to learn visually. It's fantastic for watching how distortion changes a waveform, for example, and how this relates to your headroom.
Learn everything there is to know about Flex Time in Logic. You'll find it's useful everywhere: from creative time stretching, to correcting performances after-the-fact, to chopping up drum loops... it's extremely well programmed, and the algorithms sound great.
Make sure you learn about sends and bussing and using auxiliary channels for reverb and delay. To give you a starting point, I start with 4 different reverb aux channels and 4 differing delay aux channels on any given track, and just send whatever to them as needed.
Don't be afraid to customize your hotkeys in logic. Alt+K opens up the keyboard command list. I have a ton of custom commands that I would never want to be without.
Eh, that's all I can think of at the moment.
Try things out and experiment at LEAST as much as you follow manuals and tutorials. Alchemy alone is so expansive that you could watch every tutorial on earth and there would still be creative ways left to discover.
Twist knobs and have fun.
See my signature.
Lorn reacted to Gagarin Project in news - 2016 - W21 (May 16 - 22) - release of the week poll
many new names for me,
if you hesitate where to start, i suggest Consciousness Federation, it is usually good deep sound.
Lorn got a reaction from mannybakshi in news - 2016 - W20 (May 9 - 15) - release of the week poll
I'm sorry to admit it but the CBL remix release was...ummm....not good or at least I didn't like it. The live mix version was the only exception.
I liked the Cosmic Replicant/Germind release.
I also liked, oddly enough, Aenigmatica. The New Age vocals were pleasant. Maybe a bit on the cheesy side but I liked it.
Lorn reacted to Matt Freak Flag in Percussion
Alright, here's three... I warned you they weren't organized.
This one is my biggest lump, with just raw vinyl breaks, many in stereo. And I do mean raw. A lot of them have some degree of vinyl artifacts (including ultra-low frequency stuff, in stereo!), but hey, that's part of the charm, right?
Here's another one with some overlap, but the rips seem cleaner (maybe some are from remastered CDs?) and there is often a few seconds of the original song on either side. Probably my go-to versions of "Impeach the President" and "God Made Me Funky," and an epically clean and complete stereo "Scorpio."
And this one is just a few already sped up to Drum n' Bass tempos, if you're into that sort of thing. Most or all are in mono, though.
There's plenty of the classics in both; the first one has tons of stuff I'd never heard of before, too.
Hopefully y'all find this useful and/or find some breaks you didn't have before.
Lorn reacted to neil (spatialize) in a Man got to eat
if you wanna learn psychill,
1listen to ozrics until your ears bleed
2learn a couple of synths inside out
3 learn how to play the keyboards / piano
4let the music flow.
5learn your daw and production stuff
6use forums for feedback
7don't rush into releasing
Lorn reacted to neil (spatialize) in a Man got to eat
Since using Bandcamp and self releasing the music income now pays for music gear....software, synths etc. So it has become self supporting which is nice.
It's a little bit easier these days to combine creativity with a normal job as music technology is that much more immediate. For a few hundred quid you can stuff a pc with a fully functioning studio in a few hours. Back in the Atari / sampler / synths days putting a studio together was expensive and time consuming. Now you can lob a loop from Ableton into a sequencer and it will time stretch itself instead of spending a good couple of hours lining up a loop in a sampler. My first sampler had 8 mono samples, 30 seconds of mono sampling time and cost me Â£500 second hand. Do we appreciate this? Probably not, it probably just pushes our expectations up.
In general there are very very few people making a living from music nowadays. Even Philip Glass worked as a taxi driver and plumber while he wrote music for 18 musicians. Then within that larger music industry you have to realise that psy chill is a very very small niche. I think part of Ott's success (aside from writing very good stuff) is the fact that dub music has a certain crossover element. Dub and reggae is very popular with a broad range of people beyond the psychill community. He can tour America and play with other dub or dubstep artists as well as the psychedelic festivals. Good formula that.
Life did throw up the opportunity a few years ago to work more solidly on music. So I took it. And I can say that immersing yourself in something is a very worthwhile thing to do in life, particularly if it's something that you are really interested in. I definitely took my productions up to another level. Through teaching myself and asking questions on forums and now I know my way around the gear I can easily write good sounding music around a normal job (but then again I don't have children). But in terms of sitting down all day every day to write music, my experience is that it does suck a little bit of the magic or of it. But it also has its own rewards.
But that sense of achievement can be achieved in plenty of areas of life. Doesn't have to be music. Plastering, being a waiter, understanding finance... There's a joy in life from applying yourself to something and seeing the rewards. For sure. It makes more sense to throw that type of energy into something that you know will allow you to live well and enjoy your life.. But well...music has a beautiful lure. It may not be the sane or economic choice in life but, well, when that groove finally slots together, you can't beat that feeling.
My advice to anyone starting out in creating music is to enjoy the creativity more than the production, and allow the production side to gradually build up as you finish tracks. You can write /arrange good tracks without decent production (you can!) but you can't write decent tracks that connect with people if you've spent 10 years obsessing over compressors and limiters.
I hardly ever thought about production for years. I just made music. But when I heard Ott Hallucinogen in Dub I started to look more at that side of things. Ott definitely raised the bar in psychill..and I thought my music was pants in comprison. I had crap monitoring, terrible eq habits and hardly knew how to use a compressor... But you know what? It turned that Ott was listening to my first album (Dryads Bubble) in his car for ten years. For me that was proof that electronic music is still about creativity and expression... and not production values.
Lorn got a reaction from Jatab in What are you listening now?
I'm continually amazed, through all the 1000's of tracks in my collection, I still come across tunes from important artists I haven't heard before. This tracks from Aes Dana is killer. Why haven't I heard it until today?
Lorn reacted to andorra in EQing
Sure is interesting reading. Thanks for good mixing EQ instructions and tips everyone!
With these instructions I remixed my new track and it came out so much better.
Now there's more air and clarity in the mix and it doesn't sound so muddy...
Still have to work on some pads but overall it's getting much better, thanks!
Lorn reacted to Matt Freak Flag in EQing
I EQ as I go, but I don't worry about getting it "perfect" right away. Unless I have to render the channel for some reason, simple EQing doesn't take much CPU, so I can mess around with it as needed until I'm ready to render a track.
Kicks may get EQed to sound punchier/less boxy/more subby. Snares may get EQed to have more bite or sizzle. Hats usually get EQed to take off the low end.
I'll EQ my drum bus before it goes into a few layers of saturation/compression (to control what gets distorted), and I'll EQ it after if it needs it (for overall drum balance).
I ruthlessly hipass anything with too much low end energy if it conflicts with the bass or kick.
I try not to EQ using EQ plugins if I can help it. If my saturator has a filter built in, I'll use that, for example. Or I'll just use different distortions themselves to boost/cut the lows or highs.
Synths and recorded sounds will get EQed if they need it to fit the mix, but while I don't think there is anything wrong with a 16db cut or boost if you need it, major EQing to fit a sound into the mix is often a strong sign that I should have chosen sounds that didn't clash so much. Usually, I'll just change a synth or take something out entirely rather than try to wrestle with infinite mud.
I have a nice gentle EQ on my master because I see no reason not to. I used to avoid this because everyone told me this is a bad idea. But more often then not, a 3db cut or boost on the master actually sounds better (to me anyways) than going back and working with individual channels. An EQ on the master really makes me feel in control of the overall feel and vibe of my mix. YMMV.
Everyone seems to do their own thing or have their own "rules" for EQing. Curious to see what other people's workflow is. But I do think blanket advice like "never boost more than +6db" is misleading, especially with synthetic music. Who is anyone to decide what a squelchy space fart is supposed to sound like "naturally?"
Lorn reacted to neil (spatialize) in EQing
Good advice above. Particularly about cutting the lower eq IF it conflicts with the kik and bass. Only if.
I try to think about sound as filling a whole spectrum and the various components of the track as occupying particular layers within that overall sound. And using eq to make those layers fit together.
First job before you reach for your eq is to create sounds that naturally fit within the sonic spectrum so that less eq and compression is required for the track to work. Creates a more natural sounding mix that people will want to come back to.
If you choose your sounds well and sequence them well then you can go a long way into a track without reaching for the eq. I usually get well into the arrangement stage of a track before thinking much about eq and compression.
At a track level, which is where you start eq'ing, I would say that I mostly use subtractive eq'ing. I.e. Cutting frequencies instead of boosting (though sometimes a healthy boost is just what is needed).
To explain subtractive eq a little... Imagine you want a synth pad that fits between a rhythmic mid frequency part at 1khz and an upper synth at 10khz so You create a pad sound that broadly fits but, let's say the pad conflicts with the mid frequency rhythmic part at1khz.
What I used to do when started off was to boost the area between 3-8khz. While the pad may well sound better initially this keeps those lower mids of your pad sound fairly high in the mix and still conflicting with that rhythmic part at 1khz.
If you just cut the pad where it is conflicting with the rhythm at 1khz... and then raise the volume of the pad track... then you are effectively filling that same gap on the sonic spectrum but you are creating more space in your mix and this can help maintain headroom. If you still feel the need to make a eq boost then it can be a very minimal boost just to bring it a bit of flavour in the pad sound.
This may not seemingly make a big difference on just one track but if you apply this technique cumulatively across a whole mix you will start to notice that your mixes sound more natural.
Don't know if that makes sense or not. But that's a big part of my process.
Another way to look at it is this... Put your eq spectrum analyser on. See where the lumps in the sound are. If you can cut those lumps without changing the character of the sound, then it's probably safe to cut.
Also at a track level, if you do have to do severe cuts or boosts on a sound I normally do that before a compressor, as the first eq is working to balance out the sound... otherwise the compressor is working on parts of the spectrum that it doesn't need to. You can always put another eq after a compressor if you need to add a little spice back to the sound, as compression can often dullen sounds.
I.usually find that more severe cuts and boosts are required on the more experimental sounds which are undergoing multiple plug in processes. More workaday sounds in the mix like hi hats etc often require only mild eq'ing.
When it comes to eq on a group bus I will use very gentle slopes, mostly boosts at that point. I put that after very gentle bus compression.
Generally 80hz is a good spot for depth on bass. 200hz a good spot for adding punch to bass. 500hz to 1khz can be a muddy area and I don't boost much in this area.
Boosts around 1khz add a bit of rhythmic bite. Anything from 10khz upwards adds fresh air. Boosts to sounds anywhere in the mid range often initially sound good but you can easily overdo it if you have a lot of sounds going on.
Also I tend to use the channel eq in logic for normal cuts. But if I want to boost eq, particularly on a bus, I will use the nicest eq I have as boosting colours the sound more than cutting.
Eq is mainly about knowing the sound of your monitoring system really and working at sane volume levels. Don't eq with your music loud. Eq at a quiet level first and then see how it translates when you turn it up.
Lorn reacted to Iacchus in EQing
I will EQ every channel. You could talk forever about EQing different kinds of sounds, but for me the most important thing is keeping the low end as clear as possible for the bass and kick drum.
Every track will have a high pass filter applied. I move the frequency up until the sound starts to lose some of the quality of sound i like it in. Usually you can take a fair bit off the bottom without it sounding any different at all. Usually you can position the cuttoff point just below the 'root frequency' if it is a sound with a clear note. I will do this solod and again perhaps with the whole mix, as often you can take even more off when it is part of an ensemble. This kind of treatment of everything can free up a few db of DB of headroom, bring up your overall volume, and make everything sound more crisp and less muddy in the low end.
This is 90% of the mixdown process and the most important thing to do as far as I'm concerned.
Try to save this work for the mixdown.. if you apply EQs etc as you go along composing the track for temporary/live versions, take them all off for the mixdown and start again. It may feel like you are redoing work but you will get a better result. Also EQ things in the right order. Get your drums and bass working together nicely first, then do your lead instruments and vocals, then pads and FX last - these need the least amount of 'space'.
If a sound has a 'solo' bit or sits in a breakdown where it needs to be EQd less heavily, then you can automate your settings so it can take up more of the spectrum in these bits
If you want something to cut through the mix like a snare, you can make a dip in EQ on the other sounds at a suitable frequency. Channel grouping can be handy for this kind of thing. You can even get the EQ to dip only when the sound is happening, if you use an 'audio follower' mod. Bitwig and Reaper have them.
One other thing I like to do is EQ my reverb quite heavily, cutting off the bottom and top, the bass is largely useless and adds a lot of mud, and the top end stops your reverb sounding too sparkly and artificial.. give it a go you might find a darker reverb with this kind of treatment can be brought up in volume and have a stronger effect without sounding too 'reverby'. Most reverbs have a HP filter setting but I find it best to ignore this, have the 100% wet reverb on its own channel and own EQ, which gives more control and easy tweaking down the line in the mixdown. Same treatment can be applied to delays.
Never put an EQ on the master, leave that to the mastering engineer. If you need to EQ your master, you have down your mixdown wrong.
Lorn reacted to neil (spatialize) in EQing
i do agree with HPF cutting the low bass on the majority of tracks, however i think it depends on how many layers your track has. if you have multiple parts all shouting for space then yes, which is quite common in psychill, psy trance etc and cutting most of the bass of those multiple tracks may well be the best option. It's also quite useful if you are recording a lot of live instruments as the micing up procedure can introduce a lot of noise in the lower registers.
however as iacchus says, in intros and breakdowns (using automation if you need to, (or bounce an audio un-eq'd copy), yes it's often better to leave the full spectrum of the sound. or in drone ambient music, let the fullness of the sound flow out. (Although with highly reverberated sounds you have to get very surgical with the eq's on the reverbs).
But consider a moment a track that is somewhere in between pure atmospherics and a full on complicated track with multiple parts. A simple track structure i.e. a drum part and bass line with only a few elements on top at any one time.
In such instances sometimes you can be better off sometimes leaving the fullness of the sound on the musical parts or only doing a minor HPF cut on the subs up to 30hz. If you cut unnessarily you might end up thinning out the sound a little too much and then you feel like you need to keep adding elements to fill the track out, which ruins your nice simple track structure. Sometimes the lower freqs only muddy up the mix, sometimes they add body. Depends on the sound and the track I find.
So I try to work out what the core elements of any track are and mix that part of the track first. ie there might be a recurring pad or rythmic sample and I get those parts all sorted and eq'ed in tandem with the drums and bass.... then kind of fit everything else around that.
My advice would be to hold all the advice you receive and to apply it according to your track. Like Iacchus said, you can;t be too specific about what eq to use on what instrument and where....as it really is a case by case basis.
If I was going to add any eq to the master I would would probably do a very small bump at 80hz and a very slow rise from 1khz upwards.
This might be useful to help you get a vibe going on a track as it will add a little zing to the proceedings, and the eq on the master does tie the sound together. However I think you're really better off doing this type of eq'ing on your groups bus, the drum bus being perhaps the most important part.
I can recommend Pultec Eq's for adding a very nice crisp but warm upper range and deep warm low end. UAD do a version but there is also a free version on the Computer Music magazine DVD which is also very good.
I would also add to be careful of using presets on some synths as they are designed to sound impressive and sell the synth (i.e. a very big broad spectrum sound with tones of distortion and eq boosts and delay that try to draw your attention towhat a wonderfully clever synth you are using). These sounds can sometimes eat up your mix and you have to get very tough with the eq-ing. So check within the sound structure of the preset to see if you can cut eq or distortion anywhere.
Lorn got a reaction from yiannis in Best of the year 2015 results discussion - Best Album
There is a lot of great albums in that list and I'm just one small guy but come on people why the ***** isn't Rukirek's Butterfly Tales For Trees make the top twenty?
Go and listen if you haven't done so.