Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

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pwolly
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Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by pwolly » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:59 pm

I compare my music to the producers that I consider to be the best... What is their secret??... are they just much better than me? At 24 I feel utterly worthless, I don't know what to do with myself. I've sent dozens of tracks to labels over the past 7 years with nothing signed. Maybe this just isn't for some people?

I've watched tones of kids younger than me create classics and find success with their music while I waste away in this room.

Today I decided to master this track which sounded OK before mastering but now sounds garbage - http://soundcloud.com/supraaofficial/an ... iginal-mix


It's my first real attempt at a dubstep track but doesn't come close to sounding like the pro's that I admire and respect.

Someone else's perspective could help me here maybe even if it's being told to give up and try something else.

Thanks, Paul.

3dot...
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by 3dot... » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:32 pm

it's not about age...

keep at it ! is all I can say..
maybe stop being judgmental towards yourself... and maybe try not to sounds like other people...
maybe trying to fit yourself in a mold is where it's at...
keep publishing to soundcloud and request criticism from people you look up to...

in the meantime... study practice study practice... 24 is nuttin' but a lil' kid..

listened to your track... imo the mix/master is too harsh and in your face
(although the sounds are quite good)
also ... there's no 'glue' between the layers..
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synnack
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by synnack » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:36 pm

Hi Pwolly.

There are a number of different things in your post we could talk about.

As for your mastering skills, you'd have to give some insight into how you're mastering your tracks and why. You could also hire someone else to do it for you if that was what is truly holding you back. There a number of people on this forum who would do it for cheap. Mastering is a less is more thing. I suspect from listening to your track you go overboard trying to make things sound better and get a diminishing return. Focus on getting the best sounding mix possible, then only having to do very little to master.

I would also suggest that you don't view your success based on record label attention. Given the current climate where most people do not pay for music, labels are in an increasingly difficult spot. This is why so many people "start their own label". It's a branding trick really. You can be highly successful without a "record deal".

In recent years I would say that a strong live performance means a lot more than your mastering skills or record deals. Do you play out much?

Finally, why do you make music in the first place? I would venture a guess that 90% of the people on this forum (including me) would have quit music a long time ago if we did it for commercial success. If creating music is something you truly enjoy and is a part of your identity then don't give up regardless of label attention. Mastering skills can be learned or outsourced, and you can reach a global audience without labels.

Hang in there.
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obmun
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by obmun » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Hi Paul.

I'm just going to give you my opinion on a few of the subjects you touch on your post.

Music is another form of communication. That means that you should try to tell something through your music. Once you achieve that, your music gets a purpose, and it no longer matters what others think about it, because it does what you wanted it to do: transmit something. If you hear your music and understand what you were trying to express, that's what matters.

Achieving commercial success nowadays is difficult. Market is crowded, and either you're excelent on an already crowded market corner (as dubstep), or you should try to create your own personal style instead of trying to "sound like" or to place your music on a certain genre; but, always, you must "tell your story". Also, maybe the correct path is not trying to get signed to a label, but trying to move yourself locally, making your name to be known on the local scene; make use of Internet. First your city, then your area. And always, Internet and your fans. Of course, it's going to be difficult. I have some experience on this. I've seen this hundreds of times on my city music scene.

Don't try to compare your music with other, at least not "musically". You can do it technically: comparing your mixes, how the different frequencies in your songs are balanced against "pro" productions, check clarity of voices, presence of bass, attack of BD, ... A creation is always unique and personal. Of course, there are certain parameters which can help to tell if a piece is good or not, but ... most of the time "liking" a song is a matter of taste and ... training (don't ask your grandmother to try to understand Aphex Twin).

On a different subjet, a track by itself rarely needs mastering. It needs a good mixing and... that's all. A track gets mastered once their companions are all put together for an album. The idea of "mastering" is giving the full album a more cohesive sound. Also, a "pro-sounding" mix is not what counts on a song. And your songs don't have to sound as stupidly loud as 95% of today's productions.

You say that's your "first" attempt at making a DubStep track. Obviously you're a fool if you think that you can master a genre on the first song you do on that genre! Finding your own musical resources takes a lot of time and practice. Just try to keep improving yourself, musically. Clasical training _helps_ a lot.

And _never_ give up. Not if you're a real musician. Not a pro musician, but a real one; that is, someone who finds that the only way he has of expressing certain things is through music. You're going to need it throughout your whole life.

3dot...
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by 3dot... » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:43 pm

tempus3r wrote:Hi Pwolly.

There are a number of different things in your post we could talk about.

As for your mastering skills, you'd have to give some insight into how you're mastering your tracks and why. You could also hire someone else to do it for you if that was what is truly holding you back. There a number of people on this forum who would do it for cheap. Mastering is a less is more thing. I suspect from listening to your track you go overboard trying to make things sound better and get a diminishing return. Focus on getting the best sounding mix possible, then only having to do very little to master.

I would also suggest that you don't view your success based on record label attention. Given the current climate where most people do not pay for music, labels are in an increasingly difficult spot. This is why so many people "start their own label". It's a branding trick really. You can be highly successful without a "record deal".

In recent years I would say that a strong live performance means a lot more than your mastering skills or record deals. Do you play out much?

Finally, why do you make music in the first place? I would venture a guess that 90% of the people on this forum (including me) would have quit music a long time ago if we did it for commercial success. If creating music is something you truly enjoy and is a part of your identity then don't give up regardless of label attention. Mastering skills can be learned or outsourced, and you can reach a global audience without labels.

Hang in there.
^^^
A BIG +1

...listen to the man
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Tarekith
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by Tarekith » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:44 pm

A couple things about the track based on a quick listen:

- Way too much mids and highs in the overall sound of the song. Likely this is partly because....

- .... you've got WAY too much compression happening, and it's not helping the song at all. It lacks any punch and depth, everything is a flat 1 dimensional image. You're losing all that swing and oompfh that gives tracks like this there energy. You can also audibly hear the compressor releasing at the wrong time, doing the opposite of what you want.


I'd suggest removing all the mastering processing you have, and focus on the mixdown first. Maybe post that for some feedback before you start trying to master it yourself.

B3
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by B3 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:56 pm

If you haven't felt this frustration you aren't doing something worthwhile. I struggle all the time, but don't take my word for it. All the great have struggled and sacrificed.

Ira Glass and the taste-ability gap
http://dangerousintersection.org/2011/0 ... ility-gap/

And let's not forget this little gem:

Michael Jordan "Failure"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc

Music, broadcasting, writing, basketball ... whatever your craft, you must work your ass off and embrace failure to become great. Fail, rinse, repeat. Don't flinch.
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Nilus
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by Nilus » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:20 pm

Sell your soul!
http://www.nilusrothschild.com
Occupation: Professional Jackass
Interests: Displacing Space

beatflux
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by beatflux » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:00 pm

The reason your track sucks is because your composition and sound design sucks. Others will have you believe mixing or mastering can fix it, but they can't. They can only polish the ideas that you come up with. Go listen to other professional tracks and listen to the composition, rather than "the mix." Listen to the rhythms, the melodies, and how each sound changes.

If you spent the last 7 years working on tweaking the mix and learning to master, this will mean that you are an absolute newbie when it comes to composition.

simmerdown
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by simmerdown » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:20 pm

stop for a while...see if it calls you back...if not its ok

The Carpet Cleaner
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by The Carpet Cleaner » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:25 pm

Hey, pwolly, how are you? Hope you had a great weekend.

I've listen to your track, and you're right. It's shit. You have no talent and you should give up ASAP. Trust me.

Bye.
Last edited by The Carpet Cleaner on Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tone Deft
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by Tone Deft » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:34 pm

some of these guys will a lot of experience and will master a track for you for $10-$20. then they can send you the track and you can see what they did. surely you can ask them to do the best they can using ONLY Live and free effects. then you can see how a seasoned user would handle your tracks.


fcuuuuuuk impressing anyone though. make music because it makes you happy. change your focus to having fun, keep your ears and mind open to learning, you'll get better. you have to lay a lot of turds before the golden brick comes out. ever hear an early demo of a band you love and it's absolutely awful? they didn't give up.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

jasinski
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by jasinski » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:53 pm

I'll expand a bit on what Beatflux said about composition.

"Good" music is interesting. What does that mean? It has characteristics that engage the curiosity and emotional interest of the listener. How do you do that? Lots of ways but listening to your track I'll point out just two that I think will really help you out.

1. Dynamics. You can create more interest for the listener when you have contrasts. Loud sections then quiet sections, simple then complex, calm then tention. The emotional dynamic range of your track felt like a flat line. Youve got a start at this. I think you could push it a bit more. Think of a track as a journey. Since you want to make dub step, listen to anything by Feed Me and note how different the dynamic range and feel is of each section. You could do the same with other "good" producers or any composer really. Maybe even load one of his tracks into Live so you can visually see how each section changes in it's dynamic range, maybe even note the timing and length of each section and consider why they are that way. Do the quite parts with little bass content make the loud bassy sections feel bigger? What does he do at transition between sections that builds tension and resolution? What's happen in the background? How do dubstep guys use silence?

2. Do the unexpected. You chord progressions were somewhat predictable and rhythmically I wasnt ever surprised or caught off guard. When dubstep first appeared a triplet wah-wah bass stab might have been revolutionary but now its redundant. Think outside the norms. Your sound pallette felt generic too. Meaning, I've heard this sort of thing before. Good music grabs your attention when it goes somewhere you don't expect. Try making dubstep with banjos or sample a meowing cat and microloop it into a growling bass synth. Scream into a microphone and layer that with your snare drum. Keeping a listener guessing what will come next is crucially important in electronic music where, sonically, any mind bending thing can happen. An example from your genre: Think of the first time you heard Skrillex and had to scoop your brain back into your skull. He was doing things you never considered before. He took you somewhere you didn't know existed. That's why he got attention.

If you can give up on making music then you should. I've tried but I keep coming back ;)
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slatepipe
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by slatepipe » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:00 pm

quality bits of constructive criticism

collect, record and make your own sounds, develop your own style and product, have fun along the way. do it primarily for your own entertainment, if other people like it, that's a bonus

jasinski
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Re: Mastering Fail - Thinking about giving up now after 7 years.

Post by jasinski » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:02 pm

You might also consider this guys ebook. It's pretty good actually. And I think it's free. http://www.mikemonday.com/
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