Things you wish you knew when you started....

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
theswiftone
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Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by theswiftone » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:33 pm

Thought it would be a nice idea to start a thread to pass on things we have all learned over the years. Not everyone has to agree with what you say, but if its helped you tell us about it.

Things I wish I knew when I started:

Use reverb on a return track. (So much more control, doesn't drown it)

Group tracks to process them together.

Use Glue Compressor on grouped tracks to glue/gel them together.

Don't compress everything...... In fact compress only when needed.....

Width is your friend.... Sometimes simply using a simple delay to push things out wider.

Layering has become a must..... Fill the frequency spectrum.

Check your mix in mono.... You'll be amazed at what you notice.

Moderation........ Don't go overkill with effects/eq...

Varied velocity adds realism to drums and instruments.... And groove is important tool to...


This is just some stuff I could think of now.... Hope to pick up some tips off all you guys.... You can never know too much.

Tarekith
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Tarekith » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:58 pm

- Do something because you HEAR a need for it, not because you read you're supposed to.

- All gear is professional quality in the right hands, good sound isn't about having the best of everything.

- There are no short cuts, there are no secret production tricks. Useful tips yes, but only when you've learned WHY that is do they truly matter.

- For every effortless moment with the muse, you will spend 100 hours trying to find her.

- Other people's opinions and tastes will only get you so far, you need to follow your own path and find your own sound if you truly want to be successful.

granted
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by granted » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:49 pm

You don't really need all those VST's and VSTi's. It's fun to have them but you don't really need them all. Plus it's expensive.

beats me
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by beats me » Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:33 pm

Tarekith wrote:- Other people's opinions and tastes will only get you so far, you need to follow your own path and find your own sound if you truly want to be successful.

Related. Don’t be the #1 hater of your own productions or assume everybody hears your song as poorly as you do.

ObtuseMoose
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by ObtuseMoose » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:35 am

1. 99% of everything is crap. The sooner you get through your 99%, the sooner you'll get to the good stuff. In other words, make LOTS of tracks, and don't get discouraged because you think they're no good; the fact that you KNOW they're no good is actually a good sign. :-) If you do enough work, you'll get better.

2. Stay off the damn internet! Nothing kills an evening like making the rounds of the forums and synth-related web sites. Make your OWN music instead of watching other people do it (usually badly) on YouTube.

--
Moose
"all the musical ability of a blocked nostril"

jestermgee
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by jestermgee » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:41 am

Most of what has been said has been common staples with this topic and I think most agree over many of the same points. Here are some of the ones I have heard, said and follow through my years.

Organization is Key to improving workflow!
No point having Terabytes of instruments and effects if you cannot find what you need quickly. Spending time to make and maintain your own library should be part of your routine and you should also spend time creating your own effects racks and template kits to get you started and going

Spend as much time experimenting and learning as you do "creating"
Part of the whole process is learning things. 15 years on and I still have a LOT to learn (like a guitar for one) but I'm always very excited to learn new tricks and techniques. Some of my favourite tracks were spawned from simply experimenting and learning a new synth or a new production technique.

Creativity is not endless... Take a break now and then
At the moment in Australia the weather's warming up and the days are getting longer and this seems to have sparked my interest much more in music. 2 months ago I was playing online games instead of making music because I didn't "feel" creative. It happens to all creative people and it's a good reminder to take a break and try again in a week/month (hell even a year later).

Stop and ask WHY?
Why are you even making music? Music can be as simple as 2 sticks so why do you even need a super computer, expensive software and all those controllers and hardware? You will not be rich or famous and most people will have no time or desire to actually listen or care about your music. If all that seems acceptable and you are simply left with "because it's fun and I like it" then continue on with that in mind.

It's OK to Suck
As has been said, what you make probably sounds like crap. Asking questions like "how do I make it sound better/louder/professional?" are clear indications you are not experienced to make anything sound better/louder/professional. What you need there is someone who has already done the work you have not and understands what you don't. They will be the ones to progress your sound. There is a reason most professional sound designers, producers and engineers are starting to go grey (If they have hair left at all). They have spent probably as much time developing their skill as you have just breathing. Accept the fact people are good at what they know. Getting better takes time, simply no shortcuts.

Having lots is not always better
This applies to gear, plugins, samples and even content within your music. If you have a lot of toys and gear and you really just like to have fun, go at it. But if you want to really focus and produce something then having the least amount of distractions is what you need. Controllers and instruments all require learning and patience. This will take away from time to produce. Having loads of content may seem like you have endless possibilities but often bogs you down to sifting through patches and samples for hours trying to find that "one sound" you need. Had you spent that time learning how to create sounds you could just make it.

Remove all distraction from your PC
If you really want to become more serious and finish your productions and actually get "in the zone" then you should invest in a PC/Laptop that is ONLY for producing (or a dual boot system). Remove games and other distractions from your PC and even remove the internet browser from your desktop since if you have things like that hidden they are less likely a distraction. Keep a clean desktop and have ONLY what you need to get started (such as a shortcut to Live only). There should be no doubt when you look at your screen what you are aiming to do.

Have Fun
This should actually be rule 1 because I bet you almost ALL the folks here from professionals to novice users simply enjoy music, sounds and creating things. It's frustrating sometimes and focus can be an issue as we are all human but then there are days when you create a sound or a loop or a whole produced piece, it brings a smile to your face and that is when you realise why you are doing what you are doing. If someone else digs your jam, that is just a bonus.

crystalmsc
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by crystalmsc » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:29 am

Synth with knobs and no presets can be way more fun that a shinny workstation with a shitload of features.

Effect processing is way more important in sound design, instead of getting a new synth every time.
Kaossilatron - Voicillator
Station: Ableton Live 10 Suite, Obscurium, Push 2, Ultranova, MS-20m, Wavedrums

Pitch Black
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Pitch Black » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:22 am

We watch everybody else's Highlights Reel, while living our own Blooper Reel.
MBP i5 2.53GHz | OSX 10.12.6 | Live10.0.4 | Fireface800 | Push 2
https://soundcloud.com/paddyfree

Idonotlikebroccoli
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Idonotlikebroccoli » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:24 am

Some extremely good advice in this thread!
ObtuseMoose wrote:1. 99% of everything is crap. The sooner you get through your 99%, the sooner you'll get to the good stuff. In other words, make LOTS of tracks, and don't get discouraged because you think they're no good; the fact that you KNOW they're no good is actually a good sign. :-) If you do enough work, you'll get better.
Also, have fun while getting through that 99% of crap! Make crap intentionally, joke around, make bagpipe dubstep, etc. Your next good track is X steps away; you don't know what X is, so just keep moving towards it. Simply making one bleep or swoosh in Live gets you closer to X.
Pitch Black wrote:We watch everybody else's Highlights Reel, while living our own Blooper Reel.
Extremely true. Both newcomers and renowned artists have tons of nonsense in their project folders.

---

Also: don't let the "cool kids" tell you what to do.
Please vote! Live 10's "multi" clip editing should allow selection+editing of multiple clips in one action:

(L10-SUG-0228) Multiple MIDI transpose

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=228094

Tarekith
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Tarekith » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:01 am

Good point, you have to enjoy the process not just the end result, otherwise what's the point?

TomViolenz
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:04 am

Nothing!

If I had known the things that I know now when I started, I would not know them.

You have to go through the motions to really learn and understand things.

One thing I think no one should know beforehand though, is how far away being good really still is.

It's so much easier to keep on making music if you constantly think that it's just that one tiny thing still missing. And not know of that huge rat tail that follows from learning to master that "one tiny thing" (and the other tiny things that invariably follow)

H20nly
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by H20nly » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:22 pm

fisto is never going to stop coming to the Ableton forum to bash Live and promote Reaper.

Steve Jobs is going to die and Apple will go the way of Gateway and Dell.

Shift Gorden
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Shift Gorden » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:38 pm

Done beats better
Finishing a track "quickly" is more important than spending forever on one getting it perfect...it's never gonna be perfect to you anyway. The more content you put out, the better your chances of stumbling on a winner.

EDIT: not that I've stumbled on a winner in the last 20 years lol.

Stromkraft
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:43 pm

ObtuseMoose wrote:1. 99% of everything is crap. The sooner you get through your 99%, the sooner you'll get to the good stuff. In other words, make LOTS of tracks, and don't get discouraged because you think they're no good; the fact that you KNOW they're no good is actually a good sign. :-) If you do enough work, you'll get better.

2. Stay off the damn internet! Nothing kills an evening like making the rounds of the forums and synth-related web sites. Make your OWN music instead of watching other people do it (usually badly) on YouTube.

--
Moose
Ditto!
Make some music!

Stromkraft
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Re: Things you wish you knew when you started....

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:53 pm

The main one from which many others follow is to me:
You will never be satisfied with what you produce, yet other people may love it. That you never become truly satisfied is because your taste, perception and talent all keep evolving.

Maybe it's a good thing I didn't know this when I started, but after a while it would have been nice to realize. It took me a few years.

A related one is: The music you make don't have to sound exactly like how you envisioned it in your mind.

and let's not forget: Fix your room before you spend on new monitors.
Make some music!

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