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Tips 'n Tricks - General Production Whether a happy accident, or based on years of experience, find/post 'em here

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Old 3rd November 2008 , 03:16 PM
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Default Choosing sounds

So how do you guys pick your sounds that you will use for intended projects, do you simply think you like the sound and use it, make sure all the sounds compliment each other, choose them to fit a mix etc.

i think you get the idea. so lets here it. im sure many of us new comers can take advantage of what you more experienced guys have to say on this, i feel i am not good at choosing sounds when i make stuff and im sure im not alone so lets hear whats got to be said
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 04:00 PM
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I often spend time just randomly messing around on synths - flipping though patches, playing some notes and chords up and down the keyboard to see if something grabs me and most importantly making notes about anything of interest so I can find it again and remember why it was interesting.

Thats a starting point often for a track too, though not nescesarily a hook or whatever (unless a guitar or piano etc part was allready laid down, etc) - other sounds will follow on from that and each have a place - layers/accents, counter melodies, rhythmic, energy, leads etc. Often I'll hear a sound in someone elses music (ie on a CD, record, video etc) that I like and may start by programming something similar even if in the end the use is different.

I do have a bunch of favourite patches on various synths and favourite fx in various plugins and fx boxes that I go back to alot and tweak quite a bit each time I use them in general categories of pads, pad-arps, bass sounds, leads, stabs, polysynths etc.

The key thing I often need to be able to do is find the right flavor of sound very quickly and thats where previous time spent siftimng thorugh patches and making good notes is really valuable.

Even without the time pressure of others waiting on you to find the right sound - there is allways the time pressure of finding the right sound before you loose the idea in your head - often thats harder
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 04:48 PM
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Sometimes I have a sound in my head and look for something to match it. But most of the time I will go through the synths I have and find a sound I like... a bass sound for instance and tweak it from there if it is too basic or ordinary to fit in a mix.

Same approach for other instruments.

There are times where I might wrap a song around a baseline that is discovered noodling around on the keys while working on another song.

Loads of different ways really. I might fire up RMX and start from there...swapping out elements or use the drum kits.

If I am not happy with a sound I will tweak, browse e.t.c until I find what I want. I hate settling for a sound I don't like.
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:20 PM
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I'm a guitar man but I've been looking at these synths - I have a few now - and I get ideas from just wading through them - although I'm always thinking how to work a guitar around it.

I'm more likely to develop the drum, bass and guitar and then add.

I find most music now adds some form of string/synth/keyboard 'pad' and it's an area I'm getting into and I listen for it more in tracks I hear.

It's been good wading through, as now my inspiration comes from a different source ie something other than guitar.
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Am_Bic_Pentameter View Post
I find most music now adds some form of string/synth/keyboard 'pad' and it's an area I'm getting into and I listen for it more in tracks I hear.
If you a guitar person, then V-Guitar + TC fireworx or Eventide Eclipse etc may be at least as interesting as a synth and perhaps more generally useful.
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:26 PM
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Yeah I have load of guitar stuff

I run through an Axe-Fx and have lots of Fx boxes etc
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by I_Am_Bic_Pentameter View Post
Yeah I have load of guitar stuff

I run through an Axe-Fx and have lots of Fx boxes etc
Then you should be able to create some awesome pads from your guitar
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:42 PM
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Default Sound selection and 'moving on'..

One of the things that can differentiate a good producer from a not so good one is sound source selection.. Not only at the beginning of a project, but knowing later what innately feels (and of course, sounds) right within the context of the track you're working on.. One's preference in 'sounds' is purely subjective and will collectively reflect your taste and sonic footprint - Also, how you 'use' the armory you have, however big or small.

Both Khazul and Monarch's posts above have relevance and are good, valid suggestions.. I mentioned in a previous post how periodically I like to re-invent myself both in sounds and methodology when the time feels right to do so.. I, like anyone, will take some inspiration from the good stuff I hear, and ignore the dross that attacks us all (), then make the production I'm working on, my own.. Not an emulation of the latest credible, buzz producer, but, my own vision

Instilled in me years ago by one of the world's leading and forward thinking music producers, I'd pass on some advice for those who may be seeking to emulate the sound of other 'in vogue' producers, DON'T.. Instead, create what you'd like to sound like .. Wether it be in sounds, arrangement, programming, effects etc - seek to inject your originality (however 'off the wall' it may seem), staying true to yourself always.. May I suggest that anyone whose work you've previously tried to emulate, has already done this!?
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khazul View Post
Then you should be able to create some awesome pads from your guitar
I was reading an article on the Moog guitar - very strange - and a tad expensive!
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Old 3rd November 2008 , 06:07 PM
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Interesting and good post modz!

It made me think - when you think of alot of the more striking (and subsequently hugely ripped off/reproduced) sounds we hear in music - a sampler and some mangling or (for the time) unusual treatment was applied to it, often by some happy accident.

Those sounds that stick out and get sort after over the following years seem to rarely come directly from a single synth on its own (even counting its built in fx).


Theres a fun thing I often done - when I have recorded some audio, or bounced midi through a synth to audio in Live, I sometimes set a loop length of 3/8s, 3/16, 1/4 (1 beat), etc, and scan through the recording to see if there are any interesting little loops to be found in it. Can be especially good on record paino and guitar parts. Sometimes you need to run the sound through a hard kick keyed compressor and a filter to reveal the gems within
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Old 4th November 2008 , 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modz1 View Post
Instilled in me years ago by one of the world's leading and forward thinking music producers, I'd pass on some advice for those who may be seeking to emulate the sound of other 'in vogue' producers, DON'T.. Instead, create what you'd like to sound like .. Wether it be in sounds, arrangement, programming, effects etc - seek to inject your originality (however 'off the wall' it may seem), staying true to yourself always.. May I suggest that anyone whose work you've previously tried to emulate, has already done this!?
This is a very interesting and important point, modz1. And I think it is something that a lot of us don't realise. I am listening to a lot more music and a lot more types of music than I used to. I am listening to music I had never delved into previously like hip hop, house and techo. I am listening carefully to the construction, sound and production of the tracks in the hope that I might be able to produce some good music in these genres. I don't consciouisly emulate what I hear but what I listen to will surely come out in some form or other in what I produce (when I get around to it!).

So how do you think we can achieve originality if we are trying to
  1. fit with a given genre?
  2. make music that will hopefully get us noticed?, and
  3. as a result has to fit with existing conventions and sounds etc?
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Old 4th November 2008 , 10:26 AM
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Default Audio Signatures

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphelan View Post
Edit:

So how do you think we can achieve originality if we are trying to
  1. fit with a given genre?
  2. make music that will hopefully get us noticed?, and
  3. as a result has to fit with existing conventions and sounds etc?
Genres are genres because they mostly conform to a (historically) regulated and recognised form of content and structure. Play a hip hop record, you pretty much know its a hip hop record, play a house track, likewise, you know it's a house track (not getting into sub-genres here btw).. Think of a track as the home you live in.. To give that home, which for walls, roof and windows (think beats, sounds and arrangement) is more or less the same as the next guys, you decorate and furnish yours though to individual taste, and as a reflection of your personality. That's what differentiates your home from someone else's, though the other persons bricks and mortar is still, a 'home'.

The words of the wise sage I mentioned in my post above were thus.. "always strive to put something in your work that makes people think - how did he do that?" By this, he further explained it could be a particular sound (gained through effects or programming), an effected sequence, or in the actual 'arrangement' where the rules are bent from the norm. Making primarily dance (house) music, I was always pleased as punch that I could recognise my own tracks coming into a mix, or indeed on radio, by hearing only the drums and percussion appearing. The aforementioned level of uniqueness was injected even to that most basic of levels. Thereafter, I may have created one of the above individual 'audio signatures' that satisfied me that I had indeed achieved the 'originality' I sought.
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Old 4th November 2008 , 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modz1 View Post
Wether it be in sounds, arrangement, programming, effects etc - seek to inject your originality (however 'off the wall' it may seem), staying true to yourself always.. May I suggest that anyone whose work you've previously tried to emulate, has already done this!?
Good points.
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Old 4th November 2008 , 03:18 PM
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Quote:
as a result has to fit with existing conventions and sounds etc?
As in all arranging it's important to find sounds(or lines, backgrounds etc..) so that those doesn't interfere other stuff. For example:soft pad needs to have bright lead, bass heavy background needs to have higher melody, fast passages need slower movements in background or vice versa. Even cooliest sound becomes dull and hard to hear(=mix) if there are too many similar sounds(or other things) to fight with.

Quote:
fit with a given genre?
Or not, as long as it is meant to be so, not by accident. Know your genre then it is easier to break its bounds.
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Old 4th November 2008 , 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trbguy View Post
Know your genre then it is easier to break its bounds.
very good advice trbguy reminds me of the old rule, know the rules before you can start bending/breaking them
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