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toka
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: May 2001
Location: Sweden, Uppsala
Arrow If I knew then what I know now. Tips for beginners.

Hello!


I'll try to keep this as breif as possible for the sake of pure helpful info.


1. Less is definately more. Creativity by limitation

Because of accident induced compensation I was able to buy alot of big name softsynths and sample cd's straight away when I started out. This was my undoing. It wasn't until two about years later I realised that I would never find that 'ultimate sound' I was looking for. I sold what ones I could and I now limit myself to only ever owning 3 softsynths, and 1 sample cd.

2. Know your software.

I heard soundsets by vengeance-sound.de for V-Station and was amazed at what he could get out of that synth. Why couldn't I do that? I sat down and I did that. I learnt V-Station like that back of my hand, manual and all. Still supprise myself by creating sounds I never thought I could get out of it. Use and abuse your software. Tweak and twiddle everything and realise what it does and why it does it.

3. Don't search for that 'ultimate sound'

It doesn't exsist. You know the one you think you need to make your riff sound "just right". Make your riff sound right, make your synth sound right.

4. Time, patience.

I now use Cubase, though started out on fruity loops. I must admit it's very easy to churn out 'stuff' on fruity loops in a matter of hours. The streamlined interface coupled with the easy piano roll and very efficient matrix style drum editor meant I was knocking out tunes twice weekly. But none were any good. The same thing in cubase takes longer anyway, but Now I spend weeks on a track because I'm actually trying and the improvments have been amazing. Strangly enough I haven't finished a complete track since using cubase. That must say something.

5. Don't try and sound like everyone else

Try not to assume that because a something sounds really good in a song your heard it will sound good in yours. Elements and components in each individual track work together with themselves, sounds influence other sounds. But do use other tracks as a learning tool. When I started out I tried to recreate one of my favourite tunes as best I could. I didn't sound anywhere near as good but I had an invaluable lesson in the most important aspects needed to put a half decent track together.

Maybe this is a possible sticky if other forumites would like to add their "if i knew then what I know now" kinda of tips. Hopfully a valuable resource to newbies and exsisting users alike.

Last edited by toka on Nov-04-2006 at 18:25

Old Post Oct-31-2006 23:45  Sweden
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BOOsTER
Holding Infinity



Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Sea of forgetfulness

nice read, will help many people I'm sure...

maybe you could PM diginut to add it to the tutorial master list


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 16:35  Czech Republic
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Mr.Mystery
Static Guru



Registered: Dec 2001
Location: Vantaa
Re: If I knew then what I know now. Tips for beginners.

quote:

4. Time, patience.

I now use Cubase, though started out on fruity loops. I must admit it's very easy to churn out 'stuff' on fruity loops in a matter of hours. The streamlined interface coupled with the easy piano roll and very efficient matrix style drum editor meant I was knocking out tunes twice weekly. But none were any good. The same thing in cubase takes longer anyway, but Now I spend weeks on a track because I'm actually trying and the improvments have been amazing. Strangly enough I haven't finished a complete track since using cubase. That must say something.

I don't know how not finishing a single tune since is a good thing? All of my best tracks are the ones that were completed in just a day or two - tweaking your tunes endlessly makes one get bored and the track usually ends to the twilight zone.

The other points are more or less spot on, though.


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 17:01  Finland
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Allied Nations
Make it happen cap'n



Registered: Mar 2004
Location: MTHELL

Nice read!


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 17:03 
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AnLyGi
Senior tranceaddict



Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sound advice, i could do well to follow it though.


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 18:28  United Kingdom
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Derivative
Bipolar Bear



Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Dublin
Re: Re: If I knew then what I know now. Tips for beginners.

quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Mystery
I don't know how not finishing a single tune since is a good thing? All of my best tracks are the ones that were completed in just a day or two - tweaking your tunes endlessly makes one get bored and the track usually ends to the twilight zone.

The other points are more or less spot on, though.


More or less agreed. Although I am beginning to come round to the idea that you never actually finish a song. Theres always some aspect of it which you can improve upon at a later date.

I listened to For an Angel recently and theres ugly compression noise on the kick drum! At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and start working on another project. Otherwise you will be forever tweaking things.

Thats the stage I'm stuck in at the moment. On the flipside if you are not satisfied with the songs you wrote a month ago, it means you are already making progress - noticing things that sound crap in your old work and you are getting better because of it.

If you never finish anything but churn out bass/drum/lead tracks once every 2 days then you will get really good at the preliminary production process, but you will suck shit at the final touches. Because you barely spend any time finishing things up - you usually never get that far.

Theres a real art to seeing a project through to completion. Or at least to stage where you can say - theres nothing severely lacking or flawed in this product. Nothing severe enough that it can stand on its own as a song.

Old Post Nov-01-2006 18:37  Ireland
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Floorfiller
Girl + Sweater = Hotness



Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Illegal Pete's

i tried on and off producing for years...nothing very serious. i'd get in the mood to play around a little and because of that i'd always get frustrated with sound quality and stuff like that. i'd think it's the limitations of the software and of course if i had hardware i'd turn something sweet out.

a couple of weeks ago i decided to take a more serious approach to music making and decided to basically reteach myself what i thought i knew about synthesis and music theory etc...

it's still an on going process of course, but the improvement from a serious approach of trying to understand what is making things work is the best thing someone can do. after such a short time i already feel like my ability to make professional results has grown exponentially just from taking the time to read up on things. also just taking the time to systematically play with the tools in the programs to see exactly what is being described to you in definitions and all...if you don't know what the effect of setting an LFO to a certain level is, how are you ever going to control it? if you don't know how one oscillator modulates another...how are you supposed to manipulate it.

i know a lot of people just like to tweak and play around until they like something...that's what i used to do aswell, but i really feel that can only go so far without knowing the deeper concepts and elements of music production. if you don't understand the minutia of music production then you will never have a professional sound. you're having trouble with bass sounds? well there's a reason. you're having trouble creating lush pad sounds...well there are reasons for that as well. it's not your synth...it's you. you need to learn how to use it.


a lot about music production is simple once you learn how to break it down into something understandable. then it's just about manipulating things into what you dream...

Last edited by Floorfiller on Nov-01-2006 at 19:29

Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:19 
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Allied Nations
Make it happen cap'n



Registered: Mar 2004
Location: MTHELL

quote:
Originally posted by Floorfiller
i tried on and off producing for years...nothing very serious. i'd get in the mood to play around a little and because of that i'd always get frustrated with sound quality and stuff like that. i'd think it's the limitations of the software and of course if i had hardware i'd turn something sweet out.

a couple of weeks ago i decided to take a more serious approach to music making and decided to basically reteach myself what i thought i knew about synthesis and music theory etc...

it's still an on going process of course, but the improvement from a serious approach of trying to understand what is making things work is the best thing someone can do. after such a short time i already feel like my ability to make professional results has grown exponentially just from taking the time to read up on things. also just taking the time to systematically play with the tools in the programs to see exactly what is being described to you in definitions and all...if you don't know what the effect of setting an LFO to a certain level is, how are you ever going to control it? if you don't know how one oscillator modulates another...how are you supposed to manipulate it.

i know a lot of people just like to tweak and play around until they like something...that's what i used to do aswell, but i really feel that can only go so far without knowing the deeper concepts and elements of music production. if you don't understand the minutia of music production then you will never have a professional sound. you're having trouble with bass sounds? well there's a reason. you're having trouble creating lush pad sounds...well there are reasons for that as well. it's not your synth...it's you. you need to learn how to use it.

a lot about music production is simple once you learn how to break it down into something understandable. then it's just about manipulating things into what you dream...


Very solid analysis. I can't wait to hear some of your more serious efforts.


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:23 
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Allied Nations
Make it happen cap'n



Registered: Mar 2004
Location: MTHELL

Added to main sticky.


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Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:23 
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Floorfiller
Girl + Sweater = Hotness



Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Illegal Pete's

quote:
Originally posted by Allied Nations
Very solid analysis. I can't wait to hear some of your more serious efforts.


well it will be a while hehehe ...but it'll be worth the time investment.

i'd like to eventually do some tutorials, but that's also a ways off hehe...

Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:30 
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Derivative
Bipolar Bear



Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Dublin

quote:
Originally posted by Floorfiller
a lot about music production is simple once you learn how to break it down into something understandable. then it's just about manipulating things into what you dream...


100% correct as I see it.

I think its easy to forget that if you only know how to use a hammer - everything starts to look like a nail.

If you don't know what half the knobs on your synth do (and I mean really know how they behave in relation to every other knob) then you are working within limits.

You only know how to use a hammer (oscillator), a screw driver (filter cutoff) and a wrench (filter resonance).

So what happens when you want to jigsaw a circle out of wood? Beat a peice of mahogany into something vaguely circular shaped and smooth off the edges by chilselling it into a rounder shape using a flat screwdriver and hitting it with a hammer?

Or you could learn to use the other sound sculpting tools on the synth like amp and filter envelopes, LFOs and how you can route them together to shape sounds or learn how they all interact if the routing is fixed.

I really do think the preset is the the worst thing to happen to modern music making. Because its designed to save time and showcase a synth's potential but it ends up being used very often to save time and effort in learning how to use the tools you have been given properly.

Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:30  Ireland
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Floorfiller
Girl + Sweater = Hotness



Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Illegal Pete's

quote:
Originally posted by Derivative

I really do think the preset is the the worst thing to happen to modern music making. Because its designed to save time and showcase a synth's potential but it ends up being used very often to save time and effort in learning how to use the tools you have been given properly.



yeah i agree with that. i always see people posting in here about get this plugin for this...or this plugin for that.

well...why do you need different plugins? i'm a big fan of FM synthesis personally...if you learn how to build sounds you don't need different plugins...you don't need sample cds. you make your own sounds from the ground up and you have greater control.

personally just about the only plugins i would get are higher quality effect plugins if there are limits to the ones you're using and really those should only most be used after you've goten the sound you are looking for to add finishing touches. get a better compressor, a better reverb, a better delay, a better EQ etc...but as long as you have a good FM synth...that's all you really need

i know it's not for everyone, but that's my favorite hehe...

Old Post Nov-01-2006 19:37 
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