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TranceAddict Forums > DJing / Production / Promotion > Production Studio > working within constraints
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rubez
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Mar 2007
Location:
working within constraints

i have heard before that working within constraints, of a simple setup, benefits the producer a lot - to know your shit inside out.

how true do you think this is?

not only for giving you a greater understanding of how the basics work, but also for having a really identifiable and well-crafted sound.

it must be tempting just to keep adding the latest/most talked about plug-ins/software/gear, but what if you didn't - or couldn't?

would your productions sound like shit without all the modern processing?

do you really need the latest 'innovation'? - or is it just compensating for a lack of something else?

Old Post Mar-09-2015 18:21  Scotland
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Andy28
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Jul 2010
Location:

Apart from synths I now mostly just use abletons own plugs, they do a very good job... Having a large selection of everything will just slow you down, always looking for better results when what you have to begin with is probably good enough already.

That's not to say I don't have 3rd party stuff which I use but I've been there done that with getting the latest stuff and it got me no where.. Now I've stripped back to basics I feel it has improved my workflow and overall sound and couldn't be happier.. Same with sample packs, I got rid of all the crap that I never used but always searched through looking for the perfect sample that doesn't exist.

Old Post Mar-09-2015 19:00 
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JEO
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Jan 2010
Location: JKL

Depends a lot on how you work and create. If you have the "throw shit on the wall and see what sticks" approach, I can imagine you'd drown in your endless options pretty quickly. I've done that a lot, and it's not the way to go for everybody, but for example Ott says he does this mostly. On the other hand, if you always have a clear image in your head on how you want your music to sound, and know which tools to use to achieve it, I can't imagine an abundance in tools would necessarily be a hindrance.

I do something of a mixture of these two (as I would guess most do). Mostly I'm inspired by someone else's work, and know what I want my track to sound like, and sometimes I just play around and stumble upon something I will maybe use. Either way, I like to keep my setup quite simple: I only use my samples (of course including my recordings), Sytrus, Pianoteq 5 Stage (for some good sounding pianos), Miroslav Philharmonik (for flutes, choirs, etc.), and FL's default mixer effects. Oh and an Alesis VI61. I bought Absynth three months ago, and I can't say I would've used it more than once or twice, since I know Sytrus so well. Frankly, I think it's a piece of shit (well not completely, but I find Sytrus a lot easier to improvise something on). Bought it on a whim and as a victim of their marketing with some gorgeous pads..

When I see some peoples' setups here, I can't but wonder what the hell they need all that stuff for, but I know they are a lot more skilled and experienced than I am, and they probably have some sort of reason for owning all that stuff. Excluding you JUAN PAULINO. All your "tracks" sound the same. You can't even fit your stuff on your table. Get rid of some of it, for fuck's sake.

Get a basic set of tools, learn them inside out, and you'll be fine. If you're on FL, just buy a couple of drum packs for your purposes, and you're set. Learn Sytrus well. I'm not saying that some more tools couldn't help you, but it's pretty easy to step into that trap where you think the next purchase will take you closer to what you want to sound like, but that's very often not the case. Practise, trial and error, and working with your mind in it is the way to go.

An "identifiable and well-crafted" sound comes from something else than having constraints, and I'm sure many people here would argue you'll never develop a sound of your own. I would say so, unless you actually make making music and developing your own sound a conscious effort and do it daily.

It's a "cliché", and beaten to death to say that it's not the tool, but the person using the tool.. But it's a cliché for a reason; clichés often capture something so well-known and obvious that they become a cliché.

So what I'm saying is don't go the ridiculous "GAS" way, but just learn your tools well. If you ever reach the point where you're technically held back by some of your stock tools, go for it and buy something that'll help you, but you've got a long way to go before that point, I'm quite sure.

Old Post Mar-09-2015 19:24  Finland
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Mr.Mystery
What?



Registered: Dec 2001
Location: Vantaa
Re: working within constraints

quote:
Originally posted by rubez
do you really need the latest 'innovation'?

Not at all - I've used more or less the same setup since 2004. Only recently I added a different DAW just so I can use plugins with Reason, but I can't say I've used them all that much.

Like already said, it might be better to own only a few tools and master them inside out than be a jack of all trades and master of none. Then again limiting yourself just for the sake of limiting yourself seems quite pointless as well.

quote:
Originally posted by rubez
or is it just compensating for a lack of something else?

Not necessarily. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and feel the things you do don't satisfy you any more. Getting a fresh perspective is sometimes necessary.

Old Post Mar-09-2015 19:54  Finland
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kevin shawn
Like a six ton megabomb



Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Vegas

Sometimes it helps with creativity I think.


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Old Post Mar-09-2015 23:23  United States
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cryophonik
Lunik Fanatik



Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Elk Grove, CA USA
Re: working within constraints

quote:
Originally posted by rubez
do you really need the latest 'innovation'? - or is it just compensating for a lack of something else?


Ask yourself if those are really the only two options.


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Old Post Mar-09-2015 23:35  United States
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Looney4Clooney
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Apr 2010
Location:

define inovation. Most new things just do old things easier. Can't really think of that much you couldn't do 10 years ago. it has just become alot easier.


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Old Post Mar-10-2015 04:50 
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TranceElevation
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Oct 2010
Location:

No, you don't need the latest hit. But digging inside might reveal horizons you were not aware of previously. The process itself might bring you to places you couldn't imagine otherwise. It shouldn't be seen as something detached from the creative aspect. Actually, it might help to nourish it.

Walking on that path is necessary imo. After you've been there you acquire a greater perspective on what you need or if you need any at all. Once you've been there you can step aside and analyze better the whole scene.

I just think you'll make a mistake if you skip that passage I personally consider fundamental.


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Old Post Mar-10-2015 05:04  Yemen
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meriter
-



Registered: May 2009
Location:

I'm using a powerbook g4 from like 10 years ago and yeah the limitations have helped a lot. Pretty much restricted to logics instruments and plugins and have to bounce eveything to audio right away, which is annoying but it led me to do a lot of re-sampling and building custom sampler instruments, which i never bothered with before. Speeds things up quite a bit, and theres also less time spent dicking around trying to find the right compressor or whatever, it's more like 'oh i need to use THE compressor' done

also have to rely more on songwriting and making every sound matter. There's a definite brick wall with this thing, 1 with cpu and 2 how many audio tracks the harddrive can read at once so things have to be pretty streamlined and free of unnecessary bullshit. Leads to better creative decisions

Old Post Mar-10-2015 07:48 
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Raphie
Mr. Incredible



Registered: Jun 2008
Location:

I find a daw a constraint, too much fiddling going on.
I nowadays stick to outboard midi sequencing only.
Keepng everything realtime till mixdown.


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Old Post Mar-10-2015 11:30  Netherlands
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rubez
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Mar 2007
Location:

i think it was brian eno who said something like this. i think he uses to work with broken hardware even, and had to employ workarounds.

i guess it is a don't run before you can walk type thing.

a minefield of options would only bewilder a beginner. it could be restrictive to someone more advanced - but surely a true master could get great results from even a piece of shit setup...

i wonder if anyone has seen the guy who uses a little nintendo handheld to pretty devastating effect? that would be a good example of this.

i am ditching my big maschine for a little korg, i think it will be more fun and maybe even give me some actual insight, even though it won't be anywhere near as easy to get the same level of sonic results with it.

Old Post Mar-10-2015 12:21  Scotland
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Richard Butler
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Apr 2009
Location: London

Well I have a limited set up but I think this reflects in my sound not being as classy as some, particularly the lack of high end dynamics processors and monitoring.

On the other hand more gear would slow me down and perhaps make me become more diverted and less focused as I keep stumbling upon yet another sound I 'must use'.

I find my most complex synth (D-CAM synth squad) is now and again a blessing as I can make the odd really satisfying sound but more often than not it's an inspiration killer as it's so bloody complex with infinite possibilities staring me in the face. As such all too often I default to a nice simple synth where I know I can imagine and then create a certain sound with relative ease.

I love synths, MICS, desks, monitors and outboard and in an ideal world would have a room full of hardware but I'm not sure I'd ever see daylight with such goodies to tempt me plus I'm obsessed with investing in property so this tends to soak up my money.

I console myself in terms of lack of gear by convincing myself lots of pro tracks sound like shit by which I mean 'a wall of ear piercing sound'.


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Old Post Mar-10-2015 13:34  United Kingdom
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