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The Producer's School
March 8, 2013
8:39 am
scruffy
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this thread is to be the producers, djs, and engineers discussion thread, as brought up elsewhere.  vocalists, back seat.

anybody out there recording music, composing music, mastering music, whatever, come here with your thoughts on all of it. 

if you wanna make a point or ask a question about mixing, arranging, mastering, recording, feel free to drop it here, and everyone can sound off, give advice, sympathize, and generally chop it up. 

et cetera.

 

and the first topic to break down is–

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 8, 2013
8:48 am
sketchez
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I run a studio and know just about everything

March 8, 2013
8:51 am
scruffy
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terrific!  whadya got for us?

cmon, show your chops.

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 8, 2013
9:45 am
scruffy
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yeah, didnt think so.

anybody who actually gives half a fuck about the subject got anything to say?

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 8, 2013
8:25 pm
iLLtheClown
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These questions don't reflect me. Just posting as examples.

 

"I've been mixing, arranging, producing & mastering music on my own for the past seven years. And I feel as if it's not getting any better (link to a couple of instrumentals) can somebody give me advice?"

 

"Are there any tips on improving my mixing technique?"

 

"Are there any people out there who can show me how to master?"

March 8, 2013
9:30 pm
scruffy
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assuming this isnt meant to be sketchez-like sarcasm,

the short answers are:  probably, yes, and yes. 

 

more in depth…  longtime producers can virtually always benefit from outside advice, because for one, they probably havent learned everything yet, and for another, there are constantly new technologies and techniques being developed.  for a third, in these days of social media, you can actually get knowledgeable advice from places like, well, here.  add to that, the business model for underground artists is evolving, too [ie, cd pressings are no longer a necessity, or at least they wont be for long].  all of those things mean more oppurtunity than ever for musicians to develop their sound without having to pay someone else, or go to college or some shit. 

 

quick mixing tips: 

dont do your mixing sessions at high volume levels, its fatiguing on the ears.  you may not notice it, but it is.  you end up making changes to your mix that will have to be undone later, when you hear it with fresh ears.  keep it around the level of a loud conversation for most of the session, but ramp it up once in a while to make sure the changes you make wont stop it from sounding clear when its bumpin.

another tip, when building up the tracks, dont max out the levels on them, leave lots of space for headroom and future adjustments.  i usually try to keep the peaks at no higher than around -5 db or so.  the pros recommend slightly lower levels.

one more, and this ones kinda tough, acoustics.  its really hard to get a good mix in an acousticly unbalanced room, and its really, really hard to acousticly balance a room without spending a ton of time and money on it.  thats a deep subject right there.  for the budget musician, the best thing to do is try to get a good mix done, then take that mix and listen to it in other settings, like your home system, your homies home system, and especially, your car.  i say especially, because from an acoustical point of view, cars are much closer to neutral than most rooms in your home are.  the sound waves tend to pass through to the outside, and what reflections you do get will be attenuated a bit by the upholstery and the oddball shape of the car interior. 

 

as can be seen in the fruity loops thread, mastering can be done from the inhome studio.  it wont necessarily be the greatest, but you wont have to pay the greatest prices, either.  given a working knowledge of the process, and some basic mastering tools, you should be able to come up with some reasonable masters without investing a dime, or farming it out to someone else.  and believe me, when an outsider is doing your post, they often arent as concerned with getting the best possible sound, theyre concerned with doing enough to make you think you got your moneys worth, and mostly that is simple tricks you couldve done on your own. 

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 9, 2013
8:51 am
sketchez
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for beats I use reason along with hardware pieces I run thru Cubase. then vocals get recorded in pro tools. but I actually like Cubase better, it's just not the industry standard tho

March 9, 2013
9:03 am
scruffy
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sketchez said:

for beats I use reason along with hardware pieces I run thru Cubase. then vocals get recorded in pro tools. but I actually like Cubase better, it's just not the industry standard tho

dont matter as much, these days. 

unless your katy perry or some shit, the industry standard is quickly becoming, 'will people listen to it?'

i said it elsewhere, but, for we unknown scrub type musicians, near-pro quality is not gonna have all that much of a disadvantage, when compared to full-on pro quality. 

im not particularly familiar with cubase.  its basicly a super midi editor with support for audio phrases, right? 

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 9, 2013
1:32 pm
sketchez
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it is but . . Cubase is easier to work with and you don't need to buy everything pro tools makes to hook it up like u would do with pro tools. plus the whole look is better. I use both either way to recored, mix, and master. VST plug-ins work on both which are free to download online. thousands of them. those are what matter - pro tools and Cubase are just a platforms

March 9, 2013
8:19 pm
scruffy
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so, i got one.

for any of you out there that scratch...

my question is, do you have to be born with it, or what?  i could never really get it down, i would have to sit there cuttin for half an hour trying to get a good take so i could sample the little bit of scratching that sounded like i wanted it.  for certain i couldnt do it live. 

im not very good at playing most instruments [i consider turntables to be an instrument], except for keyboards.  the whole 'rub your stomach and pat your head' thing fucks me up when scratching.  seems to be one of the harder instruments to play, harder than a theramin. 

i give it up to ninjas that can cut on the fly.  i see shaggy or clay doing it, im impressed as hell, and they are far from being the best there is.

fortunately, there are digital solutions, but its usually tough to get a natural sound from them.

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 11, 2013
10:06 am
sketchez
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I scratch with a Denon DN-S1200 & DN-S3500 CD Scratcher. it's dope

March 11, 2013
12:17 pm
scruffy
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still doesnt get a very natural sound, though.  might as well go with sample manipulation. 

for my part. 

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 11, 2013
12:47 pm
King Lucem Ferre
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I have an instrumental I will eventually post up to show the difference between a dry mix and a full mix.

March 11, 2013
1:13 pm
sketchez
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i'm a major producer but I won't say who...

March 11, 2013
1:24 pm
scruffy
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sketchez said:

i'm a major producer but I won't say who...

no sweat, your credibility was already in question anyway. 

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 12, 2013
2:38 pm
King Lucem Ferre
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Lucem Ferre said:

I have an instrumental I will eventually post up to show the difference between a dry mix and a full mix.

Before I do that, I actually just put together a full mastered song and want feed back, as soon as I'm done doing my own test listening via I Pod I'll load it up. (still working on that instrumental, something about it is off)

March 12, 2013
3:17 pm
sketchez
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im a millionaire producer. I have a solid gold toilet

March 12, 2013
4:29 pm
King Lucem Ferre
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What's your analysis and evaluation?

I'm talking production, mixing and mastering wise of course.

March 12, 2013
5:37 pm
scruffy
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in no order…

1:30 once this hits, it becomes a bit difficult to make out the lyrics.  you use a lot of vocal fx, that may be why, or you might want to consider using equo to chop some holes in that hook that coincide with your voice freqs. 

is that the speech synth?  its a cute tool, has more than a little functionality.  humanizing it through the input controls [when you first generate the sample, its laid out in the documentation] might be something to think about.  definitely dont want to overuse speech synth, though.  well, not definitely, but i wouldnt.  my occasional co-producer [Dr. RK3] uses the speech synth to do all his 'vocals'.  its his thing, i dont really fuck with it much.

the production is your basic lucemy style, in the main.  structure is pretty good.  one thing ill mention about that, though…  i usually like to have a song break open fairly quickly, either a verse or chorus going by ideally around 15-20 seconds in, 30 at the max.  this is a philosophical point, not a technical one.  its also a personal rule that i break all the time, if the song calls for it.

that main synth hook, the one that starts at the beginning…  i consider it to be a little too bright.  ive said before, that i eq preferentially toward lows, so if it was me, id take the highs down on that a bit.  your style, however, tends to have those brighter elements, and it doesnt hurt the track any, just sticks out in my ears. 

vocal washout aside, the mix is right, the master is right.  i cant tell if its normalized without the production files in front of me, or something else to compare it to, but it certainly isnt too quiet. 

vocal fx…  you use those effects just about all the time.  consistency counts for a lot, but i do think that it interferes with clarity, now and again.  could be another style thing, but the modulation spreads your vocals' range out noticeably.  that can complicate the readability of it, as with that distorted hook. 

mostly good layering, the strings are well balanced, the choral [?  2:55ish] phrases fill it out.

havent decided about the beat yet.

all in all, without question, its by far the best track thats been put up in this thread so far…

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

March 12, 2013
5:44 pm
scruffy
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sketchez...

i really hate to spell it out like this, but, even though were all amatuers, this topic is meant to have at least a modicum of professionalism. 

if you cant contribute anything worthwhile, then dont bother.  if youre gonna fuck around, im gonna clean it up. 

i dont want to be like that, but right now, it looks to me like you know fuckall about this shit.  like i said earlier, show your chops.  barring that, leave us in peace. 

apologies, but you aint earning respect, just wasting space. 

  awfully paranoid, arent you?   

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