101 Inspiring Tips…

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    • #102949
      ,GENIE HQ

      Nice article from Loopmasters with some points for thinking / talking….

      Which of these is your favourite tip?


    • #103143

      These are all pretty great. Too many to agree with!

      I’m gonna go the other way and point out some for which I dissent a bit, esp as LM is addressing a larger EDM crowd, and we are here to make mf’king Drum and Bass. I’m not trying to be negative or throw shade, it’s a great list, this is just an academic discussion, and these are my takes on some things that have been hard-learned by me over the years as it pertains to making loud, fast, aggressive dnb, which is a much different animal than making, say, house music or whatever:

      No, not always…in fact, these days I am being very selective about when and where I use any dynamics, limiter or compressor. I understand that this article means just to catch peaks, on the master, save ears, etc, but I think this is an important point. For a long time I was just slapping some dynamics plugs on channels cuz I thought that is what one is meant to do, right? But I kept having trouble trying to get things to the levels and shit that I wanted through all of the channel/buss/master dynamics. It’s just not necessary, and it took me awhile to get that through my thick head. I still use dynamics, a fair amount in fact, but I am very particular about when I do. And my grand deluxe master-chain that I built up over the years is now just one thing, a free clipper, get it loud in the mix, not the master:

      Free Clip

      This is not bad advice, just not for me…I tried this, can’t do it. The engineering is too critical to the sound of a dnb tune…maybe better advice for other genres. I can’t move on with a tune until my sub, kick, and snare are impressing me, and how everything interacts sonically is of crucial importance and I personally need to address that as I go. Of course, your mileage may vary.

      I know there are some in dnb that do this. Not for me. I’ve tried to loads of ways, and for me it’s cleanest to just roll the audible drums through. I tend to make my drums short anyways. You def should be careful if trying to *extend* SC time, due to the fast nature of dnb.

      I don’t disagree with this, but especially in trying to do these one DAW challenges at SG…there is a reason I use the toolset that I do, and it’s for quality and speed, and it’s my preference. I just think it’s worth noting. I know there is this holistic trend to defend DAW tools against 3rd party, and I get that, and I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. But also, it’s ok to venture out, demo 3rd party plugs, create a toolset that is custom to you…financial considerations notwithstanding. Like, I know peeps have made rad shizz using Live’s limiter, but eff that thing. I hate it. I just won’t use it. That’s just me.

      I’ve mostly stopped doing this, as it’s hard to manage when stemming things out for others. It’s just a PITA on that front. I have the resource/CPU-power to put delays and verbs on individual channels, groups, or busses. I still do some return stuff, it’s just an aging concept for me personally.

      This is very philosophical, but I say don’t even get to that point. Sure, it’s important to finish a tune every now and then, and learning how to craft a tune is an art unto itself, but the daily sprints of making something fresh and new is equally important, and arguably helps you progress faster. I spend a day on a sketch. If I am feeling it later, maybe I come back to it. Some get me so excited that I finish them out. But I am ALWAYS starting something new. ALWAYS. EVERY DAY. Especially if you’re learning and not on a deadline to release something: If you’re obsessing over a tune for weeks, FUCK THAT. Make something then move on. Your shit isn’t precious. Don’t focus, don’t dawdle, don’t bang your head in frustration trying to figure out how to make something work. MOVE ON. Make, review, rinse & repeat. Take what you’ve learned and take a fresh chance to make your music better, often. This has helped me get better faster than maybe just about anything else. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FINISH EVERYTHING, I don’t care what the internet or others say. Be nimble, not too precious, and you will progress faster…and every now and then something will present itself as something you should finish. You’ll know when. But RAM or BTR or Eatbrain or <insert favorite dnb label here> isn’t going to release your third tune or your 50th or even your 200th. Move on. “My best tune’s my next tune.” /rant

      Please realize that much of the dnb you love has not been “mastered” in the traditional sense. Not saying don’t do it, if that’s your thing then rock’n’roll, but LOTS of really great artists ship the final version of the tune themselves, without having even gone through a “mastering session”, whether done themselves or by another engineer. Some do. Many don’t. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s required to get big, loud, awesome music. It isn’t.

      Take this with a grain of salt, and again this is kind of a bass-music-focused take. Of course don’t unpleasantly distort your low sub fundamental, but there are some audio physics tings to keep in mind here: A square wave will deliver the most energy of any waveform, as it’s literally on for the entire cycle, while a sine/tri/saw spends time getting across that -inf line, getting quieter then louder again. And this is something to understand when trying to get loud sub bass. As you distort a sine, it starts to flatten out on tops and the signal gets “fatter”. This is a fundamental theory behind sine compression. There are times when you maybe *should* squash that signal and square it off, but you’ve got to learn to do it without it sounding like shit. It’s a delicate thing. If you don’t believe me, look at the waveform of any rowdy neuro or otherwise tune, and look how many of those waveforms are jammed up at 0dbfs.

      And some positive highlights for me:


      Absolutely, yes. Please don’t make boring, unchanging, static repetitive music. Everything moving, all the time, always. Or at least the impression of such.

      YES. There is no left and right for me, there is only M/S, and then +/-Z (as in depth) which can often be handled via filtering and width. Something that automates to “move past” the listener could start out “behind” with a bit of a LPF, and wide, then automated to in “front” as you open up the filter and reduce the width so that now it sort of sounds like it’s right in front of you. Think about how your ears are arranged on your body, and which way they face. The skin of the ear itself and your thick skull(!) block out some of the higher frequencies when a sound is behind you, and it also triangulates as wider when behind, again because of these earholes, whereas when something is directly in front of you, our ears are designed to sort of normalize a sound to be more mono, and you get the full freq spectrum. I use this *all the time* to create movement. Psycho-acoustics!

      Currently struggling with this myself, as at the moment I am doing 10-16 hour days on the DAW. Much better when I take even short breaks. Hard to do when you’re in the flow, but important.

      70. TOUCH IT
      Subpac, baby. Trust.

      If you read this far, congrats on making it through my novel of a response. I’m very passionate about this stuff, and I eat/sleep/breathe it, every day. I love talking about it. LOVE. Big ups to Genie for encouraging these kinds of production discussions.


      _-| get to work |-_

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