Joe Ford Q & A

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    • #68448
      ,shrike
      Participant

      Hey all, Joe has graciously accepted the invite to participate in a Q & A for Sample Genie members.

      If you haven’t checked out some of his recent work, he’s continuing to make big, loud, gnarly tunes, and is super great about sharing his technical and musical knowledge.

      Please keep the questions limited to 2, so that Joe can use his time to get to everyone.

      Ask away!

      _-| get to work |-_

    • #68480
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Thanks for doing a Q&A Joe! I went through my old notes from your Sample Genie videos, got one lingering question from those, and then one additional general question.

      1. What is your current headphone set-up? I’ve seen in videos you using headphones (Computer Music), and others where you have monitors (KRKs?), and I think you mentioned you can’t use the monitors too often?

      2. What is something new you are exploring or have learned in the past year that has been a big change to your production work?

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #68484
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Hey dude! ๐Ÿ™‚ no worries, glad to help.

        1. I use Senheiser HD600’s, I absolutely love them, the seem super flat, everything tends to translate well when I mix on these. Definitely would recommend.

        2. I know it’s not exciting, but assigning hot keys in my ‘dnb template’ on Ableton means for much faster production and mixing.

        For instance on ableton I now have the number 1 key toggle on/off my whole sidechain setup, so when I solo any element I quickly press the key and can hear it without all the volume ducking.

        I also have 4 and 5 assigned to MSED plugins on the master that mute the mono or sides so I can hear (and look) and each individually.

        J

    • #68508
      ,Harry
      Participant

      1. I use Senheiser HD600โ€™s, I absolutely love them, the seem super flat, everything tends to translate well when I mix on these. Definitely would recommend.

      2. I know itโ€™s not exciting, but assigning hot keys in my โ€˜dnb templateโ€™ on Ableton means for much faster production and mixing.

      For instance on ableton I now have the number 1 key toggle on/off my whole sidechain setup, so when I solo any element I quickly press the key and can hear it without all the volume ducking.

      I also have 4 and 5 assigned to MSED plugins on the master that mute the mono or sides so I can hear (and look) and each individually.

      Thanks Joe! For the headphones, are they just running off your soundcard, or do you use an amp or DAC?

      Also, your second answer is actually very interesting. I just got a new keyboard over the weekend, it has six macro keys, and I intend to figure out how to utilize them. Your examples are great ideas.

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #68812
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        They just plug straight into my Audio interface yeah, (Focusrite Scarlett Solo) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #68510
      ,Elijah
      Participant

      I know mixing has a lot to do with mastering and stuff, but how would you go about mastering tracks to get them all loud and stuff like you do? Like, what kind of 3rd party plugins do you use (if any) and do you try not to clip the master when mixing, or do you not really care about that?

      and then another kinda random question, how do you go about starting a song from scratch? One of my biggest problems is getting something started, and even when I do have something started I struggle on finishing what I have started. It would be awesome if you could explain a bit of your creative process/how you might go about making a 2nd drop or adding more variation to stuff!! Thanks a lot Joe!

      • #68539
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Although I do ‘master’ my own music, it’s more of an extension of the mixing process than anything else. I mix with single Pro L on the master (also I have span but that’s just analyzing sound and not changing it at all)

        Just to be clear here, I never separately master my music after having mixed it, I just mix into a mastering chain (just the one Pro L still). The idea of separating the processes is a headache for me so I have always worked this way.

        Loudness comes about from a number of variables, but it’s essentially to do with:

        1.The frequency layout of the whole track (which I achieve from listening, and a large part of it comes from looking at span)

        2. The length of time any one sound exists at a high volume (which I achieve from limiting, compression, saturation, volume automation, or a combo of all of these)

      • #68540
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Only half answered, sorry.

        I never clip my masters, sounds like a bad idea but I’m no expert tbh, maybe you’ll get away with it.

        Staying interested in any idea long enough to finish it can be super difficult, try and have a number of tunes on the go at any one time so you can flick between them and stay energized on any one idea for longer.

        Beyond that, it just sometimes has to be not that fun (at least for me) it can become a real struggle to get to that end point, but with this pursuit (audio production) patience /stubbornness is what wins.

    • #68514
      ,Moe
      Participant

      Hey Joe,
      thanks for this Q&A.
      Why did Ableton become your DAW of choice?
      In your tutorials you use a great amount of Limiting on Basses. Should there be no dynamics in Bass sounds or are there other reasons for this?

      • #68541
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        For me, separating sounds into :lows, mids, highs. is so so so important.

        Doing that ^ in Cubase, for every one sound that needed it 1 time, would mean:

        The original track, 3 sends, a and group merging them, per split.

        1. In Ableton, I can do that whole sequence 20+ times over in ONE track without any issues, which leaves me a million sound design/mixdown options.

        That alone is enough to move, but then ontop:

        I can drag entire groups of tracks, with automations and plugins etc into a folder and re-purpose them whenever I need into a new project.

        The built in sound design tools are fucking excellent.

        I love it so much ๐Ÿ˜€

        2. For modern level loudness, I find that you need to kinda squash the life out of most main elements and have the dynamics come from the interaction of all the instruments, rather than expect any individual part being very dynamic (I wish it weren’t this way, but I think it is the case, certainly in my genre)

    • #68538
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Thanks for stopping by Joe ๐Ÿ™‚

      Q1: What’s the best sound design technique or tool you picked up from working with another artist?

      Q2: Do you find yourself doing things outside the studio to inspire or fuel your time in the studio?

      • #68591
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        1. Using a high freq on a ringmodulator to get a fizzy top end on drums (mainly hats n such)

        (Side note) Can I include pictures here? How would I do that? would make for better answers.

        2. Not really, I’m sure there are lot’s of things I could do that would help, in general though I find I work best when I have exercised that day.

      • #68592
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        1. That technique came from Rido btw

      • #68675
        ,GENIE HQ
        Keymaster

        1. That technique came from Rido btw

        Nice… was that here on Sample Genie?

        And yes Imgur best for pics ๐Ÿ˜€

      • #68594
        ,shrike
        Participant

        We usually use https://imgur.com to post images.

        _-| get to work |-_

    • #68542
      ,Anubis___
      Participant

      Amazing. Glad i checked in today to find this thread! the song ‘Said’ has to be me favourite release from last year!

      Mixing and mastering is always trouble for everyone. But you manage to make your sounds fit so nicely together. How do you make this happen? Does this have to do with learning music theory or just trial and error?

      What was the most revolutionising production technique you learnt last year?

      Nothing of interest here.

      • #68593
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Thanks for the kind words bro ๐Ÿ™‚ appreciate that big time!

        1. It’s definitely a combination of using elements that already don’t overlap (choosing instruments or layers that already want to sit in different areas), and then exaggerating those differences.

        2. Unfortunately I don’t have that many of those ‘Eureka’ moments, It’s a slow gradual incline (typically)

    • #68687
      ,Target Audience
      Participant

      Hi Joe, do you have any tips how to have perfect combination of mono/stereo sound? To explain this question a bit then I have many moments where some sounds just become so ‘thin’ when listening in mono but I would like to have it sound good in mono too (obviously because it would be nice to play own tracks in clubs as well)..just don’t know how to bring out the sound richness in mono.

      Also have you made yourself some premade racks that you just drop on any sound and know it’s going to add that magic you have in your tracks? If yes then can you tell us whats your secret racks? ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks in advance! btw absolutely loved your track “the portal” at let it roll opening show!

      • #71137
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Hey dude!

        Sorry for the late reply ๐Ÿ™‚

        So the theory I work from is that you work from the mono outwards.

        Step 1. Make sounds mainly very narrow and focus on the mono only (sometimes referred to as the middle or mid)

        Step 2. Split the signal into two copies, on the new copy of the signal add an effect that makes it stereo and then use MSED by voxengo to isolate just the sides)

        This way we have 1 signal doing all the mono work, and another doing the side stuff, and u can eq and control seperately.

        I have loooads of pre made racks I use on stuff, too many to mention, my most used rack on basses is a simple low end separater – which allows me to fuck with the mids and highs on a separate channel and leave the low end clean and un-touched.

        Thanks so much man! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #68851
      ,healthy
      Participant

      Hi Joe, thanks for doing this Q&A. You mentioned you use the Sennheiser HD 600. Do you use an amp/dac with these? If so which one, or can you recommend one?

      Also, how many hours do you spend on production per day? I’m a beginner and I can only do about 20min before I need a break. I can do 20 min stretches for a few hours but I’ve never been able to blitz through 5 hours straight. When you first started did you experience something similar?

      I’m currently working in an office firmly in the rat race but it’s always been my dream to make tunes. I’m thinking of moving to Thailand to teach english as this would free up more time to dedicate to tunes. I also like training Muay Thai (kick boxing) which keeps me fit and healthy. What is your opinion on this?

      Big up!

      • #71138
        ,Joe Ford
        Participant

        Hey man!

        Nah I just plug them straight into my Focusrite Scarlett solo audio interface.

        I spend currently about 8-9 hours a day.

        To be honest in the early days I couldn’t help myself from doing whole days barely stopping, I haven’t run into that issue (it comes from being very stubborn and unhappy with my skill-level, so pushing on)

        I don’t know enough to truly give advice on it but, that sounds like an awesome life to me! I LOOVE thailand, and the freedom to do what you want might be really rewarding.

        Bigup sir!

        J

      • #71949
        ,gzverev
        Participant

        Iโ€™m currently in China doing what you are thinking of doing. If you are interested could tell you more about my experience bro!

    • #71804
      ,gzverev
      Participant

      Crap I didnโ€™t see that there was this thread, posted in the other one so done kind it haha. Sorry about that.

      First of all, thanks a lot to Sample Genie for this opportunity. Next, a big thank you to Joe. I feel like I have learned a lot through watching your tutorials and they are entertaining, full of good content. Keep them coming. I have only been learning for about 6 months, and I was hoping to find out what you wish you knew at this stage of your development. As in what would have really helped you had you know earlier and is absolutely essential.

    • #203095
      ,Sistrurus
      Participant

      Great Q&A thanks Joe!

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