1. Post #1
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    Some of you may have heard the stuff I make, check my threads made and look for stuff I've posted here.

    I need someone to run me by how I can improve the following:

    Repetetivity - Every song I make someone tells me that it gets a little or too repetetive and it's the same over and over once it's done

    Mastering - Everyone tells me how my low/high end is fucked up and how I need to sort it out, yet it never helps

    Adding more creativity - whenever I make a song it's just 3 synths with a beat, but I literally have no idea how else I can make a song.


    So help will be HUGELY appreciated.

    PM me if you're really interested in helping me.

    Thank you.

  2. Post #2
    Gold Member
    Hakita's Avatar
    June 2007
    20,520 Posts
    Well, you write electronic music, and I don't know much about the songwriting in that genre, but the easiest ways to avoid repetetivity are solos, changing melodies and changing instruments.
    And for creativity, go nuts.
    Start messing around with different noises, listen to different music than you usually do and then combine all that with what you have been doing before.

  3. Post #3
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    I think that the main problem is, I feel very limited when making music, I only use a few cheap plugins, making me feel VERY limited.

    I know I'm not talented at producing, but I'm trying to get better, and I just can't.

    I've been doing this for nearly a year now, and I just can't get anything right.

    I don't want to say producing isn't for me, because it's something I REALLY want to do.

  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    Yur|ko's Avatar
    November 2006
    2,666 Posts
    Just keep experimenting and you'll improve over time.

    You could also try to reproduce a neat effect from a song you like or something?

    Edited:

    I think that the main problem is, I feel very limited when making music, I only use a few cheap plugins, making me feel VERY limited.

    I know I'm not talented at producing, but I'm trying to get better, and I just can't.

    I've been doing this for nearly a year now, and I just can't get anything right.

    I don't want to say producing isn't for me, because it's something I REALLY want to do.
    If you really want to produce then it's your thing. Just have to stick with it.

    Check out http://www.kvraudio.com/ they have a whole lot of free VSTs listed there.

  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    Hakita's Avatar
    June 2007
    20,520 Posts
    I think that the main problem is, I feel very limited when making music, I only use a few cheap plugins, making me feel VERY limited.

    I know I'm not talented at producing, but I'm trying to get better, and I just can't.

    I've been doing this for nearly a year now, and I just can't get anything right.

    I don't want to say producing isn't for me, because it's something I REALLY want to do.
    Producing is for everyone, except for most deaf people and most people with attention disorders.
    And the only way you can get talented is by continuing and learning about music.
    Listening to different genres has really helped me.
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  6. Post #6
    Dick Tracy's Avatar
    April 2011
    2,034 Posts
    How to learn how to not be repetive.

    This one is probably the hardest to learn, since being able to weave different melodies is something that usually comes with lots and lots of experience. You can always speed up the process however, by listening to a LOT of different music. And by a lot I mean, like, listening through every possible musical genre there is. Don't restrict yourself, don't say "oh but I don't like rap" or something like that, because you're doing yourself a huge, huge disfavour by not trying to experience the complete soundscape that is music.

    You may ask yourself now, "but why should I listen to crap rap when I'm going to do electronic music?", the answer is simple ; Music is a way of expressing emotions, and every genre does that, but in different ways. It could be a fat beat, a kicking drum, octane-filled guitar riffs or just blazing vocals. The thing they all share, is melodies. There's a reason why pop music is so damn catchy, and that is because they usually have some really, really good melodies.

    This is the first step for you as you became a more experienced musician. Take influences from what you hear, borrow melodies, cut and paste, don't be afraid of doing some borrowing ; Led Zeppelin for instance built a pretty big repetoaire by just taking some classic blues beats and making them their own for instance.

    Mastering.

    I'm glad you mentioned this, because a beatifully crafted track can carry itself even if the melodies are boring, and a great melody can be ruined by bad mastering. Actually, what you're referring to is mixing, the tweaking and fixing of individual tracks in a song. But, it's a common mistake (I know I've done that mistake a couple of times!).

    I think the simplest way to explain low, mids and highs is by imagining a drumkit.
    You have a bass drum, a snare, one or two toms, a hi-hat and a cymbal in your everyday basic kit.
    The bass drum provides the low end, with a sound that sounds almost like pounding. This happens because on the frequency chart, it produces the lowest hz. Sound is transmitted through air by vibrations, and the lower the frequency, the wider the vibration is. This creates a bassy sound, whereas on the higher frequencies, it gets more narrow (which is why distortion usually sounds so 'light', in contrast to bass).

    So, the bass drum (booming low tones) occupies the low section of the frequency chart. The snare, which usually gives of a much sharper sound, is occupying the lower mid/mid sections of the frequency chart, and as such, it has a sharp sound, but still sort of rounded. Obviously, they also take up some of the higher frequencies, but they are usually boosted in the mid section so that they do not clash with other instruments of the higher frequencies (guitar, most synths, cymbals etc).

    Up next is the toms, depending on the size of the toms (the bigger the fatter, more bassy sound) they can occupy the low mids to the higher mids, but are usually somewhere in the middle too with the snare. Because of their size however, they have a more booming sound.

    Last, but definietly not least, are hi-hats and cymbals. These are the higher registers, with a almost cutting tone that pierces the ears, they produce a very sharp sound, in contrast with snares who sound more popping.
    You can look more at what frequencies the various instruments occupy and where their sweet tones are here, a really good site that helped me mix a lot better.

    A rather simplified version of how to mix a track is by letting the rhythm section occupy the lower / mid section, with a leading instrument take care of the highs. For instance, the drumkit usually occupies every space due to how the instrument is built, with the bass guitar keeping the low section, rhythm guitars keeping the mid section and vocals / solo guitar takes care of the high frequencies. There's a reason why so many rock bands have singers who have loud shrieking voices, and that is because having someone with a voice of the higher frequencies leaves a lot of space to have chugging guitars in the middle.

    So in essence, when you are mixing a song, look at the instruments you have. First, determine what parts sound good. After that, determine what the instrument is for. Rhythm? Lead? Place them accordingly, and boost/lower volumes as needed.

    Another thing that is equally important when mixing is to take breaks, don't sit and twiddle with your song in five hours straight, your ear will get fatigued and you'll get used to the mix, and the result will be worse than if you took your time, took breaks and come back with a fresh ear. '

    Adding creativity A.K.A making the song interesting.

    This also comes with experience, both in making music, and listening to music. I don't know how you work when you make songs, but a pretty common practice is to first find a good melody, something that can drive the song. Build that melody, make a verse melody, and a chorus melody. When you're finished with that, try to make variations on the melodies you've just made. Experiment! But most importantly, ask yourself "what do I want to convey with this song?". It can be tough finding melodies when you're not sure what you're looking for. Melodies create a meaning to the song, and it is the most important part in conveying that message.
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  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    Croix's Avatar
    May 2008
    2,739 Posts
    Wow that was a fast fuggen write.

    I don't feel like contributing too much since Dick pretty much wrote literally everything ever, but I can tell that when i make electro house and shit, it goes like this:

    - Start with idea in head, maybe an idea for a synth
    - Make some quick drums
    - Start working on said synth
    - Play synth with drums. Sounds good? Keep it. Sounds bad? Ditch it(but save it so you can work with elements of it later)
    - Start slightly arranging, make quick intro.
    - Start mixing a little, make sure stuff goes together, make a good sub. General EQing.
    - Finish arranging and mixing
    - Listen through a few times while doing something else. If it's good, I master it and declare myself finished. Otherwise I keep working.

    That is roughly how I do it. Sometimes I just switch it up and throw some weird ass percussive sounds together and start working just so I wont get stuck in a routine.

    I'm not saying you should do it this way, or have to do it this way. This is just to give some insight into the basic way I personally work on music, maybe you can get some ideas out of it.

    And try really hard to not get too stuck in a routine, it's easy to make yourself a mental template, like having the intro the same length and everything the same all the time. Throw yourself some mental curveballs, try to do something different every time.

    Well, I guess I wrote more than i thought.

    Edited:

    Oh and make lots of music.
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  8. Post #8
    Dick Tracy's Avatar
    April 2011
    2,034 Posts
    I think that the main problem is, I feel very limited when making music, I only use a few cheap plugins, making me feel VERY limited.

    I know I'm not talented at producing, but I'm trying to get better, and I just can't.

    I've been doing this for nearly a year now, and I just can't get anything right.

    I don't want to say producing isn't for me, because it's something I REALLY want to do.
    I've found that trying to help the good people of facepunch with constructive criticism in the "creative music"-thread has helped me tremendeously in both terms of producing my own songs, and mixing in general. The music is perhaps not the most varied (mostly electronic music), but they all are rather unique and got a great blend of kicking rhythms and funky melodies.

    You should do what I did ; Spend a couple of days, listening and trying to articulate how you would've done the track better, listen to the track a few times (I usually spent three times just listening to the song I was about to critique, then the fourth and fifth time I would actively try and find flaws and errors) and write down things you like / don't like on a piece of paper or in notepad.

    Giving constructive criticism helps you find things that works in songs, and also helps your brain articulate and really analyze what works, and what doesn't.
    If you're interested in mixing other peoples track, you can either ask people here on facepunch (I've mixed a track of Hakita's and Pepins, although the Pepin one is still sort of WIP, waiting for some better guitars before I rehaul it all over again) or by checking this link out.

    The site got some really good quality recordings, all ready to pop into your favourite DAW and start mixing away.

    Edited:

    Wow that was a fast fuggen write.

    I don't feel like contributing too much since Dick pretty much wrote literally everything ever, but I can tell that when i make electro house and shit, it goes like this:

    -text-

    Oh and make lots of music.
    Nah I got only the bare fundamentals there really, and I'm certain more skilled people can contribute much more articulate and intricate than I could. =) The last tip is also a really good one, never stop making music, only by doing can you find out what works and what doesn't.

  9. Post #9
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    Wow you guys are fucking bro's for helping me out.

    Especially Dick with his mixing part.
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  10. Post #10
    Dick Tracy's Avatar
    April 2011
    2,034 Posts
    You're very much welcome, I learn a lot myself every time I try and help others ; It sort of give you time to really reflect on your own progress, and your own musicianmanship.
    I also remember I made a thread that sort of touches on all of this some time ago, a lot of good advice throughout the thread that I think could help spur you. =)

    Read thread here.

  11. Post #11
    The Union Jack would look a shit ton better with a Hammer and Sickle in the middle of it
    Bobie's Avatar
    November 2007
    7,164 Posts
    to be honest, i never followed any tutorials or looked at any threads based on production when i decided that i wanted to make music, i just did it out of the pride of making my own stuff and enjoyed experimenting with different sounds.
    if you are interested at learning to a professional level, then there are various tutorials everywhere on youtube on how to master, how to get the sounds your looking for and finding out what all those shiny controllers do on your DAW, but at the end of the day the only thing that will improve your skills is you and you alone, and if you truly are that interested in making some productions then i'd advise you just spend every moment you can attempting to learn your DAW and coming to grips with the vsts you might be using.

    if you have anything specific you need answering, then you can pm me any time you want or ask in one of the few threads on fp that offer help (theres already so much here, im surprised!) and see what happens there. 2 years ago i was in your position, staring at massive's interface and frequently having fits of rage at whatever i couldn't do, but now making new sounds and experimenting with stuff isnt as frightening and its a generally more enjoyable experience. just practice and go outside your comfort zone, and make some music! :D`
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  12. Post #12
    despo's Avatar
    January 2011
    178 Posts
    May I ask what kind of genre you want to produce??

  13. Post #13
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    May I ask what kind of genre you want to produce??
    Mostly dubstep, electro house, aggresive genres.
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  14. Post #14
    despo's Avatar
    January 2011
    178 Posts
    well i make that kind of stuff too. If you want you can watch me produce over teamviewer, I can stream the audio over steam to you (in really good quality). Hell, we could even produce together over teamviewer. It's what i always like to do with a friend of mine who also produces a lot.
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  15. Post #15
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    well i make that kind of stuff too. If you want you can watch me produce over teamviewer, I can stream the audio over steam to you (in really good quality). Hell, we could even produce together over teamviewer. It's what i always like to do with a friend of mine who also produces a lot.
    Sure that'd be fucking brilliant

  16. Post #16
    despo's Avatar
    January 2011
    178 Posts
    send me yer steam name so i can add you then :)

  17. Post #17
    MingeCrab's Avatar
    March 2007
    418 Posts
    Man, this is gonna sound greedy lol, but I'd like to do a similar thing too. Oh man, I sound dumb for asking that haha.

  18. Post #18
    Shikraa's Avatar
    September 2011
    25 Posts
    If you're interested in new VSTs, "Massive" by Native Instruments is extremely powerful; you can do pretty much whatever you want with it, and it'd be good for the genres you're interested in.

    For getting better in general, and for mastering, sometimes I'll just sit down and go through a bunch of different tutorials on websites and YouTube. It helps quite a bit since the more you know, the better you can be.
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  19. Post #19
    despo's Avatar
    January 2011
    178 Posts
    Man, this is gonna sound greedy lol, but I'd like to do a similar thing too. Oh man, I sound dumb for asking that haha.
    hmm maybe I should stream audio and video on some website so anyone can watch. But if you want to produce with me over teamviewer, we can do that sometime, but dead madman is first in line lol.

    edit: brb, creating a producing school steam group, lol.

    edit: WHOOP WHOOP, it's up! http://steamcommunity.com/groups/EPUniversity
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  20. Post #20
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    If you're interested in new VSTs, "Massive" by Native Instruments is extremely powerful; you can do pretty much whatever you want with it, and it'd be good for the genres you're interested in.

    For getting better in general, and for mastering, sometimes I'll just sit down and go through a bunch of different tutorials on websites and YouTube. It helps quite a bit since the more you know, the better you can be.
    I use it in pretty much ALL of my dubstep songs ; already have it
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  21. Post #21
    xsion's Avatar
    August 2011
    90 Posts
    it REALLY helps when you just play around with shit..
    like just moving knobs around and shit

    but learning music theory or how to play the piano would also help a lot too
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  22. Post #22
    CLungcancer's Avatar
    August 2008
    1,506 Posts
    it REALLY helps when you just play around with shit..
    like just moving knobs around and shit
    Thats how I learned everything . It's not really the best way to be honest.

    Doing collabs is also a good way to learn. It's fun to see how the other person does things and works.
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  23. Post #23
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    Thats how I learned everything . It's not really the best way to be honest.

    Doing collabs is also a good way to learn. It's fun to see how the other person does things and works.
    Strongly agree with this point, I've been producing with FP user "Despo" and have learned many awesome techniques from him.

    He's a very experienced producer that is easy to understand, and takes notice whether you're fully understanding it or not.
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  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    AK'z's Avatar
    January 2011
    29,546 Posts
    Anyone who wants "The Wall of Sound" treatment on their music, drop me a line.
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  25. Post #25
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    Anyone who wants "The Wall of Sound" treatment on their music, drop me a line.
    That's rather kind of you, I'll keep note of it if I ever need to, thanks

    Edited:

    Also, I just purchased this midi keyboard :

    The Akai LPK25 USB-MIDI controller

    it looks awesome and is incredibly cheap at 40.

    Good idea buying it?
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  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    chaz13's Avatar
    August 2005
    2,140 Posts
    That's rather kind of you, I'll keep note of it if I ever need to, thanks

    Edited:

    Also, I just purchased this midi keyboard :

    The Akai LPK25 USB-MIDI controller

    it looks awesome and is incredibly cheap at 40.

    Good idea buying it?
    Nothing wrong with it, but it's pretty limited with only two octaves on the keyboard. Still, it's useful for a lot of things I imagine!
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  27. Post #27
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    Nothing wrong with it, but it's pretty limited with only two octaves on the keyboard. Still, it's useful for a lot of things I imagine!
    I thought that, but I could just edit the starting note in the program so I don't see it as that much of a problem

  28. Post #28
    Gold Member
    Croix's Avatar
    May 2008
    2,739 Posts
    I thought that, but I could just edit the starting note in the program so I don't see it as that much of a problem
    It's decent, somewhat shitty keys. It's good for 40 pounds, the velocity sensitivity is pretty nice.

    Don't expect to play more than simple chords and melodies though, and yes, you will need to know music theory to have use of a keyboard probably?

  29. Post #29
    Rad McCool's Avatar
    August 2009
    3,883 Posts
    I have that keyboard. Mainly use it as a controller and to experiment with chords.

  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    xiohexia's Avatar
    August 2009
    196 Posts
    I have that keyboard. I never use it since I have a 62 key.

  31. Post #31
    I once watched a girl get eaten by a horse and it was bad
    Dead Madman's Avatar
    December 2008
    5,645 Posts
    I have that keyboard. I never use it since I have a 62 key.
    But would you say it's any good for producing?

  32. Post #32
    Gold Member
    Croix's Avatar
    May 2008
    2,739 Posts
    But would you say it's any good for producing?
    Just buy it, it's 40 pounds lol.

    Edited:

    It's good enough for someone who can't play piano, if you can play piano get a bigger one.
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  33. Post #33
    Rad McCool's Avatar
    August 2009
    3,883 Posts
    But would you say it's any good for producing?
    You will not become a better producer or song writer just because you buy a keyboard.
    Think of it as a tool that can smoothen the work flow in what you normally do.

    You know, you can make any kind of music using only your computer. Don't rely on equipment!
    If you want to learn how to produce and to write songs, then practice that. You can't really
    solve those problems by buying things.

    Of course, that Akai LPK is very cheap and you can never go wrong in having a keyboard. But
    know what to expect of it. Don't go out buying more expensive things when you find out that
    your composing and producing skills will be just as good as they were before you bought the
    keyboard. :)
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  34. Post #34

    November 2011
    12 Posts
    Listen to a lot of music you want to create. But don't listen to it, like brainless but analyze it, for example: yeah, and there starts the 2step pattern, the bass is LFO'd and it certainly sounds like something with sawtooth wave. I hear some flanged arp in the background and it must play D Major.

    Learn music theory, this will help you with creating interesting melodies and chord progressions (you can just learn to play piano/keyboard).

    Be active on music production boards for your genre and stuff. For example, dubstepforum.com, dogsonacid.com, warbeats.com, or just your DAW forums. Take part in "How do i create this sound" threads.

    Get familiar with Synthesis. For example: FM, Additive. (You'll sure need these, to make dem sounds better)

    Read something about acoustics and how the human ear works. It'll sure help you with production, mastering and EQ.

    Read some e-books about Mixing, Mastering, watch all dem tutorials on youtube. Good mixing e-book is for example: "Roey Izhaki - Mixing Audio - Concepts Practices And Tools".

    Don't try to make music within one genre. Listen to different styles and decide what you like the most, in for example techno or ambient. Combine it with the genre you want to focus on.

    After you make some good track, send it to someone (i mean other producer which is somewhat good or just to friend) to make sure it's really good. Or wait some time, then listen to it again. Don't take your work like, "it was hours of my work and i am really happy of it", but "it was product of sound engineering, mixing, and stuff". Review other people's tracks. That will help you with seeing the flaws in your tracks. There is emotional link with your tracks that you need to get rid of.

    Try to make your music as professional as it can be.

    I hope I helped.
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  35. Post #35
    MingeCrab's Avatar
    March 2007
    418 Posts
    hmm maybe I should stream audio and video on some website so anyone can watch. But if you want to produce with me over teamviewer, we can do that sometime, but dead madman is first in line lol.

    edit: brb, creating a producing school steam group, lol.

    edit: WHOOP WHOOP, it's up! http://steamcommunity.com/groups/EPUniversity
    yeah man that streaming idea sounds coooooool lol, also d'ya have logic?

  36. Post #36
    Deweze's Avatar
    November 2009
    1,455 Posts
    How does teamviewer work? I would love to collab with you guys somehow.

  37. Post #37
    Odi
    Odi's Avatar
    July 2011
    148 Posts
    try other programs, like reason or try flat mapping with sony acid. just experiment.
    i myself have been where you are now and felt like I'll never improve....
    but realize you're making the music for yourself, and from there let your creativity go.
    hear a song you really like? recreate the best parts for songs, and from there you're creating something new. Keep trying new things, go out of your way to find loops // I started sampling vinyls and loops online // my sisters really old CDS and it turned out to be pretty eventful.

    ps i have the akai micro key, and akai mpd26 i produce mostly hiphopesq

  38. Post #38
    IplayAspy's Avatar
    November 2008
    1,266 Posts
    - Listen through a few times while doing something else. If it's good, I master it and declare myself finished. Otherwise I keep working.
    This! Once you get to near ending your track and are finishing up with mastering and volumes. Browse the web,play a game, or just sit back in your chair and stare outside the window. Its easier to tell when something is off in your track when you're not paying attention to whats happening on the production screen.
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