The single biggest improvement...

Mar 13, 2012

  1. Racy Outbound

    Racy
    149 posts
    Since Jan 22, 2009
    This is just a question to see what single thing has made the biggest improvement to your productions so far? this could be down to engineering, arrangement etc.

    Mine would probably have to be when I started referencing to other producers tracks. It gives you a starting point for mix downs as well as highlighting possible arrangement flaws (e.g things getting a bit boring, repetitive etc)
  2. Pseudonym1471

    Pseudonym1471
    148 posts
    Since Mar 25, 2010
    Realising that a lot of the best stuff takes real hard graft and effort, i.e. spending a day or two editing and Melodyning a vocal meticulously when lots of people would just chuck it in and make do. Actually taking pride in spending lots of time getting things sounding that little bit better. That was the day I went from seeing Noisia as production immortals to just really hard workers.

    (I have to add that my second biggest revalation was to chuck all this out of the window at creative times and get a track out onto the screen as quickly as humanly possible :laughing:)
  3. Pyro

    Pyro
    8,975 posts
    Since Feb 25, 2001
    if you can find such a thing you probably havent been working at music for very long :twothumbs:

    the main thing is just realizing how much work needs to be done to accomplish what you want.

    if i had to nail one thing down i'd say it was paying attention to the quality of
    my output chain.
  4. SourBattery

    SourBattery
    495 posts
    Since Aug 15, 2009
    That the little things add up. There is rarely a big single move that takes a track to a new level, its the small barely noticeble things on every track and bus that gets you there.
  5. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    Stealing kick drums. Ever since then my production quality has skyrocketed. For some reason a good kick just forces me to asses everything properly (or at least better). Ever since then I tend to make better subs, which lead to better basses, which in turn lead to better treble. I know it's sounds dumb, but I swear the moment I started using kicks from other tracks that were in tune with what I planned on writing, things changed for the much better.

    Next step, learn how to make my own kicks that are just as good - I'll get there someday.
  6. Andydextruss Something

    Andydextruss
    12,156 posts
    Since Feb 17, 2004
    Learning that less is more with distortion/saturation/compression.

    Learning proper gain staging (then using multi-band compression to give the mix/buss extra oomph).

    Understanding m/s processing.
  7. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    Ibunshi
    8,399 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    there are probably more than one thing. but biggest and quickest improvment came after switching from studio monitors to cheap headphones..

    or so i believe anyway, in an untreated room having studio monitors didnt make much of a difference to me but i had them for years, then going from that to using headphones and suddenly my mixes turned to the better.. so having cheap monitors gave me a better view with a less coloured and mangled sound than my studio monitors ever did.. when i first bought those monitors i did it in a way most newbies do i think, just because of hearing its more "pro" ..and obviously a salesman will not say that they might even be worse than the set of hifi speakers you use at the time because those might fill whatever gap your room has, and then pro monitors can have you come out worse because of being more neutral

    so yeah, cheap headphones, lol... but then i have also not tried listening to all that many other setups since i started with them.. so i am still unsure.. more of a feeling i suppose
  8. Racy Outbound

    Racy
    149 posts
    Since Jan 22, 2009
    Hi guys, just to clear things up. This isn't a "where is the magic button to make productions sound awesome thread" Naturally the only thing that is going to provide results is dedication, hard work and many hours of trial and error.

    I know of a few friends / producers who are continually trying to up their game it's just every now and then somebody stumbles upon something that really takes their productions up a notch whether it's finally understanding how compression works or simple things like adding incidentals to make things more interesting. It's these things that I was looking to be shared in this thread and from the looks of it some interesting things have already been added :tea:
  9. Kizza

    Kizza
    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    - Stopped using analysers.

    - Making sure everything is summed into groups and attenuating all the signals to nill then starting with the most powerful part of the track to mix.
  10. joemaki

    joemaki
    1,234 posts
    Since May 15, 2010
    a better p.c
  11. lavaviper

    lavaviper
    193 posts
    Since Oct 29, 2011
  12. Mark C. Person of Music

    Mark C.
    59 posts
    Since Oct 11, 2011
    There's some pretty funny ideas in here. :twothumbs:
  13. Kizza

    Kizza
    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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  14. Hollows Low Flying Oscillators

    Hollows
    214 posts
    Since Jul 8, 2010
    Producing first thing in the morning, literally within 20 minutes of waking up, as odd as it may sound, I am definitely most creative and inspired first thing in the day
  15. parsley

    parsley
    6,600 posts
    Since Apr 25, 2004
    stopping trying to produce DNB.

    when i stopped trying to create a wall of sound in which every frequency was rammed to the rafters, i found that things started to sound much better.

    so these days I most practice using a simple house/techno song structure and give the mix loads of room to breathe - sounds much better
  16. Myra

    Myra
    585 posts
    Since Aug 25, 2003
    Learning an instrument.
  17. djlouisb

    djlouisb
    69 posts
    Since May 21, 2009
    I've just moved house and decided to set up a proper workspace with a spacious layout and the monitors in the correct position. I find that I am so much happier with the results from my tune making sessions.

    I find even listening to vinyl or mp3s sound so much better simply by having a tidy, comfortable environment to work in.

    For me it's very much "Fresh setup, fresh ideas"
  18. TheRoary

    TheRoary
    115 posts
    Since Jan 4, 2012
    Make the music you want to make, not what you think other people want to hear.. I only worked this out fairly recently after hours of banging my head against a wall trying to make something that sounded like everything else out there, and since then I've switched up and started enjoying producing/writing like I did when I first started out.

    Also, training your ears.. I think this only comes with the hours and hours you put into writing and listening, all the while unconsciously developing your hearing so you know what you need in a mix to convey emotion, energy and atmosphere.
  19. djlouisb

    djlouisb
    69 posts
    Since May 21, 2009
    I have a massive problem with this, not the idea, but actually putting it into action.

    I love deep, minimal, dark DnB and mix it regularly but find it almost impossible to write/produce anything that fits into the genre. It's so uncommon for a DJ to play a different style than they produce...
  20. flyingmidget

    flyingmidget
    557 posts
    Since Mar 4, 2008
    for me without a doubt it was figuring out how to deal with plugin delay in FL studio.

    oh and lfo -> cutoff wubwubwubwub
  21. VerticalDrop

    VerticalDrop
    34 posts
    Since Nov 21, 2010
    Learning that good sound selection is more critical for a good mixdown than all the EQs and Compressors in the world!
  22. underspawn

    underspawn
    146 posts
    Since Oct 23, 2010
    Starting tunes from a sample, not from drums or bassline.
  23. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    soooo true!
  24. qwert678!!!! Helios Primus

    qwert678!!!!
    733 posts
    Since Jun 22, 2010
    Always do PM on your gear. That way it's ready to work whenever you are.
  25. imPray

    imPray
    192 posts
    Since Dec 26, 2010
    Learning how to connect different parts of a tune together to make it feel like a whole song instead of just loop after loop into more loops.
  26. qwert678!!!! Helios Primus

    qwert678!!!!
    733 posts
    Since Jun 22, 2010
    Current hurdle for me honestly.
  27. micblack194

    micblack194
    367 posts
    Since Jan 1, 2008
    mine has got to be using automation in Cubase 5, my main thing now is! All my tracks have a filter that uses zero to no cpu or ram and i automate the filter cutoff, that way i can fade things in and out play around with ducking ect ect, im not a fan of sidechaining it sounds unnatural to my ears but filtering, well! it just sounds silky smooth! :wink: I use the filter by NATIVE, it is really easy to use and control in cubase took me a few years to understand something that seems like a must in music!

    'bring things in and take other elements out in a smooth transition'
    'when introducing a new sound fade some older elements out'

    All seems possible now with filtering!

    :twothumbs:
  28. dfault

    dfault
    762 posts
    Since Dec 16, 2008
    It took me a few days of thinking to figure this one out. I think the most valuable thing I've learned is to be brutally honest with myself about the sound coming out of my speakers. I spend a lot of time matching the output levels to the input levels of of just about every plugin I use so I can properly judge the effectiveness of my work. When I toggle the bypass button I try to simply decide which sound is better without out any bias. Doing that has really helped me improve the effectiveness of my work.

    I know you said "single" biggest improvement but this one is related to the first...

    In the early days I would shy away from straight up A/B comparison between my tunes and professional references because it can be frustrating, especially if I waited to do so until I was already finished with a tune. Eventually I realized that the only way to deal with my remaining weaknesses was to go at them head on so I started A/Bing with the references in the sequencer from the start of every project continue doing so throughout the entire process thus crushing my fragile ego in order to replace it with true confidence.
  29. shapes fcy

    shapes
    172 posts
    Since Dec 6, 2007
    stopping smoking the green 'ball and chain'
  30. Normie

    Normie
    45 posts
    Since Jun 17, 2011
    For me, hands down, the biggest improvement came in proper gain staging. I spent most of my first year doing typical noob mistakes (not that I'm perfect now mind you) and just stacking vsts/samples up with no thought to gain staging...since I didn't know it existed.

    I read a thread on a Dubstep site that had a couple pros get into GS and how and why to do it properly. It was like someone turned a light bulb on for me. So I read up on it in depth.

    When I went back through my early tracks that I'd just winged it on and redid them with my newfound knowledge, it was like someone them took a blanket off my speakers. Clarity increased dramatically, drums nit harder..."everything" got better...dramatically better. I had stuff so screwed up it was insane.

    The second best thing was in setting my room up to the best of my financial ability, though that really should have been the first thing I ever did. Live and learn.