The good news is that making high-quality music is very feasible for producers these days.
The bad news is that producing high-quality music requires the consideration of millions of little details.
The majority of these factors are minor, but when taken collectively, they may have a significant impact.
That’s because the quality of each individual component adds up to a finished result that sounds professional.
When they reach a reasonable level of output, most manufacturers stop developing because they are content with where they are. They don’t take the time to understand all of these little but crucial things.
This is due to the belief that “good enough” is sufficient.
Many producers have the issue of becoming excellent at producing for the first couple of years and then hitting a plateau where they stop developing.
You’ll be ahead of a lot of other producers who never get beyond writer’s block if you can get over this stumbling obstacle.
This post will go through 5 key production techniques, practices, and behaviors that can help you break through your plateau.
Organization is the first habit that will greatly help you in the long term. Always start by labeling and grouping your sounds.
It’s one of the most ignored producers recommendations, yet it’s crucial since it may determine one of two outcomes:
- If you really complete a song, kudos to you.
- How wonderful the song turns out to be in the end.
When you’re working on a song, it’s easy to get caught up in the flow right away.
However, if you’re halfway through the song and there’s no feeling of structure, you’ll have a difficult time completing it.
Why is this so important?
Because making music is basically simply arranging a collection of sounds in a certain order to create a larger whole.
So, although the majority of your production will appeal to your auditory sense, don’t overlook the visual aspect of it.
Keeping all of your tracks color-coded and named can help you envision the song and evaluate how well your project is put together.
This will save you a lot of time and will enable your creativity to flow freely without being stifled by a disorganized project file.
When cooperating, this is also a factor to consider. Would you like it if a collaborator gave you a project file with no named tracks or color organization? Everything would be a jumble, and the platform would be uninteresting to work on.
The musical structure is already set out with time markers, all of the sounds are arranged into their own groups, and everything is color coded nicely.
2. Sound Effects
Sound design is the foundation of every great production, therefore mastering it is essential!
Going through our presets and reverse engineering as much as you can is a fantastic approach to enhance your sound creation abilities. Presets have a significant advantage that is frequently overlooked: they are a fantastic learning resource.
You may not grasp it on the first or second attempt, but once you do, you’ll be able to comprehend sound design to a higher degree.
Taking apart and reassembling a setup is similar to taking apart and reassembling a vehicle engine. You’ll ultimately figure out what all the components do, how they function, and how you can modify them if you do it enough times.
Take a look at this…
- Choose a preset that you’d want to learn how to create.
- Start a new Serum instance and recreate the patch from the ground up.
- Return to the original preset and duplicate each setting one at a time.
This will assist you in discovering methods you may not have considered previously, allowing you to significantly enhance your approach to sound design.
3. Automated systems
This is one of the most under appreciated ideas.
Automation will give your sound design a whole new level of movement and depth.
If you’re not sure where to start with automation, automate everything. That is how you will discover the gold jewels.
Seriously, the majority of the amazing sounds you hear today were created by chance, via experimenting.
Producers don’t always conjure up a wild bass out of thin air and recreate it in the same manner.
They just enter the synth and begin experimenting with various ideas and experiments, certain that they would ultimately produce a great sound…
The same thing may happen with automation, which is why it’s such a valuable ability to have!
While your music is playing, try automating various settings in your synthesizers (for example, your bass line). You may come upon something crazy by mistake! Also, try automating parts of your music that you usually wouldn’t automate!
Have you ever been completely absorbed in a song or a whole EP/Album?
The lyrics and structure are so well-balanced that no element seems out of place.
Making a great-sounding and well-mixed music is just one part of the problem. The whole framework is what draws the listener in.
There are a few excellent methods to enhance the structure and composition of your songs.
- Reverse Engineer Structures: Take a look at the structure of a handful of your most-listened-to songs. Drag them into your DAW and use marks to indicate when there is a structural change. This is a fantastic method to visualize the music and reduce it down to its most basic elements. Flume’s “You & Me” remix is one tune that I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing. This song features a fantastic and listenable musical structure, making it ideal for analysis.
- Project Files as a Source of Information: Looking at a full project file provides a wealth of information straight away. You can see the nicely arranged structural markers that lay out the map of the music before ever opening any of the tracks and looking at the processing and automation.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should practice the activities you like.
A lot of producers try to recreate a sound that already exists. It is much more important to create something fresh than to copy what someone else has done.
Learn the basics of songwriting and structure, but don’t stop there. Take inspiration from them and develop your own own songwriting style!
Being distinctive and innovative is the only way to stand out.
5. Mixing & Mastering
Before you even consider mixing or mastering a song, double-check that you’ve selected the finest samples for each sound.
Nothing should go undetected.
From the hi-hats to the kind of FX utilized, only the finest of the best should be used.
Mixing and mastering will be much simpler as a result.
You’ve probably heard the expression “you can’t polish a turd.”
This is very true, and it’s something that should be remembered at all times!
If you find yourself immediately altering a sample with a lot of EQ and processing, it may be preferable to choose an alternative sample that is closer to what you want.
That’s fantastic after you’ve completed this section!
However, obtaining high-quality samples is just one part of the problem. The difficult aspect is placing them in the appropriate locations. Every sample in the mix and composition should have its own spot.
The sample must be positioned in such a manner that your whole song is coherent and flows smoothly.
To hear whether your noises are in the correct location, you need exercise and develop your ear.
Ask yourself: “What sound should I use here, and why?”
If you can master these five stages, your output will skyrocket, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.
Always be conscious if you’ve reached a plateau and attempt to break over it as soon as possible.
Continue to study more about your field, and you’ll always be one step ahead of the competition.
I hope these producers suggestions were helpful and that your tracks have improved!