Music Production!


#1

Music is great and so is haphazardly mashing it together! Wanna talk about tones or gear or plugins, or what sounds you’re chasing, or who your favorite producers are? Maybe you wanna post a mix in progress?

My first production love is/was Dave Sardy. He produced Wolfmother’s first album among others but he’d be my favorite if he only worked on White Unicorn and nothing else at all. That stereo guitar drop for the chorus makes me feel stuff.


#2

For the past couple of months, I’ve been on a Grimes kick. There is just something about her production that is mystical, magical, and extremely weird. I love her use of layering and how she makes it uniquely hers. She’s a great producer. She doesn’t take any shit from the industry and she’s someone that I really look up to.

My favorite song by her is probably Oblivion. It has some sick beats, the lyrics are dark and disturbing, and the sound she samples is totally sounds like Goldeneye 64.


#3

Ooh, good timing! I’ve just been getting back into music production after a long hiatus. I’ve definitely learned a lot over the past few months, but still haven’t learned how to finish a song instead of just starting a new one when I get stuck, so I just have a ton of works-in-progress. My SO gifted me a collection of really awesome Native Instruments plugins, so I’ve been diving into those. Massive is… well, massive. I spend way too much time just fooling around with instruments as a way to procrastinate writing the second half of a song haha.

Though, I did write a bit of music for the Global Game Jam a couple weeks back and having the constraint of “oh god oh god we only have two days to make something” was actually really nice.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Grimes! It has such a cool, eerie quality to it. I’ve also been listening to a ton of Tycho, as I think anything they put out is essentially perfect. But my roots are more in post-punk indie rock and, well… game soundtracks, so basically things I like fall on the spectrum between Bloc Party and the Sonic The Hedgehog 3 soundtrack.

I’m so happy this thread exists!! Would love to share and chat with other amateur producers.


#4

I honestly wish I knew more about music composing. I guess I’ve always had an interest in music, but I only took one semester of band/music before flunking out and I definitely don’t remember anything about how to play the trumpet except maybe how to purse your lips when you blow in to the mouthpiece.

It was probably around that time I got in to modifying MIDIs in Noteworthy Composer, and even started trying to compose my own songs, but I didn’t understand time signatures or how to make sure notes fit a given beat length, so the first (and only) song I ever composed eventually desynchronizes from its bass line.

But for some reason I kept modifying MIDIs, and I got in to this habit of, like, taking MIDIs of video game music and using the Yamaha XG50 Software Synthesizer to transfer them to MP3. Usually, that made them sound cleaner than they did, on, say, the Sega Genesis or the Super Nintendo, but they still kind of sounded like MIDIs.

Eventually a more musically-inclined friend turned me on to a piece of software called Fruityloops, a professional music production tool, and over the next 12 years I slowly stumbled my way through to a roundabout understanding of its features. And I just… kept messing with other people’s MIDIs.

It’s the sort of thing that makes me feel more than a little guilty, because for the most part, all I’m really doing is applying instrument packs, effects, and equalizer presets. Occasionally I’ll do a little more work, poking at the actual notes in the songs themselves, but since I never learned how to compose music, it’s never anything very complex (certainly nothing that would ever get me on ocremix). It feels like I might be disrespecting the people who sequenced these MIDIs, since I’m not exactly asking for permission or anything – usually I pull from the freely-available pool of MIDIs available at vgmusic.com.

But, at the same time, it’s definitely something I enjoy doing. Some of the songs I just linked off my soundcloud are things I bashed my head against for days, weeks, sometimes months or even years, trying to figure out how to make it sound the way I think it should sound. Finding the right combination of soundfonts and effects takes a surprising amount of effort.

So, yeah. Hi. Hello. Feel free to ignore me for being weird, I guess.


#5

NI stuff seems super complicated. I got their Abbey Road 60’s drummer thingy for demoing purposes and it has so much going on and I can only imagine what their synths are like. Also I know the pain of writing a billion half songs. Do you wanna share any? I’ll trade you one of mine.


#6

This is actually super cool! I’ve never thought of doing something like this, but it’s somewhere between an unofficial remaster and a remix, and I’m really into it! It seems like a a really cool way to learn music production skills without the pressure of composition on top of it. Also, with so much obsession with writing songs that sound like old video game tunes, it’s pretty cool to see someone doing essentially the opposite and modernizing old video game tunes.


#7

I’ve actually recently been starting to learn music theory so I can start to compose in FL Studio. I’ve always been interested in creating music, but up until now whenever I made music it was just by randomly pressing keys in ways that sounded nice to me, and that only got me so far. I still no very little about music composition, but even after the little I’ve learned such as chords and chord progressions, it has been changing how I listen to music, and getting me able to start to create more complete songs. I haven’t released any yet as I don’t think they’re all that great, but I do feel like I’m improving somewhat.


#8

Yeah, NI stuff can get prettty overwhelming. Luckily all the stuff I got comes with a wrapper plugin (Kontact Komplete, I think it’s called?) that houses all of them and can search through them all. So I generally look for presets that I like and then alter them to my needs. The drum sampler that I have has so far been the most valuable–as someone who prefers realistic drums to drum machines, it’s just so hard to find free drum stuff that both sounds good and is easy to use.

(definitely not terrified voice): I’d love to share some stuff!!

I’ll start with this one that I just started a couple days ago. I’d never messed with vocaloids before, but found a free one and decided to experiment. Haven’t found a way to make it sound intelligible (or good) while trying to use actual words, but I found a way to use it as a voice-like synth that I’m really into. Especially in conjunction with this free hang drum sampler/synth that I found.

Sorry it doesn’t have a name… I just number my songs until they’re finished. I’m also really bad at figuring out what genres my own music is, so maybe by the end of this thread I’ll find an answer haha.


#9

Hey this is pretty dope! What’s the vocaloid synth you’re using?

(equally not terrified) Ok I made a soundcloud to dump sketches on so here we go
This one’s based on a little part of a song I had a while back and I’m trying to expand it into some sort of synthy orchestral movement thing. I guess this is a little less production focused and more composition focused but yeah.


#10

Wow, I love this. I have a real hard time conceptualizing stuff that isn’t beat-driven one way or another, so this kind of interwoven orchestral thing with an unclear meter (to just-one-year-of-music-technology-in-college-and-the-theory-classes-were-at-8AM-so-I-slept-through-most-of-them me, at least) is fascinating to me. Definitely finish it!! For real, I’ve already listened to it like four times and I need more.

Also I’m jealous of the crispness and clarity of your bassline.

The vocaloid I’m using is called AlterEgo. It sounded pretty weak on its own, but it really came alive when I plugged it into the FX chain that I use for vocals and went reeeallly heavy-handed on the reverb, haha.

These are the effects I have on it:

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Pretty much all of them are free except for Replika and the compressor, and Replika is just a fancy delay.


#11

Thanks! I’m working on an a more synthpop/classic rock focused project right now, so stuff like this is taking a backseat for a bit, but hopefully I’ll have some time one of these days to pick it back up. In regards to the meter of the thing, I totally wasn’t thinking about it when I was writing it, but if I were to try to diagnose it now, I would say it’s in 7/4 with extensions of one or two beats until it modulates, then it’s in 4/4. Theory! I think at this point I actually know a fair bit of theory but honestly I don’t think it helps all that much except for communicating with other musicians.

The bass is a stock synth in logic X, but the character of the sound is coming from a Goohertz Vulf Compressor and a Soundtoys Decapitator (Both of those plugins are so useful in so many different ways I can’t recommend them enough). This being said, I really wish I had my bass around cause I would have loved to play that analog. Sequenced bass lines just make me feel sad. Unless it’s Zapp. Then it’s ok.

That Alter Ego thingy seems real handy. I had this weird vocoder chorale section at the end of a song that I banged my head against for a month trying to get it audible over a drum kit and a super involved synth section (I think 5 part counterpoint and I wasn’t gonna leave a note). This thing sounds like it would cut right through.
Also acorn is a dope little chorus! I used that for ages until I got some good replacements. Actually I still use it for amp modeling stuff.

Lastly, a side note, I dunno if anyone else has felt the pain of your computer crashing cause you tried to put too much amp modeling on a marimba, but I sure have.


#12

This thread definitely seems up my street. I’ve been making music as something of a (supernaturally eager) amateur for about ten years; for myself, personally, I’m really glad I somehow stumbled onto reading about / listening to famously “lo-fi” artists, which really kickstarted me. Stuff like the Microphones The Glow, pt. II or the band Flying Saucer Attack, where there’s a clear “homemade-ness” to the sound, but where these conditions and that situation are used to make really ambitious stuff with unique atmospheres bolstered by the necessities of “lo-fi” / home recording. That and stuff like glitch / IDM / ambient, where the revelation strikes that you might be able to try (to replicate this stuff with whatever free audio software you can get yr hands on (only realising how difficult this is once you’re well in and dedicated to it).

I’ve barely had any training in music (due, I assume to budget cuts and whatnot, music lessons at school were always of limited use unless you were already having private tuition / many of the school’s glockenspiels had keys missing), but I’m one of those annoying weirdoes who always had to muck around on a keyboard if there happened to be one around.

I’m not sure if any of what I’ve typed makes any sense; but here’s the stuff I’ve made that I’m most proud of.

https://bricolagecollective.bandcamp.com/album/fake-real-warm-bc013 – A short album Fake Real Warm (partially inspired by the coincidence that I was reading / playing / watching / thinking about a lot of stuff to do with the weirdness of nostalgia - including Life is Strange)

https://soundcloud.com/mutebranches/wrek-film-score – the score to my friend’s five minute horror short. This was so much fun to make, lots of weird field recordings / re-tuning an old and partially broken guitar / etc.


#13

Do you have any other Sound Toys stuff? I really like using the EchoBoy as a filter/distortion instead of just a delay. It’s fun to whack the delay time to 1/64 with the tempo all the way up (not synced to your DAW) and then play with the saturation, ‘style’ filters and input level.


#14

Yeah I got the bundle! I just tried out what you were talking about with the echoboy and it’s a really cool effect. Wanna post any sounds you particularly like using it?

Do you use other Soundtoys stuff? I started to use a really low mix of the devil-loc on drum busses and the microshift is a really quick way to get some stereo out of a mono signal. Oh and the Sie-Q is one of my favorite EQ thingies! Especially for vocals and guitar.