DAW and DnB producing philosophies

Discussion in 'Production' started by luzil, May 17, 2009.

  1. luzil

    luzil Member

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    Hi all,

    im new to producing and have informed myself a while, thereby found this forum any many helpful tips. Tested some DAW, Reason, Ableton, Samplitude.

    To make the first move i thought it would be good to try to remix a known song. I love ambient styled DnB (Bukem). Examining DAWs, i think Reason is by far the best for making DnB and cheapiest for beginners. Also it seems to be hard to save patches or settings in a DAW like cubase/samplitude with ext. vsti and finding good vsti. I got some DnB .rps on reasonstation to take a look how a DnB song is build up.

    What really confuses me looking at those DnB .rps, they dont sound quite different from DnB im hearing since 1995, but they use so many devices, 30 synths, passing trough 20 effects, 10 redrums etc. pp. As far as i read, Bukem and co. mainly produced 1995 on hardware with few rack devices.

    I think there are of course several ways to create a sound, but for me as noob the setting possibilities in some DAWs seem to be over redundant using km of virtual cable of the back side of the rack in reason producing nearly same sound as before 10 years.

    So what is the key skill to build DnB songs? Seems some do try to save a average song with sampled breaks by effecting it a lot in 30 DAW traces to give it individuality, Bukem songs sound so simple but beautiful and unique. Should u focus on learing combining different effects in series or its more important to learn how to synth really good sounds. Some guys seem to build dnb songs without using one sample, but sampling breaks and slicing seems also very common.

    I searched a lot, are there any free/commercial midi files, .rps from classic dnb songs (adam f circles, bukem demons theme etc.) out there , would be very helpful to see what is made by notes and what by effects.

    Found this

    http://www.midifile.net/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=23838&products_id=103503

    but a whole song midi would be nice instead of single grooves

    Whats a good beginner masterkeyboard for reason. Found these 2, can anybody recommend? Especially can u fast adapt the virtual reason knobs with the controller knobs working in malström for example, or du u need special keyboard for single DAW? Some DAW like Ableton seem to have their own hardware controller

    http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Advanced-Semi-Weighted-Controller-9900-51411-10/dp/B000EM6TBI

    http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-OXYGE...8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1242578952&sr=1-1


    thx
     
  2. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    Can't comment on any of the Reason stuff since my experience with it is looking at it and going back to fruity.

    I find this a little :confused:

    What do you mean exactly?
     
  3. KEMZ

    KEMZ Blatant Royal Status

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    Hello Mate, firstly you need to stop thinking about effects, for now. effects will colour a sounds, they wont make one. i have made tracks that are all samples imported in, ive done tracks where ive made all the samples myself in Reason, then ive done tracks with a combination of the two (most of the time). on the Keyboard - any USB or Firewire Midi keyboard will do.

    i think most people, whichever gear they use, start with a break or breaks or even a simple Kick & Snare with some hats. once you've got that rolling about try some synth sounds/bass sounds. you may have to go back and constantly change either the drum sounds themselves or just EQ them further. same with the synth sounds. maybe try layering some extra kicks and snare in there, some ghost snares, filtered out breaks ect. from here you will pretty much see where a tunes gonna go and what direction you may take. once you make it this far you may wnat to: Process the synth further (this is where you could apply effects, tweek, export as Wav file) bring it back in - repeat. - take it into another program, ie Cubase, apply more effects, fatten, EQ ect ect. i dont think theres any real Key to it as theres too many variables and different equipment to use, however when you go down the road of looking at frequency's and stuff then there are limits to how much you can push a sound.

    always look for a nice balanced audible mix whatever you do!

    USE YOUR EARS
     
  4. kenflex

    kenflex KenFlex

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    I find that the best DAW to use is the one you enjoy using the most. I started on Fruity and outgrew it so moved to reason. Unfortunately reason doesn't support VSTs so I came across Ableton Live two years ago and haven't looked back - I find it really fun to use. Music production is an expensive business and if you can either look at it as a hobby or a passion and through yourself in 100%.

    With regards to how many layers or tracks you have on one single track, it doesn't really matter if you have 30 synths or 5synths - everything you put into a track should be there for a reason, every sample or sound you've used or created should be listened to over and over and made to sound as tight and as fitting as possible. I've been teaching myself how to make tunes for over 6 years and it is only in the last 4-6 months that my technique has improved vastly. This is down to getting remix work for breaks and house acts like Rennie Pilgrem, Freeland & Timo Garcia and i've been getting feedback from them and people like High Contrast, Friction and Fresh, all of them keep saying the same thing - keep it uncluttered and work on one strong idea, make sure there is depth to your beats and sounds.

    I always start by creating a loop of 4-8 bars and working on a 1 or 2 bar beat and a hook, then once I have 10 or so pieces I'll lay it out in a sequence to get an idea of how my track will sound - how it builds/breaks and rolls. Working on beats and your basslines is so important, the clue is in the name D&B. Once i have decided on my beats i'll usually end up with 2-4 layered kicks, 3-4 layered snares, shuffles, amens or chopped up breaks, cymbal spashes, shakers/tambs and multiple hats.

    The most important thing for me is to make sure i'm having fun with what i'm doing - if not then i take a break or move onto another project before going back to the one causing me grief. Music making should be about fun and enjoyment in my eyes.
     
  5. luzil

    luzil Member

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    Maybe i didnt look in depth enough, but big advantage of Reason seems for me, u can easily save hole song setups or combinator devices with sounds, effects etc. In Samplitude, if u dont have big expensive vsti like Kontakt its hard/impossible to safe sound settings for diff. traces in free ext. vsti. Ableton seems also pretty cool, read rewiring it with reason maybe a perfect symbiosis for producing electronical music, but for me as a noob Reason i think is most intuitive way to start, especially with Reason Drum tools and Rack view.

    In the end a DAW is just a tool and the key knowing how to use it i think. But at a first glance the capabilities of Reason seems so big, is there anything u cant do with it (except for audio editing)? I read Artists like Tim Exile, Autechre even program their own software (Reaktor, MSP) to create sounds. But the songs i heard from Exile seem to be pretty experimental stuff, hard for me to figure out whats is made by sounds/effects.

    DnB has a lot of styles, in want to make melodic, ambient styled (Bukem, Seba, 4hero) and think about whats the best basic approach. In these classic DnB (Music/Bukem, So Long/Seba) songs there dont seem to be much effects used, more accentuation on creating good sounding pads, reese and melodic structure. I dont wanna make less melodic strongly drum/bass stressed danceable club DnB, so maybe better approach, to invest in a vsti sequencer like Ableton and Komplete5 with lots of synths to create sounds on my own? More focusing on how to handle a FM/Wavetable Synth? I mean there so many sound libraries, but maybe u get more inspiration for melodies playing around on ur own with synthesizing and sampling. And it gives ur songs a more individual touch. It should become a relaxing hobby for me, not degenerating in browsing hours GB librariers u know. I just dont want to waste too much time for trying wrong programs and stuff, learn handling diff. DAW, switching afer one year because insufficient for own purposes, read a lot of such scenarios browsing posts in music boards, much too old for this :). I read really handling a program like cubase can last several months, so do u think i can get along with Reason as all in one solution or will it pretty fast limit my development abilities? Are thes Malström, Subtractor, Thor Synths mighty enough to be creative for years?

    @Kenflex

    I find it interesting, that u start a song with programming the Drum and Basslines. I now have 3-4 song ideas in my head, coming from whistling and sizzling tunes or searching tunes fitting 2 harmonizing special sounds browsing a library. I would not start with drum and basslines. But thats something i also noticed hearing more exactly from a producer perspective at some dnb songs im hearing for years. In some the main melody seems to be transported by the dblines (afx twin girl/boy song for example), hard to find a loop in there. So is it pretty common to program the drum first or depends on producer/dnb style? I love these rough hard long unsymmetric dnb lines in afx songs, in bukem songs the dnbline has a supporting role from my point of view, but i dunno think he started these nice sounding melodic structures building around drum loops.

    thx for tips
     
  6. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    doesnt matter wot u start with or how u use it or wot procees u involve making music is making music and the way to learn is by doing... there are many limitiations to reason but that doesnt say its a bad daw... i personally use Pro Tools 8 LE after learning on reason and spending a while using cubase 4 at school.

    i feel im pretty confident with daws ive used and that comes from spending hours making beats and also visiting my frinds hu produce set ups and spending time in studios...

    altho not many people in dance music have used pro tools before it is starting to become more popular as u get proffesional mixing quality along with some powerful midi editing capabilities with the new version. i always start a tune with a sample, riff, or break... my inspiration doesnt come from nowhere lol n i spend my time always searching for things to sample n musical ideas that i can use... i dont think il ever look back from pro tools and thats mainly for the amount of instruments n effects vst's (rtas) that come bundled with it along with the abiulity to effect live audio and sequence just about anything.... the possibilities r almost endless and it comes with the largest usuable sample library ive seen on a daw...

    also as im a music student pro tools is used in almost all studios so it seems very logical to use aswell as the fact that altho my rooms natural ambience will effect my ability to mix the tune to a high standard, i can take the session file to a studio and load it onto a HD set up to make crisp mixes.

    i strongly encourage anyone hus spending over 150 on a daw to check out PT 8. soooooo buff.
     
  7. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    A lot of producers fall into the trap of downloading software from the internet. What happens is that they get a new DAW, or a new synth, and play around with it for a while and find their music sucks, so they go and download a new daw, or a new synth, and fiddle with that for a while before realising that they still suck, and go ownload even more stuff..

    While you can do this if you want, I think it is very advisable to actually buy something. You'll be certain to use it MUCH more than if you download it for free. Buying hardware is the same kind of investment, you are comitted and determined to get some use for your money. It's very, very, easy to just dick around with new effects and synths and not get any real work done.

    If you do go with Reason, you probably wont find it limiting. It's big enough to keep you happy for a long time, and by the time you are ready to try something else, you'll have learned a LOT, and most importantly, trained your ears a whole lot, so it will not be like starting from scratch again. An experienced producer will produce good tunes using any DAW, a crap producer will have tried every DAW.
     
  8. kenflex

    kenflex KenFlex

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    From what I know certain producers start with just looping one - eight bars first so come up with an idea (this is not just d&b but house, breaks and dubstep) - initially i thought I might be hindering myself doing this but if you can get your key elements for a drop sounding tight together first then you know you have a strong idea for a track. I personally think it is important not to get bogged down making everything sound perfect first - lay the track out and get a feel for your arrangement - i was having trouble with this and following some advice from a few people I started to work on my drops cos thats the bit that excites the listener the most.

    One important thing to remember is you can always come back and tighten your kick or add more to a bassline, so if you feel like laying out 5 or 6 mins of track then do it, if you get stuck then save what you're doing and move on to something else before you overwork what you're doing and ruin what might be great already.
     
  9. luzil

    luzil Member

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    yeah, pro tools seems to be quite good too, didnt read anything bad about it. But i will have a shot at Reason, it also runs on a netbook, for pro tools as far as i read u need special hardware soundcard to get the software running.

    Wat confuses me are statements in some forums, that a Reason produced song sounds like a Reason produced song :confused: Dued to audio engine, a sample in cubase sounds more brilliant than in Reason. Is this just a matter of setting/presettings in DAWs or are the used algorithms quite better/different in some DAWs.

    @kenflex

    i think it mostly depends how much bpm ur song has, if i make a fast danceable dnb song i would start with dnb lines too. Because thats the bulk im perceiving from a song rather than the sounds dancing on floor, feeling the subbass triggering my heartbeat. Also the faster the beats, the more difficult to implement harmonizing complex tunes. Thats why techno bores me, its simply too fast. In slower dnb songs (bukem moodswings for example) not dancing but hearing to the music i concentrate rather on the tunes (sax, pads) perceiving dnb lines as supplement. So of the wide range of different dnb styles there a probably pretty diff. producing ways getting a song started.

    thx for all ur tips
     
  10. kenflex

    kenflex KenFlex

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    Yeah I'd agree with this, if you're looking to make something thats more for listening outside a club then there should definitely be more freeform to it - less structure as it might not be mixed or if you wanted to put it on a artist LP instead of a mix. At the moment the projects I'm working on are all orientated toward mixing and dancing - due to the fact I work I have less time to concentrate on a huge number of tracks - the remixes come first as that is my way of getting my work listened to by the right people - namely the people listening to d&b, DJs & producers.
     
  11. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    This is almost certainly due to the synths. Most synths have their own distinct character, which you can get to know after a while. How a DAW actually mixes sound together won't vary much from daw to daw. The sound of the EQ and filters can be noticable, but you'd wanna be good to accurately say which daw was used for a mix
     
  12. monq

    monq Member

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    My opinion is that there is not a "correct" approach or "correct" philosophy when it comes to music production, in the same way in which we humans tend to see reality in very different ways.

    I.e., an analytical person should approach (or will approach!) music production in a completely different way than someone who has a synthetic approach to live. Someone who is a perfectionist will want to go down to the smaller elements of a break while other people will be happy grabbing someone elses sample...

    My suggestion would be to try to analyse what works better for you, not what this or that pro might have done in the past... If you have a short attention span, well it will be worthless to spend four months trying to tweak each single component of a track!!!
     
  13. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    i used to grab samples.
    now i rarely use anyone elses samples unless they are drums/breaks or any sort of percussion.

    if there is a sample i like and i want to use i will try to replicate it with a vst/au plugin then bounce it down or whatever.
    i obviously dont have the talent to completely replicate a sound because i cannot always tell what fx they have used ect but i like to add my own little twist onto it so a person cant say ''hey he grabbed that from sample.com'' or whatever.

    i hear a lot of tracks where people use samples that sound better than their tune...its soooo blatent, where if you make your own it fits better because the production techniques, eqing or whatever is similar so it dosent outshine the rest of the tune.

    I know if i ran a label and i was looking for new talent id much rather choose a guy who makes his own samples ect rather than using ones he found on the internet because as he gets older he should have a more original sound,not use the same sounds all the time and be more innovative in music.
    Maybe create unheard basses callled a whumpeeeese synth or whatever.

    although saying that i do take samples from various places but only if i havent heard them in a different tune.
    problem is someone might steal that idea and get noticed and i will get called a fraud haha.

    fucking hell im starting to sound like revtech abit.
    im nuts. but yes this may not be relevant to the thread atall but im just expressing my concerns
     
  14. luzil

    luzil Member

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    Good point, of course in all the limiting parameter is TIME. And you have to think about if u want produce as hobby, semi-prof or prof. I read afx twin even programs algorithms generating special beatlines for him. humans are different and assert diff. claim on their work. So in electronical music its seems pretty common to sample or even produce whole albums consisting 100% of it. I just found it a little weird, because my understanding of producing a song was produce ur own song with sounds and tunes. If i invest much time in a single song it should sound like never heard before :)

    Yeah, that is exactly my understanding. I read a thesis about FFT analysing the spectrum of guitar sample and rebuild it by additive synthesis, conclusion, very time demanding :D Maybe u can also deduce from the spectral temporal development patterns what fx were used.

    I agree, that what i thought hearing to some downloaded dnb Reason .rps songs from advanced producer, there are nice sounds in it, but often on the whole it doesnt match, maybe because u think more about which tune would perfect match with another when creating it on ur own and not browsing a library happy to find some roughly matching it

    hmm, thats the copy and paste culture of the internet century :D I read afx twin in a interview stating that the possibilities of producing music a bigger then ever, but music more and more sound identical. But i think that is just natural cause producing music, especially electronical gets much easier for average joe. Downlaoding a DAW and ready to start, no expensive hardware etc.. So the search lasts longer to find originally sounding stuff in the bulk.