Phat Sam's "How to get started in Music Production" Thread

Discussion in 'Production' started by Phat_Sam, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Phat_Sam

    Phat_Sam Well-Known Member

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    OK. First off, I'm no expert and in no way would I even call myself a producer as of yet. I am learning constantly like everyone else but there are a few things I know todo and to avoid when starting out as I started without using this forum and I fucked up a lot and tbh, took weeks, months and even years getting better at simple things that someone could have taught me in days. I just think a thread for people who have no idea where to start should have a place to go.

    SO.......

    The first thing you need to know is this: Music creation/making/production is not something that comes over night. You need to practise and practise fucking hard to get where you want to be. More so, as a producer for an electronic genre, such as DnB, Dubstep, House, Electro, etc... you need to be able to know what to do in terms of engineering a tune on top of being able to 'produce' it. This is where many people fall on the first hurdle. They think that cos they have a new DAW (explained later) and a few drum samples that they will be the new Sub Focus in a few months producing wikid sick mega tunez blud. I know that's what I and a lot of my mates thought when we first started out. We rapidly started to realise that this is not the case.

    What I'm saying is, prepare to spend a LOT of time perfecting your production techniques. Unless you're some sort of music production prodigy, or are being personally tutored by Noisia, it's gonna be a long old while before you start making things you're actually marginally 'happy' with.

    Right... prerant over... lets begin:

    First off, you're going to need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

    These are computer programs designed primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. (More than often, everything you need to start off producing simple tracks will generally be included in your DAW package from basic to more complicated synths and maybe a few samples. All depends on the pack/DAW you buy.)

    First off, I recommend you check out this:
    http://dnbforum.com/showthread.php/108682-Tips-n-Tricks-for-the-most-used-DAWs-inside

    Pic a DAW and get to know it. If you're on a PC so an easy one to get to know is FL Studio. A little higher up the range would be Reason, Cubase or Ableton Live. I don't know Cubase but I know its very powerful. Ableton is also very good at a lot of things. Not my personal preference but I know that a lot of my friends use it and live by it. Got some seeeeeeriously powerful shit in there. Reason, although I haven't actually played with R6 yet, is seriously good at some things but falls on a few hurdles. You cant use VST's for instance. I used it for years and have found myself coming back from Logic to use some of the instruments and compressors in the Reason rack because I prefer their sound. Each to their own though. Just a few pointers.

    (Also, while I think about it, if you are on Reason, you can follow a guy called 'BoyinaBand' on YouTube. Some really good tutuorials all the way through from compression and EQ to making UK Garage and Drum and Bass. He's here: http://www.youtube.com/user/wwwboyinabandcom. There is also another guy that focus' on DnB using Reason. Some of his stuff is dark as hell but he's a very good producer. I learnt quite a bit from him when I was starting out: http://www.youtube.com/user/loki1200)

    If you're on a Mac, there is a basic program that comes with it; Garageband. Very simple program but tbh, you can't get much better than just using it to get used to the workflow of a DAW. Higher up the range on a Mac would be Logic Express and then Logic Pro. Not much difference between the two but I'm sure you can read up on the difference yourself. Pro Tools is another industry favourite. I'd only recommend getting it if you have £12K to spend on the HD version. If not, get Logic.

    Piano Roll:
    These are very hard to explain so follow this tutorial to understand what a piano roll is:


    Yes, it's for FL Studio, but the process is pretty much identical for all DAWs


    Learn how to make beats to start with. Simple drum patterns and things to then layering samples.
    Samples can be found here (some dead links in here as it is an old thread.):
    http://dnbforum.com/showthread.php/2088-The-Breaks-X-Change-Thread

    Try the New Breaks X Change thread:
    http://dnbforum.com/showthread.php/157847-THE-NEW-BREAKS-X-CHANGE-THREAD

    Also, there are shit loads of free samples packs for one hit drum samples. A lot of DAWs come with samples themselves anyway. Just have a look. The WorldWideWeb is your Oyster!

    When you've learnt how to use a piano roll and change your instruments and make drums and stuff you need to next, learn how to EQ and compress. Compression is possibly one of the hardest things to learn in terms of mixing and engineering so really look into it. Play with a compressor along side reading about it to understand what it does. These are your 2 most basic mixing tools. You don't know how to use these, you ain't gonna have any good tunes, let alone giving Nestky a run for his money.

    A couple of tutorials for these are here:

    I know this is for Logic but its a very good tutiorial:


    Again, for Logic, but it'll help you get the idea:


    I would go on but I'm tired and need a piss. That should get you started though.

    In terms of using the forum… You need to ask specific questions or otherwise, no-one will be able to help you get better. Asking 'How do I be like Netsky?' is almost like asking 'How do I do wicked sick mega 3D graffiti?' Or 'How do I get a six pack in 10 minutes?' You're only gonna learn by yourself with years of practise and perceverence.

    Anyone who wants to add to this for people starting out, please do.

    I know richie/logikz/miszt/Freek/Mr_Fletch and the other seasoned producers will be good to update this a bit too to help the youngens out...

    Mo fire
    :antitank:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015
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  2. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    This is only a small input but here are my two cents on the stages of EQing. I refer to them as corrective, creative & placement.

    So yeah...

    Lets say you have created a pad sound that you really like but it has a few timbral deficiencies that make the sound 'boxy' or 'muddy'.
    First I find you achieve the best results if you attenuate (reduce in volume) the problematic frequencies.
    I use the spectral analyser in Logic's 'Channel EQ' to give me a visual representation of the sound I am EQing. However its not always obvious which frequencies are problematic and its always best to USE YOUR EARS.
    To help find the problematic frequencies I use a technique called 'sweep EQ'.
    This is where you adjust the Q width to a narrow amount(this means that less frequencies will be affected by the chance of volume on that selected band).
    You then raise the gain by a large amount, say 12dB which will create a resonant peak.
    Then, use the frequency selector and scroll up or down (in frequency) to find the area that is problematic. Once you are over the frequency it will be obvious.
    After reduce the gain of that band until you deem fit. You may want to make the Q width a little bit wider as well.

    I usually end up doing a fair amount of reduction between 200Hz to 750Hz roughly, that tends to be where muddiness lies.
    You may want to turn down your monitors abit during this stage as when the problematic frequencies are highlighted it can create a loud ringing sound that can damage your ears when monitoring at high levels.

    That is what I do during the first stage of EQing.

    Then, Creative...

    This is the stage where I try to sweeten the sound. This is done by boosting the selected frequencies rather than reducing them. However I tend to use a wider Q width than before as it results in a more natural sound.
    I boost the freq's from about 2kHz to 17kHz to add a 'sheen' to a 'dull' sound.
    Be careful not to add too much gain though, especially if you are going to use notes higher up the scale as they will be highlighted more.

    Finally, placement...

    During this stage I use the EQ to make the sound fit with other elements in the track and give it its own sonic space.
    For example lets say the pad sound is placed in the same section as the sub bass elements...
    I will hi pass (allow the frequencies above the selected point to pass unaffected) the pad sound to ensure that the lower frequencies of that sound do not interfere with the sub bass elements contructively(an increase in the overall gain of that frequency area) or destructively (cancellation or reduction of volume within that frequency area).
    I will then low pass the sub bass just incase in conflicts with the pad sound.
    That is just an example though, I tend to hi pass most of my sounds during the corrective process.

    Another example is...
    If you have a vocal that lies in the same frequency range as the pad sound. The pad sound may mask the vocal.
    To help both sounds fit together I might apply some reduction between 2K & 4K to the pad sound. This is because that is generally where the voice lies. When you are listening to a person on the phone thier voice has been bandpassed at about 4K.

    Use the placement stage at the end of the signal chain as any effects that are applied after will adjust the timbre of the sound.

    There are a few things I should add but my mind is blank at the mo!
     
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  3. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    kick ass thread sam, nice one.
     
  4. hyperd4eva

    hyperd4eva H&M SCARVES

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    yeah this is very helpful. cheers man
     
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  5. Elzerk

    Elzerk 00111100 00110011

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    I'll give this a read later today, seems nice so far maybe I have something to add or links to share, maybe not, pos repped

    :who_wants
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  6. Freek

    Freek Lets get freeeeeeky

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    I dont know what pointers to include re production, i can probs give more help on the business/label side of things.....

    1. No one likes an arrogant wanker... prime example of this is the guy who posted a thread along the lines of "my tunes are better than all the crap in dnb atm"... Honestly what record label is going to sign you when they meet your ego first, and also in the example the OP has just insulted all dnb labels back catalogue so they'd be silly to sign him.

    2. Try to keep as proffessional as you can when dealing with labels. A label is more likely to pay attention to "Hi mate, you kool? got a few tunes to send over if thats ok" compared to "Ez blud, got some banging nu beatz u need to hear yagetme!"

    3. Do not publically remix a well known dnb tune, as amazing as u may think your remix of Mr Happy is, do not post it public. You will end up with more hate than praise and could end up having a stern email from the original artist/label and get yourself a bad rep.

    4. You need to understand that dnb is all politics the further you get involved. You dont need to be a part of the politics, but just need to know how it all works. Dont start beef with the wrong artist/dj/label/mc, you could be 100% in the right but if that person has 20,000 fans/followers your likely to end up with a barrage of hate on your doorstep which is extremely bad publicity for you.

    5. Network with other new producers, the best help and support you can get are from other newby producers trying to work their way up in the dnb world. Places like this forum, soundcloud and aim are excelent way to promote yourself. spend a few hours a week listening to other peoples stuff on here and the favours will be returned, you'll start to build up a small fan base in no time.

    6. I guess this is a production one. When you've made a banger, and everyone is telling you its a banger. DO NOT just use that tune as a template for every single other one of your tunes. Its soo boring hearing 60 copies of the same tune with the same drum samples and synths, originality is the key.. plus people aint stupid you know... we can tell when you've just replaced the bassline midi & intro....

    All i can think of for now, hope that all helps....
     
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  7. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Great thread, definately worthy of a sticky me thinks! And will definately add to this later when I have more time.
     
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  8. Phat_Sam

    Phat_Sam Well-Known Member

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    Can we sticky this karl?

    Just annoys me having 400 "How to start producing dnb" threads.
     
  9. dnbsoldier87

    dnbsoldier87 Member

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    good idea phat sam, there seems to be at least one pop up a week, defo needs a sticky.

    Heres my contribution http://www.woofiles.com/dl-303723-xSaNT24Q-Samples.rar

    I do not own any of these, but id found them on DOA forum, just putting a link here incase anyones unaware of them, some good quality drum samples/breaks etc, good to help anyone new, or indeed anyone thats into production
     
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  10. msmith222

    msmith222 redbeard

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    I disagree about making this a sticky.

    I think this should be a neon banner in the middle of the page in color-changing blinking text with a little audio file of a siren that goes with it and the only way to permanently turn it off is to click on it and a little compressor or eq simulator pops up and asks you to complete some basic tasks.....
     
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  11. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    haha, yup.

    And learn your synth. Don't just buy/torrent a new one looking for the magic noisia pre-set. Really get to know your synth and then practise re-sampling. World, oyster, all that.
     
  12. cohma101

    cohma101 Member

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    I'll just keep bumping this. . . . . . . .BUMP.

    YES. I went though the whole, download every patch i can get my hands on faze. It did help me understand, by reverse engineering. In the end, creating a huge folder of MY patches is so much more rewarding!
     
  13. JReilly

    JReilly Member

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    Some rules/ tips I would suggest for a newbie:

    1) Purchase for a purpose - Buying gear is addictive, don't be one of those guys who has a bunch of shit that he don't klnow how to use. Which leads me to my next point.

    2) Learn your equiptment - If you buy something, learn how to use it properly, study your tools.

    3) Read your manuals - It's boring as hell but it's necessary.

    4) You can't polish a turd - If your samples are shit, no amount of processing will save them. Invest in good samples.

    5) Learn synthesis - Very important for electronic music producers. If you want to be an original artist presets are a no go, here is some bed time reading - http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm

    6) Learn some theory - I won't say you need to be classicly trained because you don't, but some basic knowledge of scales, chords & structure, will help you out a lot. A good guide is http://www.scribd.com/doc/5220863/Ravenspiral-Guide-to-Music-Theory-06

    7) Learn how to mix - Mixing is an artform in it's own right, It's one of the most difficult aspects of production to learn. check this for a better explanation http://www.scribd.com/doc/11995844/Guide-to-Mixing

    8) You've gotta be original, because if you're like someone else, what do they need you for?
     
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  14. Elzerk

    Elzerk 00111100 00110011

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    Some shitty samples I got have some good parts in them, if shitty sample has a good part of freq's, then LAYER THAT BEAST! (Got a lot good samples like this.)
     
  15. Fragmentz

    Fragmentz New Member

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    yea I gotta agree some samples 'turdy-ness' has actually been a plus for using when layering etc

    I'd say that rule only applies to the main kick n snare, strive to get them sounding crisp and your away!

    Also just to add to the this, I would have to urge any beginners who think they have made a 'banger' to just compare that track in the mix with something of a similar style. If you find its missing something or doesn't sound quite right then go back to the drawing board. Its a bad idea sending out stuff that isn't up to par, there's plenty of competition out there so at least get it sounding as close as you can. Remember your name is technically a brand and you will have to work double hard to try impress people if you send stuff out too early!
     
  16. Phat_Sam

    Phat_Sam Well-Known Member

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    Can't stress these enough. I was a bit addicted to buying hardware I didn't need. I've ended up buying shit cos I thought I needed it (and partly cos it looked fancy) and then either ended up wasting money or selling it and losing money.

    Now I know people may bite me for this, but if u want to learn synthesis, YouTube all the tutorials you can find about your synth and work through them. Even if you don't want to know how to make the sound, all info is good info. I've spent hours looking through videos on how to make Trance Synths and FX to dirty Skrillex wobbles and growls to liquid basslines to hip hop strings. Each video on their own might not help much but together they will help you learn how to use your weapon of choice.

    Knowledge is power!

    (Cheers for the Sticky! :lighter: )
     
  17. T:M

    T:M Dusty Techno Workout

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    I've got to second this! I'd also like to add that it's good to watch synth tutorials in general even if you don't have the synth. You'll find the same basic stuff from synth to synth, so even if you don't have Sylenth (or Massive or any other synth for that matter) whats stopping you from trying that technique/method/idea in your own favorite synth? The same goes for DAWs too! Just because you use one DAW doesn't mean you won't benefit from watching videos that focus on another DAW!

    I don't think I could even begin to tell you how much I've learned from watching Reason, Massive, Sylenth, FL Studio, etc. videos I've watched when I don't even own any of those!!!
     
  18. Freek

    Freek Lets get freeeeeeky

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    there's already been 4 "new to producing" threads since this one was created/stickied. i think from now on we should all post extremely unhelpfull advice or basically just complete rubbish that makes no sense on any of these threads from now on!
     
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  19. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    problem is noone looks at the stickies. its weird really.
     
  20. Freek

    Freek Lets get freeeeeeky

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    when the only response they get is illegible slur accompanied by pictures of a gorrila trying to dry hump an elephant, im sure they'll start investigating..
     
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