The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE READ!

Discussion in 'Production' started by Mr Fletch, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Right then, I'm seeing a new wave of members on this board recently which is great! It's good to see people still joining up and becoming part of this great community! However, I'm seeing a lot of false information being dished out to newcomers by other newcomers. Please be aware that this false information can have an overwhelming affect on someone just starting out in their production journey, the wealth of information that is out there to try and soak up is un-imaginable without the weight of misguided comments to add to the burden. If you are not 100% sure of what you are answering, simply leave it for someone else to answer. We are all at varying levels throughout our production lives so chances are one of us will be able to help.

    To try and get us all on the same page I have devised this thread to help with the basic knowledge of production. As I come across more info that will help, I will be updating the thread. If any of you want to chip in with good reputable links or information to be added then feel free.


    FREQUENCY CHART


    This chart is a visual reference for any of you wanting to know where in the frequency range different elements of your track should be sitting. I've searched around and I think this one is probably the easiest to understand for all levels of producer.

    [​IMG]


    FREQUENCIES OF NOTES


    This link will take you to a chart showing where in the spectrum different keys will hit.

    http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

    CHORDS AND SCALES


    Lets be honest, not all of us have had the pleasure of being brought up in a musical environment, nor have we had any musical training! Most of us are self taught, and because of this, some of us may be slipping when it comes to knowing our scales and chords. Well fear not, as this next link will take you to a "virtual Piano" where you can enter what root key you want to use, what chords, and what scale, from here it will generate exactly what keys you are able to use within that scale! So no more bum notes! No more desperately trying to find the key that works next etc etc!

    http://www.pianoworld.com/fun/vpc/piano_chords.htm

    EQ TIPS


    Equalization is the art of adjusting the volumes of certain frequencies of a track in a way which leads to more pleasing tonal qualities. Most Daw software comes with an EQ on each channel. There are also EQ plugins available; some free, some not.

    So, how do I train my ears for EQ work?
    Here are a few suggestions to get you started and some great reference material for further study:

    •Roll off the low end - Much of the 'muddiness' we experience when mixing two or more tracks together is caused by instruments completing for the same space; mostly in the lower frequencies. A prime example is guitar and bass. Guitars produce many low frequencies that can impede a speaker's ability to accurately reproduce the bass. The result is a bass that lacks definition and clarity. One way to solve this problem is to eliminate the very low end of the guitar track. Here's how using EQ... Change one of the EQ bands to a High Pass Filter (allows high frequencies to pass through unchanged while cutting lows) and position the band to remove unnecessary low end. For vocals and guitars, you can usually roll-off below 150 or so. For kick, try cutting everything below 60. For snare and toms, try 120. For bass and piano, around 50.

    Carve out space - Instruments that lie in similar frequency ranges tend to 'mask' each other. Solve this by cutting a rather narrow notch in one instrument while slightly boosting the same frequency in the other instrument. Narrow cuts generally do little to affect the tonality of an instrument but can do wonders in terms of allowing another instrument to shine through in that frequency. A good example is bass. 400Hz and 800Hz are important in adding clarity to a bass line. Guitars, vocals, piano, and kick can all compete at these frequencies. It would seem that boosting the bass at 400 and 800 might solve the problem. What we find, though, is that we're better off carving out space from the other instruments and leaving the bass alone. Try it and see what your ears tell you. Try carving a bit at 3kHz to disguise an out-of-tune guitar or vocal. Try cutting 3K out of harmonies to allow lead vocals to shine through.

    Cut more than boost - Why cut? Because the human ear is accustomed to frequencies being absent in a natural setting (due to natural room dampening). So cutting a frequency sounds more natural than boosting one. Find frequencies that make an instrument sound good and CUT that frequency out of all other instruments.

    Boost & Sweep - How do you find which frequencies to cut? Open the EQ. Raise a single band and SLOWLY sweep it left and right listening for muddy and/or nasty sounding frequencies. When you identify one, cut it. Cut & sweep also works, but because of the ear's ability to adjust to missing frequencies, boost & sweep is usually easier.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MIXDOWN AND MASTER


    Are you still confused about the difference between mixing and mastering?

    Do you think you’re mastering when you use a limiter on your mix bus? Do you avoid the term ‘mastering’ because you’re doing it yourself? Do you have trouble explaining what you do when you’re finished mixing? The difference between mixing and mastering is becoming more and more blurred.

    In simple terms: Mixing is what you’re doing when you’re balancing the individual elements of a song. Mixing starts with several individual tracks (usually one track per instrument or sound), and finishes with one (usually) stereo track – the ‘mixdown’ – that sounds like a combination of all the individual tracks.

    You know you’re mixing when you’re working with the individual sounds within a song.

    Mastering, on the other hand, is what you’re doing when you’re preparing a mixdown for duplication or publication. This is often within the context of a ‘release’ – a collection of several songs that are published as a package. Mastering starts with a mixdown for each song, and finishes with audio that is ready for the world to hear.

    You know you’re mastering when you’re making the final adjustments to a mixdown before the audio is considered ‘final’ and ready for your audience.

    Notice that I didn’t mention tools. The tools you use don’t define the process – you’re not mastering just because you’re using a ‘mastering’ limiter. You’re not mixing just because you’re loading plugins into a mixer window. Instead, the process defines the tools – it’s the intent of what you’re trying to achieve the counts. Choose whatever tools are necessary to get you there, regardless of how they’re labelled.

    For example:
    Sometimes a single is ready for publication as it comes out of the mixer (perhaps with the help of a limiter on the mix bus ). It doesn’t matter that the whole process happens within the mixing environment – mastering is choosing the start and end points and applying the mix bus processing. Hopefully it also included a reference to other comparable commercial releases.
    Sometimes a song requires some compression on the mix bus. This can make the individual tracks gel together, and even produce a distinctive pumping sound. It doesn’t matter that this is achieved by processing the mix bus (or even the stereo mixdown) – mixing is focussing on the sound of the instruments to make them blend well and express the creative direction of the artist and producer.
    Sometimes a song needs to be converted to MP3 (or other lossy format) for online distribution. The processing that happens as part of the conversion is a part (hopefully the last!) of mastering because its goal is to prepare the audio for distribution. It doesn’t matter whether this is achieved by an external program program or your built into your software’s export function.

    If you confuse mixing and mastering, you’ll lose focus of what you’re trying to achieve. If you try to master when your mix isn’t finished, you’ll waste trying to solve problems on the mix bus that are best addressed in balancing individual elements within the mix. You’ll also be waste time fine-tuning a treatment (processing chain) for a mix that will later change. On the other hand, if you try to adjust the balance of instruments when you’re mastering, you’ll find it difficult to do it effectively without unintentionally changing other parts of the mix. If you try to ‘mix into’ a mastering chain, you’ll easily find yourself chasing your tail in an infinite loop of adjusting the mix, adjusting the mastering chain, adjusting the mix again to compensate, adjusting the mastering chain again…

    It’s important to separate the two processes – not necessarily by using different tools (although that helps), but by being clear in your own mind where mixing ends and mastering begins. It will help focus your workflow goals and ultimately make your work more efficient, effective… and more fun!





    Hopefully these tips and charts are helpful to a few of you, most of the info in this thread has been copy / pasted from various sources over the web and I cannot accept responsibility for them, I have however taken the time to research them all, and they all come from a reputable source.
     
  2. Interruptor

    Interruptor Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    "More pleasing tonal qualities", haha, need to start using that aswell!!

    But seriously, good stuff. Should be stickied.
     
  3. Dark Lizardro

    Dark Lizardro The Lizard that has a hammer Staff Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    This is some serious quality thread. I'd say this need to be stickied too.
     
  4. Sultanare

    Sultanare Active Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    I hope I'm not one of them lol

    Sick post, this should def be stickied
     
  5. MrE

    MrE New Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Fletch if you ever like need a kidney or owt :) Just saying. Probably the most helpful thing I've read since I started. Thanks a million.
     
  6. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Haha, nah man I'm not singling anyone out, it's been happening for a few month's now. Just figured we needed something for newcomers to reference
     
  7. AlienWeapon

    AlienWeapon Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Sticky for sure.

    Sent from my HTC Desire S using Tapatalk 2
     
  8. Dugg Funnie

    Dugg Funnie Well-Known Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    I'm lovin' it! Quality post m8! IMO, you should add a tangent about what the term producer ACTUALLY FUCKING MEANS BECAUSE IT'S A JOB TITLE, AND MOST PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES PRODUCERS AREN'T PRODUCERS; ARHGAEHRGEAHJFGAHJEFJKAHFJKDAHF DFUCKING, FUCK!




    lol
     
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  9. [unknown]

    [unknown] sublime stylee ;8

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    damn, thanks so damn much man. those eq tips are priceless. ive seen pretty much the same thing said a million times but never as good and clear as this. agree with the sticky crowd x))
    P.S. totally started a track inspired by the desire to try some of these out and its in a very early state but i already feel how much better these techniques sound than what i was doing before

    so in conclusion, i love your tits so much!
    P.P.S. turns out sountcloud tags dont work for zippyshare ;d oh well. not like anyone ever cared.
     
  10. Deekay[AUS]

    Deekay[AUS] Buffy's Bedtime Slayer

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Nice work Mr Fletch :) :rslayer:
     
  11. Mason John

    Mason John 21st Junta

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Very helpful; gonna be giving it a read over the next few days and then some.
     
  12. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    thank you mr fletch! if this gets stickied however something else on top has to go. so if you could pow-wow and get back to me about that.
    also thank you douglas for your input.
     
  13. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    I dunno man, I'd love for this to get stickied, but all the other stickies are all pretty relevant really. You're the mod, I'll let you decide? Or we could have a forum vote?
     
  14. Dark Lizardro

    Dark Lizardro The Lizard that has a hammer Staff Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    If I may say something about the sticking of this thread, why don't we gather the most experienced producers on the forum, work on a detailed guideline, post and sticky it?

    I post on future producers as well, and there they have some pretty good stickied threads on general guidelines, like where/when to eq a sound, for example.
     
  15. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    stickied. and i agree, theyre all pretty relevant. sometimes though, it feels like stickies are the graveyard of threads, as they are often the first to get ignored, you got the bassline how-to thread and then ten threads asking how to bassline, without any intention whatsoever to read the stickies. its the way of the world of course, nothing to get stressed out over, but still, the stickies are enough to not only get you started but the secret of noisisa bass
     
  16. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Yeah once stickied threads seem to die quite rapidly!
     
  17. Davinci

    Davinci New Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Very good read!!

    I have a different newbie question - do I put it within this sticky to avoid started a thread that may of come up before :) ?
     
  18. xiris

    xiris Constantly Learning

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    search through the archives first and see if you can find what you'd like. If you can't find it through search, its probably not here, so ask away! :) Also check out the how to bassline thread. I prolly spent 6 hours in there when i first joined the forum, its an enormous amount of info.
     
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  19. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    exacly, some of the techniques in the how to bassline thread are enough to make you noisia bass and give a dizzying glimpse of the work that goes into a warpy teebee and calyx or ed and op bassline. not quite noisia however, nobodys really figured that out 0k00000000000000000000. but there is one technique in there in particular that is called "massline" and if you understand its logic, its the whole key to warpy bass right there. then mix it in with your own techinques and you will get something cool, for example, when i went through the tutorial i used to run everything hot on tape, specailly for overdrive, and a few other things i was obesessing over at the time. highly recommended.
     
  20. khujo1023

    khujo1023 Member

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    Re: The " Back to Basics " Production Fundamentals thread - ALL NEW MEMBERS PLEASE RE

    Thank You!