Track varient tips thread

Discussion in 'Production' started by Mr Fletch, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    There's a lot of us producers here that could benefit from this thread, and I sure am one of them! I see many people get comments on their tracks regarding keeping a track fresh, varying it up a bit, adding edits etc etc to keep the listener interested. And I guess I'm one of the worst here for the good ol "copy n paste" trick! So I guess what I'm after here is building up a thread with good useful tips and tricks on how to keep a track from going stale. What do you personally do to keep hold of a listener throughout your track? What could each of us implement into our arsenal of production knowledge to help those tracks reach next level heights?

    Drum edits? how?

    New sounds? How?

    Risers / Downsweeps / FX? How?

    Change of rythym? how?

    If anyone would be so kind as to share any tips you have I (as I'm sure many others) would be appreciative.
     
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  2. Prideinyouride

    Prideinyouride Member

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    This thread is exactly what I need. Quickest tip I've got is to drop all the drums for a few beats after about 16/32bars to let other elements pop through the mix just for a tease then the drums come rushing back in. Even complete silence or a tiny reverb tail in the gap then bang drums hit again.
     
  3. Circuit

    Circuit Member

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    Risers/Falls

    These are often essential in production, they play an essential role:
    Risers: Help listener anticipate the drop or change in melody/rhythm
    Falls: Signify a new section / introduction of a variation.

    I tend to use 2 risers in a main section. One builds up to the drop, and the second builds up to the second 32 bars. The main disadvantage of a riser is that it can often be too "exciting" for its own good, and make the following section weaker. I often remedy this by removing the drums from the last bar or two before a new section. I place down falls more often than risers, usually at the start of a section which introduces any kind of variation - different melody, drum pattern, rhythm, etc. However, falls can often overpower a section and sound rather obnoxious. This is why I often high pass them to remove all punch.

    With falls, I often use two contrasting samples at once, placing them in separate channels. This lets me pan each sample hard left and hard right respectively. This often gives you a fresh, stereo sound that works great when high passed:
    [​IMG]

    As far is processing goes - I'm a big fan of delay. I use high D/W and feedback settings in order to make the falls more atmospheric:
    [​IMG]

    I hope these tips helped :)
     
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  4. Dugg Funnie

    Dugg Funnie Well-Known Member

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    I think, other than solid composition, I think adding little subtleties does a lot towards keeping the attention.

    So, adding low volume cymbal/snare reverses to create a sucking into the snare downbeats.

    Add a second instance of your bass synth, raised up a 5th with just a barely audible level to get extra power on the final chorus section.

    At Berklee we recorded loads of shit and one of my professors let some of us record him doing some solo grooves and one-shot hits on his kit with his brushes. I know a lot of people will add a constant white noise or cymbal sustain underneath sections for extra volume, but since I got these recordings I'll tell you now that adding a brush snare roll underneath gives the nicest, warmest body to a track and actually can go quite a distance in bringing together your drum sounds.

    Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology

    And, finally, when you're bringing your levels up in a buildup to the drop, in the last bar before the hit add a 3-4 dB fade and adjust until you barely notice it. The brain perceives increases in volume with much greater sensitivity than decreases, so you won't directly perceive the volume loss consciously, but it will make the drop seem twice as big without you having to bring up all the levels up on the drop.
     
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  5. Dubsta

    Dubsta Well-Known Member

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    brilliant thread mate :)

    This so applies to me aswell
     
  6. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    Good idea for a thread! Small drum edits here and there really help a lot. I often do some kind of small edit every 8th bar, say add an extra snare at the end of the bar. Then a more "advanced" fill or something before every new section.

    It's not a lot of work but it helps the track so much in terms of keeping it interesting! :)
     
  7. dj mw

    dj mw New Member

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    I think my tunes live or (more often) die by these little edits and variations. Much more than the main elements, I think they show up the rather low level that I'm at. I think they can be over used too and my friends often say *In a high pitched, whiney voice* "your tunes are too stop-starty, they should roll out more"

    One thing someone told me to do - not related to variation but more to keeping it interesting - is to have a whole ambient world going on underneath the main elelments of the tune. So if you took out beats, bass, melody, you would still be left with like a backgound of sounds and atmosphere.

    Some of the things I do fairly poorly include:-

    - Add in and take out some subtle reverb on individual elements
    - Drop out the upper mid and high sections of the bass for a 16
    - Just drop out and bring back in hat or percussion lines
    - Real quiet one note repetition on 1/4s of a key of short string at the root note
    - Take a white noise riser or fall. Chop it into 32ths then erase many of these to create a screachy rhythm played quiet underneath
    - Fade in a lp or hp filter on the drums for the last 2 bars of a 16 before slamming it back
    - Slight variations to the arangment of mid stabs, squarks, stretches etc
    - Key change if the appropriate
    - Overrun the rising section at the end of a 16 by 1/32 then repeat on 1/2ths but getting quieter each time over 8 bars to nothing
    - A completely new break on the last bar of a 16
    - Reverse reverb the introduction of new elements
    - Silence everything on bar 1.1 with only the reverb from the last bar then bring it all back in on the snare (1.2)
    - Verbed kick at the start of a 16 bars, with the drums out or maybe half-stepped then a moment of silence before everything
    comes back on bar 2 or 3
    - And other crap
     
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  8. Sammy Dexcell

    Sammy Dexcell Stop editing my profile Smarty!

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    Great thread!!

    This is the stuff that does turn your track from meh to professional.

    Ill try list some off the top stuff.

    Bass : Try adding subtle notch filter before your distortion fx have the mix on it really low but have it free so its consistently morphing throughout the track. Just make sure its not drastic an it will make the bass more interesting on sounds that you only use once per, section or a stab etc just so its not the same hit over and over.

    Drums : End of the bars have more kicks less snares, more snares less kicks, have a kick drum roll or snare one, or both! Go from one section of the drop where you have cymbals and rides on the hits to a more 16shuffle like hot pants or versatitly for the next section, you hear this alot in tech tunes, going from cymbals and rides to hats after a drum roll.

    FX : Have your delays highpassing on a really long lfo also panning on a really long but make sure like the notch its very subtle.

    Atmos : There is a phase delay you can find in FM8 which makes an awesome touch to any random noises and synths you use for ambience etc can create really eary moods with it.

    Track : Over all i don't like copy pasting but we have done it on many occasions just for time sake. Managing to do a different build up is atleast a must. It all depends on the type of track you are doing. An also how well the noises you have made work in a different arrangement??

    The thing to me that keeps things interesting is FX and drum edits for the transitions from the drop to the beatdown and then the breakdown, adding rides or hats or claps in reverbs or other percussion in massive reverbs helps keep things interesting. Listen to Breaks music as he is really good at adding new elements to his drum track that just sound like they should be there.
     
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  9. LVB

    LVB Active Member

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    Hi, I have a tip for anyone who likes to make neuro based on really heavy bass synths and whatnot, after 16 bars or 32 bars, depends on how long your drop is, anyways, the second part of your drop, you could glitch out a few of the bass synths using for example db.glitch, if you know how to use it it can make very interesting new bass rythms, but it may not always work, it does for the track I'm working on atm though
     
  10. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    great thread. something i find difficult to do aswell, when i change it up i change it up too much! some really sick answers in here though, a great read so far. one thing thats not been mentioend (i dont think anyway) is the cowbell (or ride). Everyone loves a cow bell and i think a nice little rhythm over the drums for a bar can really work wonders.

    I also think doubling up the hats is a good one too. Makes the pace of the track drastically increase without changing too much.
     
  11. Optimal Prime

    Optimal Prime Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass

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    I like how you used the term Ambient World. That's a good way of putting it, and often the less noticable sometimes invisible layer surrounding the track that keeps it from sounding too raw and direct. It can really useful to include many audio clips in a track in ways that you wouldn't necessarily think of initially. Such as recording some audio footage outside/searching for folio recordings and then layering them in with your track. I often find DnB works well with some atmospheric layers that you can get a rhythm from by repeating over and over during a bar or so.
     
  12. tewky1

    tewky1 Well-Known Member

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    Nice thread, not dnb but Tom Cosm has a nice video about how to look at your breakdowns, some interesting ideas he puts forward.

    One thing I found for making a riser of sorts(not really a riser, but serves the same purpose), is depending on the sound you are using, using a filter with an LFO, set the rate upto an extreme setting like 1/48, It creates a nice rythmic effect, almost like a drum roll.
     
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  13. Exert

    Exert I like trains

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    Haha yes this post is the one! I've always found it difficult to keep people interested, including myself!

    I agree completely with the post above about the 'Ambient World', and keeping a track flowing along like a river, or other generic simile.

    Anyway, I've found it very useful to really vary the different percussion elements more than anything else, for me they drive the track - be it hi hats creating the groove, congas filling in the gaps or rides giving that extra bit of energy on the 2nd 8 bar break. As a listener I love hearing variation on percussion!

    I sometimes add a high octave string drone note over the top of a half 16 (or whatever you call it lol), like the old Trance tunes used to have and that!

    Very subtle white noise risers/downers are cool too.

    Oh and panning on one shots, with a bit of reverb not only can you add to the atmosphere but you can take the attention of the listener away for a split second then hit them on the chin with the kick at the start of the next bar! Two birds, one johnny and all that...
     
  14. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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  15. D-Jhepz

    D-Jhepz ◕‿◕

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    if you watch xtrahs masterclass he goes on about questions and answers in your tracks too which helps keeping listeners interested
     
  16. Exert

    Exert I like trains

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    Question and answers? Like the old Classical stuff used to have loads of? :violin:

    If it ain't broken and all that I suppose haha :)
     
  17. D-Jhepz

    D-Jhepz ◕‿◕

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    exactly mate... but in all serious he has a point about how you bring in pieces to reflect or introduce new ones and it really does work
     
  18. Exert

    Exert I like trains

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    Yeah I know man, especially if you subconsciously associate a sound with another sound in the same track, the brain likes to be 'rewarded' I guess haha..

    It's all good!
     
  19. Attire

    Attire Last Winter

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    Yeah Xtrah was talking about questioning with something at one end of the spectrum (ie bass) and answering with something at the other end (hats).
     
  20. Exert

    Exert I like trains

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    That's some extreme frequency variation haha like it