The Producers Thread: Production Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Questions

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Goatlord
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I am as smitten with great production (whatever that is!) as much as I am great songs and great performances.
Be cool to have a thread where we can post various production tips and techniques, as well as ask questions of
others.

We all beg, borrow, and steal from others, so no need for anything to be original and/or particularly inventive.
No reason for it not to be either. :beer
 
Space Cowboy GIF

i need space GIF by Abel M'Vada

Outer Space GIF by BBC
Loop Space GIF by xponentialdesign
Space Solar System GIF by NASA

Carl Sagan Space GIF

Happy GIF
 
I did a very basic thing when we were recording a demo (think I was listening to a lot of RR Ozzy at the time), and all I did was double a riff an octave higher, and all my band mates were like, "Wow! That was so cool!"
Wait til I get to harmonies.
Jeez
 
Learn your IO. It took me years to really learn how busses, cues and aux tracks worked and how to route my IO in and out of my DAW.

Resist the temptation of acquiring a trillion plugins. Or any until you learn the basic functions of the ones that come with your DAW. Option paralysis is real.

If you suck at computers, unsuck. Learn your file system, where stuff is and how to diagnose problems scientifically.

Have a buddy who knows more than you that you can call at 3am and ask “how come I don’t hear anything”?

It’s the room, it’s the room it’s the room. Read that again. It’s the room. Room treatment is the single best thing you can do to get good mixes. Give me a prosumer interface in a great room over great gear in a shitty sounding room any day of the week.

Understand that if something isn’t working right this minute, it’s ok. It’s not a cancer diagnosis. Someone will help you get it figured out in time.

Don’t track with instruments not worthy of recording. They need to be well intonated and functioning.

Don’t track and “fix it in the mix”. Take it again.

I’ll think of more.
 
If you’re writing and producing with canned drums, get yourself an AKAI MPD 226 or similar instead of a midi keyboard. It’s so much easier hitting pads than it is hitting piano keys.

I'm a glutton for punishment; I use my mouse, but it's not too logical to try to 'perform' the drum parts I write with my fingers....hahahah blast beats with 16th note triplet double bass at 177 BPM is a bit tricky. :rofl
 
This seems to be a love/hate thing in the recording community, but top down mixing. It's basically replicating a mastering chain on your master bus by adding a compressor/limiter/EQ, any kind of plug-ins for mastering like Ozone and that whatnot.

People object to it because when you send the track off to be mastered and remove all those things, your mix is going to send entirely different then when you were tracking it and hearing it with everything on that master bus and who knows if the guy who ends up mastering it in the end is going to pull off what you got out of it, you're own way.

I agree with that if you're doing some heavy processing on the master bus and if that's the case, you need to dial in your instruments better so you don't have to do that.

I use a Brainworx Townhouse Buss Compressor (SSL) and if I need something a little louder because I was overly cautious about clipping, Brainworx masterdesk or limiter to do it. I don't even tweak the Townhouse, there's a preset called Mix Startup or something and it does everything I want/need it to. I'm just looking to glue the instruments together lightly. The rest of the glue I really try to get with the tones of the instruments themselves, where one is ending the other begins kind of thing.

It's not invasive enough that if I take it off, the tracks sound different, but it gives me a great idea of what things are going to sound like once mastered if it's a clean master. I was using SSLComp for a long time but this Brainworx doesn't color it nearly as much as the SSLComp.....even though they're both SSL-based bus compressors.
 
I'm a glutton for punishment; I use my mouse, but it's not too logical to try to 'perform' the drum parts I write with my fingers....hahahah blast beats with 16th note triplet double bass at 177 BPM is a bit tricky. :rofl
Oh god, I would die. It would take me all year to finish a part. Im no accomplished finger drummer, but I tap out kick and snare, then add hats, rides and whatnot.
This seems to be a love/hate thing in the recording community, but top down mixing. It's basically replicating a mastering chain on your master bus by adding a compressor/limiter/EQ, any kind of plug-ins for mastering like Ozone and that whatnot.

People object to it because when you send the track off to be mastered and remove all those things, your mix is going to send entirely different then when you were tracking it and hearing it with everything on that master bus and who knows if the guy who ends up mastering it in the end is going to pull off what you got out of it, you're own way.

I agree with that if you're doing some heavy processing on the master bus and if that's the case, you need to dial in your instruments better so you don't have to do that.

I use a Brainworx Townhouse Buss Compressor (SSL) and if I need something a little louder because I was overly cautious about clipping, Brainworx masterdesk or limiter to do it. I don't even tweak the Townhouse, there's a preset called Mix Startup or something and it does everything I want/need it to. I'm just looking to glue the instruments together lightly. The rest of the glue I really try to get with the tones of the instruments themselves, where one is ending the other begins kind of thing.

It's not invasive enough that if I take it off, the tracks sound different, but it gives me a great idea of what things are going to sound like once mastered if it's a clean master. I was using SSLComp for a long time but this Brainworx doesn't color it nearly as much as the SSLComp.....even though they're both SSL-based bus compressors.
I mix into a little bit of bus compression but not so much that it wont let me clip. I want to know if Im pushing things too hard. My SSL 2 bus plus just came TODAY. I cant wait to rack it up and see how it sounds. So excited. Took off work tomorrow to set up. I center my mixes around my kick and snare pretty evenly hitting at -12 to -15 or so and build my mixes from there. I really dont have clipping problems anymore. That shadow hills compressor plugin really does sound fantastic. I have the UA version and love it. Also the Sonnox stuff never seems to make things sound worse, always better.
 
I used to be against this one, but always get a DI. No exceptions. committing to amps and tones early on is fine, but more than once I wish I didn’t and was stuck with a track I couldn’t change. That and I got a torpedo reload and like to play with my toys hahaha. I have a pretty convenient way of getting my DI. When I track, I always track thru my AxeFXIII. I plug into the interface and route my input 1 to both output 1 AND SPDIF, which goes to the fractal. This way I record both output one and SPDIF each pass. Works like a charm.
 
My next step is to sync my DAW recording with Video (me playing), I have no clue as to how to do this :idk, seems complicated
oh well one more thing for this noob to learn
 
My next step is to sync my DAW recording with Video (me playing), I have no clue as to how to do this :idk, seems complicated
oh well one more thing for this noob to learn
I do this in Adobe premiere pro. Their suite is pricey but if you call them to cancel they’ll offer you a deal.
 
Oh god, I would die. It would take me all year to finish a part. Im no accomplished finger drummer, but I tap out kick and snare, then add hats, rides and whatnot.

I mix into a little bit of bus compression but not so much that it wont let me clip. I want to know if Im pushing things too hard. My SSL 2 bus plus just came TODAY. I cant wait to rack it up and see how it sounds. So excited. Took off work tomorrow to set up. I center my mixes around my kick and snare pretty evenly hitting at -12 to -15 or so and build my mixes from there. I really dont have clipping problems anymore. That shadow hills compressor plugin really does sound fantastic. I have the UA version and love it. Also the Sonnox stuff never seems to make things sound worse, always better.

I’ve got the Brainworx Shadows Hills comp and was REALLY excited to get it, but my initial testing was done on a really heavy song and I’m not sure if I didn’t spend enough time with it or not, but I remember thinking it’d be better suited for a tamer song/slower tempo with less steep transients.

Once I get a house again I’ll start buying hardware. It’s just not practical in my apartment right now. I’d love to play around with that SSL 2 bus.
 
My next step is to sync my DAW recording with Video (me playing), I have no clue as to how to do this :idk, seems complicated
oh well one more thing for this noob to learn

What are you using for a DAW?

Logic makes this pretty easy; I just hit record in Logic to record the audio and use my iPhone to capture the video, giving myself an audio marker at the beginning (muted strums) so I can line it up easier once I import the video into Logic. Logic splits the audio/video tracks and puts the audio on it’s own track for you to edit however you wish, which works great if you were talking in the video but didn’t have a mic running into Logic to capture it.

From there it’s just lining up the muted strums so they’re in time and pressing the Export button!
 
What are you using for a DAW?

Logic makes this pretty easy; I just hit record in Logic to record the audio and use my iPhone to capture the video, giving myself an audio marker at the beginning (muted strums) so I can line it up easier once I import the video into Logic. Logic splits the audio/video tracks and puts the audio on it’s own track for you to edit however you wish, which works great if you were talking in the video but didn’t have a mic running into Logic to capture it.

From there it’s just lining up the muted strums so they’re in time and pressing the Export button!
PreSounus Studio one
 
Mix with your ears, not your eyes

Oh, and learn how compressors work...

Busses are your friend... speaking of which, I like to use a reverb bus that I send almost everything to. It helps glue things together an d makes it all sound like the same "room"
 
Mix with your ears, not your eyes

Oh, and learn how compressors work...

Busses are your friend... speaking of which, I like to use a reverb bus that I send almost everything to. It helps glue things together an d makes it all sound like the same "room"
Yes, definitely create bus effects tracks to send stuff to.
 
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