The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.

Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby LucB » Fri May 01, 2009 3:15 pm

I'm not into techo-acid-electro whatever and i play my music live, so i guess my comments won't be much as far as 'secrets from the studio go' but still:

1) Practice makes perfect.
2) Make it sound good through your regular live amplification rig first. Then,
3) Record with room reverb and other imperfections, putting quality mics right by your amps.
4) Smoke pot, it will prevent you from getting too complicated in your mixing and mastering.
5) You're better off making a humble but well-balanced mix then maxing out bass right at mix and making it unlistenable once on CD.
6) Fuck studio monitors, in fact, fuck any high-end listening gear. You want to make the mix good for average electronics. An amazing mix on 5000$ monitors will sound ordinary at best on regular gear.
7) Don't fear experimentation, old busted gear can sometimes yield amazing sound with the most honorable quality: personality.
8) Avoid thinking.

Obviously these comments aren't aimed at the more sophisticated music producers and audio workers who make music to 'sound professional', but rather those who just do this for fun, don't have a huge record deal or aim at mainstream success.

Yo.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby BoxPhenom » Fri May 01, 2009 4:43 pm

I agree with you except about monitors.

Studio monitors don't need to be high-end, but they need to be somewhat neutral and you need to know their sound so you can make mixes that sound good on most equipment.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby dr.sine » Fri May 08, 2009 8:05 am

recording little background noises can be fun and depending on the mix and where the sounds are dropped in at can add alot.
e.g. ripping paper. tapping out a little rhythm with pencils on a empty beer bottle or desk top, pneumatic pumps, heaving air into a collapsed plastic water bottle to re-inflate it.

i used to know a guy that would make entire songs out of that kind of thing. he'd just go around the house recording different noises in rhythm with each other then add just the simplest little guitar thing in here and there. made some pretty damn interesting and impressive music that way. i dont think his site is up anymore or i'd post a link to it.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby th0mas » Fri May 08, 2009 4:22 pm

Dont assume your band members know anything about anything. My guitarist and bassist until recently just plugged into their amps and started playing, even though every knob might have moved during transit. We spent an hour nailing down "the" sound we wanted and then drew them a patch page of knob positions for their amps so we can get some consistency going
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby factual35 » Mon May 25, 2009 11:28 am

I've found a good way to add spaciousness and serious width to pads/strings is to run them through reverb, and then apply a delay to ONE channel. This technique opens them up a lot!
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby pflosi » Mon May 25, 2009 1:26 pm

careful with that, or it may result in phase cancellation...
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby darkbill » Tue May 26, 2009 10:33 am

A few things that work for me, primarily working on pop music.

- Get the song right. So basic, but silk purse and sows ear comes to mind. Heard some Depeche Mode demos recently (on Sounds of Universe boxset) and the thing that struck me was how good the songs were even in their most basic form, with just some bass, simple drum patterns, singing and some melody lines. Machines don't write the songs, people do.
- Less is more, but don't be afraid to record 200 tracks and then viciously edit so maybe a part then appears only once in the whole song.
- If something isn't working - even if it took you all night - then ditch it. (you can apply the same principle to relationships)
- Work quickly. Set yourself time limits, i.e. try to get a first draft of a song recorded in an hour. Don't spend more than 15 minutes programming sounds or tweaking samples. Stop, take a break, do something else and then come back to it. 4 hours spent tweaking patches will sap all your creativity.
- If it is a pop song and you have a singer, record a decent guide vocal right away (sometimes the guide vocal ends up being the best take). Always double track later on, but keep it subtle. The vocal should be centre-stage, build everything else around it. If a song sounds good with just vocals, bass and drums then it's hard to f**k it up. Amazing then, that so many people do.
- Do backing vocals before you add lots of synths, pads, pianos, guitars. (essentially all the things that can fill up the space) Double them. Good backing vocals can sounds sweeter and more lush than many a synth pad.
- Eq as little as possible, although this is a personal thing as I know most people like HPF or LPF for drums. If you get the sound right before you record you shouldn't need to eq.
- Don't drown everything in reverb. Apply effects to each sound to fit the character, not to pretend it was recorded in a concert hall. Don't be afraid to record some parts dry. Mixing dry sounds in against reverbed parts really makes those elements stand out.
- Stick a mic in front of your speakers and record sound back on itself. Mic up your synths through an amp.
- With vocals make sure that the singer isn't just thinking about pitch. Make them sing each line with conviction, work on the timing of lines and individual words. Don't be afraid to change lyrics to make them sit better in the track.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby electronicpulse » Sat May 30, 2009 10:49 pm

For me, I'd have to go with the iZotope Ozone series.

Once you get into the Paragraphic EQ setting (on your own, not using the presets), you can completely transform your sound like you never thought possible. If you spend time with the software, you'll be able to see your sound in a new manner.

Now, this isn't so much of "a tip" as it is a piece of gear. The Schippmann ebbe und flut is one of the best instruments to have in your studio. If you are into unique sound design this is a must. They are expensive, but WORTH EVER PENNY.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby electronicpulse » Sat May 30, 2009 10:52 pm

darkbill wrote: - Work quickly. Set yourself time limits, i.e. try to get a first draft of a song recorded in an hour. Don't spend more than 15 minutes programming sounds or tweaking samples. Stop, take a break, do something else and then come back to it. 4 hours spent tweaking patches will sap all your creativity.


This is a good bit of advice. One I've started to follow (I figured this out myself about three months ago). There is something about doing the work in small amounts that keeps the creative process moving forward.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby synth3tik » Sun May 31, 2009 3:13 am

I borrowed the idea from Funkagenda.

Did this in Logic, but everyone should have the ability to do this.

It is really, stupidly simple. If you don't want to run a limiter on a track, or for any other reason you want the track to be clean, but you still don't want it to clip.

Load the bit crusher plug in into the last spot on the channel strip. Turn the drive all the way down to 0, then crank the resolution all the way up, leaving down sampling at 1x.

This then does nothing to color the sound, it doesn't squeeze or compress the sound, it only cuts everything 0db or above.

If need be you can also set the clip level lower.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby th0mas » Sun May 31, 2009 3:34 pm

synth3tik wrote:This then does nothing to color the sound, it doesn't squeeze or compress the sound, it only cuts everything 0db or above.

If need be you can also set the clip level lower.


Uhh.. all that's doing is clipping the sound in the last plugin in the chain, hiding the clipping from the logic mixer. So the logic mixer doesn't report the clipping anymore but it still occurs.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby iProg » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:42 am

A few tips from iProg:


- When recording a polysynth when playing chords: make an identical track with the same sound only changing little of the cutoff, this truly adds analog vibe to any sound.

- Don't spend a week at the start of a tune working with drums. Make a simple pattern at first, and when most of the song is done, do more elaborate drums and percussion. It is very tiring to start rhythm works before there really is a song....

- Make one track for each feature in a song. You get a better picture of all sounds which make the mixing process quicker!

- Take advantage of being spontaneous. Keep this first recording even if it's a little untight...

- Make remixes of each song, it's hard to work with the same mix for 3 weeks...

- Use a limited amount of gear at the same time. If not, you will go CRAZY!
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby Plumpudding » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:26 pm

I am a newbie, and a bad one too, so you should probably ignore all my advices, but I'll give one nonetheless.

First of all, my gear. One digital recorder without any mics other than the ones in it. I've got a couple of bad amps, and a sweet bass. Anyway, If you're into a bit experimental music, and yam a lot, a nice thing to do is always record, even if you're never going to listen to it. One reason is because you'll always have it, and If you remember a bit you liked, you always have it. You should always keep notes too.

Well, here's my tip. If you want to experiment a little, relax, and make something not too serious, but still creative, is to open one jamsession or more, and cut out portions of them, and place the portions in a different order, then cut away what you don't want in it. In other words fuck it up. It's fun, it does not take a lot of time, and could be a nice break from a tiresome mixing-process. Anyway, I mostly make music that many would consider junk, so I use this method quite a lot. Maybe a bit too much, but I've got some fun results, and it's a nice way to shorten down tracks too.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby cartesia » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:53 am

iProg wrote:A few tips from iProg:


- When recording a polysynth when playing chords: make an identical track with the same sound only changing little of the cutoff, this truly adds analog vibe to any sound.


Or.. .get a synth with dual filters that can be run in parallel! :) I do this alot in my blofeld

- Don't spend a week at the start of a tune working with drums. Make a simple pattern at first, and when most of the song is done, do more elaborate drums and percussion. It is very tiring to start rhythm works before there really is a song....
!


Unless you make techno!
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby th0mas » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:16 pm

cartesia wrote:
iProg wrote:A few tips from iProg:


- When recording a polysynth when playing chords: make an identical track with the same sound only changing little of the cutoff, this truly adds analog vibe to any sound.


Or.. .get a synth with dual filters that can be run in parallel! :) I do this alot in my blofeld



Definitely.. and be sure to pan the filters differently to create some nice stereo width.
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