Audio production can be daunting for people who are starting, but also, given the rapid pace of technology, for more seasoned producers. That’s why we have put together this list of useful tips that will save you a lot of time and frustration, making your journey into music production as joyful and hassle free as possible.
DAW templates are the easiest and fastest way to start making music on your computer. They are predefined project files that you can open up in a particular DAW such as Ableton Live or FL Studio in order to produce a track with all the basic setup and settings already taken care of.
Key And Tempo
Key and tempo are two of the most important preliminary considerations to worry about before starting on a new project. All our providers are required to label their content with key and tempo information, so you won’t have any problems organising the files that come from our packs if you follow the following recommendations.
If you plan on using loops labelled with different BPM values, pick a tempo for your project that stands somewhere in the middle of those values in order to minimise as much as possible the time-stretching conversion. So, for example, if you want to use loops from two different folders, one of which contains loops at 120 BPM and the other one has its loops labelled at 130 BPM, you can set your project tempo at 125 BPM.
Grouping And Submixing
Loops and samples can be grouped in different categories such as drums, bass, keys, chords, FX, etc. Grouping musical elements in this way not only helps to keep things organised and cohesive, but also frees up space in the arrangement view. There are different ways of grouping samples within your DAW, some of them fairly obvious and well known and some others, not so much. The typical way of organising samples based on their type is by using track colors and names, such as orange for all the lead sounds and blue for the pads. You can take this a step further by using a single audio track for all the same sample types, freeing up a lot of extra space in the arrangement view. You won’t be able to apply different settings to each of the loops this way, but in return you’ll have a much less cluttered arrangement and a more cohesive sound. A middle ground alternative to this approach would be the creation of Group Tracks, which allow you to apply individual as well as groupal settings to similar samples, and at the same time give you the option of folding entire lists of tracks within their own Group Track in the arrangement.
Audio Loop Manglers
Audio loops are fantastic assets for music production. They allow for blazing fast prototyping by making it possible to combine high level musical parts without having to deal with low level data like MIDI notes from scratch. But all this power and convenience comes at a cost: editing audio loops to create variations is a tedious and awkward process, and the result is often poor and artificial, as audio is not as suitable for pitch and time manipulation as MIDI is. An alternative solution to manual audio loops editing are audio loop manglers, a type of VST instruments that specialise on creating real-time audio loop variations through the slicing, re-arrangement and processing of audio loops.
Stock MIDI Files
Stock MIDI files are another cool resource for music production that allow you to skip the highly skilled process of creating your own MIDI parts from scratch, offering you professionally written MIDI files that you can edit and modify without limits to suit your needs.
An alternative to stock MIDI files for producers who can’t play the keyboard is MIDI generators, a type of VST plugins that instead of producing or processing audio deal with the generation and modification of MIDI in real time.
If you love software instruments but find their factory presets rather scarce and limiting you’ll be thrilled to know that there is a vast market of VST presets designed for a wide range of VST plugins and genres with which you’ll be able to expand your presets collection without having to learn advanced synthesis concepts and techniques.
Low-End Rumble Removal
One the most useful tips for mixing is the removal of low-end rumble below 30hz on all the tracks and buses through the use of a high-pass filter. This simple setting will greatly improve your mixes delivering a lot of extra space and clarity and allowing you to push your masters further up in punch and presence.
Audio Freezing And Flattening
High-end VST instruments and audio plugins can consume your computer’s resources very quickly when you stack them up on a project. That’s why DAWs like Ableton Live have the Audio Freezing and Flattening features. Audio freezing turns any live track into a locked state in which all the plugins get in a sort of hibernation mode where they can’t be edited, creating like a temporary stamp of the track at the time it was frozen. The advantage of freezing a track is that even though they perform like plain audio tracks without any instruments or inserts, they can be switched back on and become editable again, as opposed to flattening them, which is the action of permanently rendering the track to audio while losing the ability to make any further edits to the plugins.
In this article we’ve gone through a list of production tips that can be real eye openers when it comes to taking advantage of all the helpful options available to facilitate and speed up our task as producers. We have learned about some commercial tools such as DAW Templates, Loop Manglers, Stock MIDI Files, VST Presets, and MIDI generators that can make a big difference in terms of speed, inspiration and productivity. We have also delved into some common technical concepts such as Key and Tempo, Grouping and Submixing, Low-End Removal, and Audio Freezing and Flattening, which will give our productions a head start in terms of quality, workflow and performance.