There are tons of articles online that provide tips on music production, but they’re always usually the basics or “textbook” material. The best tips come from experience. That being said, here’s a list of music production tips straight from other music producers
- Fuck the rules. Obviously that’s taken with a grain of salt.
- Just make music and stop trying to sound like something else. If you like it then go for it. Never compromise because you think that this wouldn’t sound right for this scene or something to that effect.
- Spend your time mixing your track, way too important. Also, try to open up a “pro” track and check it’s waveform and compare it to yours. Unless you can get it to at least resemble the pro track, you’re doing it wrong.
- Mix quiet.
- Stop learning, start doing
- Being a musician first and an audio engineer second.
- Make music, don’t engineer sound.
- I’d have to say for me that it was learning to properly use a reference track. It really helped me improve the quality of my mixdowns.
- One of the best things I’ve learned for getting a good mix is simply don’t over process things. Only eq where you need to, don’t compress too much unless it’s beneficial to the sound you’re trying to achieve. And so on for everything, including layers and tracks in a project.
Simply put, less is more
- It has only been recently I started to care a lot about all the things I just mentioned. The mix is important, but if you tune is musically boring or it just doesn’t work rhythmically or harmonically what is the point of even bothering to fine tune the mix? Why polish turds?
- TUNE YOUR KICK. and low cut everything that isn’t your kick
- CAREFULLY and deliberately choose all of your samples and patches so that they mesh well and compliment each other.
- Experience is the key to making good productions!
- Subtraction and division before addition and multiplication.
- If you want to make it louder, start by turning everything down. My default project templates have all track gains set to -12 dB and I treat -12dB as unity gain. If a track gain is getting above -6dB then I switch to turning everything else down. Then when it comes to mixing down, I start with all of the faders at infinite gain and pushing the faders up, instead of starting at 0 and pushing the faders down. Feels more real that way
- Streamlining your workflow is more important than pretty much anything else. The instant you go from “just fucking around” to “oh I think I’ve got an idea” a clock starts. You’ve got to maximize that transient inspiration before it disappears.
- Just write music. Do it on shitty laptop speakers, that stereo you got at 13. You don’t have to be in front of all your shit to make a track. You might have to be in front of it all to get a great sounding mix down but to write a tune? Nope, don’t need it. The only requirement is your imagination. But if you’re not exploring that world than you’re not doing it right.
- Listen to your mixes in your car or on a crappy boombox because 9/10 that’s where they’ll be heard. It doesn’t matter how good they sound on your awesome studio monitors because most of that will be lost coming through the dreck most people listen on. No one but audiophiles care about sound quality anyway.
- Start with a fantastic melody. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Even the greatest of symphonies can be broken down to a right hand melody over left hand chords and it’ll still sound powerful.
- Always always highpass instruments to leave space for the bassdrum and the bassline.
- Spend several days to make your own libraries of sound loops and riffs and one-shots. Label them well and keep them sorted in folders. Have fun making them, and don’t hold back. Then, when you get to work on your tunes on a different day, you’ll have great source of material to fill in the gaps of each tune so each one can be amazing
- If you’re getting frustrated with something walking away from the computer to do something else, for even five minutes, makes a huge difference. You come back with a fresh perspective and rested ears. Always good to step away from the same loop you’ve been listening to for the last hour.
- Study music theory and composition and practice it on a physical instrument. Listen to all different kinds of music! A well rounded sense of harmony and timbre will make the arrangement, sound choice, and writing process much easier since you won’t be fiddling around to get the sound you’re looking for for hours.
- Don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t seem to work. Otherwise you’ll end up keeping everything “just in case” and you’ll end up with a clogged up computer. I think SOME pruning/streamlining is essential.
- When trying to find a new melody, it’s all about recording 99.9% shit and finding that 0.1% gold. Sing/hum until you get dizzy and then sing some more until you’ve found it. Singing is gold
- If you’re struggling to get good sounding mixes, import a tune into the project that you know is mixed well.. keep it muted out.. when you need to just click the solo button and use it as a reference.. helped me loads when I was missing the right frequencies
- Using a plug in like LFO tool instead of side-chain compression to attenuate the volume on the beat.. can add it easily with no attack delay.. easy to put on any track with out routing anything
- Best tip I’ve learned so far is to make music first, every day.
For the past few months I’ve been waking up early to work on music and production skills for an hour or two every single day, before I go to work or do anything else of “importance”. This is non-compromisable.
Ever since I’ve made this commitment, my progress has been much faster and more noticeable.