CR2 Tips

Share your production secrets.
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CR2 Tips

by Mick » Tue May 17, 2016 6:38 pm

Hi all.

So basically I recieve emails from CR2 records which trys to sell me sample packs. Although annoying they always put some weekly production tips in so I thought I would share them.....

1. Try and get to know the plug-in's you have as well as possible before looking into getting new ones. Lots of producers have hundreds of synths but don't know how to use any of them. Try and find video tutorials online of your favourite VST and learn it inside out.

2. Try and export as many MIDI tracks down to audio files as you can. This will speed up your workflow by reducing CPU usage. There are also other benefits of using audio rather than MIDI... With audio files you can throw them into samplers and mess around with them. Or reverse the audio etc... The fun is endless!

3. Not many producers think to do this but you can actually use parallel compression on your mastering chain to give extra average volume to your track. Try it out and see for yourself.

4. Try using multi-band distortion to distort the different frequencies of a sound which can result in you enhancing harmonics. This is a great, simple way to get amazing result.   

5. A lot of producers find themselves 'stuck in the loop' and end up listening to the same set of sounds over and over again. This will eventually result in lots of unfinished projects. When you're next stuck in a loop, leave it. Move on to the next section of the track. Listening to a loop over and over will not help you in finishing a song.

6. Put a compressor sidechained to the kick on your effects busses. This will really help lock everything into the groove and will ultimately keep everything sounding tight!

7. Lots of people assume that compression is ONLY used for reducing the dynamic range of a signal. However, this isn't correct at all. When it comes to making music there are no 'rules' what so ever. Try compressing your reverb returns by a small amount. This can actually help thicken them up a bit!

8. It's important to keep your low frequencies in mono, however, sometimes you may want a wide sounding bass. Try and duplicate your bass track, add a high pass filter up to about 300Hz, add some slight distortion, send through to a wide chorus and then mix this channel subtly with the original. 

9. Before jumping straight into compression and EQ once you have a new sound, stop for a minute and think to yourself 'what am I trying to achieve from this?'. Think first about how what you're doing might enhance the mix. Use your ears and not your eyes!

10. Try using an EQ with a low pass filter at the end of your reverb send. Lots of producers think that big, bright reverbs are the best when actually to much high end on the reverb can lead to mixes sounding overly digital.

11. Spectrum analysers can be really useful! However a lot of producers can become dependant on them. So just remember, at the end of the day, your ears know best!

12. Try and humanize your shaker or percussion loops by using automation on a transient designer. Simply just back off the attack in quieter sections and push up the attack on louder sections. Play around with it and see what works best.

14. If you have layered your beats with lots of different drum elements such as kicks, snares, claps, open/closed hats etc… Try to make sure each individual sample is tuned properly so that these sounds will fit together harmonically in your mix. You’ll notice a big difference in the feel of your track. Also don’t forget to pan these individual hits across the stereo field so that they don’t clash together!

15. Try not to blindly copy each of your dynamic processing effects, such as compressors, limiters and EQ, from one channel strip to the other without tweaking their settings. Just because specific settings sound good on one channel/sound does not mean they’ll sound good on the next.

16. To create bigger build ups and have more impact in your drops, use automation on the master channel and automate the HP frequency cutoff in your builds. Also automate reverb/delay as your track is building and then turn them off when the drop kicks in.

17. When starting to create new melodies and chord progressions, try to play/record them into your DAW instead of programming them. Even if you are not the best live instrument player, you’ll still find that you can create much nicer grooves in your productions.

18. One of the greatest production tips there is… If you’re in the studio and you have a really good idea, try to force yourself to stay there until it’s finished whilst you still have that fresh inspiration! There is no point in coming up with great ideas and not getting them down into ‘song form’.

19. When mixing your tracks remember one thing… You’re using your ears NOT your eyes. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the numbers and all the parameters. A good way of dealing with this is... When analysing your tracks, turn your computer screen off so that you’re unable to get distracted.

20. Logic Pro X, Ableton and Cubase all provide a feature that allows you to extract MIDI data from Audio files. Once you have extracted this data from something like a percussive audio loop, you can begin to generate original sounds and rhythms. Just take this extracted MIDI data and add a synth to it. Using Logic's Chord Trigger feature will give you great ideas. Try it out!

21. Try to add layers of ambient sounds/loops that play continuously in the background of your mix. This is a not only great way to fill out your productions but this will add extra personality to your tracks making them completely unique. If you want to be even more clever, buy a high-quality field recorder and create your own atmospherical samples.

22. Are you stuck for new ideas? Have you got writers-block? Here's a production tip that you could find really beneficial! Take a sample/loop that has a lot going on in it. Place the loop in your DAW and then add layers around it, this could be; bass, leads, chords, FX etc... Then take away the original loop you used and see what you're left with! 

23. Even if you have a small sized studio or even if you have a massive studio space, wires coming from; computers, synths, monitors, midi keyboards etc.. can be very annoying. Try taking the tube from inside toilet role and using it to feed the wires through. This helps keep your studio nice and tidy!

24. Try your hardest to experiment with effects that you're not used to playing with. It's easy to keep going to the same reverb presets because you like the sound of it, but if you dive into features in plug-ins that you're not so comfortable with, you'll end up creating really unique sounds.

25. When you're EQ'ing different channels, remember to EQ it whilst everything is playing in the mix. Often people will solo a channel strip and EQ a sound whilst it's playing by itself. Remember that the people listening to the final track won't hear the individual sounds, they'll only hear the overall mix.

26. If you feel like your drop is lacking aggressiveness, try and duplicate your sub-bass and boost it up an octave. Play around with the levels so that the mid range sub-bass isn't too overpowering.

27. If you feel like your drops are lacking impact, route all the channels that are playing in the drop to a group channel, add an EQ on an insert with a low shelf reducing the low frequencies slightly then add a gentle limiter with around 2.5dB gain reduction.

28. Quite often with this style of electronic dance music, the drums are used to fill up space within the stereo image as well as creating the groove. Just using a kick, clap and cymbals is sometimes not enough. Try and use percussion to fill empty spaces in the mix. Tom’s can be useful but another way to get great results is to pitch up a clap sample. Try creating a rhythm with your percussion samples that flow with your main melody.

29.A really useful stereo trick to use on mono tracks - Try and duplicate your mono track and then hard pan left or right. Apply a compressor on one of these tracks (preferably the track in mono) and then and an expander on the other.

30. Select one of your channels that has a lot of reverb on it and is very wide. Try and cut out the reverb completely for just a few seconds. This is a really cool technique that will create a sort of claustrophobic effect! 

31. If you have a pad or shaker track in one of your productions try and add reverb to it with 100% wet and then apply a gate. Use something like a dry percussion hit or a snare to trigger the gate. Try it out and listen to the interesting tail of the reverb. Super cool!!

32. Tempo-synced delays are really good to use and they are easy when plug-ins have default presets, however they can quite often sound dull/boring. Try and adjust the delay time yourself rather than using the presets - your track will sound much less robotic!

33. Not many people think about this when it comes to sound design but layering is key! Instead of diving into a plug-in and playing about with one source - LAYER! Using multiple sound sources will allow you to design sounds with depth and character. By doing this your finished product will be so much more unique!

34. Try and spend an hour or two just messing with your favourite VST - don't have an aim, just play! You'll get to know the synth or FX plug-in really well and this will allow you to improve your sound design skills.

35. Show your music to as many people as you can, even if they're not into the specific genre you're making. If someone doesn't like something about your track - take note and try and improve. This is really important!

36. Everyone wants a punchy kick drum, but quite often if the attack of the initial waveform is bigger in amplitude (volume) than the actual body of the sample, the kick will not be loud/fat enough.

37. Remember, small adjustments go a long way in music production. If you have a chord track or bassline track running throughout your track. Make small automation changes throughout - it'll make a huge difference!




Last edited by Mick on Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:47 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: CR2 Tips

by NIXX » Wed May 18, 2016 11:11 am

Thanks Bro :D

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Re: CR2 Tips

by heatnzelhaetf » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:12 am

very useful! Thank you :)

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Re: CR2 Tips

by DJShow » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:17 am

Dope !
Chadi B.

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