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NEOGAF's Official Music Production Thread: calling all producers

vonStirlitz

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Chris Metal

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Couple of odd questions.

Does anyone know where I could get some decent whistling samples or instruments? id do it myself but I am shite at whistling. I have an instrument for kontakt but its too synthy sounding, so I think I need to find a sample and mangle it to my liking.

Also, does anyone have any good suggestions for Cimbalom or Marxophobe samples/instruments (I could use a dulcimer but prefer to track one of these down for project reasons).
Could try http://freesound.org for whistling.
 

MadraptorMan

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Just wondering as you're using logic, have you got your metering set to Sectional dB-linear? Exponential can fool users occasionally to mix too hot with gain staging as the levels appear so low, so it's often tempting to push things too far with exponential metering (logics default). Sectional dB-linear metering helps with visual primarily, buts encourages better judgement with the levels when mixing I think.
I have no idea...where do I check that and what should I change? Thanks for the tip. I always have problems with volume in the final mix down stage.
 

The Kree

Banned
Sep 21, 2015
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Couple of odd questions.

Does anyone know where I could get some decent whistling samples or instruments? id do it myself but I am shite at whistling. I have an instrument for kontakt but its too synthy sounding, so I think I need to find a sample and mangle it to my liking.

Also, does anyone have any good suggestions for Cimbalom or Marxophobe samples/instruments (I could use a dulcimer but prefer to track one of these down for project reasons).
Realitone specializes in vocal libraries for Kontakt. They have one called RealiWhistle that's very good. Here's a YouTube demo.
 

vonStirlitz

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lazygecko

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Couple of odd questions.

Does anyone know where I could get some decent whistling samples or instruments? id do it myself but I am shite at whistling. I have an instrument for kontakt but its too synthy sounding, so I think I need to find a sample and mangle it to my liking.

Also, does anyone have any good suggestions for Cimbalom or Marxophobe samples/instruments (I could use a dulcimer but prefer to track one of these down for project reasons).
The problem is that whistling is largely dependant on portamento which makes it very technically challenging to convincingly replicate through sampling.
 

vonStirlitz

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lazygecko

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The most elaborate libraries for very expressive instruments like brass and strings tend to have macros and other "smart" functions to detect and crossfade in natural pre-recorded portamentos and other type sof note transitions where you need them.

There's just so many nuances like that required to capture the expressiveness of an instrument at such a level, to the point where it kind of feels like it makes more sense to recreate them via synthesis rather than recording and editing gigantic sample libraries.
 

vonStirlitz

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R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
Does anyone know where one can find sheet music for the following?

Classical Composer: Wim Mertens
Work: 4 Mains
Instrumentation: Piano

Alfred Publishing didn't have it, nor did Musicnotes.com. Maybe there isn't any transcription available, but any help would be appreciated.
 

ekim

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May 2, 2012
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Couple of odd questions.

Does anyone know where I could get some decent whistling samples or instruments? id do it myself but I am shite at whistling. I have an instrument for kontakt but its too synthy sounding, so I think I need to find a sample and mangle it to my liking.

Also, does anyone have any good suggestions for Cimbalom or Marxophobe samples/instruments (I could use a dulcimer but prefer to track one of these down for project reasons).

still do it yourself and use melodyne or any other pitch shifter if you have one. Works pretty well imho.
 

vonStirlitz

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ekim

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Anyone have a Waldorf Blofeld and willing to give their opinion?

Thinking of getting a small desktop poly synth, and it seems good on the price/function front. But much as I love hardware, I am torn between getting a new small piece of kit, or using the funds to get Omnisphere instead.
Get Omnisphere.
 

vonStirlitz

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neurochasm

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May 19, 2015
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As an update, I got myself Diva rather than another piece of hardware. Best soft synth I have ever used. The Juno patches are fantastic, and the sound of it was screaming out of my speakers. Really full, powerful bass, nice dirty analogue sound full of defects. I got some wicked detuned Boards of Canada style leads within half hour of tweaking. Definitely recommended. Probably my new go to synth for like everything now.
It's pretty great, right? I just returned a JX-03 and grabbed DIVA last week because I couldn't justify having just one virtual analog replica when I could have a bunch of them for less. Then I promptly bought an alpha juno anyway because I'm an idiot with poor impulse control. I figure it'll be fun to test it against DIVA's alpha juno though, and I can always resell it.
 

vonStirlitz

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Dec 9, 2013
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thezerofire

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Nov 8, 2010
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Heh. I uderstand the GAS situation. Diva is there to keep it under control. Only hardware I am keeping permanently are my Mother 32s. Mind you, if the rumored SH101 module comes out...
personally I don't think there exists software that addresses my GAS situation. part of the reason why I want gear is for physical limitations and immediate control that I don't get from working on a computer. but it is what it is lol
 

Piercedveil

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Jul 4, 2011
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I am in an interesting position.

The other day, I was able to watch my beat be reviewed live on Twitch by a guy from r/makinghiphop. Pretty cool.

Some of the comments the guy gave on my song:
-He liked the mix
-He liked the way I did the drums
-He thought my sound choices were excellent

However, the big thing he said that stuck out to him is that my "chords are wrong," and "he doesn't know music." Basically, he said my the chords simply don't match the rest of the song and are too happy and upbeat sounding.

Now I'm curious what you guys think. Although I like how the beat sounds, he is not wrong with what he said. I have been doing the music thing for about 7 months and I don't know music theory besides the little that I have picked up so far. When I play, I try to figure out what sounds good rather than having an idea of what to do up front.

I've had a good time doing what I've been doing but I'd like to step my game up at this point and get a bit more serious about my musical knowledge.

So I'm wondering, how exactly should I go about learning music theory for the purpose of creating hip-hop instrumentals? Should I just simply watch general music theory videos? I guess I'd like to learn while applying it specifically to what I'm doing. Any help with where I should start would be excellent!

If you're curious about my beat, here it is. Feel free to let me know if you think it's terrible, great, or anywhere in between!
 

vonStirlitz

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Dec 9, 2013
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The Kree

Banned
Sep 21, 2015
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The chords are fine. There is some dissonance between them and the melody which gives the composition an uneasy mood, but music is allowed to feel uneasy if that's what you're going for.

My critique would be about the mix - specifically the textural difference between the rhythmic content and the melodic content. The drums sound very dry and clean while the chords and melody sound wet and very lo-fi and they feel too separate from each other. I would either dirty up the drums a bit or bring a little clarity to the chords and melody to make them feel a little more sonically cohesive in the mix. I would also clean up the low-mid frequencies of the chords as well because there's a little wobble in the low end where it gets a little muddy.

I would recommend this book for music theory:



It's beginner friendly, easy to understand, and the information is immediately applicable to any style of music. Music theory is about having a better understanding of the relationships between notes, understanding why some things always sound good and why somethings don't, and how to use those relationships to your advantage on the fly.

Example:
There's a reason the chord C-D-E sounds like shit while C-E-G sounds pleasant: the notes C-D-E are too close together. C-D-E is dissonant (unpleasant) while C-E-G is consonant (pleasant).

That doesn't necessarily mean you never use C-D-E though. Sometimes you want the listener to feel that unpleasantness. Sometimes you'll want the listener to feel happy, so you use C-E-G.

But when you move from chord to chord, sometimes you want a mood that evolves in interesting ways, so maybe you move from C-E-G to C-E-F#. C-E-F# is not exactly unpleasant sounding, but there's a slight tension to it because the distance between E and F# is shorter than the distance between E and G. So moving back and forth from C-E-G to C-E-F#, you will create a feeling of tension and release, tension and release.

Point is, once you understand how the spacing of notes affects mood and feel, you use that knowledge to deliberately create a desired feeling. So, yes, music theory can be helpful.

Watch any videos you can find on youtube - there are many - and play along with them. Get some kind of book you can keep nearby as a quick reference. There are scales and chord charts all over the internet you can just print out and keep on display near your workstation. Whatever you find most helpful.
 

Piercedveil

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Thank you both for the very helpful feedback! I actually have a little time off from work so maybe I'll order that book and start going through it.

Another thing I've noticed I'm having trouble with is clashing opinions. While the guy that reviewed my beat on Twitch said he liked the sounds, another person on the subreddit said that my sound choices don't work together. My approach so far has been to make things that I think sound good since opinions seem to vary so much. I assume that's probably the way to go, but I realize I still need to work on my theory.
 

Chris Metal

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Thank you both for the very helpful feedback! I actually have a little time off from work so maybe I'll order that book and start going through it.

Another thing I've noticed I'm having trouble with is clashing opinions. While the guy that reviewed my beat on Twitch said he liked the sounds, another person on the subreddit said that my sound choices don't work together. My approach so far has been to make things that I think sound good since opinions seem to vary so much. I assume that's probably the way to go, but I realize I still need to work on my theory.
Your sound choices can work together, that's why mixing/editing is there to help. You can have two guitars playing, but if the pan and levels aren't balanced it could sound not as intended. And theory helps with structuring instruments in key signatures, timing so they fit well together in a compositional capacity. A mix is about finding space for everything. I mean recordings of huge orchestras where every instruments has been captured (not decca tree) has to overcome this issue. You'll get there, it's just practice and a bit of reading up.
 

Piercedveil

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To my surprise, I got an awesome message in my SoundCloud inbox from a GAF lurker. He/she does not have an account here but briefly signed up for a SoundCloud account just to message me. It was great to read and much appreciated. Just thought I'd share that since I thought it was cool.

I ended up ordering the Everything Music Theory book that Kree recommended, which should get here tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting better at theory :)
 

vonStirlitz

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Dec 9, 2013
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[Redacted as the member no longer wishes to be associated with this website, and the reputational damage and distress caused by association with this website. In addition, the user considers that the action of the management, and the nature of the site and members of its community, renders the original terms and conditions of this site void, and it unconscionable for either side to be bound to them. The user reasserts their IP rights in all content and does not give any authority for its continued usage on this website. Despite requesting that the user's account be deleted, in accordance with data protection rules which apply to this website over multiple jurisdictions, the admin team have failed to delete this account, requiring the user to take its own steps to ensure the valid deletion of data.]
 

BeeDog

Member
Aug 2, 2007
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So, started following some video tutorials for Ableton Live (thanks again neurochasm!) and wanted to check with you guys, can you recommend any good VST synths/effects that work well for techno production? Any kind of suggestions, high and low, are appreciated, though something that's simple to learn (despite limited use) is preferred :)

My list so far:
- U-He Diva synth
- Ableton Operator
- NI Reaktor
- Sylenth1
- BeepStreet Sunrizer
- Z3ta

Thanks in advance.
 

Teknopathetic

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Jun 6, 2004
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"So, started following some video tutorials for Ableton Live (thanks again neurochasm!) and wanted to check with you guys, can you recommend any good VST synths/effects that work well for techno production? Any kind of suggestions, high and low, are appreciated, though something that's simple to learn (despite limited use) is preferred :)"

If by techno you mean actual techno and not as a catch all for any kind of electronic music, what you've got now is more than enough. Diva and Operator alone should have you sorted. The stock effects in Ableton (reverbs, delays, compressors, etc.) will also do just about everything you might want starting out. Many minimal techno tracks don't even use more than a drum machine and liberal application of effects/processing.
 

BeeDog

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"So, started following some video tutorials for Ableton Live (thanks again neurochasm!) and wanted to check with you guys, can you recommend any good VST synths/effects that work well for techno production? Any kind of suggestions, high and low, are appreciated, though something that's simple to learn (despite limited use) is preferred :)"

If by techno you mean actual techno and not as a catch all for any kind of electronic music, what you've got now is more than enough. Diva and Operator alone should have you sorted. The stock effects in Ableton (reverbs, delays, compressors, etc.) will also do just about everything you might want starting out. Many minimal techno tracks don't even use more than a drum machine and liberal application of effects/processing.
Yep, meant actual techno, I am far gone into that rabbit tunnel. Thanks a lot for the feedback, will continue learning the app, muster up true interest and then start budgeting for these synths.
 

Teknopathetic

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Jun 6, 2004
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To be honest, even Diva is overkill. Ableton's Operator, Analog, and maybe some various drum machine samples (which Ableton will come with quite a few) are already enough. That's pretty much all you need. The rest is just taste and audio engineering (those are the hard parts).
 

lazygecko

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Apr 8, 2014
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Any kind of VST or inherent functions/macros in a DAW supporting randomization ought to be useful for techno. In FLStudio, I've done stuff like add 5 different instrument/sample channels, isolate each one to a single note in a pentatonic scale (within a single octave range of course) using the keyboard in the channel settings, and then I generate random note sequences in the piano roll using that same pentatonic scale to seed rhythms with these 5 sounds until I get something that sounds cool.

There are probably drum machine VSTs out there with the same type of functionality, though I never felt like using them, and it's cool to be able to do this with any kind of VST instrument I want (there are probably MIDI automation VSTs that can handle this stuff too though).
 

thezerofire

Banned
Nov 8, 2010
8,868
0
0
To be honest, even Diva is overkill. Ableton's Operator, Analog, and maybe some various drum machine samples (which Ableton will come with quite a few) are already enough. That's pretty much all you need. The rest is just taste and audio engineering (those are the hard parts).
Simpler (and Sampler, but let's start easier) also! mangling samples and field recordings can lead to great sound design and even rhythms you wouldn't have thought of. That in combination with Ableton's Warp features (try pitching an audio clip down with and without it on, using its different parameters, etc.) can lead to so many sounds.
 

Mosse

Neo Member
Jan 22, 2012
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Just released an EP today.
I made it for a charity project to make some money for diabetes research, I'm climbing Kebnekaise (highest mountain in Sweden) with a diabetes youth group this Thursday. I'm not 100% happy with the final mixes, been in panic mode the last few days to get something together in time for the project, but I think it worked out ok in the end.

https://mgustavsson.bandcamp.com/

If I had more time it would probably sound a bit better, but I know myself and with too much time I would grow bored with those songs, scrape them, write something new, grow bored of that and never get anything done.
 

neurochasm

Banned
May 19, 2015
147
0
0
im officially droppin a single

https://fanlink.to/sadsic-thespirit

pretty sure i linked both of these tracks in this thread before
Back to producing music after a loooooong hiatus and no real good recording space.

Here's where I left off when I stopped making music...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN0KjAVj5Ow

All tracks
https://shiftershapes.bandcamp.com/releases

And hopefully I'll be making some new stuff within the coming weeks!
Just released an EP today.
I made it for a charity project to make some money for diabetes research, I'm climbing Kebnekaise (highest mountain in Sweden) with a diabetes youth group this Thursday. I'm not 100% happy with the final mixes, been in panic mode the last few days to get something together in time for the project, but I think it worked out ok in the end.

https://mgustavsson.bandcamp.com/

If I had more time it would probably sound a bit better, but I know myself and with too much time I would grow bored with those songs, scrape them, write something new, grow bored of that and never get anything done.
Just wanted to say that I listened to a bit of all of these and you guys are all super talented.
 

BeeDog

Member
Aug 2, 2007
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Thanks once again for the suggestions guys, helpful as always.

Have a new question though; any good suggestions on how to approach deeper kicks/basslines that techno tracks usually achieve? Obviously the simple kick provided in FL/Ableton is a good sample to filter/modify, but I'm a bit stumped on how to best expand on that.

Should I look into better drum machines for this? (VST)
 

thezerofire

Banned
Nov 8, 2010
8,868
0
0
Thanks once again for the suggestions guys, helpful as always.

Have a new question though; any good suggestions on how to approach deeper kicks/basslines that techno tracks usually achieve? Obviously the simple kick provided in FL/Ableton is a good sample to filter/modify, but I'm a bit stumped on how to best expand on that.

Should I look into better drum machines for this? (VST)
This has a few good suggestions:

https://www.reddit.com/r/TechnoProduction/comments/6or0wx/how_do_you_create_long_and_sustained_kicks/

I have fun routing my kick to a reverb return track, summing that to mono (Utility effect, width=0%), and then mixing that back in with the original kick. You can sidechain it, EQ out some parts, etc.
 

BeeDog

Member
Aug 2, 2007
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Toy Soldier

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Oct 29, 2007
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HERE is where the heart is.
To my surprise, I got an awesome message in my SoundCloud inbox from a GAF lurker. He/she does not have an account here but briefly signed up for a SoundCloud account just to message me. It was great to read and much appreciated. Just thought I'd share that since I thought it was cool.

I ended up ordering the Everything Music Theory book that Kree recommended, which should get here tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting better at theory :)
Also, as you learn music theory, a GREAT side book to have on hand is Chord Progressions for Songwriters.

https://www.amazon.com/Chord-Progressions-Songwriters-Richard-Scott/dp/0595263844

Incredibly thorough: it not only explains virtually every popular chord structure for most popular genres of music, but it gives examples of variations used in popular songs. As you learn the whys behind the chord structures you piece together, this book gives you an amazing toolkit to utilize as you listen for what sounds good to you while you're writing right now while showcasing the emotions those progressions are intending to evoke.
 

Piercedveil

Member
Jul 4, 2011
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Also, as you learn music theory, a GREAT side book to have on hand is Chord Progressions for Songwriters.

https://www.amazon.com/Chord-Progressions-Songwriters-Richard-Scott/dp/0595263844

Incredibly thorough: it not only explains virtually every popular chord structure for most popular genres of music, but it gives examples of variations used in popular songs. As you learn the whys behind the chord structures you piece together, this book gives you an amazing toolkit to utilize as you listen for what sounds good to you while you're writing right now while showcasing the emotions those progressions are intending to evoke.
Thank you! I still need to get going with my other book but I'll definitely look into this as well.

Been busy so I haven't been posting as much but I'm still making music every day :)