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10 Tips that will make you a better producer

If you are reading this article, you are probably a bedroom producer who struggles to fit music into his daily life. Every DJ and producer experienced that, but I am hoping that I will give you some insights on how to get a better sound in your tracks and how to come closer to your goals and at the end of the day reach them. Tips that I will include in this article will not only cover technical side of producing, but also psychological.

1. Sound design and frequency modulation synthesis

When someone asks me how to become a successful producer, I am always saying learn FM synthesis. I can’t stress enough how much this will actually help your sound to shape into something unique, especially if you are a someone who produces bass music. whether it is Drum and Bass, Grime, Dubstep or anything else that includes heavy basslines, FM is ‘a must’ in your production. It is a bit scientific and complicated, but if you invest your time into learning Operator or FM8 it will payoff. Also, I am not saying subtractive synthesis is useless, it definitely isn’t, you can get a lot of good sounds with layering and processing, but FM is not something every producer knows and uses. That means there is a bigger chance of creating something unique in it, and keep in mind, most of the labels today are looking for a unique, forward-looking music.

music production

2. Sampling and real world sounds

Recorder is a handy, cheap thing that is definitely good investment. It’s good for layering, spicing things up, keeping it more natural and adding a human touch to your production. Other thing that is really is vinyl sampling. Many timeless tunes included that one sample from an 80’s song that got stuck into your head like an earworm. All I am saying is you don’t need to sit in front of your computer all day. Go ahead, pick up your recorder and experiment. Or maybe visit a record store, hang out with other cool people, pick up some old school samples and inspiration.

3. Layering sounds

This one is simple. You don’t need to try and create a sound you want to in one patch. Maybe there is one preset you made long ago that didn’t work for you, but in layers it will. Experiment, stretch and process audio. You can layer bass, drums, pads… basically everything. Take advantage of layering and make more complex sounds!

4. YouTube tutorials

Imagine how it was for people to produce in 1990, they needed to spend days with their friends, figuring out how something works. Great thing is you don’t need to, take advantage of Youtube tutorials and learn things from professionals who know their job.

5. Groove with it

You make electronic music probably, right? Well it’s also called dance music, which means people want to dance when they hear your track in a club. Don’t keep every sound or your drums robotic. Go for the groove, make people dance, that should be your primary goal when you are creating music. Ableton has amazing groove pool, you actually have so much to choose in it, or even create your own. Whatever you decide, you can’t do wrong with groove.

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6. It’s in the manual

It probably happened to you that some inspiration kicked in, you have something in mind, but then you don’t know how to actually do it in your Digital Audio Workstation or synth of choice. That’s why you should always limit yourself to one DAW and few plugins, but learn and study them in depth. They include manuals for reason and you can find a lot of cool stuff in there from developers who created the software from scratch and know every line of code in it. That way, you can save money by not going on shopping spree and buying every cool plugin you see. Quality, not quantity.

7. Listening audience

Spread your music to everyone you know. Don’t limit yourself to friends who also listen to same music. Your work colleagues, neighbour or family, they all listen to music, and you should appreciate every critic you receive as a tip to get better.

8. Keep your project nice and clean

I know, it seems useless to name and color every track precisely. But keep in mind, your project will get more complicated, with 40+ tracks in it. You don’t want to wake up next morning, get excited about music you were making last night and then see a complete mess in your DAW. It doesn’t motivate and it’s discouraging. Export to audio everything that’s done and keep your CPU on normal levels.

9. Norms do not exist

Every producer has their own workflow and that is great. But don’t give up on something you feel comfortable with or something that sounds good because you can’t hear it in beatport charts. Rules are made to be broken. Don’t be afraid of creating something unique.

10. Harder you work, faster you get where you want to get

Nothing in life comes easy, if you put more work than others, there is more chance you will succeed. If someone produces every day one hour, and you produce two hours every day, after 1000 days, you will have 2000 hours of producing music, while the other person will have 1000 hours. That is 1000 hours difference, a lot, isn’t it? Imagine what can you do in 1000 hours, how many songs you can finish and how much can you learn in that period.