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XoArK

How can you tell if someone's production is "ameture" ?

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XoArK    54

I am wondering on how people can easily spot amature production...

Would something like this count as being ameture? (Ex: being predictable, repetitive, etc.)

 

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Padmapani    423

depends on your definition of amateur.

one could say that all producers that produce as a hobby are amateurs as opposed to professionals, or that all producers who havan't released anything are amateurs ;)

 

but you're really looking for inexperienced producers, who cannot make a "professional" sounding track yet. i'd say the most common mistakes you'd hear there would be bad, unbalanced mixdowns, childish/"obvious" melodies, and out of tune notes (though the latter only seem to be a problem for producers who've never played an instrument or done any other music before).

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recursion loop    508

When the music sounds like you tried to acheive something but failed. Like it is supposed to be danceable but the bass is weak and there is no groove, or it is supposed to be melodic but the melodies sound wrong or too simple, or it is supposed to be agressive but it sounds just harsh and unlistenable. Also amateur productions often have wrong frequency balance - too much bass or no bass at all, or the bass sounds good through one sound system and completely dissapears at another one, or the treble is too bright and harsh.

Your track sounds nice, but as you said, it's a bit predictable and repetitive. Also it sounds one-dimensional, I'd add some reverb to the main synth and also some background elements. And yes, more variety. I like how the drum part evolves but the synth plays the same thing throughout the track, it becomes tiresome.

 

@ Padmapani. Even people who have released something may be amateurs as well (like me), the quality control at small labels is often really low. Actually I wish some of my releases never happened.

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XoArK    54

When the music sounds like you tried to acheive something but failed. Like it is supposed to be danceable but the bass is weak and there is no groove, or it is supposed to be melodic but the melodies sound wrong or too simple, or it is supposed to be agressive but it sounds just harsh and unlistenable. Also amateur productions often have wrong frequency balance - too much bass or no bass at all, or the bass sounds good through one sound system and completely dissapears at another one, or the treble is too bright and harsh.

 

Your track sounds nice, but as you said, it's a bit predictable and repetitive. Also it sounds one-dimensional, I'd add some reverb to the main synth and also some background elements. And yes, more variety. I like how the drum part evolves but the synth plays the same thing throughout the track, it becomes tiresome.

 

@ Padmapani. Even people who have released something may be amateurs as well (like me), the quality control at small labels is often really low. Actually I wish some of my releases never happened.

I'm fully aware of my own track being repetitive, but how do I add more variety?

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Djuna    77

Well, basically you've made a 3 minute track with only a 4 bar loop, with only drums and a pad. The rhythms of the drums are nice, but you should create more patterns to achieve some variety. But I think the biggest problem here is the lack of bass and leads, or other elements that give the track more detail and variety. A good thing to do is to compare your music with your influences and inspirational music. Analyse what's in that music, extract it to your productions, hear what is lacking in your mix and try to reach those goals. I even think that with copying a track you learn a lot, because you force yourself to deal with certain situations.

 

Oh, and let go of the limiter on your master output. It's damaging your mix, and you're not learning to create a proper balance like that.

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XoArK    54

Well, basically you've made a 3 minute track with only a 4 bar loop, with only drums and a pad. The rhythms of the drums are nice, but you should create more patterns to achieve some variety. But I think the biggest problem here is the lack of bass and leads, or other elements that give the track more detail and variety. A good thing to do is to compare your music with your influences and inspirational music. Analyse what's in that music, extract it to your productions, hear what is lacking in your mix and try to reach those goals. I even think that with copying a track you learn a lot, because you force yourself to deal with certain situations.

 

Oh, and let go of the limiter on your master output. It's damaging your mix, and you're not learning to create a proper balance like that.

I'll try. For me, I don't have good ideas where a track should end, though. I planned for this one to be short, but it got way too repetitive. 

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recursion loop    508

I'm fully aware of my own track being repetitive, but how do I add more variety?

Nobody but you knows what your track needs :)

 

Try automating some knobs on your synth, change the patterns, add another synth(s)

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antic604    503

Yeah, I like the idea for the track - cold, harsh sounds depicting the winter; even the clipping fits as a metaphor for frosting - but indeed it peaks around 1:30 and nothing new is happening after that. Add more layers, maybe some slow sweeping bass-line, some FX (like winter blows, etc.), your main sequence would also use some variation: try to maybe gate it, play with additional reverb / delay for it, filter it. This alone would make it more interesting. To top it off I'd add some key changes (when you have added the bass) and maybe some 2nd/3rd notes to the main sequence to create chords. Also the drums could use some flangers or glitch effects, if you're after the Aphex Twin / Squarepusher style.

 

Lastly, what Djuna said - it seems there's compressor added on main channel, which results in your strings being very loud at the beginning and getting much more quiet once drums come in. Try to ensure various channels to have equal loudness throughout the track, by adjusting them on individual level (or in homogeneous groups, e.g. drums + bass, strings + effects, etc.).

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XoArK    54

Yeah, I like the idea for the track - cold, harsh sounds depicting the winter; even the clipping fits as a metaphor for frosting - but indeed it peaks around 1:30 and nothing new is happening after that. Add more layers, maybe some slow sweeping bass-line, some FX (like winter blows, etc.), your main sequence would also use some variation: try to maybe gate it, play with additional reverb / delay for it, filter it. This alone would make it more interesting. To top it off I'd add some key changes (when you have added the bass) and maybe some 2nd/3rd notes to the main sequence to create chords. Also the drums could use some flangers or glitch effects, if you're after the Aphex Twin / Squarepusher style.

 

Lastly, what Djuna said - it seems there's compressor added on main channel, which results in your strings being very loud at the beginning and getting much more quiet once drums come in. Try to ensure various channels to have equal loudness throughout the track, by adjusting them on individual level (or in homogeneous groups, e.g. drums + bass, strings + effects, etc.).

How do I get rid of the compressor? I heard the loudness, but didn't know where it was coming from. I am using a demo of FL Studio 12.

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XoArK    54

How would I improve this track? To me, the drum beat is static and the track itself is repetitive. How do I go about fixing this?

 

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recursion loop    508

 I am using a demo of FL Studio 12.

Iirc the default project has a limiter plugin (Maximus or whatever it is called in FL) on the master channel. Remove it.

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antic604    503

How would I improve this track? To me, the drum beat is static and the track itself is repetitive. How do I go about fixing this?

 

 

Well, this one at least changes the octave halfway in and changes the key at 4:40, but - really - it's just the same track, isn't it? At least the instruments and the idea are the same? On the flip side, the 1st one had more interesting intro and I feel the drum loop was more interesting.

 

Please study those on how to "do something out of nothing", i.e. how to build the tension and "tell a story" by just adding simple elements:

 

 

 

In "trance" (goa, psy, dark, prog, whatever) it is key to build stuff gradually, to induce the trance state. Obviously it's different for different artists, because some will build their full percussion loop for 3 minutes, because they've nothing more to "say" (musically speaking); others - like Artha, Crossing Mind, etc. - will start at full force and can build from there, adding and tweaking melodic lines, acid lines, breaks & transitions, etc. For me the biggest challenge was always how (and when) to take something away, but that's the next step :) The structure I used to follow (almost 20 years ago :)) was:

1) build up the backbone of the track, i.e. the main rhythm section loop,

2) add and play with some acids / effects, sprinkled with some smaller breaks or transitions,

3) introduce a bigger "bridge" section, presenting a main melodic line of the track, adding some atmospherics (pads, chords) + spoken samples,

4) combine everything for the "grand" finale,

5) add an intro to the track, using some of the elements from 2-4 :)

 

Try to think of your track in above terms. Maybe this will help?

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XoArK    54

I want a bit of critique on these new tracks:

 

What genre would they fit in?

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antic604    503

I dig the style and arrangement ideas - it's sort of like a psychedelic acid / minimal techno (sounds like Jeff Mills occasionally!).

 

But, the mixing is really lacking - it's muddy, there's whole lot of distortion and frequency clamping ("Deep Breaks & Good Vibes" is painful to listen), volumes are out of balance, some sounds are way out of tune (especially in "Orbital Frequency", which has its own charm in a way...).

 

I'd say that definitely sounds 'amateur' but there's nothing wrong with it - everyone is starting somewhere.

 

If your music still sounds like this in 1-2 years, then either give up or call it your personal style. And there's nothing wrong with that either - I had a friend, who was doing drums out of piano samples and played "melodies" with hi-hats and his music was still awesome, because it was very individual, creative and unusual :)

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XoArK    54

I dig the style and arrangement ideas - it's sort of like a psychedelic acid / minimal techno (sounds like Jeff Mills occasionally!).

 

But, the mixing is really lacking - it's muddy, there's whole lot of distortion and frequency clamping ("Deep Breaks & Good Vibes" is painful to listen), volumes are out of balance, some sounds are way out of tune (especially in "Orbital Frequency", which has its own charm in a way...).

 

I'd say that definitely sounds 'amateur' but there's nothing wrong with it - everyone is starting somewhere.

 

If your music still sounds like this in 1-2 years, then either give up or call it your personal style. And there's nothing wrong with that either - I had a friend, who was doing drums out of piano samples and played "melodies" with hi-hats and his music was still awesome, because it was very individual, creative and unusual :)

I checked your old goa trance you made, and I have a question. How would you make multiple melodies like you did, throughout the track?

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antic604    503

I checked your old goa trance you made, and I have a question. How would you make multiple melodies like you did, throughout the track?

 

Well, that's not so easy to explain :)

 

First of all, you need to think of overall character and structure of your tune - whether you want to build it gradually or maybe start from a high point and alternate between different parts; do you want to have different segments (e.g. crazy effects, then some acid lines, then some leading melodies, then all of it mixed together for the grand finale) and what should be their sequence, then you'd build main elements of those segments and variations for each, e.g. for acid lines you'd start with plain & simple arpeggio, then add some freq/res tweaking, then maybe other effects like distortions, reverbs, flangers, etc. Same with melodies - you start slow, with longer notes (or spaces between the notes) to then make it more dense, faster, ideally making the instrument more aggressive as well. Good practice is to use 2-3 parallel melodic lines that complement ("talk to") each other, like in funk/jazz music.

 

The musical (melodic) stuff is really difficult to explain, especially if - like me - you have no clue about musical notation, don't know scales and can't play an instrument. But I have a very good musical hearing, i.e. I can quickly recreate any complex melody I hear or think about and add to that an arrangement, just based off of what I hear and how I 'hear' it develop in my head. For me it's kind of an organic process, where I somehow "know" what should be next and it's just a matter of recreating it... That old music was really created this way - it was written exactly in the order you hear it in its final form, so e.g. I'd start with bassline, then add some chords, drums and then build melodies on top of / after each other based on how I imagined it should develop or change. Can't really explain it :P

 

However, you can also approach it more "mechanically". For psychedelic goa trance it's quite easy, because typically you just need to decide key & scale you're using (e.g. E Minor), which then dictates the range of notes you should work in. If you got that range worked out, you can basically hit random notes within that range placing them at different spots on the timeline with different lengths and shaping the sequence in some kind of contour  (e.g. make it rising, or rising and falling, or going from concentrated around root [base] note to spread more widely, etc. - there are countless techniques there) until you get something you're satisfied with. Look it up on YouTube - this is a good example for Ableton Live. Then if you've done several of those patterns try to order them in terms of energy they create, try to maybe combine them, or take the copy the simpler one and add notes to make it more complex. If you know how to use audio effects, you can also chop / gate / glitch the longer sounds, which usually makes for a nice progression. Or take a simpler pattern to play on one track with one instrument (usually with longer attack, with modulated parameters throughout its duration) and the more complex pattern to the other track with different instrument (shorter, more aggressive) and try layering them on top of each other. Try triggering them at the same time, but also at different times (e.g. first straight away, the other half a bar later), etc. If you loop something e.g. 4 times, try to delay or advance playback of one of the segment slightly (by quarter note for example) to introduce variation - I used that a lot! Other popular technique to build a progression is to play exactly the same - or slightly modified - melodic line using 2-3 different instruments with different timbre at the same time (check Electric Universe's "One Love" for that) 

 

Following the above it's pretty easy to do something sounding "correct" musically. It's a completely different matter of course whether or not it's interesting and exciting, but I guess that comes with experience and especially beneficial is listening to a lot of music, in particular outside of the genre you're creating in.

 

Hope this was helpful :)

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XoArK    54

So, I followed your advice, and came up with these two tracks:

(One may be too repetitive, but any advice will be appreciated!)

 

 

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