How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

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mementus
KVRist
444 posts since 10 Apr, 2011

Post Mon May 14, 2018 3:07 pm

edit: I want to produce electronic and samples based music.

I am a mixing guy but I feel the need to produce my own music.
I have a play-in-a-band background and I use Cubase.

The problem is that my workflow is so slow and I am overwhelmed by all the sounds available.
Should I maybe consider another daw?
I don't want to start and produce the next hit, I just would like to start producing even the simplest song on the planet, but I am stuck! /rant :lol:

Any hints/motivationals?
:scared:

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2803 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Mon May 14, 2018 10:14 pm

Well, choose one synth and instrument before even starting, and stick to it. At least I only make track once I have an idea of what I want to do.

For instance two months ago I made a track using (almost) only sounds and devices available in Live 10.
Last edited by DJ Warmonger on Sat May 19, 2018 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

yellowmix
KVRian
694 posts since 11 Aug, 2012

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Tue May 15, 2018 9:14 am

Honestly, I often start with an acoustic piano for composing then replace it with synths after the structure is done. But sure, sometimes you find a preset that is instantly inspiring, then go to town with it. And sometimes hearing an approximate sound can bring you to different destinations. So since you're starting out, organizing is your first task. Narrowing down your choices is paramount at this stage.

Audition presets of one synth until you find bread-and-butter ones you like, then mark them as favorites. A few leads, a few pads, a few basses. While working you'll find you need a category and it doesn't exist, so make a new category. You'll be building your library of go-tos as you work. Over time you can keep exploring your assets and adding more favorites, but for now you're trying to get things done. Adding even more assets to sort through is the complete opposite of what you should be doing.

Zexila
KVRAF
3089 posts since 18 Mar, 2008

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Tue May 15, 2018 9:53 am

Make a song using just an Cubase own instruments and samples, there's loads of stuff there, spend a month previewing everything and than just start making music with it and don't introduce anything new until you are sure you really need something particular.

Or pick one synht/rompler and make music with it, get to know every sound you got and just stick with it. Same goes for samples, pick one good sample pack and get to know every single sample there is in there.
This entire forum is wading through predictions, opinions, barely formed thoughts, drama, and whining. If you don't enjoy that, why are you here? :D ShawnG

dark_virus
KVRAF
1603 posts since 28 Jun, 2007 from Amazon rain forest

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Wed May 16, 2018 7:25 pm

Zexila wrote:Or pick one synht/rompler and make music with it, get to know every sound you got and just stick with it. Same goes for samples, pick one good sample pack and get to know every single sample there is in there.
This!

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BezO
KVRist
213 posts since 19 Jul, 2005

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Thu May 17, 2018 10:31 am

I have go to sketch instruments for a 3 piece "band"... drums, bass & keys. Unless I have a very specific idea before I sit to create, I use the same 3 instruments to start every time.
The groove baby, the groove...

bleepbleepnonsense
KVRer
9 posts since 28 Aug, 2007 from Leicestershire UK

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Fri May 18, 2018 2:23 pm

I dont think changing the DAW will do anything, theres always an element of "what does that one sound like" whatever you use. I tend to get a preset thats got a rough sound I like, tweak it a bit then see where the sound wants to take me, I might use it or just ignore it. Some will sound like they need to be used for chords, others for background drones, some will work as leads.

I tend to let the sounds make the track rather than force the sound in my head into something. One thing is record, record, record. That idea/song you dont like now might sound different or lead you down a different route when you come back to it in a week or two.

Zexila
KVRAF
3089 posts since 18 Mar, 2008

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Sat May 19, 2018 2:36 am

Participated in your another thread too, believe me, get Lethal (it got pianos/guitars/strings/etc/more variety of different sounds than usual synth) and one Vengeance sample pack closest to fit your taste and forget you have anything else. Spend 1 day just previewing Lethal, spend another day just previewing samples, take notes on things you like and so on, get really to know these two things and in no time you will immediately know which sound you want or you will find something adequate in no time.
This entire forum is wading through predictions, opinions, barely formed thoughts, drama, and whining. If you don't enjoy that, why are you here? :D ShawnG

brainzistor
KVRist
286 posts since 9 Jun, 2015

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Sun May 20, 2018 4:13 pm

I'm not really a "synth lord", I'm interested in all sorts of music, but the most important thing to know when making music is to use a real instrument, even if you don't play it, use simple piano in your DAW and start placing notes, like someone already mentioned it.
Synths, samples and drum loops can be overwhelming and distract you completely.
That's how people end up with making 4 bars, 8 bars only and don't know what to do next,
because they are not actually composing music, but just jerking around with synths, samples, loops, whatever.
Simplicity in sound of piano or acoustic guitar will push you to create music and not to play 4 chords for 5 hours because it's simply stupid.
Those 4 chords on acoustic, real instrument become boring fast, you need to move on, those 4 chords are not enough.

Of course that some preset can inspire you to create music, but presets shouldn't be your first tool for inspiration.
At least that's how I see things.

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risome
KVRAF
1965 posts since 30 Oct, 2006 from Australia, NSW

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Sun May 20, 2018 5:00 pm

There are no shortcuts , practice, find a style of music you like and listen to what sound they use.Watch videos on production techniques. You will slowly learn at first then catch on more quickly as you grow.Keep pushing and have fun.
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AALTO,CIRCLE,BLADE and Ableton LIVE Packs
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Mister Natural
KVRAF
2254 posts since 28 Oct, 2007 from michigan

Re: How do you pick your sounds/instruments when producing a song?

Post Sun May 20, 2018 7:04 pm

the sounds/instruments pick themselves

wish that I could explain this better but I read an interview with a famous novelist and he answered this(similar) question "the book writes itself". He said that his main task is to get out of the way of the story. Winemakers say the same thing "the wine makes itself".

If you're familiar enough with your instruments; you would(just naturally) go to the instrument needed for a particular line or explore to find the right thing

the other angle I sometimes use is to find inspiration in one instrument - playing around with it's timbre(ex taking a "lead" preset, pitching it down 2 octaves and re-configuring it as a bass instrument) then building a song/piece from that

best of luck
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