Your Production Mantras

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
KVRist
39 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:59 am

I'm an idiot who can't be smacked in the head enough with solid production advice. How would you impart your collective billion years experience with:

Workflow
Creative mixing and effect building techniques
Signal chains - vocals, percussion groups, guitars, etc.
Where (How, Why) you go to seek advice
Converting vague thoughts to track
Practices you do to stay sharp
Any analogies or metaphors

Thanks, friends.

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addled muppet weed
77694 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:06 am

avoid meditating on difficult guitar chords.

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KVRist
232 posts since 2 Sep, 2012

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:35 am

Get the sound right before you record - ‘I’ll fix it in the mix’ kind of thinking will mess you up during mixing.
Don’t be afraid to commit - this is not for everyone, but I don’t mind recording with some eq from my board or some compression. Usually makes mixing faster, you have to reach a place where you know what you’re doing though. Same thing with sometimes bouncing audio with a plugin on it, like a tape simulator. I’m not afraid of commitment! 😀

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KVRian
717 posts since 22 Feb, 2014

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:48 am

+1 on commitment (You beat me to the punch again, DMG68. ;))

This quote from an SoS Andy Wallace interview has stuck with me. Sage advice from one of the greats...

""When I was working on eight-track or 16-track I had to make mix decisions while I was recording, and today I can go back and listen to these recordings and feel that I made good decisions. But I now get sessions with 100+ tracks where there will be eight different mics on the same guitar amplifier, and you have to listen to what makes the best blend, and so on. When I get a project that's full of unmade decisions it slows me down, because I have to put my producer hat on and sort out these decisions. I prefer for the recording engineer and producer to decide on the sound for a guitar, but instead, many of them like to keep their options open because they're looking for perfection. So I spend a lot of time trying to make people understand that there's no perfect mix. You can always change a mix and not make it worse. But do the changes improve it? In my experience, a mix rarely gets better with endless changes and recalls. For me, a mix is about trying to find something that works and that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and believing in that. If you are rethinking and second-guessing that all the time you risk losing that feeling.”

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/ins ... ting-party

KVRist

Topic Starter

39 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:25 pm

vurt wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:06 am
avoid meditating on difficult guitar chords.
Are you saying it's easier to get root chords and progressions down and then go back for stylistic choices after? If so, ABSOLUTELY.

Despite guitar-driven music being my favorite, I don't really know what goes into the guitarist mindset in the creative stages. Personally, I've tried to ideate using a sort of Leslie West model of not having his parts trample over instruments or vocal. They each have their place in space. And because Mountain was so damn in your face (and other similar guitar tones with that much attitude) I sort of look at it as the icing on the rhythm cake. So I guess it makes it 3rd in my sound layer cake.

Does that sort of apply to what you're saying about chords as well? Don't get in your own way?

As I'm writing that it's sort of how I think of Van Halen. When he wanted to play, you got out of his way. Otherwise Eddie was a really nifty underneath power chord strummer in the verses.

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KVRist
377 posts since 20 Jun, 2005

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:39 pm

vurt wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:06 am
avoid meditating on difficult guitar chords.
Image

:hihi:

KVRian
1151 posts since 9 Jan, 2013 from morf

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:45 pm

Make something you like in a 16 bar loop, then strip it back, then try to play parts through an arp or sequencer. Might not work, but it’s a way to create
I used to mix a lot to tape, long sessions as I didn’t have much money for studio time, then cut the tape up when I got home.
You can do this with modern daw, you just have to embrace the chaos :D
Man is least himself when he talks in the first person. Give him a mask, and he'll show you his true face

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KVRian
706 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:15 pm

Every mix decision should be in service of the song.
The less you have to do, the better.

If a part or an effect doesn't serve a purpose, get rid of it. Don't do stuff just to do it. Don't just use a plugin simply because it's there.

If something needs to be EQ'd so it sounds more defined in the mix, or so you can hear some other part better, then do it. If the part doesn't need to be EQ'd, then don't EQ it. Try to get the right tonal balance at the source through mic placement, amp settings, or synth settings instead.

Use compression to shape the body of a sound, or to position it closer in the mix, if that is what the mix calls for. Don't just squash your mix for no reason.

Use several reverbs, and put at least a little reverb on every track. Reverb gives the mix space. Use more reverb to pull a sound further back in the the mix, and less to position it closer.

Double track parts instead of slapping a stereo effect or modulation on it.

Avoid too much distortion, especially distortion plugins. Use it sparingly on only one or two carefully selected tracks, like a snare or a vocal, and even then, mix it subtly as an aux effect. Adding "tube warmth" to everything may be immediately gratifying, but it does not wear well.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRist

Topic Starter

39 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:18 pm

Eauson wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:45 pm
you just have to embrace the chaos :D
Do you have any examples of finished chaos? Would love to see how you put 16 together and then moved on from there.

I have so many 16 bar, 30 second, 1/47th done songs I wouldn't be able to get them into a used car commercial.

KVRist

Topic Starter

39 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:24 pm

jamcat wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:15 pm
Every mix decision should be in service of the song.
The less you have to do, the better.
Fantastic stuff that has taken way too long to sink in.

Would love your thoughts on pre-mixing.

I'm finally understanding how important gain staging is. I recently got Izotope's advanced suite with Neutron, Nectar, and Ozone (No RX unfortunately!) and the thing I focus on the MOST now is getting levels right before even touching the tracks with their visual mixer and inter-communication. If I get those right or even somewhere in the ballpark, applying any kind of processing has become more of a style choice.

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Boss Lovin' DR
7852 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:25 pm

Write very quickly and get it all down while you're on a roll rather than arseing about with the sound. You can sort all that gubbins later and arrange and mix at leisure.

Always take a step back at points and see what you can cut (similar to Jamcat's post above), both in instrumentation and also in the arrangement to create dynamics.

The old tricks are still great e.g. Transpose things like strings/piano up an octave to lift a section, add 16th tambourines/shakers to a part to create urgency.

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KVRAF
32619 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from another dimension

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:28 pm

Start with the word ''man-tras''. It's probably not ''woke'' enough for 2021.
Hi-de-Hi!

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addled muppet weed
77694 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:30 pm

Williamvhorn wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:18 pm
Eauson wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:45 pm
you just have to embrace the chaos :D
Do you have any examples of finished chaos?
i can help there.
here i present a drum loop, then what happened when i granularised it to the edge of sanity.
not suggesting this would be a "finished piece" but, it would possibly provide lots of variations on the initial loop if sampled, then you could add to it and so on.
the lesson here is "just do it!" no one gets hurt, so try anything you imagine! :party:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=561670

KVRist

Topic Starter

39 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:36 pm

You reverse-Benjamin Button'd the hell out of that loop. I feel like I watched it grow up then grow old.

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addled muppet weed
77694 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:51 pm

Williamvhorn wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:36 pm
You reverse-Benjamin Button'd the hell out of that loop. I feel like I watched it grow up then grow old.
:lol: :tu: i like that, nice description!

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