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tranceaddict Forums > DJing / Production / Promotion > Production Studio > Advice for improving?
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Lobst
tranceaddict in training



Registered: Jul 2012
Location: Sweden
Advice for improving?

I've been making trance for a little over two and a half years now and even though I can safely say that I'm way better than I was back then in terms of sound quality and knowledge, I feel like my creative thinking is way worse than it was back then. For over 1.5 years, ALMOST every day during this time, I've been trying to finish something. I've gotten about 75% through in certain cases but I often just get about 30-40% into the track and then realize it really sounds like crap. I then spend a few days trying to make changes which sometimes are for the better, but even when I manage to create something that feels like "WOW!" it'll take about 2-3 days before I start changing it again because I don't like it.

On some tracks I have about 50-60 different 30s-3min versions and in total about 1000 rendered files. I've told myself not to make anything more and given up literally over 50 times but it only takes listening to a good tune to make me forget all about that and pull me back in.

Anyway, I'm not really sure where my problem lies. I used to be able to make a full track in only a day or two but now I usually don't get anywhere. I still feel totally lost the second I open a new project because I still don't have a clue how good percussion loops are made. So when it comes to some things, I feel like I haven't improved at all and the only reason it sounds better than before is because my ear has improved.

I should probably also mentioned that I never during this time have managed to create a full 32 bar chord progression period, and not a single 16 bar chord progression that I'm satisfied with. I'm not sure why but I think it has to do with going about it the same way over and over again, but I'm not sure exactly what to do about that.

Oh, and I don't begin by creating 8 bar loops. I usually create the structure first, but in the end, I always end up stuck there anyway...

I'm not sure exactly what kind of advice I'm looking for. I'm hoping that maybe someone has been in the same situation as me and knows what to do about it.

Thanks!

Old Post Jul-16-2012 00:35  Sweden
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cryophonik
Lunik Fanatik



Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Elk Grove, CA USA

Two+ years is a long time to go without finishing a track. Sounds like you have the all-too-common fear of failing. You probably just need to step back for a moment and realize that you're not AvB and you're not going to have pro releases any time soon. So pick a track, finish the damn thing, post it for people to hear, get critiqued, applauded, embarrassed, or whatever, and move on to the next one. Don't worry about how it compares to commercial tracks because, after you've finished 15-20 tracks, you'll look back at your first one and realize that you weren't even close. Anybody can start something, but, if you can't finish it, then nobody cares.


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Old Post Jul-16-2012 01:10  United States
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Constantin
tranceaddict



Registered: Jun 2011
Location: Iasi, Romania

Some times we don't see the trees cause of the forest. Get a brake from all the production stuff, if after you still have the same problem try out with some booze, should help you out with the inhibition. And try to focus on one project rather starting new projects every week. As for the 32 bar chord progressions, try watch/read some music theory, shall help you lay down your ideas/feelings way easier.

Cheers!


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Old Post Jul-16-2012 01:52  Romania
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J.L.
Never gonna give you up.



Registered: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada

Here's my advice. (or at least what works for me)

Start a project and stick with it.

Most of my tracks take an estimate of about 60 hours to finish (yes, that long). However, as I keep working on it, I end up removing many ideas and taking many listens in different environment and honing all the different sounds. I've been extremely pleased with everything I've created as a result and it has been in general high quality.

The real trick you have to learn is how to remove or change ideas that don't work in your project, whether it is a sound, arrangement, effect, etc..

Old Post Jul-16-2012 02:37 
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Beatflux
Rising Star in training



Registered: Mar 2006
Location: Planet Alf
Re: Advice for improving?

quote:
Originally posted by Lobst
I've been making trance for a little over two and a half years now and even though I can safely say that I'm way better than I was back then in terms of sound quality and knowledge, I feel like my creative thinking is way worse than it was back then. For over 1.5 years, ALMOST every day during this time, I've been trying to finish something. I've gotten about 75% through in certain cases but I often just get about 30-40% into the track and then realize it really sounds like crap. I then spend a few days trying to make changes which sometimes are for the better, but even when I manage to create something that feels like "WOW!" it'll take about 2-3 days before I start changing it again because I don't like it.

On some tracks I have about 50-60 different 30s-3min versions and in total about 1000 rendered files. I've told myself not to make anything more and given up literally over 50 times but it only takes listening to a good tune to make me forget all about that and pull me back in.

Anyway, I'm not really sure where my problem lies. I used to be able to make a full track in only a day or two but now I usually don't get anywhere. I still feel totally lost the second I open a new project because I still don't have a clue how good percussion loops are made. So when it comes to some things, I feel like I haven't improved at all and the only reason it sounds better than before is because my ear has improved.

I should probably also mentioned that I never during this time have managed to create a full 32 bar chord progression period, and not a single 16 bar chord progression that I'm satisfied with. I'm not sure why but I think it has to do with going about it the same way over and over again, but I'm not sure exactly what to do about that.

Oh, and I don't begin by creating 8 bar loops. I usually create the structure first, but in the end, I always end up stuck there anyway...

I'm not sure exactly what kind of advice I'm looking for. I'm hoping that maybe someone has been in the same situation as me and knows what to do about it.

Thanks!


You're trying to finish a song that is beyond your skill level.

In order to get there you have to separate out song time with study time.

If you try and improve yourself while trying to be creative, you will run into the roadblock that you stumbled upon.

While you're making your song, only do the best job you can and do not expect yourself to do any better. If you can only make a noob track, then make a noob track.


But, have time to study and practice the aspects of production as well. So put side a time where you only work on your chord progressions, or you try and put together a good sounding percussion loop. Then study other producers you like. Read books and watch tutorials. Learn new tools, create new patches.

Basically, separate song time and study/practice time. During song time, do the best job you can. Study/practice time is where you will improve yourself, do not do this during song time. The mark you are going for during song time is your best, not a pro level. If you are striving for pro level when you aren't a pro, you'll never finish anything because you have quality control sirens going off 24/7.

IMPROVEMENT TIME /= CREATIVE TIME


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quote:
Originally posted by dj_alfi
change your avatar for fucks sake.

Last edited by Beatflux on Jul-16-2012 at 05:03

Old Post Jul-16-2012 04:57  Trinidad and Tobago
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Juan Paulino
Come Away O Human Child



Registered: Mar 2012
Location: Rouge City

Good post beatflux


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Old Post Jul-16-2012 05:07  United States
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chris marsh
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Feb 2012
Location: london

I can relate to what your saying as im a bit of a "serial track starter" myself and have been producing a similar amount of time

it can be very frustrating. Adding to whats already been said, i would say some things that as of recently i think are important (IMO of course)

1)Referencing. Especially if your a novice, like we are, i think this is very important. you can have a reference track in your arrangement page and constantly be comparing in terms of arrangement and mix down. One way of producing that at least 3 of the pro/semi pro producers ive spoken too is mixing as you go along ie get the sounds sitting in the right frequency, in a similar ball park right from the start.

Have an analyzer on your master bus (waveform. stereo and frequency) and constantly refer to them, how does everything you do effect the sound. how does it compare to the reference track, etc etc.

2) Get your monitoring setup right. Its so tempting to lust after new synths or even new monitors when the room is often a massive problem. there's loads of stuff on gearslutz but rock wool bass traps seems to be the way to go. It might be a bit controversial but i think room correction software like Ik ARK can work well (well it did in my room which is too small even after moderate treatment)

3) Read everything you can. I enjoyed the dance music manual, mixing audio etc. Buy a music tech magazine. Find out if any local producers will offer tutorials or lessons for a fee.

4) Take control, learn how to synthesize sounds, kicks, program percussion etc so you can have more control over the sounds you use, imitate sounds from sample cds and other tracks using a frq analyzer to help

but as its been said already you do need to finish stuff otherwise you never know where your at


Good luck


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http://soundcloud.com/chris-m-2

Last edited by chris marsh on Jul-16-2012 at 06:56

Old Post Jul-16-2012 06:47  United Kingdom
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cryophonik
Lunik Fanatik



Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Elk Grove, CA USA

One other point that I'll add is, when using reference tracks, be careful not to take it so far as to create a duplicate of that track. Having frames of reference, and even influences, is fine, but too often people let it take over their creativity and end up just being a copycat. Same thing goes for how some people deal with criticism and comments on their WIPs. Remember, just because someone else tells you that you should change something in your track, doesn't mean that you have to. Go take a look at the music feedback forum and see how many people simply agree with every comment that gets thrown at them and obediently go about making the changes.

I'm not saying that other people's opinions, or referencing commercial tracks aren't important considerations, but always remember that it's YOUR track, and you get to make the decisions. If you start following everybody's comments or trying too hard to sound like your reference tracks, sooner or later your own unique sound goes out the window. So, basically, I'm just saying that you should know when to say to yourself, I like this just the way it is, regardless of the comments or whether or not it sounds like your reference tracks.


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Old Post Jul-16-2012 07:17  United States
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chris marsh
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Feb 2012
Location: london

Nice points Cryophonik


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Old Post Jul-16-2012 07:22  United Kingdom
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cryophonik
Lunik Fanatik



Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Elk Grove, CA USA

quote:
Originally posted by chris marsh
Nice points Cryophonik


You too.


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Sonar X3 | Pro Tools 11 | Logic Pro X | Access Virus TI2 Keyboard | Kurzweil PC3X | DSI Mopho X4 | NI Maschine

Old Post Jul-16-2012 07:32  United States
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TranceElevation
Supreme tranceaddict



Registered: Oct 2010
Location:

Make an inspection of all the tracks you started and delete those not worth it (if you have the critical view to recognize them and make decisions you're at a good point of your learning process).

Once you cleaned up, you'll have a clearer image of the picture. This will let you decide with calm where to orientate your work and how to develope a better approach for your further projects.

If there is something that's often underrated by producers that's definitely order. A correct organization at the very origin of the project will prevent you from future incumbency, which I suppose you already suffered from.

Have the right set of tools, organize them, plan the road...and your route will flow much more smoothly.

Old Post Jul-16-2012 11:35  Yemen
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LoveHate
...........



Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver

smoke more weed.

Old Post Jul-16-2012 11:55  Canada
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