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Old 07-03-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
spinlock
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Default @ Electronic music producers: Do you suffer from writers' block? I have a cure!

So after 3 miserable, unproductive years, I've finally figured out what my biggest problem was: I had too many plug-ins!!

I purchased Reaper earlier this month and decided to try a little experiment:

Use only Reapers' built-in FX plug-ins

I assure you, they are more than sufficient for the typical electronic music producer. Also, the boring GUI's actually train you to hear with your ears.

Cleanse yourself of all cracked plug-ins.

Use only 1 synth

I grabbed TAL Elec7ro as my primary and only synth. It doesn't have a thousand presets, an arpreggiator, fancy routing or any built-in FX.. it's a very basic synth

It's a little hard at first, and you'll get plugin/preset withdrawal, but after you finish a tune or two you'll be amazed at how easy it is to make cool sounds from scratch. I was using massive before and thought I needed all the fancy modulators and filters, but I think all the fancy knobs and routing options where more of a distraction. The sounds I'm getting out of TAL Elec7ro + a few Reaper FX are waaaay bigger than anything I ever made with Massive.

The benefit of using only one synth for everything (atmospherics to pads, to basslines), you gain very intimate knowledge of the synthesizer and learn what each and every knob does.


Do not use any brick-wall limiting / multi-band compression / mastering plugins anywhere within my project

Basically, don't give a damn about making it sound polished and loud during the arrangement / creativity phase. I master it later on in a separate project. DO however, mix-down as you go. make sure you give each track lots of headroom and avoid running the master into the red.




Any electronic music producers suffering from writers' block... TRY THIS EXPERIMENT! You will thank me . My output level has improved dramatically. Over-abundance of Plug-ins == HUGE creativity killer! Simplify your environment.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:18 AM   #2
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I have favs that I use when I do mixes for people, and only play with new / alternate plugins when I have experimenting time. I use new sounds and plugins for inspiration. I add and subtract plugins from my Reaper plugin folders when find a better one. So I use only about 15 plugins plus the odd Reaper and JS plugin. Most of my song ideas come from my experiment sessions as there is no need or stress, just toys.

I couldn't live without The Glue, Strobe, Elephant, Sonalksis EQ2 and BFD2.1.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:33 AM   #3
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this is good advice. i definitely need to get rid of a ton of plugins.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
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I only use Novations V-Station now.
I have used most free synths and own a couple of other synths, but just keep making presets for the V-Station, and its all I use now.
I'm now up to about 5,000 presets for it, and although I have slowed down making presets, I can't stop.
I'm also down to a just few vst effects.
Bootsy's plugins,and Liquidsonics for reverb.

I would definately agree that cuting down on your plugins is a good thing.

But choosing preset is my new problem.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #5
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When you say mixdown as you go, do you mean render the track to a stem, and remove the plugin; so effectively committing everything to audio?

If so; I agree
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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I agree. The more I think about the lyrics, melody and feel of my music, and the less i think about the meaningful words, perfect sound and outstanding performances, the more music I produce. I've learned to pay attention to the bigger picture and not the details.

These are MY conclusions:
- I'm not a drummer, and even sampled loops doesn't sound real. There is no reason to try to emulate a real drummer, because it will never sound like that. My drumtracks is very electronic, but blends in with the acoustic feel I prefer.
- I'm a keyz-person, so most of the trackss with instruments are instruments that sounds like keys: organ, rhodes, clavinet etc.
- I will never be the next Roger Troutman or Stevie Wonder. When I sing, I use the melody as my que. No reason to try do something i can't.
- When the instrument/vocal/backing vocals sounds good, then I (try to) trust myself. Why put in the extra compressor, reverb or all-in-one-plugin if I'm already satisfied.
- Don't over-do things. That cool break, those neat synthetic effects or the subtle extra vocal wth the bandpass-filter at the side may cause (even more) confusion.

Basically I agree with spinlock: stick to the things you know, and don't try to be something you're not.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amberience View Post
When you say mixdown as you go, do you mean render the track to a stem, and remove the plugin; so effectively committing everything to audio?

If so; I agree
I took that to mean set the levels as you go... Vol / pan / EQ and individual sound treatment - everything shy of master buss mastering.

I could have misunderstood the op
good thread.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
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So spinlock, u gonna post some of these 1-synth tracks you made?

TAL synths and FX are awesome IMO, some of my favorites.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:51 AM   #9
spinlock
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Bouncing down my first finished reaper project as we speak! So excited! I'll post it shortly


By mixing as I go, I mean, just keep your levels in check and don't focus on loudness during the creativity stage.
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Old 07-05-2009, 02:51 AM   #10
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It's up on MySpace and Soundcloud. Its called "Make you Love Me"


www.myspace.com/spinlock
www.soundcloud.com/spinlock
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Old 07-05-2009, 02:52 AM   #11
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I set my default track gain amount to -10db. So every track I add in is -10db. I leave everything at this low value, and mix later on.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallisman View Post
I took that to mean set the levels as you go... Vol / pan / EQ and individual sound treatment - everything shy of master buss mastering.
ABM (always be mixing)
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #13
spinlock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amberience View Post
I set my default track gain amount to -10db. So every track I add in is -10db. I leave everything at this low value, and mix later on.
Good idea! yea this is key! The biggest mistake as a noob is to drive everything hot that you want to sound loud. leaving lots of headroom on the master will get you the biggest sound. I tend to try to get my main elements (kick, snare, sub, bass mids) all peaking at around -6db as a general rule of thumb.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinlock View Post
It's up on MySpace and Soundcloud. Its called "Make you Love Me"


www.myspace.com/spinlock
www.soundcloud.com/spinlock
Great stuff!
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:57 PM   #15
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"make you love me" is awesome - what is your solution for drums?
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:40 PM   #16
spinlock
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Thanks!!

Drums are all done in audio. The basic idea:

- Find one big kick (typically you don't want one thats too subby in dnb... just make sure it has power around 80-110hz)

- and one big snare (for most dnb, make sure it thuds around 180 - 200 hz)

- Get a nice pattern of 4-8 bars going

- Collect together about 3 funky breaks with some nice character and lots of ghost hits (ie: the "chiki-chicki" sound between the main snares). funk break beats will give your break that dnb character. Layer them in with your kick snare. Hipass, quantize, and potentially remove extra kicks and snares if they interfere w/ your main ones. Too many layered snares sound like garbage

- Top end: using the rides from Addictive Drums works well for this, but you can do the same thing with samples. don't be afraid to pan stuff around a bit up here.

This is an ultra fast way to get an insta-dnb break!
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:30 AM   #17
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i agree with the kiss concept.
cos i'm pretty dumb. i have to keep it simple..lol.
nice to see people discovering the built in rpr plug ins.
i was pushing that idea for a loooong time, but NOOO ...
placebo effect, some people feel they need expensive
pci dsp cards n all manner of stuff.
cos ya know big shot producer freddy splunge uses
xyz suite of 10k plug ins.
i think some folks just assume cos something is included free
like the rpr plug ins it cant be any good.
try daft stuff with them...even put a vocal thru a guitar amp...lol.
mash it up..whatever floats yer boat.
experimentation is fun.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:07 AM   #18
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Default So far I was cool

I gave myself some time to discover at least something from the big home-recording realm that opened in front of me, so I don't care that I'm not productive. But one thing is true... I should do something with my half a giga of VstPlugs - mostly tons of small ones, packages by blue cat, mda, voxengo, ... 6 flangers aside the JS one...

Not to mention I removed probably another giga before. VSTs itself are really not something that creates my music. ;-)
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