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Thread: New to Production - Help!

  1. #1
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    New to Production - Help!

    I would like to learn how to make techno music, after the last 4 weeks I have made no progress what so ever! Understand this will take years but I really have no idea how to get started. Everything I've done so far just sounds so bland. Even the simplest of beats. The genre im into is like a track called - Psyk Arcade. Just using this as an example how on earth is the basic beat and rhythm in the first phrase so groovy and dynamic? Where do I start and what should I be focusing on at the beginning of my production adventure? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    The Bloodhound Manu's Avatar
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    What software / equipment do you have at this point. 4 weeks is nothing if you just got started into production. You can't learn music theory, synthesis, beat gridding, sampling, dynamics, sound engineering

    Psyk Arcade. Just using this as an example how on earth is the basic beat and rhythm in the first phrase so groovy and dynamic?
    It's recorded on vinyl, the final master is a completely different ball game to what you would do under a digital format.

    what should I be focusing on
    You need to learn all of what I mentioned above, and then some...

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    Hey Dude thanks for the reply! Ye understand everything that is worth it in the end doesn't come easy! Just feel at A total loss what to focus primarily on first.

    Just using fruity loops 20 on my laptop.

    Started changing the velocity of each kick within a bar which seems to add a bit of life. That's where I'm at haha. If you were in my shoes where would you focus on. I've also messed around with some filter, compression plug ins. Thanks mate

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    Music theory wise I'm a dj so understand track structure, bars, phrases, all the stuff that ties in with djing. So as my first step to focus on should I read up on the second topic you mentioned - Synthesis?

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    Technoez Rek_Aviles's Avatar
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    It's true, 4 weeks is just a drop in the bucket compared to the time it will take for you to create something decent. Although, if you're putting in 18hrs a day for about a yr, you could sound pretty decent in that short amount of time, but not everyone has that amount of freedom. I know I don't - been at it for about 8 yrs and still trying to figure things out.

    I would start working with mostly loops only, instead of trying to create all elements from scratch. Look for remix competitions as they provide all the stems/tracks/loops/samples for you to make a full track. Listen to the original and try to change the arrangement or replace with your own drums. that is great practice when starting.

    another big part is picking out the right DAW, one that best fits your work flow and, more importantly, easy to wrap your head around.

    Lastly, YouTube will be your home for the next few yrs. I wish I had the amount of resource available these days back when I started. It's amazing the number of channels out there putting out videos with tips, tricks and free kits.


    Have fun with it all and try not to get too overwhelmed. Know that you're a beginner and don't expect to be amazing at it in just a few weeks

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    Technoez Rek_Aviles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambon View Post
    The genre im into is like a track called - Psyk Arcade. Just using this as an example how on earth is the basic beat and rhythm in the first phrase so groovy and dynamic?

    Are you familiar with side-chaining? This is one of the most over-used techniques but there's a reason, it helps set up that groove you're referring to (that and the groove and/or swing adjustments in the clip settings).

    Also you'll be surprised how many layers it takes to make a proper drum rack.

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    Hey Rek, thanks for the reply. I don't have 18 hours a day lol but will put the time in like when I was learning to beatmatch and dj.

    OK so I should import a track into Fruity Loops, see its arrangement and give me a rough idea of what I should be striving for? Can I import a track I've purchased on beat port into fruity loops?

    I've heard of side chaining through my searches online lol. What exactly is it? I have searched YouTube but like you said the whole thing is quite overwhelming. Could you recommend any good tutorials or links?

    I'll look into looping now. It's not just a case of painting a pattern is it?
    Thanks dude appreciate your reply.

  8. #8
    Technoez Rek_Aviles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambon View Post
    OK so I should import a track into Fruity Loops, see its arrangement and give me a rough idea of what I should be striving for? Can I import a track I've purchased on beat port into fruity loops?

    I've heard of side chaining through my searches online lol. What exactly is it? I have searched YouTube but like you said the whole thing is quite overwhelming. Could you recommend any good tutorials or links?

    I'll look into looping now. It's not just a case of painting a pattern is it?
    Thanks dude appreciate your reply.
    Im not familiar with FL but yes, you would import any track that fits the sound you're going for and use as a reference. Just mute the channel and only unmute to listen for what you need to do next in the arrangement. It also helps to know the loudness of certain elements or the overall track. But before you get caught up on how loud a professionally mastered track sounds compared to what you will do, you need to first reduce the volume to 0db. Honestly I would stay away from that for not and just use to learn arrangement - that may come easy for DJs but it's good to have a reference.

    Another thing to keep in mind, but not get too caught up on it for now, is the key of each element - even the kick sample. It's amazing what a properly tuned kick can sound like with the rest of the track once done. If you're using loops, don't worry about that for now.


    As for side-chaining, there are tons of youtubers that can explain it better then I ever could, but just know that its a compressor that will compress/squish the audio of a clip for a certain amount of time for each signal it received. If you link it to another source, normally the kick channel, it will activate the compression every time the kick hits, giving you that pumping effect. Not all elements needs this added; you would put it on the lead synths, bass channels and some drum elements.

    A way to avoid over-using side chain would be to automate the clip volume. Removing the volume within the clip at certain places can give you that same ducking/pumping effect, to an extent.


    I'll try to find a video that covers most of this stuff (or if anyone else knows of one, post up). May be easier to see it done and you don't always need to watch a video with someone using the same DAW as you. Sometimes you just need to know the see what is being done and you can figure how to achieve the same on your own setup with similar plugins.
    Last edited by Rek_Aviles; 09-24-2019 at 02:03 PM. Reason: auto-corrected issues

  9. #9
    People starting out producing back in the day were lucky to store a byte so in that sense you're light years ahead.

    The reason why it is "easy" and why people did and still do "straightforward" techno is because of very limited access to gear and samples; I'd figure buying an entry-level synthesizer in the 90's you would choose between a few options because the rest was unobtainium so the end result is the sum of those parts.

    I realized this after I started collecting instruments and synthesizers because computers need to be upgraded every once in a while (I got my first production PC in 2007, it broke this year), and playing "live" on a hardware setup the music turned out very "minimal" compared to stuff I was doing in the box so I began to pay attention to different things than usually; the problem now is how to deal with them using hardware.

    I tried replicating what I did in the studio on a computer in a live setting, where I was no longer able to layer synths for example so it's a compromise of what's essential to the track, whether it's a certain kind of sound, melody or a bassline. People who started on hardware have it a bit easier regarding this matter as they did complete albums with as few as 3-4 different devices, on the other hand with a computer-based setup you can export MIDI clips to use with VSTs and hardware.

    So I think it's a good idea to dive into live performing from early on as it develops the very basic audio engineering skills as well as musicianship if you're short on time; there's no "easy route" but I personally found it quite helpful and more fun as I too started with DJing and often found myself just micromanaging the DAW (but the good thing with tabletop PCs is that they force you to sit down whereas with a laptop you're easily distracted)

    Unfortunately I did the exact opposite but in my defense I too had somewhat limited access to live gear because it was and still is quite expensive (not to mention I had no such gigs either), it was just something I began doing to spice up my sets at home but with just about anything I had access to, this was in 2008 when controllers and DVS' were somewhat rare in DJ circles.

    There were no Traktor Remix decks and a Macbook running a copy of Ableton Live with a decent interface/controller cost a fortune, I did upgrade at around 2010 to an APC40 which I used for production as well but it's always a risk lugging vital parts of your studio around to gigs. The hardware guys with 3-4 devices were probably dealing with similar dilemmas; they could do a lot in the studio if they had the time and patience but taking gear on the road means they could be subject to all kinds of wear and tear so they may have taken only 2-3 instead and left the stuff that made their music "stand out" in the studio until they were confident enough to use them on stage.

    But 4 weeks isn't much to be honest. In DJing it took me about a year to publish my first mixtape, and another to share my first track around 2007-2008 and I'm still practicing almost on a daily basis, although there were times I didn't, either because I couldn't be bothered or I was playing gigs.

    Another option is to look into soft synths for more sounds and MIDI controllers to speed up your workflow but I suggest having at least one hardware synthesizer and a tabletop because you will most likely run out of CPU at some point, although newer laptops are very capable compared to what they used to be; on a side note I wrote my first physical CD release in 2013 on a 2008 Macbook, I just cleaned out some parts in post on a PC. Piano lessons may come in handy too, or something that deals with music theory.

  10. #10
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    Awesome stuff thanks all. This has given me a good idea on where to get started and how to get the ball rolling. I'll focus primarily on understanding side chaining for now then and I'll import a track into FL for reference on arrangement and organisation! This will keep me busy for a while!!! Legends

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