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Tutorials on how to hear what is needed in a song?


Does any one know of any websites which offer projects to download then give step by step tutorials with the projects to show you how the basics work and teach you how to hear what is needed in a song?

Or if not a website a CD kinda thing that can be bought in a shop or online, some kind of interactive one, books are okay but i prefer some interaction.

Or people who help teach this kinda stuff to newbies for free online (hah probably pushing my luck on this one)

Hope you can help.


Profile picture for user pmolsonmus
Member for
17 years 11 months

pmolsonmus Tue, 09/08/2009 - 18:59

Here's a quick google search.
Link removed

there are some great videos on Youtube and most software companies include tutorials w/ purchase or available on their websites.

What are you using and what specifically do you want to record?

To "hear" what is needed in any particular song or genre of music is incredibly subjective and requires the thousands of hours that many willingly put in to this profession. It's really about trial and error and learning what others do and then making it work for your situation, equipment, room and desired outcome.

Help us help you (and others) by being as specific as possible.

The search function on forums is also an invaluable tool. I wish I had it when I started recording. Information is everywhere.

Profile picture for user sirchick
Member for
13 years 9 months

sirchick Tue, 09/08/2009 - 19:07


Well im using Nuendo 3.2 seems to include most DAW features any one would need... i have bought Waves Mercury for my VSTi/VST plugins....

My recording is only guitar as thats all I can play but currently i download backing tracks and record guitar over it... but im not really learning to mix a song by doing this, to mix one track on already mixed background is a bit simple and sure theres always tweaks people suggest but im not learning how to make drums and bass and rythm all fit together.

Like when i have guitar too exposed i lower volume but it can still sound too exposed so i try compression to make it fit in with the crowd as it were, but thats were i cock it right up im hopeless with it i don't get what half the options do some times i can't even hear change the audio's sound to know what it just did to the track.

I ain't learn how to use vocals in a song as i don't know any singers... thats why projects with a song that has just been recorded but no tracks actually EQ / Compressed / etc etc to the project is what im hopeing a site might have so i can download the project and mix the song myself.

Member for
11 years 5 months

mrhotmark Wed, 02/03/2010 - 16:14

could always try the tracks at Marks Backing Tracks to get you going.

Member for
15 years 7 months

IIRs Thu, 02/04/2010 - 00:22

sirchick, post: 290174 wrote: so i try compression to make it fit in with the crowd as it were, but thats were i **** it right up im hopeless with it i don't get what half the options do.

Maybe this will help:

Profile picture for user paulears
Member for
7 years 4 months

paulears Tue, 05/04/2021 - 02:09

You're not alone - I spent years trying to hear what a compressor does, but I was expecting some kind of pre-conceived 'thing' to happen. Once I realised I was listening for the wrong thing - it suddenly clicked. I can't explain it in words.

One thing to be very aware of is that Youtube videos often say totally the opposite things, and many presenters have no clue how their words get mangled in people's brains. Many people with a blank brain are looking for 'rules', and there really are very few rules that are so rigid we don't break them when we know best. Experimentation is by far the best way. 

Nuendo is a fine platform but damn expensive for a newcomer? It assumes you know lots. Cubase, which shares the same layouts and engines is a little simpler, and comes in cut down versions more suited to learn on, so you've kind of pitched yourself into a higher status playing field - which means it's just a bit less friendly.

Youtube can give you lots of vocals to play with - search for isolated vocals. Some very famous people are available. However - some extracted vocals were extracted by people who don't really know what they are doing and are not clean and full of nasty artefcats - don't waste time with these.

When I want to learn something new, I often rebuild well known songs. That way I have an aim - the original, so I'll use them to experiment and learn. You've not said if you are a musician AND sound technologist, or just like recording but can't sing or play yourself? It's important to experiment on your own stuff - even if you have a naff voice - record it and learn how far you can improve it with the editing tools you have - which are really good! I did a version of George Michael's Careless Whisper - then came across his isolated vocal - so I tried stretching and squashing it to make it fit. In some places, making it fit altered it too much so it was obvious, so I accepted some timing issues - but you learn quite a bit. I can't play the trumpet, but the trumpet part in this song was not that hard. To make it harder I also video'd the process and for fun edited those in too.

Youtube of course don't like these things, so in the linked video - skip to half way through because that's when the real George Michael arrives in the identical track.  Your software can do this stuff the same as mine - so have a go.