What am i doing wrong?! :(

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by SPIT, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. SPIT

    SPIT Guest

    You all know too well that when producing we hit spots where we feel were going nowhere and you begin to want to eat out the back of your head in impatience and anxiety and anger.

    With my music, my creativity doesn’t stop, its not as though im out of ideas, its as a result of frustration over why I cant get things sounding…well….good.

    Say I work on a track. Ive some pads, a bassline, some drums and a piano or vocal. Now heres the question. My tracks sound dull. They sound cluttered and/or empty at the same time. It hurts to listen to them (I think), and they’re just way off anywhere near SEMI-professional standards. The sounds I use are lifeless, and I just cant get things sounding right. Does effects, mastering and equalizing etc play such a BIG part in producing???

    I’ve had no formal teaching in anyway with production, ive taught myself over the last two years and im getting to my wits end. Can anyone provide any insight into what im doing wrong?

    I don’t use many effects, just usually a spot of reverb here and there, and maybe a bit of compression to tidy things up. I work MIDI-based at the moment, so I get my sounds either from samples and/or VSTs. I use nuendo and reason.

    I know im asking something that could be answered a million ways, but if anyone can offer any ideas id be really grateful (maybe you could be so good to explain what you do when working on tracks, step by step!). If you would like to help that much, you could contact me on msn and id send some stuff over for you to tell me where im going wrong :D.

  2. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Sure SPIT (great handle), email me what you've got and I'll give you my "humble" opinion.
    Maybe a fresh set of ears could help.

    I know the struggle your talking about. I get it every 3 years or so. I usually take a few weeks off and not listen to much music at all. When I'm ready to get back to it, I'll go to the library and pick up a stack of CD's that are completely different than the style I've listened to lately.

    Hope this helps a bit,
  3. tony desilva

    tony desilva Guest

    Hey SPIT,

    Been in that rut, climbed out, fall back in every once in a while...
    Here's what I found (my humble opinion):

    I think this is a common problem for those of us who use keyboards (synths, samplers, virtual instruments, etc.). Keyboard manufacturers strive to make each sound (program) awesome. This is what makes their keyboards sell. So they start by making the sound stereo, add stereo reverb/chorus to it, etc., until it's huge and impressive.

    So as a producer, I'd grab a bunch of stereo programs from 6 different sources, put them all together and it would end up sounding like clam chowder.

    Like Chris, I then started listening to some Sheffield Labs recordings and realized that almost every instrument was mono including the reverb that went with it. Every instrument had its own panoramic position. There would be just one stereo pad or instrument and the lead instrument usually had a stereo reverb.

    I re-recorded my keyboards using the output labeled 'mono'. Individually, the sounds didn't sound as good but my mixes took a turn for the better.

    I also found that if I record a stereo track from a keyboard and zoom in on the waveform, there is a visible time shift between the two tracks. Time alignment between two tracks of a mono source do weird things to the listner. I think that our ears can only take so much stereo and time shifts and they then give up (kind of like listening to someone nag constantly - turns into "blah, blah, blah..."!).

    Any other ideas anyone?
  4. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I would suggest working on getting a decent sound without any effects, eqs, compressors, or reverb at all. That's going to leave you with your room sound first off, mic sound 2nd, pre third, AD converters and sound card next and finally the type of software program or tape recorder and monitors you're using. Telling people to get their room together is like beating a dead horse. It's so important but very few people listen to that advice. Pretend that your recording gear is broken and limit yourself to adjusting volume levels only. You will learn quite a lot that way. You'll have to eq using only mics and positioning. Your reverb's going to have to be only the sound of your room, etc.

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