Music Production Questions and Answers
The idea behind this post is to share my music production experiences with you. As they say, knowledge is power, and although I haven't got all the answers, if we share our tips, we can help each other. So here's my tips shared with you. Some are ideas I've discovered and others I've picked up along the way from others. I hope this helps you with your music production. Disclaimer - I don't work for or make any money out of any of the products I talk about. It's just my experiences shared.
Please leave a comment below if you found this helpful...
OK, let's launch straight in...
1) What's your Digital Audio workstation (DAW) of choice?
Over the years I've used quite a few different DAWs. I used to use Cakewalk SONAR on Windows and then when I moved to a MAC for Music Production I started using Garage Band which was really great. Quite a powerful workstation with loads of loops to play with and drum beats. Now my DAW of choice is Logic Pro X. It is very powerful and you can edit whilst playing back tracks, kind of live editing. It really helps with workflow.
Here a really good Masterclass tutorial on how to use Logic Pro X:
2) Which Audio Interface are you using?
I'm currently using a Focusrite Pro 26, connected to my MAC via Thunderbolt. It does the job and sounds good, not the most expensive. I also really like the Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo MKII Thunderbolt. I'm not using one at the moment but check out the reviews, a really nice audio interface.
3) Which plugins do you use in Logic Pro X?
Logic Pro X comes with loads of great plugins from EQs to compressors, a full range. It's worth learning about all these. More recently I've invested in a range of Waves plugins. What I like about Waves is that as well as sounding good, their website contains video tutorials on how to use them, in conventional and unconventional ways, by other producers. Dive over and check it out https://www.waves.com Plugins are usually on discount, you can buy packs of them and each plugin is reviewed by users, so interesting reading. I bought the Platinum pack and then added extras.
Some of my favourite plugins are the L1, L2 and L3. The L1 comes in two forms, one for tracks (L1 Limiter) and one for the master buss (L1 Ultramaximiser), beautiful. If your tracks are starting to break up when you push them with the L1, Try the L2. You may find you get more headroom with the ARC function. Good for low end.
L3LL MultiMaximizer - Sweet multi-band processing
L3-16 Multimaximizer - Great on final two track master - Lots of power. Good mix of template flavours to start with. Check out this YouTube video for info on using this: Mastering with the Waves L3-16 Multimaximizer Plugin
R-Comp on vocals - Great on all vocals Use Auto matic release ARC or manual. Change ration 50:1 or use as an expander .5:1 Release can be Opto or electro - Opto. Also, smooth and warm - Use short attack to put sound backwards in the mix
Some if the plugins I use... SSL G-Master Buss Compressor which sounds great on all tracks and master track, CLA-2A Compressor / Limiter, CLA Vocals, Waves Tune Real-Time, REDD, Kramer Master Tape, Brauer Motion, Vitamin Sonic Enhancer, L2 Ultramaximizer, L3 Multimaximizer, L3 Ultramaximizer, Linear Phase EQ, H-Delay, OneKnob Series...
Here's a website to checkout Splice Top Audio Effects
Non-waves plugins I'm using include LFO Tool by Xfer Records, Valhalla Room by Valhalla DSP, The Glue by Cytomic, Pro-q 2 by fabfilter.
4) What about Digital Distribution?
I've used TuneCore and Ditto Music to get music up onto Itunes, Spotify, Amazon etc. I like a newer one, https://distrokid.com - Check them out. For a fee you can sign up as a label and distribute up to five artists and band names from the one account. Distribution is to iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Deezer and 150+ other stores & streaming services. You get to keep 100% of the royalties. The other smart thing about Distrokid is that you can upload 'cover' songs legally that your bands might want to record and Distrokid will handle all the royalties paid to the song copyright owners. Check them out for full details. If you are looking around, check out reviews on Google, try typing in top digital distribution companies. Here's one to take a look at: https://aristake.com
5) Do you use any guitar pedals?
I use the Boss GT100 - It's awesome! I've also built a pedal board out of lots of different pedals, some Boss.
I'm using ambient guitar as part of my signature sound for worship and crossover songs.
Here is a really good example by Guy Capuano of what the GT100 can do in terms of ambient tones:
Here is the tutorial that comes with the video and a download to the ambient guitar patch for the Boss GT100 >>>
You'll need to use the Librarian that comes with the Boss Tone Studio for GT to get it into your GT100. Also, make sure your GT100 is running the latest version firmware, you can download it from the Boss website. Once you've got the patch, you can edit it to your sound. Thanks Guy for this.
6) What monitor speakers are you using?
I use Rokit 5 speakers for close monitoring. They are really good. Rokit do a bigger version but this is good for me.
For live work I use a Bose L1 with Tonematch T1 mixer. A really great sound and the mixer can emulate different sounds, eg) make my Takamine acoustic guitar sound like a Martin or a Taylor if I want it to.
More to come...