Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

Hey all

You guys have probably seen me posting around Giant Bomb for a few years now - posting about things like having depression, driving a zamboni, as well as posting some music I composed for the Global Game Jam and, more recently, posting a symphonic song I did.

I adore the Giant Bomb community and wanted to give back to you guys by providing an interactive tutorial. I'll lift the curtains and let you guys come behind the scenes of a working musician, giving you my interpretation of what a professional musician does when he/she is working with a piece of music. I'll take you through the entire process - from writing & transcribing what's in your mind to finally having a product that you feel comfortable releasing to the world.

This post is meant for anyone & everyone who is interested in writing & recording music, so I'll try my best to use language that be understood by people of all skill levels. For the purpose of brevity, I will be skipping over some very essential skills such as Music Theory, and basic functionality of DAWs (Digital Audio Workplaces, like Garage Band, Logic, Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools and the like). If you have any basic, specific or technical questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a direct message. I will be more than happy to address any queries you may have.

Let's us begins

The First Few Steps - Composing & Arranging Your Song

Everyone's musical process starts in a different way. Some people like to sit at a piano and plunk out notes until something they like comes out, others like to figure it all out with nothing but a piece of paper & a pencil, where someone else may like composing entirely within a program on their computer (using something like Finale, Guitar Pro, et cetera). Personally, I do all of the above. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to write a piece of music as long as you're happy with what comes out in the end.

For the purpose of this post, I will not be composing/writing an original, but rather doing an arrangement of a song composed by someone else. I have chosen to do the song Setting Sail, Coming Home by Darren Korb (from the Bastion soundtrack).

The way I approach transcription is to start by having an instrument handy (piano, guitar or bass are my personal go tos) and play along with the recording's melody a few times. As I do this I'll jot down what I'm playing into Finale, until the melody is completely transcribed.

Zulf's Melody
Zia's Melody

On either side of this text is an example of what my initial transcription of both melody/vocal parts looks like. (just give them a click & they'll expand)

Once I'm convinced what I have on the page is correct, that's when I start to flush everything out. My next step is to transcribe all of the chords that are happening underneath. I have included all of the transcriptions, including the one with chords & guitar solo, in the download link below.

Here is a link to all the PDFs of the transcription.

Now that we have all of these components, it's time to actually start arranging this tune to make it into something more than just recreating the original.

I have decided to go in a completely different direction with this song and am making it A Capella (done solely with voices, no instruments).

NOTE: Bear in mind that I am going to be doing a fairly elaborate arrangement here. If you're writing an original tune with a band you are already writing/playing with them all the time this whole process may not even be necessary. Since I am only one person and I want a full vocal arrangement, I need something that I can to hand to players that is easy to read/understand so they can perform & record the song with little issue. You may not need to do this in your situation, but it is an extremely valuable skill to have.

I will skip over the detailed process of actually arranging all of this because that would be an entire tutorial in and of itself, but here is the basic thought process that I go through:

I listen to what parts of the original song I want to influence my arrangement, and picture in my head how I want it to sound in the end. Do I want a voice emulating the drums? No. Now, since there is no percussion, how will I compensate for that? Well, I'll need movement in the accompanying voices so it doesn't sound stale. What's my solution? I'll have the accompanying voices emulating the guitar, as well as harmonizing with the melody to provide a flowing and thick feel. But how many voices do I need? Well I want the bass to be doing its own thing to provide a solid foundation for everything else, I want a male doing one melody part and a female doing the other melody part like the original - the middle voices will flush out the rest of the spectrum with a female Alto and Soprano, and then a male Tenor and Baritone since my Bass is doing something completely unrelated. How about an intro? Well, it'd be boring to just start with a bunch of voices doing that guitar intro so let's just be simple and have it start with one voice and then build from there. Remember, simple is better. How about that guitar solo section? I'll completely change the accompaniment there, have everyone doing completely different things that cascade & flow, and then have everyone in rhythmic unison at the end. Okay, this sounds good, let's actually get to it now.

That is just an example of the madness that was going through my head when making the arrangement. The skills necessary for arranging, as well as being able to write specifically for vocalists, is a little idiosyncratic. If anyone is interested I can touch further on that process, but for now I will simply provide the final version of my arrangement.

Below are a few pages from the arrangement just to give you an idea of what I hand to the singers. (Link to the entire PDF here)

Now we are getting somewhere.

The arranging process can sometimes be the step that takes the longest (if you're doing an elaborate arrangement like I did here). It involves a lot of trial and error, a lot of experimentation and a lot of failure. Don't be discouraged though! I have failed innumerable times, but you learn from each and every one of those failures and your arrangements get better and better.

If you're simply writing a song with a band in your garage, maybe you don't even need to write it down like this; but, as previously stated, this is a skill that is invaluable if you want to make a career/make this whole process easier on musicians you're inviting in.

Now that we have an arrangement, we are ready to begin the next step.

I will continue this tutorial in another post in the very near future, providing screenshots of my work process within my DAW of choice, how I go about mixing all of the vocals and what I do to make everything sound professional for a final product. In the end, I will also provide you guys with a recording of the song, complete with 5 vocalists.

Stay tuned, and if you find these posts interesting I would be more than happy to do more!

<>

EDIT:

Part 2 is up and you can check it out here =)

Edit 2:

Updated dead links, welcome OC ReMixers!! Thanks for checking this out

#1 Edited by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

Hey all

You guys have probably seen me posting around Giant Bomb for a few years now - posting about things like having depression, driving a zamboni, as well as posting some music I composed for the Global Game Jam and, more recently, posting a symphonic song I did.

I adore the Giant Bomb community and wanted to give back to you guys by providing an interactive tutorial. I'll lift the curtains and let you guys come behind the scenes of a working musician, giving you my interpretation of what a professional musician does when he/she is working with a piece of music. I'll take you through the entire process - from writing & transcribing what's in your mind to finally having a product that you feel comfortable releasing to the world.

This post is meant for anyone & everyone who is interested in writing & recording music, so I'll try my best to use language that be understood by people of all skill levels. For the purpose of brevity, I will be skipping over some very essential skills such as Music Theory, and basic functionality of DAWs (Digital Audio Workplaces, like Garage Band, Logic, Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools and the like). If you have any basic, specific or technical questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a direct message. I will be more than happy to address any queries you may have.

Let's us begins

The First Few Steps - Composing & Arranging Your Song

Everyone's musical process starts in a different way. Some people like to sit at a piano and plunk out notes until something they like comes out, others like to figure it all out with nothing but a piece of paper & a pencil, where someone else may like composing entirely within a program on their computer (using something like Finale, Guitar Pro, et cetera). Personally, I do all of the above. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to write a piece of music as long as you're happy with what comes out in the end.

For the purpose of this post, I will not be composing/writing an original, but rather doing an arrangement of a song composed by someone else. I have chosen to do the song Setting Sail, Coming Home by Darren Korb (from the Bastion soundtrack).

The way I approach transcription is to start by having an instrument handy (piano, guitar or bass are my personal go tos) and play along with the recording's melody a few times. As I do this I'll jot down what I'm playing into Finale, until the melody is completely transcribed.

Zulf's Melody
Zia's Melody

On either side of this text is an example of what my initial transcription of both melody/vocal parts looks like. (just give them a click & they'll expand)

Once I'm convinced what I have on the page is correct, that's when I start to flush everything out. My next step is to transcribe all of the chords that are happening underneath. I have included all of the transcriptions, including the one with chords & guitar solo, in the download link below.

Here is a link to all the PDFs of the transcription.

Now that we have all of these components, it's time to actually start arranging this tune to make it into something more than just recreating the original.

I have decided to go in a completely different direction with this song and am making it A Capella (done solely with voices, no instruments).

NOTE: Bear in mind that I am going to be doing a fairly elaborate arrangement here. If you're writing an original tune with a band you are already writing/playing with them all the time this whole process may not even be necessary. Since I am only one person and I want a full vocal arrangement, I need something that I can to hand to players that is easy to read/understand so they can perform & record the song with little issue. You may not need to do this in your situation, but it is an extremely valuable skill to have.

I will skip over the detailed process of actually arranging all of this because that would be an entire tutorial in and of itself, but here is the basic thought process that I go through:

I listen to what parts of the original song I want to influence my arrangement, and picture in my head how I want it to sound in the end. Do I want a voice emulating the drums? No. Now, since there is no percussion, how will I compensate for that? Well, I'll need movement in the accompanying voices so it doesn't sound stale. What's my solution? I'll have the accompanying voices emulating the guitar, as well as harmonizing with the melody to provide a flowing and thick feel. But how many voices do I need? Well I want the bass to be doing its own thing to provide a solid foundation for everything else, I want a male doing one melody part and a female doing the other melody part like the original - the middle voices will flush out the rest of the spectrum with a female Alto and Soprano, and then a male Tenor and Baritone since my Bass is doing something completely unrelated. How about an intro? Well, it'd be boring to just start with a bunch of voices doing that guitar intro so let's just be simple and have it start with one voice and then build from there. Remember, simple is better. How about that guitar solo section? I'll completely change the accompaniment there, have everyone doing completely different things that cascade & flow, and then have everyone in rhythmic unison at the end. Okay, this sounds good, let's actually get to it now.

That is just an example of the madness that was going through my head when making the arrangement. The skills necessary for arranging, as well as being able to write specifically for vocalists, is a little idiosyncratic. If anyone is interested I can touch further on that process, but for now I will simply provide the final version of my arrangement.

Below are a few pages from the arrangement just to give you an idea of what I hand to the singers. (Link to the entire PDF here)

Now we are getting somewhere.

The arranging process can sometimes be the step that takes the longest (if you're doing an elaborate arrangement like I did here). It involves a lot of trial and error, a lot of experimentation and a lot of failure. Don't be discouraged though! I have failed innumerable times, but you learn from each and every one of those failures and your arrangements get better and better.

If you're simply writing a song with a band in your garage, maybe you don't even need to write it down like this; but, as previously stated, this is a skill that is invaluable if you want to make a career/make this whole process easier on musicians you're inviting in.

Now that we have an arrangement, we are ready to begin the next step.

I will continue this tutorial in another post in the very near future, providing screenshots of my work process within my DAW of choice, how I go about mixing all of the vocals and what I do to make everything sound professional for a final product. In the end, I will also provide you guys with a recording of the song, complete with 5 vocalists.

Stay tuned, and if you find these posts interesting I would be more than happy to do more!

<>

EDIT:

Part 2 is up and you can check it out here =)

#2 Posted by Brunchies (2484 posts) -

I look forward to reading more about this subject, I'm currently learning piano but I kind of am in a slump. It's mainly practice and just how frustrating it gets to the point where I just end up ignoring it. I however am in chorus so I can read sheet music just fine and can get the different terms and dynamics that come with music. I've just started working more with garageband and an old version of logic pro and I'm really enjoying it, I have some questions though.

What equipment do you need to get the most out of these music programs.

What music program is your favorite, it can be paid or free.

When did you start learning about music specifically like music theory and the like.

What software or plugins come with something like a mixer or a korg pad.

How can I get out of this slump in an easy way, and also good job on the blog post.

#3 Edited by Aegon (5661 posts) -

I haven't read this yet, but this is a great idea. I was recently looking for material/books online that could teach you this stuff.

#4 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Brunchies said:

I look forward to reading more about this subject, I'm currently learning piano but I kind of am in a slump. It's mainly practice and just how frustrating it gets to the point where I just end up ignoring it. I however am in chorus so I can read sheet music just fine and can get the different terms and dynamics that come with music. I've just started working more with garageband and an old version of logic pro and I'm really enjoying it, I have some questions though.

What equipment do you need to get the most out of these music programs.

What music program is your favorite, it can be paid or free.

When did you start learning about music specifically like music theory and the like.

What software or plugins come with something like a mixer or a korg pad.

How can I get out of this slump in an easy way, and also good job on the blog post.

Thanks for the reply =) Glad to hear you're interested in getting further into this stuff haha. To answer your questions:

In terms of equipment, it is completely dependent on how deep you want to get into it. I would say the very basics that you would want if you'd want would include a USB/Firewire Interface (used to input mic/instrument signals directly, link to a basic one here), a MIDI keyboard (excellent for inputting MIDI data quickly if you don't just want to click it all in or export it from programs like Finale) and a simple microphone.

For programs - in terms of transcription/notation, Finale is my favorite; but a lot of people enjoy Sibelius as well. In terms of DAWs, I personally use Logic a lot but am in the process of moving over to Ableton Live. I learned how to use DAWs with Reaper, though - excellent & versatile free DAW for Windows.

I started playing music when I was about 4 or 5, and started getting way deeper into the theory side of things in late high school (let's say 2007). I am currently studying music in college (Electronic Production & Design, essentially audio engineering mixed with programming)

Software bundles vary by manufacturer, sadly I don't know what comes with Korg stuff these days. I know Zoom used to come with basic versions of Cubase, but I can't remember beyond that - my apologies.

Honestly, for getting out of a slump, I would recommend reading my post that I mentioned up top about having depression. There was a long time where I wanted nothing to do with gaming (or music) because I was in a deep rut, but I found some ways around it =)

If you have any more questions always feel free to ask! I'll be happy to help =)

#5 Posted by Brunchies (2484 posts) -

@Bassman2112 said:

@Brunchies said:

I look forward to reading more about this subject, I'm currently learning piano but I kind of am in a slump. It's mainly practice and just how frustrating it gets to the point where I just end up ignoring it. I however am in chorus so I can read sheet music just fine and can get the different terms and dynamics that come with music. I've just started working more with garageband and an old version of logic pro and I'm really enjoying it, I have some questions though.

What equipment do you need to get the most out of these music programs.

What music program is your favorite, it can be paid or free.

When did you start learning about music specifically like music theory and the like.

What software or plugins come with something like a mixer or a korg pad.

How can I get out of this slump in an easy way, and also good job on the blog post.

Thanks for the reply =) Glad to hear you're interested in getting further into this stuff haha. To answer your questions:

In terms of equipment, it is completely dependent on how deep you want to get into it. I would say the very basics that you would want if you'd want would include a USB/Firewire Interface (used to input mic/instrument signals directly, link to a basic one here), a MIDI keyboard (excellent for inputting MIDI data quickly if you don't just want to click it all in or export it from programs like Finale) and a simple microphone.

For programs - in terms of transcription/notation, Finale is my favorite; but a lot of people enjoy Sibelius as well. In terms of DAWs, I personally use Logic a lot but am in the process of moving over to Ableton Live. I learned how to use DAWs with Reaper, though - excellent & versatile free DAW for Windows.

I started playing music when I was about 4 or 5, and started getting way deeper into the theory side of things in late high school (let's say 2007). I am currently studying music in college (Electronic Production & Design, essentially audio engineering mixed with programming)

Software bundles vary by manufacturer, sadly I don't know what comes with Korg stuff these days. I know Zoom used to come with basic versions of Cubase, but I can't remember beyond that - my apologies.

Honestly, for getting out of a slump, I would recommend reading my post that I mentioned up top about having depression. There was a long time where I wanted nothing to do with gaming (or music) because I was in a deep rut, but I found some ways around it =)

If you have any more questions always feel free to ask! I'll be happy to help =)

Why thank you for the response, I appreciate any help I can get. I just checked out finale and It seems a little more complicated then just writing the sheet music in of itself. I got the midi keyboard already hooked up so I'm good on that one and I got a mic so I'm good with that. For the USB/Firewire interface, can't you use the usb/firewire ports that are already in your computer or do you need something specific like that.

I also just took at Reaper, I'll install it on my Mac and try it out but I already have an older version of logic pro so I don't know if its really worth it. Also on a 1-10 scale, whats the difficulty of learning Finale, it seems a little strange to me. Also why are you moving over to Ableton, is it a fault of logic or you just want some variety. Have you also had any experience with being a vocalist or do you just make more instrumental pieces.

Two more questions then I'm done, sorry for badgering you. Whats the best mixer you think is good for a beginner and does each mixer come with its own software program or can you connect it easily with a music editor like logic pro or Jekosla Buzz.

#6 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Brunchies said:

Why thank you for the response, I appreciate any help I can get. I just checked out finale and It seems a little more complicated then just writing the sheet music in of itself. I got the midi keyboard already hooked up so I'm good on that one and I got a mic so I'm good with that. For the USB/Firewire interface, can't you use the usb/firewire ports that are already in your computer or do you need something specific like that.

I also just took at Reaper, I'll install it on my Mac and try it out but I already have an older version of logic pro so I don't know if its really worth it. Also on a 1-10 scale, whats the difficulty of learning Finale, it seems a little strange to me. Also why are you moving over to Ableton, is it a fault of logic or you just want some variety. Have you also had any experience with being a vocalist or do you just make more instrumental pieces.

Two more questions then I'm done, sorry for badgering you. Whats the best mixer you think is good for a beginner and does each mixer come with its own software program or can you connect it easily with a music editor like logic pro or Jekosla Buzz.

=) For the USB/Firewire interfaces, the USB/Firewire is just referring to what connection it is using. For example, I have both a USB interface as well as a Firewire one (the Firewire one being my workplace one, the USB one being more portable because it happens to be smaller). As you can see, they both have inputs as well as knob controls. That is controlling gain of inputs, how much level is going out to headphones (you can see the headphones plugged in on the Firewire picture). They also act as the hub for my speakers (you can see that in this blurry picture here). The cable is connected to my computer, and I have further control of all of that from my DAW - so the interface is acting as a hub for absolutely everything.

Best of luck with Reaper on the Mac! Personally I haven't tried that version haha.

Honestly, Logic Pro is an extremely, EXTREMELY capable program. Even if it's a slightly older build that is fine, it has great functionality (though if it's older you may lose some 64 bit functionality, which shouldn't affect you too badly unless the AUs/VSTs you're using are 64 bit).

For Finale, I'd say the learning curve is about a 6/10 for difficulty, but once you learn how to use it initially the program because 2/10 for difficulty. I can transcribe something much, much faster with Finale than writing everything down on paper. It also makes transpositions immediate and simple as well as being able to make multiple parts for different players in an instant.

In terms of why I'm moving over to Ableton, it's largely because of Max for Live. I'm also a programmer so being able to program in an audio environment is extremely intriguing. I'm also interested in its functionality with its Operator instrument.

I've worked in a lot of different styles, with a lot of vocalists & instrumentalists alike. I've arranged pieces for 20 piece choirs as well as just single-vocalist works.

For a mixer, I'm not too sure. I would still work with a USB or Firewire interface, and use the mixer within your DAW. Logic is great for mixing, simple usage for Bussing, Aux tracks, coupling tracks for automation, et cetera. That will serve all the functionality you'll need if you're looking to record. If you're looking for a mixer for more live recordings (multiple mic setup for recording a band, for example) you would probably be completely fine with a simple 8 track mixer by Behringer or Peavey =) Interfaces and mixers are easy to connect with Logic. Once you get your drivers and everything is connected to your computer, it's a simple matter of getting Logic (or reaper, or whatever) to recognize what you've just plugged in and to start taking in signals from it, as well as outputting signals to it (for speakers, headphones, et cetera.)

Hope that helps!

#7 Posted by Brunchies (2484 posts) -

@Bassman2112 said:

@Brunchies said:

Why thank you for the response, I appreciate any help I can get. I just checked out finale and It seems a little more complicated then just writing the sheet music in of itself. I got the midi keyboard already hooked up so I'm good on that one and I got a mic so I'm good with that. For the USB/Firewire interface, can't you use the usb/firewire ports that are already in your computer or do you need something specific like that.

I also just took at Reaper, I'll install it on my Mac and try it out but I already have an older version of logic pro so I don't know if its really worth it. Also on a 1-10 scale, whats the difficulty of learning Finale, it seems a little strange to me. Also why are you moving over to Ableton, is it a fault of logic or you just want some variety. Have you also had any experience with being a vocalist or do you just make more instrumental pieces.

Two more questions then I'm done, sorry for badgering you. Whats the best mixer you think is good for a beginner and does each mixer come with its own software program or can you connect it easily with a music editor like logic pro or Jekosla Buzz.

=) For the USB/Firewire interfaces, the USB/Firewire is just referring to what connection it is using. For example, I have both a USB interface as well as a Firewire one (the Firewire one being my workplace one, the USB one being more portable because it happens to be smaller). As you can see, they both have inputs as well as knob controls. That is controlling gain of inputs, how much level is going out to headphones (you can see the headphones plugged in on the Firewire picture). They also act as the hub for my speakers (you can see that in this blurry picture here). The cable is connected to my computer, and I have further control of all of that from my DAW - so the interface is acting as a hub for absolutely everything.

Best of luck with Reaper on the Mac! Personally I haven't tried that version haha.

Honestly, Logic Pro is an extremely, EXTREMELY capable program. Even if it's a slightly older build that is fine, it has great functionality (though if it's older you may lose some 64 bit functionality, which shouldn't affect you too badly unless the AUs/VSTs you're using are 64 bit).

For Finale, I'd say the learning curve is about a 6/10 for difficulty, but once you learn how to use it initially the program because 2/10 for difficulty. I can transcribe something much, much faster with Finale than writing everything down on paper. It also makes transpositions immediate and simple as well as being able to make multiple parts for different players in an instant.

In terms of why I'm moving over to Ableton, it's largely because of Max for Live. I'm also a programmer so being able to program in an audio environment is extremely intriguing. I'm also interested in its functionality with its Operator instrument.

I've worked in a lot of different styles, with a lot of vocalists & instrumentalists alike. I've arranged pieces for 20 piece choirs as well as just single-vocalist works.

For a mixer, I'm not too sure. I would still work with a USB or Firewire interface, and use the mixer within your DAW. Logic is great for mixing, simple usage for Bussing, Aux tracks, coupling tracks for automation, et cetera. That will serve all the functionality you'll need if you're looking to record. If you're looking for a mixer for more live recordings (multiple mic setup for recording a band, for example) you would probably be completely fine with a simple 8 track mixer by Behringer or Peavey =) Interfaces and mixers are easy to connect with Logic. Once you get your drivers and everything is connected to your computer, it's a simple matter of getting Logic (or reaper, or whatever) to recognize what you've just plugged in and to start taking in signals from it, as well as outputting signals to it (for speakers, headphones, et cetera.)

Hope that helps!

It has, thank you for all the help. I'll work in logic some more, but with max in live you can create your own devices, is that like plugins and the like or am I missing something.

#8 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Brunchies said:

It has, thank you for all the help. I'll work in logic some more, but with max in live you can create your own devices, is that like plugins and the like or am I missing something.

Anytime =) Always around for any questions you may have (though I'm heading to bed soon haha, 1:30 is late after you're exhausted from an onslaught of exams and projects). Max for live you can indeed create new devices. They can be anything, they can be new instruments (synthesizers at least) by having Max manipulate oscillators & envelopes, but that is just the very basic functionality. You can create brand new functionality within ableton with Max as well, having it affect things in real time dependent on what frequencies you're playing, such as having it doing scaling/real time retrograde, granular synthesis... The list could go on forever, the possibilities get endless.

#9 Posted by Brunchies (2484 posts) -

@Bassman2112 said:

@Brunchies said:

It has, thank you for all the help. I'll work in logic some more, but with max in live you can create your own devices, is that like plugins and the like or am I missing something.

Anytime =) Always around for any questions you may have (though I'm heading to bed soon haha, 1:30 is late after you're exhausted from an onslaught of exams and projects). Max for live you can indeed create new devices. They can be anything, they can be new instruments (synthesizers at least) by having Max manipulate oscillators & envelopes, but that is just the very basic functionality. You can create brand new functionality within ableton with Max as well, having it affect things in real time dependent on what frequencies you're playing, such as having it doing scaling/real time retrograde, granular synthesis... The list could go on forever, the possibilities get endless.

So its a sound engineers or avant garde musicians dream.

#10 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Brunchies: Exactly, or a live electronica performer who wants to program direct control over various variables to his/her own heart's content =)

#11 Posted by Sbaitso (540 posts) -

Yeah, one of my teachers (I'm also an audio student) is a ambient/sound art sort of guy and he uses max for tons of his compositions and live performance stuff. It's really interesting stuff.

#12 Edited by Sbaitso (540 posts) -

Also, I'm keen to see your mixing and mastering process, it's always fun to see how someone else works. I'm working on a mix right now, but I'm a reason/ableton/protools guy(with protools being used just for mixing mostly when it comes to my own stuff). But when tracking or mixing in studio, it's all protools, I do electronic stuff so that's where the reason and ableton come in.

#13 Posted by kogasu (148 posts) -

Very great and interesting tutorial. Looking forward to the rest, especially the mixing and mastering part. I feel those are my biggest problem areas. I get pretty lazy around that part and probably end up missing a bunch of things that could potentially make the song sound better and have a good mix.

#14 Edited by envane (1163 posts) -

@Bassman2112: wow .. musician too .. i could never get deep into max , didnt know you could intergrate it into live now tho .. will have to look into that.

heres some of my stuff .. apart from sentry i didnt put any effort into mastering , and even then i sorta have a crazy idea of what things should sound like

1st is an actual attempt to make music

the 2nd one is liek a first attempt at dubstep which may or may not be music but to me its a technical challenge atm eheh

3rd ..is something ?

#15 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Sbaitso:

I'm looking forward to showing you guys how I work haha. Mixing is definitely a personal thing for everyone and ultimately relies on taste, but there are definitely some universal truths to understand - I'll try my best to convey them in a reasonably clear way =) I also agree, pro tools is a mixing monster - I hardly ever use it as a straight-up DAW though, it gets too resource intensive if you're trying to sequence with multiple tracks haha.

@kogasu: Thanks for reading duder =3 I hope that the basic-level stuff I'll show in the next part will be of benefit. Though I'll be doing a lot of techniques I use specifically for vocalists (De-Essing, vocal specific compression, etc) I'll try to include as much as possible that can be universally transferable.

@envane: I don't even know what to say, dude - that stuff is really fucking cool. I'm currently about 30 minutes into Sentry and I'm enjoying the dynamic you've created. It reminds me of a good game, once you get into its universe you get kind of comfortable & can get lost in it (I'm not normally the type of person to talk about music that way). Really well done. I only have a few mix critiques, but after having listened to it almost completely I feel like they aren't that big of a deal (some of the white noise bits are a little overpowering, but taking in the whole experience, they feel kind of natural now). The mix is good. The ideas are good. I really like your production, was it all sequence? I like the almost granular synthesis you've got going on in parts of it as well as the glitchy bits. I can always appreciate a good bit of cutting up of signals - sounds like you're achieving a lot of the choppy glitchy sounds via heavy compression/EQ tricks and... Dare I say it, maybe even some convolution? Regardless, great work sir. I'll finish listening to the rest and let you know what I think =D

#16 Posted by envane (1163 posts) -

@Bassman2112: :) thanks , all these files are just raw recordings of a few seperate patterns i made then just tweaking controls / reprogramming the pattern in real time,for sentry i used fruity loops , granulizers , dblue glitch for the more obvious effects and some secret weapons , but i have been in a sort of ... finished song writing block .. so the long form and random unintentional glitches are a byproduct heh ..

I'm interested in your process of completing a work because as you can tell i cannot commit to finishing a song until its gone thru every possible iteration of my idea at that time .. i dunno

#17 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@envane: Sorry for the delay haha, just helping my roommate pack up for his flight home for the summer.

Very cool, that makes sense. I've actually never used Fruity Loops but it sounds like the stuff it puts out is astounding! Granular synthesis is really fun, and really useful.

That's not a bad way to work. Sometimes it's best to let every single idea out and then just keep the ones that you enjoy the most. If you check out the Global Game Jam song I did, that's an example of a bunch of random ideas I had in a very short time then executed on. The actual implementation of the game audio is completely in layers separated by the stems that fade in/out in real-time dependent on game state (I sent those files to the guys after the game jam haha, that was too intensive to do at the time) but that released track is just an example of what they can all sound like together. The point is, I had many more ideas than that but culled it down to what I felt worked best as a unit.

Honestly, when it comes to blocks like that, I find it best to just crack the whip and say "Okay. This is done now. I can close the book on it." It doesn't matter if I'm happy or not with the final product, sometimes songs just need to be finished. I personally find that I learn more from my failures than my successes. There are some songs that I have completed on this computer that will never see the light of day because they, in my opinion, are a really poor representation of what vision I had for them; but I now know how I could have fixed that, and won't let myself do the same thing again.

Sorry if that makes little to no sense, unfortunately I'm not always overly articulate haha.

#18 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

Hey guys, thanks a ton for the positive feedback =)

Just wanted to update and say that as of a half hour ago, all of the vocal parts have been recorded. The next part of the tutorial should hopefully be up within the week - check my GB statuses for updates =)

#19 Posted by Heylook (235 posts) -

@Bassman2112: Fellow audio engineer!

I as well took a 2 year course on audio production, now I do a lot of live sound at random venue's around my town as well as recording demo's for people in my basement.

My Gear: MOTU 828 Mk3 32 I/O USB/Firewire interface

A few Shure SM57's for your basic instrument micing

A pair of AKG C 414's for sexy stereo micing

A Shure SM7b for syk rap vocalz and screamz

And a Studio Projects B1 for fun

Oh I also have an Axiom 61 MIDI controller for making my own tunes however I feel I am way more skilled as an engineer rather than a composer.

Oh yeah... my DAW(s): Protools 9 / Live8 suite/ Logic pro 9.

Oh yeah and Yamaha HS50M's + a Yorkville YSS2 sub for mixing.

Other than that I rent stuff from a music retailer here in Canada whom which I also work for thus getting half priced rentals (sick).

My plan for the next 5 years is to soundproof (rockwool) my basement and make some Isolation booths (one for guitar/drums and one for vox) and theennn hopefully get some nice expensive analog gear for mastering.

I'll post up an EP I'm tracking for my buddy when we are done, just did bedtracks now guitar/bass/vox overdubs and mixing/mastering.

Also I'm interested to hear your final product.

LONG POST IS LONG.

#20 Edited by bassman2112 (840 posts) -

@Heylook: Sorry for the delay haha. Those speakers you're using are astounding - I've loved every pair (+ any sub, really) that I've heard. Do you know if MOTU interfaces have any special functionality with DP? Similar to how some Avid interfaces can be controlled by Pro Tools HD?

Look forward to hearing the final product of what you guys be working on!

#21 Edited by Heylook (235 posts) -

@Bassman2112: Nope there is no HUI support for my MOTU 828, it does have DSP and acts as a stand alone mixer, though I hardly use it for that. I have enough ram in my PC to just use plug-in's for tracking.

And yes the HS50M's are quite nice to the ear. However, they are reallllly flat (a good thing in my mind) so if you want to mix some low end you really need a sub to feel it. These monitors only go to about 75hz or so it sounds like. Me, I'd love a pair of Meyer Sound HD-1's ($3500 a pop :P)

Also, we are tracking bass this sunday so maybe I'll upload the bass/drum tracks.

#22 Posted by bassman2112 (840 posts) -