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Feedback on my Demo? VST recommendations and mixing tips?

Demensa

Characterless sack of potatoes
I've been wanting some constructive criticism/feedback on my demo: http://demensa.bandcamp.com/ (I know, I probably don't deserve a bandcamp yet... but it's easy for music sharing.) since I'm still very new to the idea of creating electronic music.
Musically, I know where I want to go and I know pretty well how I could improve, although feedback on that is VERY welcome. The things I have really been wanting suggestions on is: What plugins do you recommend? and How do you go about mixing and mastering a piece?
I've tried in recent songs to use EQ to make sure certain synths aren't just drowning each other out (you can tell that I haven't done this on these "demo" songs) and other ways to mix better, but I really don't know much about doing this in a precise fashion, although I'm sure there is a ridiculous amount of practice needed to make any sort of progress. And of course: My synths SUCK, which is the reason for the first question. Half of the synths I've used are slightly tweaked presets and the other half are really basic synths, as I am still learning my way around some of the plugins I have.

So you might ask: "Why don't I just google this? or post it on a forum that is actually about music?".
Don't worry. I'm doing these as well. I figure that the more places I get personalised feedback from, the more tips I have to draw on. This is especially true since I'm steering away from a set, traditional genre of music, although I lack knowledge of electronic genres, so tell me if this fits right in to one.
Also I'm using Fruity Loops (I know. What a joke.) so feel free to recommend a better DAW if you think I may benefit.

In chronological order the songs are:
- Health Note (A few months after I started using FL studio - Remember this is only a demo. My least favourite; synth and mixing wise.)
- Count to Potato
- 27 bit onions
- Wumbology
- Emotionless Arpeggio Spam

The other three bits and pieces are unimportant and only in there because I like things played backwards.

Anyways, if anyone got through that, (This subforum is notoriously quiet.) I would appreciate some recommendations and tips for a beginner!
 

NickTheRedFox

New Member
i personally like Health Note Part 2: A Fragmented Recovery. the style in that song has alot of potential,no lie.

i make music myself, but i can never get the wobblebass sound, i try so hard. There better Daw's but i like using FL 10 the most. Cubase is really good but my version is old. mine is Cubase LE 4 and well i like it =). VST's there are many many VST's out there but look up nexus, it has really really good quality but cost some money. i mainly have free VST's like trancedrive which is my personal favorite to make leads. may i ask how long have you been writing music? i have been writing music for over two years, and started electronic for one year. and i have got to say you do have skills and potential to make really good songs.
 

Vukasin

Member
What plugins do you recommend?
For Electronic music "Massive" and "Nexus" are pretty much top notch VSTs. However, since they are so popular you really need to make your own sounds and patches because if you use presets then people will know right away. You should google search some free ones as well. There's a ton of amazing free VSTs out there.

and How do you go about mixing and mastering a piece?

Proper EQing, compression and limiting. Make sure everything is spread out evenly throughout the frequencies, and make sure nothing is fighting over a certain frequency. Layer synths to keep them from sounding dry. I'm not an electronic musician, so I can't really go into detail about mixing.

For mastering you'll need a general EQ, a limiter and a maximizer. Depending on the song you could also use a general reverb to make everything sound like it's being played in the same space. Be sure not to use too much reverb though.

Half of the synths I've used are slightly tweaked presets and the other half are really basic synths, as I am still learning my way around some of the plugins I have.

Youtube tutorials are literally the greatest when it comes to learning.

Also I'm using Fruity Loops (I know. What a joke.) so feel free to recommend a better DAW if you think I may benefit.

No, it's not a joke. Not at all. I used FL Studio for an entire year before I switched to Pro Tools and I loved it. FL Studio is AWESOME for learning. Besides, FL Studio is used professionally by quite a few well known producers such as Avicii.

Seeing as you're trying electronic music I'd say use FL Studio or Ableton. They are both very good for electronic music.


 
No, it's not a joke. Not at all. I used FL Studio for an entire year before I switched to Pro Tools and I loved it. FL Studio is AWESOME for learning. Besides, FL Studio is used professionally by quite a few well known producers such as Avicii.

Seeing as you're trying electronic music I'd say use FL Studio or Ableton. They are both very good for electronic music.


[/COLOR]
basically what this guy says ive learned a lot in the two years i've used it and now i felt that i was ready to move on so i started using ableton

any ways i'm listening to your stuff now its pretty interesting but not bad at all
 

Vukasin

Member
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: Stay away from the drum samples that are built into FL Studio. They aren't necessarily bad, but they've been overused to much and in the wrong ways. Go download some drum samples for free somewhere or make your own.
 

Demensa

Characterless sack of potatoes
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I wasn't expecting this after the months this post sat here for... It honestly feels like a year to me. I've written a full LP since then, which I'll probably post eventually for comparison. (Although this thread is meant to be more about VST's and mixing, rather than my music... )

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: Stay away from the drum samples that are built into FL Studio. They aren't necessarily bad, but they've been overused to much and in the wrong ways. Go download some drum samples for free somewhere or make your own.

That was one of the first things I tried to stop doing (after the demo). It's hard to understand when you first start I guess, because everything is still new to you, while it won't be for others. I guess it's the same with presets on plugins as well, especially if the plugin is widely used.

I've been wanting to get Pro Tools as well, but I'll wait a little longer before I make the investment. I'll definitely check out Nexus though.

how long have you been writing music?

I've been writing REALLY REALLY BAD songs on guitar for about 2-3 years. I wrote my first FL studio song about 1 year ago. Health Note Part 2, specifically was around 7-8 months ago.
 
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Kalmor

Banned
Banned
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I wasn't expecting this after the months this post sat here for... It honestly feels like a year to me. I've written a full LP since then, which I'll probably post eventually for comparison. (Although this thread is meant to be more about VST's and mixing, rather than my music... )



That was one of the first things I tried to stop doing (after the demo). It's hard to understand when you first start I guess, because everything is still new to you, while it won't be for others. I guess it's the same with presets on plugins as well, especially if the plugin is widely used.

I've been wanting to get Pro Tools as well, but I'll wait a little longer before I make the investment. I'll definitely check out Nexus though.



I've been writing REALLY REALLY BAD songs on guitar for about 2-3 years. I wrote my first FL studio song about 1 year ago. Health Note Part 2, specifically was around 7-8 months ago.
Another DAW you might want to check out is Reaper.

http://www.reaper.fm/

Very cheap compared to most other DAWs and has pretty much the same features. $60 For a non-commercial licence.
 

benanderson

Banned
Banned
Rather than shout out some synthesizers and VST at you, I think it would be best if you and I could chat in realtime - the best way to make recommendations when it comes to music production, I think, is to assess your method and workflow and either build on or refine what you can already do. More complex audio production methods like side chaning and multi-band compression are also better taught through working, real-time examples that I'd be able to provide.

Plus, if you're serious about wanting to learn about electronic music and music production, I can recommend you some cheap but cheerful hardware synthesizers for you to buy. Hands on with dials and sliders can work wonders.
 
R

Raving_Dragon

Guest
VST recommendations: I agree with Vukasin on using Massive and Nexus. Nexus is more of a ROMpler than an actual synthesizer so you need patches for it to get more sounds out of it. Since you are using FL Studio, which I use as well, Sytrus and Harmor are powerful synths. They can do some pretty amazing things.

Mixing: Side chain compression is a must for electronic music. It's mainly used to bring out the pump of a kick drum but has other uses as well. I use a peak controller to do it rather than a compression tool since it's easier. EQing instruments takes time and patience. Each track you make will have different EQ settings for the instruments. My rule of thumb is, don't EQ more than 6db either way unless you absolutely need to and always lower the volume of frequencies that you don't need rather than raising the volume of frequencies that you do need. Lowering the volume of the un-needed frequencies will usually result in a higher volume of the frequencies that you want. Raising the volume will just take up headroom.

As for mastering, I don't do it myself as I don't have the proper equipment. If I want a proper master, I pay for it.

I suggest you get a soundcloud account if you don't already have one. The connections I made through there are amazing. I got good feedback, support from similar artists and label deals through there.
 

Demensa

Characterless sack of potatoes
VST recommendations: I agree with Vukasin on using Massive and Nexus. Nexus is more of a ROMpler than an actual synthesizer so you need patches for it to get more sounds out of it. Since you are using FL Studio, which I use as well, Sytrus and Harmor are powerful synths. They can do some pretty amazing things.

Mixing: Side chain compression is a must for electronic music. It's mainly used to bring out the pump of a kick drum but has other uses as well. I use a peak controller to do it rather than a compression tool since it's easier. EQing instruments takes time and patience. Each track you make will have different EQ settings for the instruments. My rule of thumb is, don't EQ more than 6db either way unless you absolutely need to and always lower the volume of frequencies that you don't need rather than raising the volume of frequencies that you do need. Lowering the volume of the un-needed frequencies will usually result in a higher volume of the frequencies that you want. Raising the volume will just take up headroom.

As for mastering, I don't do it myself as I don't have the proper equipment. If I want a proper master, I pay for it.

I suggest you get a soundcloud account if you don't already have one. The connections I made through there are amazing. I got good feedback, support from similar artists and label deals through there.

Thanks, I use Sytrus a fair bit already and I can see the recommendations for Massive and Nexus piling up, so I'll be sure to get those.
benanderson helped me learn some side-chaining, and I have since been able to do it with the peak controller like you described.
I'll definitely keep those EQing tips in mind as well.

Oh, and I've got a soundcloud as well. It's very useful for quickly sharing tracks and getting feedback.
 
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