Now this is a very hot topic: A different take on how to (not) compress a track.
Thanks to recent NI Komplete Ultimate purchase I had a chance to try praised Transient Master. It is nothing new is the world of music production, neither in my studio setup. However, I figured out something clever and got great results with it.
First of all, unlike compressor or expander, it allows to recreate dynamics in completely flat audio material – that’s because it is level-independent. This also means it can work equally good for quiet and loud input, especially in already processed track with automated volume level and so on. Last but not least, NI Transient Master precisely targets transient or sustained portion of a signal, which is relevant to human listener – unlike simple compressors, which are only a mathematical volume processors.
That seems to be a lot to say about a plugin, which has only 3 knobs, one of them being a volume control – no automate volume compensation here, unfortunatelly.
So let’s give some examples, real word examples:
- Add dynamics to heavily distorted acid lead
- Add attack to drums
- Tame starting click in gated synths
- Add sustain to short claps
- Completely redesign the impact of various one-shot FX
As a conclusion, it lead me to ultimate mix discovery: Which tracks should have powerful transient impact, and which should not. Apparently, not everything in the mix can or even should be very dynamic – and I overdid this in the past, as it turns out.
All in all, Transient Master is now my go-to tool for pretty much everything. I already used in on a latest uplifting remix, coming out in January. Can’t share any details yet, but it’s just right, as all my tracks should have been. Expect a real bomb!
Okay, this is a rework of track that’s only few months old. The difference is not so apparent this time, but certainly it sounds better. Cleaner and smooth. Not much more to say here.
I also learned that good mix is not necessarily achieved by making everything loudest and clearly audible – even though it eventually gets there anyway. The good mix is when nothing sounds wrong and gives listener no “WTF” moments. Just as in professional productions you hear on the radio.
I’ve been using this rack for two years now or more. Also requested it as a standard feature in Ableton library, but to no avail. So here it is, as simple as it gets: mid/side Audio Effect Rack. It consists of two channels, mid channel (width 0%) and side channel (width 200%). That’s all that was needed to make it work… once you know it. The reality is, not many people do.
Now it’s here for everyone to download and use.
Just use simple gain boost/reduction or put different effects in mid and side channel. Solo/mute channels to check mono compatibility. Or do some weird shit, it’s all up to you.
Ending year 2016 was quite interesting, full of ups and downs. For sure it was busy.
First and most important, I got my first track released – it’s remix of Ruska – Saimaa made for a contest. I was hoping now releases will be flying every month or so.
However, since then it was a downfall. Even though I feel I improve the quality of every new track, none of them was accepted. Some remixes were not good enough, others seemingly were off the style.
It took me a while to understand what is still wrong with the tracks and why people don’t enjoy them as much as commercial releases. And eventually I figured it out. Check the improved remix of Impellent:
The stats… we live in the world where no one cares who you are and what you do, but only how popular you are. I’m not very popular at all (especially compared to 2008), but the blog stats keep growing this year:
This is with lowest post count ever. Most of visits hit Chaotic Wavetable Pack for Serum, which turned out very interesting for users even though it was made over one day and in fact is nothing extraordinary. Personally I never used it yet :P.
Growing stats may also come from the fact that I no longer post about “work in progress”, but simply finish tracks and post worthy pieces of music. Certainly it would help if I posted some tutorials and started video blog, but there are other things I need to deal with first. Neverthless, I gave some lectures on production this year so it’s not far from here. Especially earlier show on FM synthesis turned out great.
I only mixed like 9 DJ sets this year… unfortunatelly it takes a lot of time. Even though, these few sets get great number of plays, so once I get back to it someday, things should be running well.
The studio… I got quite some gear and a number of synths this year. Acually it’s more than I was able to use so far. Which doesn’t mean I don’t try to – the quest for ultimate studio drives me both creatively and at regular work. I not only need money for better place, but also need to actually make use of all the synths (yet alone gear) I gathered so far. Now the only thing that limits me is the time. Which leads to one last point…
The workflow. Earlier this year I decided to learn how to use Push for real. And I did, it just works so well. Now I’m working in Session mode, creating clips and layers one by one. Then switch to Arrangement View, create whole arrangement in one go and… voila! Track is finished. Let’s do another one. Making tracks, even very diverse, is quite repeatable process – one I know how to. And creating better track doesn’t neccessarily mean spending more time on it. It’s all about the skills and just know-how.
The future. The future is now, 2017 will be a breakthrough. Just at the end on the year I have all the pieces I need to produce great music. Just have to sort out earlier unfinished projects before getting new PC and moving on to future productions. All I need now is time – and to make good use of it. The same is true for DJ sets. These should come back in a month or two.
Happy new year 2017!
So here it is! My latest track prepared for contest. It’s a straightforward but huge uplifter at 138 BPM.
I really enjoyed original material I got and used pretty much all MIDI from remix pack, including bassline. Didn’t add too much of content or unsual ideas, the melody is strong enough to hold on its own. It was all about sound design, layering and modulation, then mixdown. It was great to see how this tune is coming from “just typical trance” to “oustanding” just over a day. It all was made just in a 6 days, had a week off.
Here’s the rework of my most popular track yet (338 till date). It’s free for download, enjoy!
Original was made in just 3 days and it worked pretty well in terms of arrangement. Looks like I need to try quick production again sometimes.
However, I needed to improve technical aspect of production – mixdown and mastering. I take my time to analyze reference tracks and figure out how they are made and how to reproduce their quality. It’s like a puzzle – fix one thing only to find out two others got broken in the process. You can’t learn a thing not doing it, though.
I think it’s better to practice on older (free) productions that start new projects which won’t be good enough anyway. It might still take a while before I move on to new productions, but it pays back unlike rushing new tracks.
Well, that’s the name of my latest track prepared for a music contest. It’s now free for download.
The contest was about creating track with extensive use of delivered samples from Warsaw Metro. It was quite a challenge to fit them into a proper trance track, so the result is somewhat original. I tried to use synths sparingly to make space for other sounds. All the percussion and FX are made out of samples. There is also part of the kick, nice granular pad delivered by contest host as Ableton rack, and my specialty – Roland-style supersaw created out of train siren sample 🙂
As you notice, orchestration is very rich and so is melody, I just tried to show a whole array of sounds instead of sending one-trick pony someone might like or not.
The track was highlighted as “finalist”, though I didn’t win. The top was dominated by some deep / drone / ambient stuff as well as some more groovy D’n’B made almost out of samples alone. In fact I’m the only who used a number of synths and some apparent melody.
The host also said the track is greatly mixed. In fact I finally found a simple trick which allows me to use arbitrary sounds nicely. Enjoy it 🙂
This is the remix for competition hosted by D.MAX Recordings. Simple and straightforward, big and banging.
I made it quite a while ago. Since that entry I learned quite a lot about mixdown and mastering, then decided to rework it. This is brand new version I’m proud of.
Ahh, and it’s free for download, enjoy!
Probably the last tune I’m going to share it in foreseeable future.
Ideas – we all have them. My single from last year, “Investigations”, is a collection of ideas not correctly developed. The more I listened to and played this track, the more scared I was. Behold! It’s now free for download.
The track was originally made in summer 2014. I played it a number of times since then in different versions. Finally reworked it just yesterday with new mixdown setup and some tricks which make it sound clean and bouncy. This way you can it all clearly, be it good or bad.
It also turns out that making trance sound very good and proper is easy – once you know how to. For all these years I was lost in details and messed up the basics. The base is correct bass and kick interaction as well as lots of dynamics. Once you got this done, every sound follows easily. Just check it out on your own.
A random observation: Soundcloud stats since some time act randomly, going up and down. Don’t know what to think about that, or how many people actually enjoyed the track.