Production game changers!

Discuss everything related to production, recording, composition, etc.

Moderators: Kent, Joe., luketeaford, lisa

User avatar
Common Wiggler
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:36 pm
Location: Switzerland

Post by Abston » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:05 am

By my side, the game changer was to start my eurorack system ! Next step will be some audio processing gears (API or NEVE channel strip are coming)

User avatar
big job head
Common Wiggler
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:20 am
Location: France

Post by big job head » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:55 am

Big game changer for me was working on protools for movies. It made me realize how efficient i could be working with audio material instead of programming everything in midi.
i make music with ableton live but instead of keeping everything in midi til the end as i used to do, i now record audio material as soon as i can and work with that. So much powerful and efficient to me.
And obviously eurorack has been a big big game changer!!
Last edited by big job head on Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 5431
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:11 pm
Location: Canada

Post by Dcramer » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:56 pm

Assistant Engineer did it fer me...

User avatar
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:53 am
Location: Austria, Salzburg

Post by racooniac » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:30 am

i tried to save a few bucks on audio interfaces and struggled a lot with wasting time and energy until i finally went and got myself an used rme fireface uc which ... just WORKS.

oh is it nice to just be productive again xD

User avatar
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3017
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:40 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by CF3 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:24 pm

Snake Cables/DB25 cables.
Zip ties/Velcro ties.
Making templates.
Labeling stuff.
Nice desk set up/Ergonomics.

Gear comes and goes...... The real game changer for me is keep everything organized and easily accessible.

Common Wiggler
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:38 pm

Post by mrerdat » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:23 am

Using VCV with Soundflower (I'm on Mac) as part of an aggregate sound driver that includes my regular i/o allows me to patch my software modular into my hardware modular and back, and lets me record it all in my DAW. Total game changer...

Common Wiggler
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:09 pm

Post by mor4sso » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:35 pm


Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:32 am
Location: Rochester, NY

Post by circadianeyes » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:36 pm

Mikron Cascade is my newest inspiration. Finally something different than a Valhalla Shimmer.

User avatar
depth of field
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:36 pm
Location: Deathbed of Drexciya

Post by depth of field » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:04 pm

About a year ago I invested in better monitors for mixing my productions. I had been using the Yamaha HS8s for a few years and liked them well enough. Last year I purchased the Focal Shape 50s. Afterwards I found my mixes got a lot cleaner and clearer. Apart from just getting better at mixing itself, having good quality monitors has really been a game changer for me. Now I'm looking to upgrade my audio interface to really maximize the sonic quality of my work.

User avatar
Let's go do some crimes
Posts: 1525
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:26 pm
Location: Southern California

Post by justin3am » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:20 pm

The last 10 years I've been making changes to my studio which have forced me to slow down and become less efficient. I really appreciated the whole experience because it has forced me to focus on the things I enjoy most about tracking and mixing. I finished a lot less but the quality of my work has improved, IMO.

A few years ago I picked up an Alyseum AL88c, which has been very nice. I have two now, hooked up via a gigabit ethernet switch and I can access both interfaces from any computer in my house (even more than one computer at the same time). I tend to do little sketches on my laptop and then want to record the output into my desktop but now, I can just send MIDI to my synths from any computer. I don't need to worry about migrating files. It may not sound like a big deal but it helps me to stay in the moment.

Bitwig was another big change. I used Live as a sketchpad and Pro Tools for mixing and editing, for years, when I worked for AVID. Now I do almost everything (except video, of course) in Bitwig and the CV I/O devices make it that much more useful.

I wouldn't call any one thing a "game changer", just incremental improvements, but they add up to an enjoyable way of working.

Now I finally coming around to the idea that I need a proper desk chair. I hate sitting at desks, so I don't have one at home. But I have just been using shitty folding chairs, so my back is starting to kill me. :lol:
"Thank god for the drugs and drums." El-P
3amNoise | Synth Videos

User avatar
Richie Jape
Common Wiggler
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:03 am

Post by Richie Jape » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:56 pm

a non equipment definite game changer for me was putting the love into every element from the start onwards ...

taking time to get exactly the correct sound for every element, working slower and more thoughtfully ...

instead of rushing an idea down, knowing that taking time over the first few elements and making them with love will lead to much better results in the end ...

i could summarize as ... don't rush ... enjoy

in terms of equipment, in order to begin most recent things i've been making tape loops on my nagra and enjoying the element of chance this provides to kickstart something interesting ...

you are constantly learning and constantly improving but there's always so much further to go ...

it's the best feeling ... :love:

User avatar
Common Wiggler
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:09 am
Location: Houston

Post by JustGlyphs » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:01 pm

Weird sequencing software has helped me a lot. I struggle with coming up with interesting, non-basic rhythms and stuff like Max and Reaktor has helped a ton.

In a similar vein but with more broad applications, Din Is Noise. A beautiful and feral program.

Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3495
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:02 pm

Post by calaveras » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:03 pm

two other things that have worked for me a lot.

Getting a book for whatever software I am working in and just going front to back on that suck and learning every GD key combination and all the stupid sub menus. It may take up a few evenings and weekends you would rather be out socializing. But hey, it's the modern equivalent of woodshedding.

The other thing is buy once, cry once. Don't fuck around with shitty gear. Get the right tool for the job and move on.
Easy to say when you have middle class or better money. But you know what, even back when I was making only $11 an hour. I'd just save up. And I don't regret the good quality things I bought. I do regret the cheap garbage.

User avatar
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1581
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:27 am
Location: 44G

Post by slumberjack » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:45 am

calaveras wrote:I'd just save up. And I don't regret the good quality things I bought. I do regret the cheap garbage.
If you compare to lets say a screwdriver. your work benefits in time and pleasure if you go with the nice line for more grip and if you choose the right size - especially in the worst case, when the head is already worn or when it's a rusty old (suddenly ODB appears with me) b*tch.
So to say it's nice to have professional tools in the deluxe range during normal operation but key when you have a difficult job to do.

but: to not over extend you budget (and yes, still keep that in mind even if's your paid like lawyer...), the high pirce stuff you only need in you key work.
If you need the screwdriver only once a month for 5 screws to fix, you might don't have to pay double of the price, but if it's part of your routine, and your customers expect a perfect job on this, go ahead...

so to say if you're keen on verbs and scultural 3D sounddesign, save up for a bricasti. (talking to myself). if you need verb only to extend your snare, you're be fine with a used pedal...
> WTB ADDAC502 < / /

Carefully crafted dj set meandering between deep house, minimal and electro.

Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:45 pm
Location: Toronto

Post by decklyn » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:57 am

+1 on ill gate's 128s
I don't really do that more recently but i was spending time building projects up.
I'd say drum rack did have a big impact on my workflow in general. I used to use straight audio but i find drumrack helps me move faster without making as much of a mess.

Id say also parallel compression on my drum buss suprisingly has been helping me move quicker in the early phases. I've been using the uad neve 33609 on the send channel just crushed. It's colorfull so i feel pleased faster.

And serum changed my life. Probably the biggest boost to productivity for writing for me personally because i can always hop in and make the sound im looking for now that i know the wavetables. My analog gear hasn't been in as much use after buying serum. The fx are good so I'll use them for other sound design tasks (eg recently trying to make bass in fm8 and using the serum multiband compression and other fx)

Otherwise i always try to finish tunes fast to build good habits around output.instead of noodling. I'm never scared to throw stuff away that sounds decent if i find new inspiration in the session - most of my better work comes up like that i find.

And i found a mentor too so i always have fresh seeds of inspiration and feedback which helps.
Synth nerd T-shirts, hats, totes, mugs and more:

My soundcloud (dnb, moombahton, dubstep, techno)

Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3495
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:02 pm

Post by calaveras » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:10 pm

decklyn wrote: Otherwise i always try to finish tunes fast to build good habits around output.instead of noodling. I'm never scared to throw stuff away that sounds decent if i find new inspiration in the session - most of my better work comes up like that i find.
as they say don't be afraid to kill your children. (your artistic children, not your progeny!)

I sometimes will go through and lay down a couple different takes on the same basic track. Then end up throwing away the first version of the bass line, melody and stuff.

Occasionally I'll do a 'save as' and make a copy of a project in another folder so I can just go to town without fear of trashing anything on the original.
More often than not the second version ends up being the better version. Because I've got a safety copy, I am not being too precious about it. I just go for the jugular and try whatever occurs to me without too much noodling around.

The really cool thing about this, is that if you lay down a whole new set of tracks on top of your basics, you can always cut in the original set of tracks during a bridge or a verse section for an interesting change in direction.

The other funny thing that I have noticed recently. I used to always write songs in my head. And work on them with my guitar, bass or keys when I had time in the evening. This is a much different workflow than what I have evolved in the last 10 years. Now that I have hardware and software sequencing, all my song sketches are saved someplace outside of my head. So they never really progress into different patterns and rhythms the way they do when you play through the song dozens of times.
So lately I've been trying to recapture some of that. I still do my basic beats in an Elektron box or some softsynth drum machine. But I will spend a lot longer working on the melodic bits and the bass line. Just looping through the beat and playing it over and over for hours to explore the phrasing and how to build it over several measures, instead of the same thing going blat blat blat.

User avatar
Gringo Starr
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2497
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Location: United States

Post by Gringo Starr » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:09 am

xparis001 wrote:for me, it was adding a Burl Vancouver summing amp to my setup. it sounds amazing, especially when the track count is getting igh. i honestly wanted to believe it wasnt true, and summing amps didnt matter, but as soon as I heard it, I knew. I brought others in, just to make sure I wasnt crazy, and 3 people, one untrained ear, one bedroom producer, and one pro all could blindly pick the better sounding mix, and each time it was the vancouver.
I find this intriguing. I’ve been wondering about a summing mixer. I’ve never used one but I have this fantasy that it pulls everything together in the right place. Could you go into detail a little more about the quality of the track that stood out from the others?

User avatar
Common Wiggler
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:22 pm
Location: Earth

Post by Moskowitz » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:00 pm

Biggest game changer by far:

Sample accurate sync
Sample accurate midi

Having hardware and software / daw run in perfect sync allowing overdubs and re-recording of fluffed takes etc means compositional and production enablement at a level that is night and day vs not having it.

Common Wiggler
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:57 pm
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by Yodhan » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:22 pm

After spending a few years as an intern at a real studio, I had a hard time with my home setup. A patchbay and Presonus Faderport helped with that a lot.
My rig:
Behringer Neutron, Behringer Model D, Arturia Microbrute
Tascam 424mkii
Reason for effects and recording

User avatar
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 12:14 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Post by criticalmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:09 am

for me
not gear - it's the ease of the setup - properly labeled patch bays, comprehensive routing with naming in daw and i/o - easy reach cables -
ergonomics - zeroed out mixer/hardware to start with - i don't want to think i want to do the music thing and i'll toss anything that disrupts that -

i routinely work in 4 different rooms at the office plus my home studio and each of them is pretty different - daw different, speakers are different , mixer/no mixer, 4 different room controllers, not to mention different sizes and acoustic treatment- but as long as the flow is easy to follow i don't even notice which room i'm in once i start working

i spent 20 hours in my home studio rebuilding templates in my daws and the new i/o and patchbay labels - and i still have more to go
just cause i added 3 pieces -tube di's, es-8 i/o and a dedicated re-amp box
and some new soft synths - that sound great through a tube di:-)
i have a template with every soft synth i own preloaded so it's easy to access from the start,
i have template versions for routing depending on if mixing in surround or stereo or both and a few kinda starter mix templates for specific project types - people or platforms i keep doing things with

i hate any mental blocker

only time i really really care about gear - not counting music instruments - is mastering - then i want the right hardware and the revealing speakers in the super tuned room that i have hand picked for the purpose -
i think that is required for that job

Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 349
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:08 am
Location: Straya

Post by Technologear? » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:31 am

1. Custom made standing table. I'm fit enough to tolerate standing up for hours, it promotes me to move and physically adjust gear without hesitation, and my criteria for mix success is if it makes me dance. Be comfortable, create more.
2. Harrison Mixbus. I used Reaper for a decade but I got bored of it. Mixbus suits me, I'm back mixing my tracks again
3. Working relationship with my mastering engineer. Took us a few tracks to get there but it's great now.
4. Phone call to my bank to set up a savings account and fortnightly small deposit. This is the buy once cry once strategy put into effect
5. "I wonder if I can do that with the gear I already have..." and trying. Kills GAS, increases knowledge and productivity
6. Zoom h4n in 4 track mode. Limitations are good for me.

User avatar
Common Wiggler
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:28 pm
Location: Deep South, U.S.

Post by MoogCloud » Wed May 02, 2018 10:20 am

When I finally upgraded to a "real" mixer. My Allen & Heath ZED 60 has completely changed how multiple tracks are mixed.
Mother 96, GRP R24, and 18U of EuroMagic.
Modular Grid
My SoundCloud

Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:35 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by LHOOQtius » Wed May 09, 2018 1:05 am

Ableton Live literally made me 100x more productive (I have the file history to prove it), because I started life as a cassette loop guy (but eventually just couldn't freakin' take the tedious, breakage-prone workflow of cassettes) and the long, open-ended roll of Logic and Cubase were just not everything I needed. Sure, I can still record long takes sometimes, but playing with piles of loops is home for me.

User avatar
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 352
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:40 pm

Post by tenshun » Fri May 18, 2018 11:14 am

The Motu Ultralite MK3 really helped me out on capturing all my sounds into my computer. With the 8 inputs i can have everything separated.
Also it can be used by itself with out the computer as a mixer as well.

Another thing that helped out for me was the Neumann KH 120 monitors.
They just made alot of my mixing sound really good.

User avatar
Common Wiggler
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:47 pm

Post by addendum » Sat May 26, 2018 10:13 am

Playing programmed/ sequenced stuff by hand for comparison.

Some musicians/ produces may want to avoid that deliberately, in order to not interrupt the "machine-y" feel of what they do and what they want to express. But for me, I feel it has always made my sequences better.

Post Reply

Return to “Production Techniques”