5 Mistakes Every Beginner Producer Makes (And How To Avoid Them)

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In many ways, the trajectory for a DJ is simple: master technical fundamentals, get great at selecting music, and try and develop a unique style that’s all your own. While the trajectory for production is in some ways very similar, modern DAWs provide such a myriad of options that make it easy to fall into one of many pitfalls, especially when just starting out! Today we’re looking at 5 of the most common mistakes almost every beginner producer makes, and how to avoid them.

1. LESS IS ALWAYS MORE 

When starting out, the impulse of the vast majority of producers is to grab at every extra plug-in and piece of tech they can get their hands on, and why not? Each product invariably markets itself as the be-all, end-all product that will immediately inject your tracks with fresh energy and life.

While it’s true that there are a lot of pieces of gear and plugins out there that (when used properly) are godsends, grabbing a handful of them and throwing them into your newest track won’t do anything but throw in a bunch of processing that’s too complex for you to handle.

It might be difficult, but instead of trying to use a million different tools to achieve the same effect, try becoming an expert in using a few: mastering one synth and one compressor will do far more for your workflow than half-understanding the functions of ten synths and twenty compressors, a mantra that’s been repeated by the likes of Skrillex, who made his entire Scary Monsters album with only Ableton’s onboard processors.

2. LOUDER DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER

There’s perhaps nothing more infuriating in the world of production than lovingly mixing down a track, spending hours tweaking every knob, every parameter, automating down to the second, and then referencing it to a professional club track and watching your smile sink slowly as your track is absolutely pummeled by the thump of its professional counterpart. For a lot of producers, this is a massive source of frustration, and rightfully so, as it can feel like there’s absolutely nothing one can do to compete on the level of these thumping mixes.

The solution that a lot of beginning producers jump to is the notorious brick wall limiter, which is basically akin to using a butcher knife where you should use a scalpel. The reasoning often cited for this practice is usually something along the lines of  “Mastering techs use limiters, and they make loud tracks, so I should too.” Unfortunately this results in all kinds of negative and unanticipated effects, like pumping sounds, dynamics loss, and distortion. Ultimately, it’s better to take some time to learn a bit about the mastering process, or to save up to pay a mastering engineer, than to take the easy route and absolutely squash your tracks.

3. DON’T FEAR THE PRESETS

It seems increasingly that the production world is divided into those who view presets as the ultimate cheat, and those who view them as the only way to produce. While their ultimate purpose likely lies somewhere between those two opinions, it’s incredibly important to have a reasonable approach to presets (and by extension, samples and sample packs).

Many producers might cringe at the sound of a Nexus piano preset, it’s important to remember that the end goal of a producer should be satisfaction artistically with themselves and with the audience, which may or may not be comprised of people who can recognize presets. This isn’t necessarily license to go and write something like “KNAS,” you should always keep an open mind to both samples and presets, if only as tools to compliment your sound and radically increase your efficiency.

An easy way to use presets and samples without losing the integrity of a track is to mix genres that traditionally aren’t related: for example, try using hip-hop synth samples in a techno track; you’ll find that the jarring presence of a sound from an entirely different sonic universe can produce some exciting and novel results.

4.  I SOUND LIKE [FAVORITE PRODUCER], AM I FAMOUS YET?

Far too many producers confuse learning the ins and outs of a system with learning how to make a specific product. When starting out, the drive is somewhat clearly to make a track reminiscent of the track that got you into production in the first place, or at very least, the track you love at the moment. In a recent interview with DJTT, Lucky Date recommended emulating the sounds of a favorite artist as a great starting place for new producers.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a fondness for a sound or style, but producing with a constant eye towards making one type of sound will stunt one’s growth as a producer and as a musician. Tutorial-hunting and remake attempts will only teach you the sound that is the end result of a process invisible to everyone but the producer himself.

Instead, spend time reading and learning about general techniques of compression, EQing, and sound design; the end result will be a much richer production experience and a wealth of knowledge that’s applicable to a wide variety of production styles and changing tastes.

5.  OBSESS OVER THE ART, NOT THE CRAFT

This is a simple thing to remember, but it’s lost on tons of producers starting out: there will be a point at which you are fairly comfortable with your production skills. Whenever that point may be, it’s crucial to remember that a production skillset isn’t the end goal, writing music is!

It’s fantastic to have a well-mixed track with plenty of perfectly synthesized sounds, but if it’s a boring track, no amount of clean mixdown will ever make it interesting. Think of the core principles of sound design as guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Once you’re relatively comfortable with understanding each of the features of your chose DAW, try doing something unconventional or even technically “dumb,” like using a limiter on a single track, or heavy reverb on a bassline, or using a really wide imager on a synth line. These adjustments might not make your track better technically, but this sort of experimentation is almost always guaranteed to make your track more interesting.

Have you ever been trapped in one of these producer pitfalls – or know of any examples of producers who might be stuck in one of them right now? Chat with us in the comment section below. 

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6 thoughts on “5 Mistakes Every Beginner Producer Makes (And How To Avoid Them)

  1. Many people all over the world live together before getting married. In my country this habit was not very common,but today the number of the people,who decide to share a home with their partner is increasing. In my opinion it’s a great idea. If some people are not capable of living together it’s better to find it out before the wedding and not after. In this way The number of divorces would go down and women could avoid many episodes of violence.

    The sonnet LV belongs to the great sequence that Shakespeare dedicated to the fair youth. In this sonnet it’s expressed a powerful and magnificent message: poetry can survive longer than monuments. I agree with Shakespeare. In my opinion monuments are the expression of an ephemeral glory. Indeed monuments can be forgotten or destroyed. Unlike monuments, poetry can describe feelings and ideas that can live in the soul of every man of every age, becoming immortal

    A month ago Obama defeated Republicans in the elections. The great old party tried to explain his defeat descibing obama as a very lucky person. Indeed Obama’s political carrier is full of successes supported by fortune,which allowed him to become the leader of the free world twice. According to Machiavelli no one can controll the fortune but the virtue of a great leader is the capacity to adapt his choice according to the change of events. In my opinion what led Obama to his success was his capacity to take advantage of the occasion that he had, becoming a perfect model of the american dream

    Quali sono gli errori

  2. Mi sto esercitando per l’ultimo esame della specialistica, e dovrò probabilmente scrivere un report (relazione) aziendale di 200-250 parole. ne ho fatto uno per esercitarmi, e ne è venuto fuori questo:

    TEAM SITUATION REPORT
    Executive summary
    At the end of the month, Parry and Gibson’s company has recorded a grave loss in the sales, due to the fact that the sales team is not working very well at the moment, and so the moral is very low. Our sales manager, Michael Moore, is concerned and asked us senior members to suggest some solutions to solve the situation of the company.
    Introduction
    This report will look at:
    – the cause of the team breaking off;
    – the sequence of events;
    – the consequences of the team breaking off;
    – the financial loss;
    – recommendations to avoid the team breaking off in the future.
    Findings
    – In the last month, our company has been involved in the prize for the best sales group of Perry and Gibson’s company, we usually do each year to improve our sales team activity.
    – Team members have begun to compete very hard to each other to win the prize. Moreover, two members of them, Steve Boss and Hugo Main, ruling two different groups and having a friendship, have taken this prize as a personal competition and have focussed their attention on this personal achievement.
    – The team situation has caused many mistakes, which responsibles can’t be detected.
    Conclusion
    Our company has got a loss of $ 50,000 in the month sales.
    Recommendations
    1. The sales manager must clarify team’s goals, explaining to sales team that they are not working only for them and their success, but first of all for the company they take part.
    2. The sales members must focus more on group result, less on individual success, because they are working as a team.
    3. i propose as senior member to eliminate the prize for the best sales group of the company, because it creates too many competition between members.

    M. Giannini
    Senior member
    13 September 2008

    Qualcuno potrebbe dirmi se è strutturato bene e se ci sono molti errori di grammatica? lo so che è molto lungo, ma darò i 10 punti solo a chi non copierà nulla da internet e sarà lieto di farmi questo grandissimo favore, grazie

  3. Ciao a tutti, mi servirebbe la correzione del seguente testo riguardante la storia di Romeo e Giulietta. Dopo il testo in inglese troverete il significato:

    This novel tells the story of two enemy families: the Montagues and the Capulets. But the real stars of this tragedy are the sons of these families, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet who are very much in love.
    The two fall in love during a costume party at the house of Capulet’s family. Romeo, risking his life, remains in the Capulet garden after the end of the party, and in the famous balcony scene, the two declare their love and decide to get married in secret. The following day Friar Lawrence marries them, believing that the fight between the two families will end.
    After many problems, Rome and Juliet are separated. Romeo, furious about the ‘killing of his friend, kills Juliet’s cousin and is sentenced to exile. Juliet is forced to marry Paride, but to avoid this, decides to ask for help from Friar Laurence, who gives her a potion that would induce an apparent death for 48 hours. Romeo is in Mantova, under quarantine for the plague, and learns from a servant of the family that the girl is dead. Romeo does not know the truth, he gets a venom, returns to Verona and goes in the Capulet crypt. After, Paride is killed in a duel and Romeo poisons himself. But when Juliet wakes up, finds her lover dead beside her and Paride, who was killed by Romeo’s dagger, she decided to kill himself. The families of two lovers arrive to the crypt, where Friar Lawrence reveals the love and secret marriage of Romeo and Juliet. Finally, the two families are reconciled.

    ITALIANO

    Questo romanzo racconta la storia di due famiglie nemiche: i Montecchi e Capuleti. Ma i veri protagonisti di questa tragedia sono i figli di queste famiglie, Romeo Montecchi e Giulietta Capuleti che sono molto innamorati.
    I due si innamorano durante una festa in maschera a casa della famiglia Capuleti. Romeo, rischiando la vita, resta nel giardino dei Capuleti dopo la fine della festa, e nella famosa scena del balcone, i due si dichiarano il loro amore e decidono di sposarsi in segreto. Il giorno seguente Frate Lorenzo li sposa, credendo che la lotta tra le due famiglie si concluderà.
    Dopo molti problemi, Roma e Giulietta sono separati. Romeo, furibondo per l ‘uccisione del suo amico, uccide cugino di Giulietta e viene condannato all’esilio. Giulietta è costretta a sposare Paride, ma per evitare questo, decide di chiedere aiuto a Frate Lorenzo, che le dà una pozione che avrebbe indotto una morte apparente per 48 ore. Romeo è a Mantova, sotto quarantena per la peste, e viene a sapere da un servitore della famiglia che la ragazza è morta. Romeo non conosce la verità, ottiene un veleno, torna a Verona e va nella cripta dei Capuleti. Dopo, Paride viene ucciso in un duello, Romeo si avvelena. Ma quando Giulietta si sveglia, trova il suo amante morto accanto a lei e Paride, che è stato ucciso dal pugnale di Romeo, decise di uccidersi. Le famiglie dei due innamorati arrivano alla cripta, dove Frate Lorenzo rivela l’amore e il matrimonio segreto di Romeo e Giulietta. Infine, le due famiglie sono riconciliati.

    Grazie comunque :)

  4. Ciao a tutti :) sto leggendo una storia in lingua inglese. Qualcuno può aiutarmi a capire questo testo? Ho usato google traduttore ma,come sapete,non funziona molto bene.

    Il testo:

    “I have to let him go,” I whispered softly, speaking my words aloud, tears welling in my eyes. They tasted like soap in my mouth, but I knew without verbalization, I would never truly believe them.

    It was the only way to solve this problem. We couldn’t be together, not like he wanted. The fact was a hard slap in the face, no matter how true it maybe. It wasn’t a question of whether I loved him; I knew I did, even if I’d never physically told him so. It was about what the relationship would require, not only from me but from him. It had been doomed to fail since the moment we’d met.

    Our worlds were completely different. His filled with Simon Cowell and adoring fans while mine consisted of two jobs and community college. He couldn’t go anywhere along the continent of Europe without being followed by cameras and I couldn’t get one of my fellow class mates to remember my name if I paid them. In three days I would fly back home across the Atlantic to my average life while he remained here in London basking in the life he fully deserved. It was all so clear to me now.

    I would have given anything to stay with him but it just wasn’t what was best for either of us. Committing himself to a relationship at his age in his situation was a recipe for heartbreak. Everyday he would be tempted with one beautiful girl to another and with his nature, flirting would be impossible for him to resist. I’d witnessed it myself tonight and each smile and giggle had torn at my heart strings. With the damage one night had done, I could only imagine the pain a whole tours worth would cause. It was best to avoid it all together.

    What he needed was the freedom every boy his age should have, the ability to grow and learn who he was without the hindrance of a girlfriend to hold him back. He could never know what he truly loved without first knowing himself and with me that would never be accomplished.

    But could I ever truly stop loving him? The flood of tears pouring down my cheeks was proof enough that the answer to the question was no. I’d never felt this way about anyone. I’d never found someone one I’d wanted to give myself over to like this. He’d made me feel more alive and filled with joy than I could ever recall. The laughs, smiles and kisses, I would never trade them for anything. But no matter how much physical pain I endured, I would never be able to forgive myself if I didn’t do what was right for him. I had to let him go.

    Sliding down my white bedroom door, I wrapped my arms around my knees and choked out between sobs, “I’m sorry, Harry.”’

    Se non avete voglia di tradurlo tutto,capisco :)
    Giulia

  5. French Symbolism, a movement which had started in France with Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal(1857), also influenced the new poetry. The symbolist stressed the importance of the unconscious and the use of images to evoke rather than to state. Ideas were presented in an oblique way and free verse was used to exploit the sound and musicality of worlds. However, it was T.S. Eliot who expounded the new poetic theory and practice. In his essay Tradition and the Individual Talent(1917), Eliot stated that: “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality”, thus reversing what had been Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as “emotion recollected in tranquility”. Poets insisted on economy and concentration; they not only rejected the poetic diction of the past but also tried to avoid the language of common people. They invented their own vocabulary and mythology to voice the fragmentation of culture.

  6. E’ stimato che ne faranno fuori 280.mila quest’anno.
    il governo ha raccomandato di tagliare loro le arterie sotto le pinne per non scuoiarle vive.
    fate voi. questi bastardi non sono solo in cina.
    vedete se firmare o no.
    QUESTO E’ IL LINK PER SCRIVERE AL COMITATO, DEVI SOLO INSERIRE NOME E COGNOME:

    http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/seal_hunt_09

    Il governo canadese ha iniziato la sua annuale guerra contro le foche. Quest’anno, i cacciatori di foche uccideranno a bastonate fino a 338,200 esemplari di questi innocui animali. Ora più che mai, è importante parlare e chiedere la cessazione permanente del crudele massacro di foche e invitare tutte le persone che conosci a fare altrettanto.

    L’opinione pubblica guarda al Canada, che ospiterà le Olimpiadi Invernali del 2010. Questa maggiore attenzione spingerà il Canada a comportamenti migliori, visto che avrà la responsabilità di dare il buon esempio al mondo. Ecco perché ci rivolgiamo al Comitato Organizzatore Olimpico di Vancouver, chiedendo di fare pressione per fermare il massacro canadese delle foche.

    Durante l’annuale massacro delle foche, centinaia di migliaia di esemplari di cuccioli di foca sono bastonati finché il loro cranio viene fracassato, tutto in nome della “moda”. I cacciatori di foche le arpionano negli occhi, nelle guance o nella bocca, per evitare di danneggiarne la pelliccia, poi le trascinano sul ghiaccio, in molti casi senza accertarsi che siano ancora coscienti o meno.

    I cuccioli di foca non hanno speranze contro i cacciatori con bastoni e arpioni, e sono costretti ad assistere che altri cuccioli di foca siano bastonati a morte, prima di fare la stessa fine. Il dolore che una madre foca prova, guardando il suo piccolo bastonato a morte vicino a lei è terrificante, la foca grida di dolore e prova a salvare il suo piccolo.

    Per favore, scrivi anche tu al Comitato Organizzatore Olimpico di Vancouver, chiedendo di aiutarci a porre una fine immediata al massacro delle foche, e invita i tuoi amici (e tutte le persone che conosci) a fare altrettanto. Qualche minuto del tuo tempo può fare una grande differenza per la vita dei cuccioli di foca.

    QUESTO E’ IL LINK PER SCRIVERE AL COMITATO, DEVI SOLO INSERIRE NOME E COGNOME:

    http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/seal_hunt_09

    Qualche minuto del tuo tempo può fare una grande differenza per la vita dei cuccioli di foca.

    English Version
    ————
    The Canadian government has begun its annual war on seals. This year, sealers will beat and skin up to 338,200 of these gentle animals. Now more than ever before, it is vital to speak up and demand a permanent end to the cruel seal slaughter and to urge everyone you know to speak out as well.

    All eyes are on Canada as it prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. This extra attention will bring increased scrutiny and comes with the added responsibility of setting a positive example for the world. That’s why we are calling on the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee to use its clout to help stop the Canadian seal slaughter.

    During Canada’s annual seal massacre, hundreds of thousands of baby seals are shot or have their skulls crushed, all for the sake of “fashion.” Sealers routinely hook seals in the eye, cheek, or mouth to avoid damaging the pelt, then drag the seals across the ice, in many cases without checking to ensure that they are unconscious.

    Baby seals stand no chance against club-wielding trappers, and they must look on as fellow pups are bludgeoned to death before meeting the same bloody fate. The anguish that a mother seal feels as she watches her baby being beaten to death just a few feet away from her is horrifying and can be heard in her desperate cries and seen in her attempts to get to her baby.

    Please write to the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee and demand that it help bring an immediate end to the seal slaughter. Share this action alert with everyone you know. A few minutes of your time will make a huge difference for baby seals.

    THIS IS THE LINK FOR WRITING TO THE COMMITTEE, YOU JUST NEED TO INSERT YOUR NAME AND SURNAME:

    http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/seal_hunt_09

    Again, few minutes of your time will make a huge difference for baby seals.
    P.S:le arterie..e fli animali non soffrono lo stesso..poveri angeli..mi si gela il sangue..

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