Everything sound & ear training related

SoundGym

profile
Kilian Kraus
Jan 17
Question to producers out there (I'm relatively new), whats the best way to progress? How do you guys listen to your own work and know what is lacking. How do you pick out all your mistakes and the things to work on. At the start it just seems like a whole lot is not good about your music, so it's hard to identify the problem or identify which of them should be worked on first. Any advice?
profile
Emil Jensen
Jan 17
Not sure specifically which area you're looking to improve - an instrument, song writing, production, mixing, mastering, etc etc - but I think in general for anything related to sound and music is referencing. Take time to break down stuff you like. If it's song structure, listen to songs you really like and take notes of the verse, the chorus, what helps bring things out or reel them in. If it's mixing, reference the tightness of the low end, the airyness of the high end, the individual elements and how they gel together (or fight each other). And then apply that to your own "struggles" or if you're unsure about how to do something, experiment to see if you can figure out how they did it. Even failing at this is going to help you improve.

Which areas are you looking to progress with specifically?
profile
Those are some very good questions you are askin, I think its what a lot of starters struggle with.
If you want to improve your overall producing skills, mix and produce stuff. And finish it. Don't try to make your music sound great at the beginning. Finish and start something new. If you think something is good, come back to it later when you redefined your skills.
And also listen to great produced music from different genres. Listen to your favorite songs and understand what makes them great.
One thing that is underestimated imho is arrangement. Rick Beato has a series on youtube about what makes some songs great in his opinion. There a lot of places to find great infos and ideas what to learn. Or just go to "Learn" here on this page and go for the "Mix and Master"-Playlist. Its nicely curated.
And some general stuff.
Never underestimate the space you are working in. Invest on acoustic treatment for your room. Buy the best headphones you can effort and stick to those, learn how your environment sounds so you can make good decisions.
profile
Kilian Kraus
Jan 18
@Dominik Schirach @Emil Jensen

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond.

To answer Emil first, I think for me I'm looking at improving the general production (as in not the songwriting, mixing or mastering). I feel like for the Mixing/Mastering/Songwriting it's easier to reference other tracks and learn. I think the issue is more the arrangement and sound selection for the arrangement. It's harder to compare because the whole point is that these things are different to other songs. Whereas mixing for example, you are looking for a similar amount of low end to other songs in the genre/style so you can directly compare. So I guess my question is how do you get better at arrangement and sound selection?

Now to respond to Dominik, I imagine you're correct with the "don't try to make your music sound great at the beginning", but can I ask why this is? I've been a musician for a long time (in terms of physical instruments, not production) and that makes sense why you can't just play something and make it sound great, because you physically have to adapt the coordination and ear and sight reading skills etc. But with production there is no physical development. So with it being mostly mental it would make sense that you could progress reasonably quickly. So can I ask, why isnt this the case? What is usually the thing that slows someone down? Asking so I can maybe start working on this asap and have it be less of a hurdle. Also thank-you for the Rick Beato recommendation, I've seen a few videos of his but never heard of that series so I'll check it out.

Thanks so much to both of you,
Kilian Xx
profile
Chris Be
Jan 18
My advice for the best way to progress, which answers all your questions: go for a good teacher/trainer having an organized plan how to progress, giving feedback and teaching the material as a whole and not only seperate techniques, etc.. This should be absolutly prior before accessing any online tutorials/courses. At best if possible switch the mentors from time to time if there are "specialists" available. Sometimes an EDM DJ mixing guy is doing techniques which are wonders for a Rock/Metal mixer and vice versa.

As a beginner and sometimes even intermediate you don't know what is lacking on your work when you are on your own, not/hardly possible to identify specific critical areas. References are quite worthless, since you have no clue how to come closer to the reference' sound. This ends in trial and error over a very (very) long time.
profile
Put in a large amount of volume, structured learning is important. Being here is a GREAT START. I would also recommend tone gym. This will make your mix sound good BUT, a great mix is nothing without a good song. Harmony, Melody, and groove are all superior to a good mix, especially for the average listener. Build a relationship with an instrument so that your ideas can instantly convert into the daw. Don't worry about how things sound for now just try to replicate your ideas the best you can. Latch to inspiration from other artists and study what they do for your benefit. Continue this for the rest of eternity and you will not be disappointed.
profile
For me soundgym was a game changer. The frequencies for example I began to notice more mud and low end in my vocals. I used to not even know or hear it but after so many hours on sound gym it sticks out.

Try to get an hour a day and within a year you'll be INSANELY better than you were before. Compare your mixes against the Hot 100. It will be frustrating at first but comparing yourself against the best will force yourself to compete against the best.

Go through the learning courses on here too. They are awesome and really help grasp concepts that are often talked about, but not comletely understood by newer engineers and producers.
profile
Hi Kilian!
I am still in a learning phase., I tend to get overwhelmed alot, mostly because I want things to be perfect and I lack the knowledge to do so, or I want to grab on to everything at once.

That's why as Dominik has mentioned, it's best to finish the track till the end and come back to it later (alot of people advise that) also it will help you to "restart" your ears.
The longer you listen to something the bigger the possibility to fuck up a good idea.
So take time...
Also it's good to realise on which days you feel like producing or mixing or even cleaning up the folders or the unnecessary samples for eg.
Be aware of that, since that will help you not waste time

Ofcourse deadlines mean just getting stuff done no matter what, but in the begginers phase I would advise to go by the feeling alot of times.
Sometimes having a day of making just few cool loops is more than good.
Anyways hope that helps.
Ciao
profile
Colin Aiken
Jan 19
good advice everybody.
profile
Kilian Kraus
Jan 19
Thank-you everyone for the advice you've given. I will try apply as much as I can, make as many finished tracks as possible, keep training my ears, try find a teacher and I'm sure I'll be a step closer to great music. Thanks again!