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-   -   Overproduction Woes (https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/showthread.php?t=169628)

BrandonFrisby 2012-10-23 10:20

Overproduction Woes
 
Anyone else have this problem?

You make a new session, just to practice between commissions and keep your Reason-ing sharp. You start simple enough, a nice pure piano in a good RV7000 space, tweak out the EQ and get it sounding just right.
Then, you stack a little organ on top. Still sounds good.
So, why not add those Pizzicato strings? You slap those in as well.
Next, you add in one - no, two - ah, why not, three - layers of drums/percussion/rhythm.

So on.
And so on.

Next thing you know, you've been at it for two hours and you have a glorious sounding but over-saturated 16 bar loop, and it's going absolutely nowhere.
I had one co-worker tell me an orchestral intro I did for a Christian album was "Exhausting to listen to" because of the literally 28 layers I had going.

So, my question to all you other talented Reason slingers: How do you keep your compositions from being crowded, over done, and overly complex, but still lush and full and interesting?

And while I'd very much like to think this isn't a mixing issue, that might be entirely possible...but something tells me it's much more basal than that.

TheFatControlleR 2012-10-23 10:30

I often tend to go OTT, cramming everything (including the kitchen sink) into a track, or at least the initialising loops and phrases.

I liken it to piling a load of clay on a loose armature then, like subtractive synthesis, spend the rest of the time nipping at it, tweaking a bit here, a shortening/lengthening/quantizing note there. I've yet to develop a singular methodology, and in some respects I hope I never do.

BrandonFrisby 2012-10-23 10:37

So you're more of the reverse method, it seems.
My biggest problem seems to be that I over do the first 16 bars to the point it's big enough to be the chorus/bridge/climax whatever you want to refer to it as. And then get bored or end up hating it.
I can't tell you how many epic "Daily Practice -insert date here-" 20 second loops I have.
They all sound massive and well produced and layered to a fault and mixed to the smallest detail.

I hate 98% of them.

sh73888 2012-10-23 11:37

Hahahahahaha... this post makes me laugh out loud, I know exactly what you mean. Well, at least at one chapter in my audio production education anyway. I think the phase of creation you are at is pivotal for learning these minute/detailed arrangements you are referring to above. I also think its crucial that you amass this "library" of 20sec loops over a period of time in your AP education, because during the paintstakingly anticlimatic phase you are talking about, you learn at least one or two new unique and interesting ways to blend sounds or mix dynamically to change the tempo or create some elaborate pan/sweep vocal ensemble that leaves your ears wondering what god whispered in your ear. And yeah maybe now youre like "wtf i have nothing substantial to show for it and frankly I dont know where to start the next evolution." Well now you have all the skills needed to create a proper full length track per genre-specified standards, you just need to get the A-Z one track at a time. Make a direct choice to create a vocal arrangement with the intent create a full length track, and then do that, then arrange it into the full track. Then add in some simple drums and bassline et al. and map out each track start to finish with the midi/basic parameter automations. And its always helpful to pull in a audio file of a track you like in particular arrangement wise cuz you can mimic the flow easily when you are just working at the vocal/subbass/kick level of a track ya know? Anyway, I think you should start doing something like that and make some full lengthers cuz it sounds like your tracks would be epic. Would love to hear the next fasho.

Lunesis 2012-10-23 18:54

I do this, but then I use it for just the climax of the song, and take away parts to create the rest of the song. So instead of starting out huge and trying to go huger, you can start out huge and then go smaller backwards. Also don't forget to tame your low end because it will compress the crap out of everything else, take all the low out of your reverb too for some extra headroom.

carlgrace 2012-10-23 19:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lunesis (Post 1162376)
I do this, but then I use it for just the climax of the song, and take away parts to create the rest of the song. So instead of starting out huge and trying to go huger, you can start out huge and then go smaller backwards.

The blocks feature of Reason is *really* helpful for this. Make a totally balls-out chorus as a block, for example, and then mute different parts for the various instances of the chorus on the song view. Makes putting together an arrangement much, much quicker and easier, and helps fight those overproduction woes.

sh73888 2012-10-24 12:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lunesis (Post 1162376)
I do this, but then I use it for just the climax of the song, and take away parts to create the rest of the song. So instead of starting out huge and trying to go huger, you can start out huge and then go smaller backwards. Also don't forget to tame your low end because it will compress the crap out of everything else, take all the low out of your reverb too for some extra headroom.

yeah I like this approach too.. honestly I like to walk a different line with each track, as each track is started from an idea of a different branch generally speaking.

Speaking of reverb and low end: I always start quiet and end loud in my mixing. I think using a limiter on the master bus is a waste of time cuz it plays havoc with creative dynamics and affects the sound designing so rather than limit, I am somewhat vigilantly aware of the master fader level and if my mix needs to be at -10dB so be it.. if its much more than this, finding the specific problem frequencies is a must and its back to the individual sounds and their respective levels. Its perhaps a bit more tedious but once you get used to the OCDness you are better off for it longterm with less mystery to the final product frequency spectrum.

REVERB IS ALWAYS AUTOMATED if values exceed some bare minimum threshold setting like 3-5% on a say the TSAR or RV7000. I do not use reverb on everything either, nor is it in my master bus effects chain - in fact only the occasional compressor and several notch frequencied equalizers ever have a place here imho. spectral imaging should be done on the individual tracks themselves and usage of one as a dynamic automatable effect should be within an indiv track too imho. and reverb has no place in a master as a general rule.. one of many rules which can be easily broken when necessary but almost never (not in edm music anyway).

sh73888 2012-10-24 12:54

have not messed with the block mode yet myself - and wondering if it is a useful way to maximize cpu usage??? thoughts on this carl

carlgrace 2012-10-24 17:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by sh73888 (Post 1162836)
have not messed with the block mode yet myself - and wondering if it is a useful way to maximize cpu usage??? thoughts on this carl

You know, I would suspect it doesn't affect cpu usage at all to use blocks. That said, it certainly has made me MUCH MUCH MUCH more efficient writing songs, so for me it has been a huge win.

One thing I do that *does* maximize CPU is to use send effects whenever possible. I've notice from refills (and I used to do this myself) people tend to associate the effects for a synth inside a combinator. That means, though, if you have 10 combinators you might be running 10 reverbs and 10 delays at once! So, to simplify things (and get a more unified sound) I try to just use send effects. In my opinion send effects glue the sound together more but that's just my own taste.

To be honest, I don't know anything that frees up CPU more than using send effects except maybe bouncing tracks to audio.


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