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Production Tutorial

Electronic Music Production Workflows

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48 Videos | Length: 1hr 28min 40sec
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  • Introduction 0:44

    Introduction

    Adam Multiplier welcomes you and goes over what the series is all about.

  • 3 Step Mixing Workflow 2:00

    3 Step Mixing Workflow

    Learn the best framework for approaching mixing. 1) Clean up the sound. 2) Make it sound good by itself. 3) Make it sound good with everything playing. I include some specific tips for implementing this effectively and why it works.

  • A Different Way to Approach Collabs 2:15

    A Different Way to Approach Collabs

    Before collaborating on a track, collect sounds, loops, and ideas you both like, by bouncing a folder back and forth (adding things you like, and removing things you don't). This workflow is more efficient as it saves time wasted working with sounds and ideas the other person doesn't like.

  • Arranging to a Reference 1:34

    Arranging to a Reference

    See how to use a reference track as a guide to structuring and sequencing/arranging your track. The magic is in color coding similar sections/phrases, and naming sections/phrases with useful and descriptive words (e.g. mid-energy break).

  • Band Pass Mixing Workflow 1:32

    Band Pass Mixing Workflow

    Use this mixing workflow trick to isolate specific bands of frequencies. Discover why this is useful, and what things you should listen for. E.g. when listening to just the lowest frequencies, can you tell which part of the track is playing? (intro, build-up, drop, etc.) can you hear the rhythm?

  • Bouncing to Audio Workflows 2:08

    Bouncing to Audio Workflows

    Bouncing to audio "locks-in" your ideas as simple audio files, which is useful because software often makes mistakes. Audio files don't make mistakes. I also share some considerations, such as what to do if sidechain compression prevents you doing this, and how (when possible) you should bounce to audio dry (unprocessed) first.

  • Chord Generating Plug-ins 3:22

    Chord Generating Plug-ins

    Use chord generating plug-ins to avoid writing the same chords over and over again. I explain why this is a common problem and also give two examples of these plug-ins to spark your imagination, Captain Chords by Mixed in Key and "Chord Set Mode" in Komplete Kontrol by Native Instruments.

  • Construction Zones 1:26

    Construction Zones

    Construction zones are parts of the track that aren't finished yet (maybe a build-up or a break). But don't let them stress you as they're a key part of most arrangement workflows.

  • Convert Drums to MIDI 0:30

    Convert Drums to MIDI

    Learn this great workflow for starting tracks, and getting rhythms going you wouldn't have created otherwise. It extracts the rhythm information from a drum loop (an audio file), and turns this into a MIDI clip. Once you have the MIDI, you can make any adjustments you like, and find the perfect sound to use.

  • Create MIDI First 0:49

    Create MIDI First

    Explore this different way to approach things, which involves writing the melody first. In this example, I start with a MIDI rhythm and some pitch bend, creating a melody. Then, as it's playing, I swap in samples/instruments, until something catches my attention. It's lots of fun!

  • Create Sample Packs Instead 3:19

    Create Sample Packs Instead

    Here's a workflow tip I got from Noisia, about why you should separate the sound design process, from the songwriting/sequencing/arrangement process. As I explain, it's a more efficient way of working, since they are very different mindsets, and it's quicker to make sounds iteratively, without worrying about whether or not it's working in a specific song you're working on.

  • Create Without Listening 1:30

    Create Without Listening

    Try creating a track without listening to it. It sounds mad, but there are two reasons why it works so well. 1) You end up with something very different to what you usually create. 2) (More importantly) It forces you to think critically about, and more deeply understand, each part of the music production process.

  • Creating Arps from Chords 0:33

    Creating Arps from Chords

    Here's a fun trick to write parts in the same key, related to what you already have, by taking an existing chord progression (multiple notes played at the same time), and converting this into an arpeggio (the chords played as strings of individual notes).

  • Creating Harmonies from Chords 0:34

    Creating Harmonies from Chords

    Learn how to create harmonies from chords. It's easy if you've seen how, but super powerful. Take any note from your chord progression, pitch it up an octave, sustain it throughout the phrase, and play it with a different instrument.

  • Deactivate 0:44

    Deactivate

    By default, deactivate tracks/audio clips/MIDI notes, don't delete them. Therefore, you won't lose or forget the ideas, as you can always reactivate the tracks/clips/notes if you change your mind.

  • Dig Deep Into Chords 3:35

    Dig Deep Into Chords

    Try spending 90 minutes or so JUST writing chord progressions. It takes time to get through the "obvious" ideas, before you start to write something more interesting, and understand it on a much deeper level.

  • Downbeat Offbeat Workflow 1:33

    Downbeat Offbeat Workflow

    This is maybe the most effective workflow for starting tracks. Lay one sound on each downbeat, and another on each offbeat (I explain what these terms are in the video). It's common to use a kick and a hi-hat, but this is especially interesting and effective if you use other sounds instead, e.g. textures or random one-shots.

  • Duplicate Don't Automate 0:47

    Duplicate Don't Automate

    Discover this simple, but super effective DAW workflow tip. It's often simpler to duplicate a track, instead of automating a parameter, and it can also make it easier to visually keep track of changes. I provide two examples: 1) LFO rate on a bass. 2) "Fill" kicks volume/gain.

  • Everyone Must Agree 1:50

    Everyone Must Agree

    In my opinion, this is the most important collaboration workflow. Everyone must like every single thing in the track. It sounds obvious, but it gives rise to a specific workflow that totally avoids creative disagreement and tension/arguments. Learn to internalize the idea, and embrace the nuances.

  • Four Track Workflow 1:56

    Four Track Workflow

    Explore this creative restriction in the spirit of the "analog" days. Create a track using just four audio tracks (consolidating multiple instruments into a single track, when necessary). It's lots of fun, and a great way to avoid choice paralysis!

  • Gain First Workflow 3:14

    Gain First Workflow

    Change gain before anything else. See how to adjust gain (volume) before grabbing that EQ/compressor or anything else you might have. It's a classic example of the easier/more-obvious solution actually being the better, and correct way to do something, as well as the most common advice given by the best mixers in the world.

  • Generative Workflows 2:50

    Generative Workflows

    See how to create a system to generate hundreds/thousands of samples, which you can then filter through and pick favorites from. It's a standard approach among professionals for sound design, but let me show how you can extend it outside of sound design.

  • How to Extend Loops 2:06

    How to Extend Loops

    Learn the standard workflow for getting "out of the loop", such as "Double it and make a variation" and/or automate something. I also provide a range of examples, including a chord progression, a melody, and some 808s.

  • How to Set Fader Levels 4:42

    How to Set Fader Levels

    Setting track faders is the most important thing to get right when mixing. To do so, don't just CHECK on a range of speakers/playback devices, actually USE them to make the decisions. Let me explain.

  • Is My Track Finished? 3:12

    Is My Track Finished?

    Struggling to know if you've finished your track or not? This 2-step workflow will provide a toolkit for making that decision. I also explain my reservations with this approach, as a caution against using it too literally.

  • Keep MIDI as Backup 1:29

    Keep MIDI as Backup

    Explore one of my favorite (and mostly unknown) DAW workflow tips. When bouncing to audio, keep the MIDI as a backup. This way, you get all the benefits of bouncing to audio (committing to ideas,"locking-in" audio, etc..), but also the option to come back to the MIDI later, and recreate the audio with different notes and/or parameters.

  • Mix As You Go? Or at the End? 2:26

    Mix As You Go? Or at the End?

    Should you mix as you go? or mix at the end? It's a long-standing debate, and I have the answer. It's all to do with whether or not the track is sound design focused, or song writing focused. I.e. does your track REQUIRE mixing, to understand if it's working or not. I explain in detail so you understand!

  • An Organization/Naming Workflow 1:09

    An Organization/Naming Workflow

    Here's an organization/naming workflow for more efficiently remembering which bits you might need to come back to later. The trick to this is consistency. Use any color or naming convention you like, but be consistent.

  • Randomly Add Samples 1:23

    Randomly Add Samples

    Discover an unusual workflow for getting ideas started. See how turn off quantization and throw random samples into the arrangement and why it works so well.

  • Record Automation Manually 2:46

    Record Automation Manually

    Learn how to assign 8 (somewhat) random parameters to physical controls via MIDI, and record yourself playing with these. Compared to using a mouse, this is a much more hands-on and enjoyable way to program automation, and create music. The resulting automation is more interesting and organic too.

  • Reduce Creative Choice 2:26

    Reduce Creative Choice

    Why do some people start writing with just a piano? Let me explain, and then expand this into the general case. It's all to do with reducing creative choice, and eliminating one of the three creative components: 1) the Rhythm, 2) the Melody, or 3) the Sound.

  • Set Grid Size to 16ths 1:53

    Set Grid Size to 16ths

    As a workflow for writing synth parts, or even just sequencing one-shots, set your grid size to 16ths and work on that grid. This is based on the most fundamental rhythmic concept in modern electronic music. I provide a range of examples, including the triplet case, which is the only (sometimes) common exception to this rule.

  • Songstarters 1:13

    Songstarters

    "Songstarter" audio files are a great way to get started on tracks and ideas. Essentially, they are kick / hi-hat / clap arrangements, at a generic tempo, with generic drum sounds. They provide a rhythmic base and foundation to work and write around.

  • Songwriting/Arrangement Workflow 0:53

    Songwriting/Arrangement Workflow

    Play your song in person to a friend. Take note of what you say, and when you say it. This will tell you critical information about your songwriting / arrangement, and where this may need fixing / reworking.

  • Sound Design Workflow 1:29

    Sound Design Workflow

    You'll want to use this sound design workflow about half of the time. Working with delay / reverb already applied is often critical to understanding what you're creating.

  • Start with MIDI Effects 2:44

    Start with MIDI Effects

    Try starting with MIDI effects, as they change the MIDI keyboard information, usually manipulating pitch and / or time. They are the most under-exploited feature in electronic music production, and I provide an interesting example to spark your imagination.

  • Start with the Identity 2:00

    Start with the Identity

    See how to start with a unique point of interest to avoid making something generic and pointless. I provide an example, as well as explain why it's also more efficient to start with the unique point of interest.

  • Subtractive Arrangement Workflow 0:29

    Subtractive Arrangement Workflow

    This is an effective workflow for working with repetitive genres e.g. techno or tech house. It involves duplicating all your layers throughout the arrangement, and subtracting. I show you some ways!

  • Templates 1:45

    Templates

    Most commercial EDM artists use templates, so, should you? I give an example of a template I sometimes use, as well as some details to watch out for and consider incorporating, such as tuned kicks, sidechain compression, and short fills/sweeps and sound effects.

  • The Linear Workflow 1:54

    The Linear Workflow

    Discover how to start from the beginning, and work your way through the track. Complete each 4 bar section, before moving onto the next. As simple as it sounds, most people don't work this way. Porter Robinson does (or at least, used to). Maybe you should try?

  • The Mastering Workflow 1:44

    The Mastering Workflow

    Make the track, measure it, and adjust if need be. 99% of mastering falls into this framework. I include some examples to illustrate the ideas.

  • Treat Arrangement as a Workspace 1:41

    Treat Arrangement as a Workspace

    Instead of writing a specific track, try treating the arrangement as a workspace. Use the arrangement as a space for working on ideas which you can then piece together, and then break apart into multiple tracks afterwards. It's an arrangement / writing workflow that works for Skrillex, so it might just work for you.

  • Trim MIDI Clips 0:35

    Trim MIDI Clips

    This workflow helps make sure you clearly understand what is happening at each moment in time.

  • What Order Should You Mix Things? 3:27

    What Order Should You Mix Things?

    What order should you mix things? Should you start with the most important elements? Or maybe in order of dependency? (e.g. the bass works around the kick, and so you need to mix the kick BEFORE the bass). I share both strategies, as well as my personal approach, which is a combination of the two.

  • Work on Duplicates 2:02

    Work on Duplicates

    If you have something good, and want to make it great, save it, duplicate it, and work on the duplicated version. Most people kind of understand this, but don't do it anywhere near enough.

  • Working with Chords 1:21

    Working with Chords

    Discover why "chord repeat arpeggio with hold" is the best workflow for working with chords. It allows you to focus on the harmonic relationships and progression, without having to worry about actually playing the notes. Watch and see what I mean.

  • Working with Presets 1:37

    Working with Presets

    Change presets AS the track is playing. It sounds simple, but it's an often overlooked workflow technique.

  • Zeroing Faders Mixing Workflow 1:29

    Zeroing Faders Mixing Workflow

    Once you've finished songwriting, before doing a final mix, bring all the faders down to 0% (-inf dB). Then, bring up each element one by one, reevaluating its importance and correct fader level. I explore this idea, and how to do it correctly.

Product Overview


Adam Pollard aka Multiplier, brings you a ton of video tutorials all designed to help with your production and mixing tasks when working on Electronic Music. Learn time saving and inspirational tips and tricks that will allow you to produce and mix electronic music faster and more creatively.

Adam welcomes you to the series and then jumps right in with a variety of workflow tutorials that cover topics like mixing, collaborating, arranging and using chord generating plug-ins for sparking new ideas. Cool MIDI workflow tips and tricks are then given, and you’ll see how to first use MIDI to start producing, and converting drum audio files to MIDI tracks for more tweaking and pattern customization.

Moving on you’ll get loads of creative tips covering different ways to approach song and beat construction, generate arpeggios and harmonies from chords, session workflow tricks like the benefit of deactivating tracks, downbeat offbeat workflows, how it’s simpler to duplicate a track instead of automating a parameter and why, ways to avoid “choice paralysis” and much, much more.

See the individual tutorial descriptions for a full list of what’s covered. If you’re into producing electronic music, Adam has given you some of his best ideas and secrets for ramping up your song and beat creation workflows… Watch “Electronic Music Production Workflows” today.


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