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Production Techniques & Strategies: Is My Track Finished?

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37 Videos | Length: 1hr 25min 45sec
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  • image description 0:58

    Introduction

    Adam welcomes you to the course and talks about what he will be covering.

  • image description 3:18

    Headroom

    Most people don't leave enough headroom, and I can prove it. Learn what headroom is, how to set it using ceiling on a limiter, and why (with proof!) we need to leave at least 1dB on our master files.

  • image description 3:10

    True Peak Headroom

    Again, most people don't do this correctly. And again, I prove it. Find out what True Peak is, and why we actually need to leave 1dB of "True Peak" headroom. I also show how to set "True Peak" headroom.

  • image description 4:08

    Loudness

    Every playback platform adjusts for loudness, and so we need to check loudness, to see how a platform might turn our track up or down. I explain why. In this video I introduce LUFS, roughly what levels to aim at, and a plugin to help us with this called "Loudness Penalty".

  • image description 2:45

    DC Offset

    What is DC offset? Why can it be a problem? And learn a few ways to remove it.

  • image description 2:22

    Check the Waveforms

    Visually check the master file waveforms in as many softwares as you can. At a minimum, in your DAW. But if possible, using colored waveforms such as you see in TRAKTOR. You can see compression, each instrument's level relative to each other, and the tonal balance / EQ balance for that genre.

  • image description 2:29

    Sub Bass Level

    In mastered tracks, the sub bass level (in a spectrum analyzer) is always between about -4dB and -8dB... which you can check by eye.

  • image description 3:59

    Tonal Balance / Mastering EQ

    Take the guesswork out of mastering EQ, by measuring the tonal balance (the "EQ balance"). Compare this to a reference you know is perfect. I share some specific tips for choosing and comparing your track to this reference.

  • image description 1:16

    Check It in Mono

    Some places (e.g. clubs) combine the L and R channels into a single (mono) channel, so check to make sure the track still works. I show the simplest ways to do this.

  • image description 4:23

    Vectorscopes & Phase Correlation

    Here's an introduction to vectorscopes, and the most important things to check for when looking at them (L/R balance, and the phase correlation meter). As I prove, phase correlation checks for mono compatibility issues. I also share my vectorscope "secret weapon"... an external device called a "Clarity M".

  • image description 1:39

    Low Pass Filter Check

    This is the best way to make sure the low frequencies are doing exactly what you want them to do. When listening to just the lowest frequencies, is the rhythm clear? Is the melody clear? Is it clean or messy? Can I tell where I am in the arrangement? Is the kick subtle, or heavy?

  • image description 5:12

    Mono Sub Bass

    People say to make the sub bass "mono".. but why? We should, and I show the easiest ways to do so, but why is this such a fundamental rule in music production? I prove it.

  • image description 3:08

    Vocal Compression

    Learn how to visually check to see if the vocal is sufficiently compressed for the genre you're making. The human voice is naturally too dynamic for electronic music, and so it must be compressed. I show this visually, and audibly. I also share my "secret weapon" for compressing aggressive vocals.

  • image description 1:07

    Sixteenth of Silence at the Front

    Add a sixteenth of silence at the beginning, to make sure the first kick doesn't get faded in (softening it's impact). I explain why, and show visually what happens if you don't.

  • image description 5:07

    DAW Specific Checks

    Each DAW will have a series of technical details to check, that you should check, before bouncing to audio or exporting. They won't individually make a big difference (otherwise you'd clearly hear them), but they do make a difference. 50 of these subtle differences will make your track much better. I share two specific ones in Ableton, fades, and the "beats" warp mode.

  • image description 0:39

    Dithering

    Don't forget to add dither if you export at a lower bit depth e.g. 16 or 24bit. This video says (without justification in this course) how to easily do so.

  • image description 2:09

    Backup Plug-In Presets

    Don't just backup the project, manually save (backup) the individual plugin presets, as often times these don't save correctly the project. And so you may lose them when coming back to the project later in the year, say. I show how, and a nice little workflow tip for taking note of "factory" plug-in presets.

  • image description 4:34

    High Quality Modes

    It sounds obvious, but don't forget to make sure everything is set to"high quality", before bouncing to audio or exporting. Sometimes the buttons aren't labeled as "high quality" though, as I show in a few common examples. I also explain when "high quality" isn't necessarily best.

  • image description 0:50

    Solo & Check for Clicks

    Solo each element and check for subtle clicks and tails, problems you might not hear as easily in the full mix. I share a perfect example, and how to fix it.

  • image description 2:26

    Wait for It...

    Play the song to a friend, in person, and make a note of what you say.. If you say "wait for it.. wait. wait.." the track isn't finished, and you know precisely where to make changes.

  • image description 2:01

    Can You Remix It?

    Can you easily remix it? This question allows you to determine if the track has identity or not. Does it have a unique "something" that you could build a remix around? If it doesn't, the track isn't finished.

  • image description 2:18

    Can You Hum It?

    Can you hum or sing the song? Even if the "main bit" is chords, or a series of dubstep basses.. can you sing it? If not, the track isn't finished, it needs a more memorable, or a better defined melody/something to listen to.

  • image description 3:35

    Headphone Listeners

    Learn about the differences between listening on headphones vs at a live venue, and how this impacts how you mix the track, consequently, determining if the track is finished or not. Is there enough detail/ear candy for headphone users?

  • image description 2:29

    Plug-Ins Make Mistakes

    Bounce everything to audio to make sure the plugins haven't made a mistake. You'll hear obvious errors, but check for subtle ones too.. I share an interesting example to illustrate this.

  • image description 1:36

    The Corridor Test

    Listen to the track from the corridor.. Does the main spirit of the track, the main reason for it existing, the reason people get excited by it, does that translate, does that work, when listening through the doorway in a different room?

  • image description 0:59

    Bar by Bar (What Should They Listen To?)

    Bar by bar, write down what the listener should listen to. This not only helps guide the mixing process, but it'll also show where there may be unwanted "filler" sections, or maybe sections with too much happening at once.

  • image description 2:35

    Better, or Just Different?

    Are you making the track better? Or just different? If "just different".. the track is finished. Let me explain why.

  • image description 0:59

    Can You Articulate What's Missing?

    Can you articulate what the track is missing? Does it need more energy? More variation? More uniqueness? A cleaner mix? A better second half? if not, the track might be finished.

  • image description 0:50

    The Impulse to Adjust

    Can you play the track, from beginning to end, without feeling the impulse to jump in and make an adjustment? If so, the track may be finished. (Assuming it connects with you emotionally, and fulfills its "purpose" too).

  • image description 1:22

    Work Towards the Primary Rhythm

    Does every element work towards the same primary rhythm? Every subtle sound? Every tiny bit of percussion? Every delay? The rhythm built into a sound effect riser? The timing of a vocal? If not, fix it.

  • image description 1:54

    The TV Test

    Play the track in the living room, with a sitcom playing in the background. Does the track still work? Or is it too dependent on a small detail (maybe a subtle harmony, or nuanced background layer) you need a perfect listening environment to hear?

  • image description 0:56

    Try It in a Mix or Playlist

    This is a simple, but effective way to establish if your track is finished or not. Try it in context. If it's for DJs, try mixing with it. If it's for general listening, play it in a playlist, in a situation someone would normally listen. Does it fit in? Or does it stand out as being "unfinished"?

  • image description 2:54

    Variation

    Before finishing a track, ask yourself this.. is there something changing every 1 or 2 bars? Even if it's subtle, the track needs to be evolving the entire way through. This is one of the main differences between amateur and professional tracks.

  • image description 0:45

    Check at a Quiet Volume

    Make sure the track still sounds good when played back quietly. Remember, some people first listen at a quiet volume. It will only sound better, louder.

  • image description 2:18

    Bounce to Group Stems

    This is a great trick to discovering your track is finished, when you thought it wasn't. When you have a massive project and keep making small changes (as there are thousands of places to make changes) bounce to group stems, to more objectively evaluate if the track needs more work or not.

  • image description 1:40

    The First Few Seconds

    Learn why the first 4 or 5 seconds are the most important part of the whole track. You're not finished until these seconds are 10/10, and absolutely perfect.

  • image description 0:55

    Come Back Later

    Finally, it sounds obvious, but it's easy to forget, and needs to be mentioned.. if you're having a hard time evaluating if the song is finished or not, wait a few weeks, and come back with fresh ears, and a more objective perspective.

Product Overview


In this large assortment of priceless production help video tutorials, studio guru Adam Pollard aka Multiplier gives you tons of info to help you be confident that your tracks and productions are finished. Learn enlightening ways to test your mixes and song arrangements to determine if all your hard work is done, and will pay off big!

Adam welcomes you and then gets right to it, covering the basics of Headroom, True Peak and Loudness and why it's important to consider their values for your mixes. Next you'll get into making sure your Sub Bass is set right, Tonal Balance and EQ comparisons, the benefit of checking your mixes in Mono, using Vectorscopes and Phase Correlation, and more.

Next Adam gets into Vocal Compression do's and don'ts, how to make sure your track doesn't loose any punch when starting its playback, why you should use Dithering and back up plug-in presets, using Hi Quality Modes, and many, many, more videos showing creative ways to test your mixes and arrangements out, so you can feel confident about releasing them into the world!

See the individual tutorial descriptions for more info. If you're new to mixing and producing music, or just want other ideas for testing the mix and production quality of your existing tracks and songs, stop right here… Watch “Production Techniques & Strategies: Is My Track Finished?” today!


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Production Techniques & Strategies: Is My Track Finished? is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 12 .
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Receiving Totally Pro Tips! I really appreciate this instructional video and have learned a lot from it, cheers!
Date published: 2021-04-30
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Many things you may not have thought of! As the title of this review suggests....yes! With this information I hope I can now finish tracks or at least experience a more enjoyable workflow.
Date published: 2020-11-11
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Give it a go! I really like this presenter, I have read a few negative revues about his work here on Groove 3, but as he says himself, "give it a go." Not everyone has the same experience on the same ride. I have found them, (watched several now, including this) - very worthwhile to listen to, so much so, that I have repeated several of the videos and jotted down some notes to jog my memory later. If you were to stop and give some thought, a lot of what is covered is almost quite commonsensical (is that a word?), yet, without it being pointed out, I doubt I would have stumbled or instigated a lot of (or any) of the methods pointed out to assist the recording process towards making it most enjoyable and (importantly) time effective. Go on, give it a go! You may love this work, as I did.
Date published: 2020-11-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great Tips!!!! Already learning lots of cool stuff from these videos. Thank you for your time and helping out!!!
Date published: 2020-09-16
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Interesting A lot of interesting tips that I hadn't considered. Some of them technical, some others require you to act as an average listener, and they all have something to learn from.
Date published: 2020-08-27
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Highly useful tips Great course since it contains the fundamental info to understand if your track is really ok to publish.
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from a lot of good points brought up, how to remedy issues . although not super in-depth very helpful I'm really looking forward to going through my back catalog of tracks and breathing new life into them with all the useful info in this course.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from Waaay too much repetition Ironically, a lot of poor video editing which made this production hard to watch. In fairness, some useful content and Adam clearly knows his subject. You can't fault his obvious enthusiasm. However, sadly for me the balance between re-inforcing/proving the point ended up too often descending into repetitious over-emphasis which became a massive distraction. All a matter of taste I accept...
Date published: 2020-04-13
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Useful Recommendations I am glad I watched it; I had the chance to check myself if I'm on the right path and what I can do better. I was served well. Thanks!
Date published: 2019-08-01
Rated 1.5 out of 5 by from not as good as other training videos tutor needs to learn more about the art of tutoring!!!
Date published: 2019-05-24
Rated 0.5 out of 5 by from The weakest course and tutor I've seen around here. Sorry, but this tutor is very hard to listen to due to his nervous and unfocused presentation. At times he almost seems a little clueless, talking a lot, but not going into the details on anything. EXAMPLE: "You have to check your track in mono." Well, yes! But why and what to look out for? Pretty useless for people new to this.
Date published: 2019-05-11
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Just What I Needed: I took a lot of notes Lots of best production practices checklist items (took lots of notes) but the whole "Is the song finished?" section hit home.
Date published: 2019-05-10
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