Here we're sharing some of our day by day questions, mostly the ones getting quick basic answers, notepad style:
Same Volume Level of tracks while DJing
Q: Hey guys, im really digging your dj template for live i got it to add some of those features to my live template but im really struggling with one thing that i thought you guys could help me out with. I been looking everywhere to find a way to make like a auto gain kind of things to get my tracks to be all at the same volume level? Do you know any way of making this in live or any third party app that works fine doing this kind of thing, cause i tried several apps but any of them worked properly.
A: Hey, thanks for getting in touch. You're question appears to be rather a dj question than a producer question. While producing, we achieve leveled volumes with limiters. they can move your signal as close as possible to a certain db value (like 0 db). With djing its complicated, as different tracks can be mixed and mastered very differently. Limiting is an option, but probably not the best one, because those tracks already come limited. The a precise way of doing it seems to be working with an analyzer, the RMS values, your ears and step by step going to your set before your gig.
How to get vocals from popular tracks:
Q: hey guys, I always wondered, how do I get vocals from popular songs? do I have to contact the label or artist?
A: very simplified answer: mostly you don’t get them. BUT:
1) sometimes artists give away an acapella version (only vocals, no instruments). sometimes the simply do it like that or as part of a remix contest.
2) if you’re a good and well established artist, you can ask the bands / labels directly and they might send them over to you - expecting you do something great with it.
3) if there’s a vocal version and an instrumental version available, some audio editors offer the function to subtract one audio file from another. If you subtract the instrumental version from the vocal version, you’re left with only the vocals.
Let us know your tricks in the comments!
Is Ableton Live Lite enough to start with music production?
Q: I’d like to ask if Live 9 lite is enough for an ultimate beginner? And how long would it last for me to learn in general? The 8 tracks limitation is rather frustrating, netherless I thought that it would somewhat help me learn better as I am forced to be more efficient due to the limitations.
A: Thanks for getting in touch. Not completely sure to be honest. Lite is a good way of getting to know Ableton Live and making your first steps. Once you're done with that stage, the limitations might become a problem. But why not start with Lite. You can always upgrade when you need to. Its really hard to say how much time it takes to learn everything - because it depends so much on what skill level you're shooting for and how much time and energy you're willing to put in. With full dedication, I think its possible to get a good grasp of the basics of music production on a weekend. From there on, there learning curve will flatten out a bit, you'll have to put in a lot of time to get to the good stuff. Most important in my opinion: You're going to need time to have your ears "learn" to adjust to the complexities involved in music production - to develop a good and precise hearing over the frequency range and into the depth of sound.
How to arrange Compressors, how to pinpoint resonance?
Q: Hello PML!
I finished your Start to Finish course and loved it! I learned a lot!
I have a couple of questions:
1. On the mastering chain at the end, how do the compressors have different qualities even though they're the exact same effect that follow each other on the chain? In the course you put a "Compressor - Punch" and "Compressor - Sustain". When adding that particular effect how can I target these different qualities of sound?
2. Is there a better way to pinpoint areas of resonance? You mentioned it a couple of times in the course and cut them off but I myself couldn't differentiate where the problem areas were.. maybe my ears are bad. Haha
A: Hey K,
thanks so much for the feedback!
Regarding your questions:
1) The compressors punch and sustain differ in their "Ratio" and "Release" values.
"Punch" tries to create powerful little "chunks" of audio to add a bit of a pumping effect. Afterwards, we add sustain, do have a smoother overall perception of the sound:
"Sustain" makes sure we fill "gaps" in our spectrum over time. So a short pluck sound for example, will be perceived longer after the application of the sustain compressor.
We have to have them in this order. If we put "sustain" in front of "punch" its harder to still pick out powerful chunks and turn them into more punchy elements.
2) Resonance: It takes a while to get your ear used to this type of work. But don't worry too much in the beginning. If you want to exercise a bit: take a snare sound or a hihat sound and then put an eq on it. now use a bell shape and boost it up very extreme but sharp. go through the frequecies (especially the high freqs). Whenever the sound really starts "ringing" like crazy - you've found resonance.