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Just a few questions


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I appreciate any help, and I'm sorry if any of them are obvious. I tried to look 'em up.

1. I have the Alchemy player and unlike my other players there doesn't seem to be a trancegate built in. How would I go about applying trancegate effects to samples from the Alchemy player? (I use FL)

2. My mixes all seem to be at a lower volume than normal. All of them. Could this be a settings problem or a problem with the default Fruity Limiter or is this a normal problem in production?

3. In general, are drum loops over self-sequenced drums frowned upon? Are there certain genres like DnB where loops are acceptable?

4. Where is a good place to learn synthesis? Is there a good video series, book, or online guide?

Thanks for any help. I'll continue to Google answers to these and cross them off the list if I find the answer.

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1. Find a plugin that you can use as a trancegate. Either that or do it manually with short notes or by automating some parameter in the synth.

2. Compare your mixes with others' in an audio editor like Audacity. See how loud it really is. Everyone has a problem with this. It's either not loud enough or it's overcompressed or something.

3. Best to use a combination, imo. If you're good you can do stuff with just samples, but not everyone has the skills it takes.

4. The net and experimentation. Find a simple, basic synth and learn its parameters. Then step it up to a slightly more complex synth. Keep stepping it up. Read up on the differences between different kinds of synths (subtractive, additive, fm...). Read up on the basic parameters, what they do. I tend to suggest ppl learn using a relatively simple synth with a good interface, like FreeAlpha or TAL-Elekt7ro. Read up on sound. Read up on whatever audio stuff you can think of.

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Just to expand on what Rozo said...

1. I have the Alchemy player and unlike my other players there doesn't seem to be a trancegate built in. How would I go about applying trancegate effects to samples from the Alchemy player? (I use FL)

There are a lot of different ways to go about gating a synth. For example, you can add a Mute effect to the Mixer slot and control it with an automation track.

2. My mixes all seem to be at a lower volume than normal. All of them. Could this be a settings problem or a problem with the default Fruity Limiter or is this a normal problem in production?

This is a common issue when new to mixing. I'm sure you could find a lot of specific information about Mastering and Compression in FL from searching. Basically, though, you're going to need to experiment with different compression settings on your master track to strike a good balance between loudness and clarity (not overcompressing).

If you're looking for a very simple mastering compressor without the hassle of playing with settings, you could always use the Soundgoodizer - 4 presets and one gain knob - doesn't get any more straightforward than that. It won't provide the same results as a proper master by any means, but it may be a good option for you now.

3. In general, are drum loops over self-sequenced drums frowned upon? Are there certain genres like DnB where loops are acceptable?

There's nothing wrong with using canned loops straight up, per-se. The real underlying issues that crop up with them, though, is repetativeness (using the same loop pattern over and over) and that it can feel pasted-on/mismatched with your song.

4. Where is a good place to learn synthesis? Is there a good video series, book, or online guide?

I'd also recommend finding some presets you like (whether included with the synth or on the net) and then digging into them to see how they're made. Pay attention to the types of oscillators used, the filters, effects, etc to attain a specific sound.

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1. I have the Alchemy player and unlike my other players there doesn't seem to be a trancegate built in. How would I go about applying trancegate effects to samples from the Alchemy player? (I use FL)

Apart from the fact that it's a pretty played out effect (really, this was already common in 1992), the old-fashioned way of gating stuff was done by taking a so-called gate (it "opens" when the incoming signal is at a sufficient level), and putting a drum machine's hihat pattern in the sidechain input. That way, you would't hear the actual drum machine, but the sidechain would make the gate think that the level was sufficient.

See

The advantage is that you can just use the step-sequencer for drawing the pattern instead of having to duplicate all the automation all the time.

The difference between a gate and drawing it as a pattern is that you can use volume/filter sweeps without automation. The gate won't influence these. In a way, it may be easier.

This is what your automation should look like. Click the magnet icon, choose 1/2 step, and draw a pattern like this.

trancegate_automated.png

then the default preset from Sytrus will sound like this:

http://www.theheartcore.com/patch/trancegate_automated.mp3

2. My mixes all seem to be at a lower volume than normal.

Read: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283

3. In general, are drum loops over self-sequenced drums frowned upon?

Nothing is frowned upon. At least, not on the dancefloor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oupKpPJOHBw < hear that sound at 1:23? That was ripped pretty much straight from a Vengeance sample CD (and since by buying the CD you get the right to use the contents for music production, that's not even a problem). See

Is there anything wrong with loops? Well, the following:

1) If you can use them, why bother to improve your own skills?

2) If you don't bother to improve yourself, you become dependent on the loops.

3) You and a thousand others have access to the same material. What if you're beaten to the punch? Great, so your new track's hook depends on such a sample. Then someone else uses it, releases it, and now you're the follower instead of the leader.

4. Where is a good place to learn synthesis? Is there a good video series, book, or online guide?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=synthesizer+boot+camp&aq=f

Synthesizer Boot Camp. 6 parts or so, bookmark 'm.

I'll continue to Google answers

Good lord, why are you inflicting this on yourself?

Do yourself a favor. Buy a book. Do a workshop. Anything is better than begging your knowledge together by trawling for scraps - misguided ones, even. Distrust clever one-liners like "use compression for foo bar quux". They're not nuggets of wisdom; they're nuggets of crap, unless you learn the context behind such a one-liner. Then you'll find out that it might've helped out person X when he was doing Y in a completely different situation.

Learn what your plugins do. If that takes 2 weeks without internet and it'll feel like banging your head against the wall, so be it; but you will find out what's what by listening, observing and systematically experimenting; and you'll be better off for it. That means "lol go turn some random knobs dude" is the shittiest advice you can possibly get. Turn one of 'm; all of 'm do something. If one of 'm doesn't appear to do something, it's because of another setting.

For instance, filter cutoff will not do anything if you disable the filter.

It will also not do anything if you have the filter envelope amount set to max and the envelope's Attack/Release both set to 0 and the Decay/Sustain both set to max (can't push the cutoff slider up higher if it's already at the top).

Envelopes and LFOs are little robots that turn knobs for you. They react at specific commands. The only difference is that an LFO keeps doing it, sometimes regardless of when you play, and an envelope will do something when you press/release the keys.

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3. You can make loops your own (in an artistic sense, that is) by loading them into the Fruity Slicer and messing with the knobs and envelopes until you isolate each individual instrument in the loops. You can then dump this drum loop to the piano roll using *drum roll* the dump to piano roll command. That was the most redundant sentence ever written. After dumping to the piano roll, you can sequence your own beat using the loop's sample sounds.

4. I made a thread about the Dance Music Manual book by Rick Snoman. I also have a link in that thread to buy the book on Amazon. Yoozer has the link to my thread in the post above.

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My god... it's a veritable goldmine of knowledge. Thank you all so much for answering these so thoroughly. You can bet your arses I'm taking every single answer into consideration. I've already read the articles Yoozer linked me to and have them bookmarked.

Cool community here, fer sure.

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Something that will help even out your frequency spectrum which can often help with mix volume (in addition to compression) is... evening out your frequency spectrum. Here's a link to a basic EQing tutorial that will familiarize you with the concept. Check out the rest of that guy's videos for some awesome material. His "music theory cheating" video is very, very clever.

I'm just getting into this electronic music thing, too, and I have to agree with you that OCR is an awesome place for people like us and for the pros as well. I'll be around here for a long time, that's for damn sure.

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