May Music production challenge

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IA's picture

Is there interest for a music production challenge?

I've been wanting to have a fun group of people who are all spending a concise amount of time like one month to produce something proper out of all these songs we write in the rest of these challenges.

Q: How it would be different from
A: I don't like the idea that you have to produce a giant load of music like 10 songs! I would rather even keep the amount low, such as 1 to 4 songs, and concentrate on really getting the most quality out of them.

Q: What then would be the challenge?
A: You have to post a version of your music every week. So, if you are working on 4 songs, you have to post an updated version of all 4 tracks every week. That is 5 different version total, so 20 files.

Q: What's the point in that?
A: Production is an iterative process. You listen to what you have, write down issues, work them out, take a break, rinse, repeat. If you post the tracks every week, that gives others a chance to hear them and make suggestions based on what your goals are.

Q: FAWM and 50/90 aren't about critiquing others' work. . .
A1: Don't think of them as critique, but rather suggestions. Something to try out.
A2: Songwriting is very personal and there's not really any wrong answers. Production is a different beast. If something is muffled, or doesn't sound similar to thing in the reference track, there's a fix for that.
A3: It's sometimes hard to hear what the fix could be. Different perspective is a lot more valuable than in songwriting.

Q: Why not make it 4 songs for everybody?
A: A restriction is important for a challenge. But here I feel the more important restriction is making participants to work on the music and post different versions every week. That alone is hard enough. Personally, I wouldn't work on more than 4 tracks if I only had a month. So, think of it as an EP production challenge.

Q: Why May?
A: March is too soon after FAWM. You don't have to use the same year's FAWM tracks, but I probably would often do that. I need time to get some distance to the music to give them more critical thought.

Q: Why just one month?
A: That's good for me, because I lose interest and get overwhelmed if I have to spread work over a longer period of time. I can really get down to business and keep the momentum going for one month. That's ok. Anything more is too much. Anything less just isn't enough time for me to get anything proper started.

Q: Where and how?
A: Perhaps at first just here on the forums, if that's ok for the admins, and just using soundcloud or something similar.

How I would do a month of production?

Four tracks isn't insane, so first, maybe a week or so of. . .
- planning
- listening
- taking notes
- coming up with improvements
- changing strings/heads/etc for the instruments
- re-recording bad stuff and additional stuff as needed

After that I would start the mixing and most likely try to do little improvements every day.

My schedule would be something like. . .
- 7 days of prep
- 21 days of mixing
- 3 days of mastering

If you're required to post a version of every song every week, then you get
- version 1 that is just unmixed with all the stuff there
- v2 mixed
- v3 mixed
- v4 mixed
- and probably at the end v5 mastered

I would be interested in hearing how people's tracks evolve, the difference between unmixed and v4, and difference between final mix and mastered!

Let me know what you think about this. Would you participate? Anything you would change?

I would be interested in trying it out. This would be a new work flow for me and if it works as well as it seems it might then it could be a go to plan to *finish more songs.

*Finish as in produce. I'm pretty happy with finishing my writing. It's the production that could be improved.

IA's picture

I'm hesitant to make something like commenting mandatory because I don't want to limit the experience too much.

However, commenting and making suggestions is probably the best way (besides just doing) to learn about production. So, that would help absolutely everybody!

I would love to have a list of reference tracks to use for various styles etc., That would probably help me the most. Although I don't even use the ones I've identified very often, so.... *shrug*

IA's picture

Yes, but the important thing in those is to use references that you think sound good. I've often posted tracks that I think are insanely well produced only to find out that people think they're over compressed or something.

Have a list or library of tracks where the production really makes the thing shine and reference those when you're mixing your own thing.

I love this idea. Though I always have areas to be improved upon, I feel pretty confident about my writing style. It's production where I feel like I'm throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. I especially need help with knowing what to listen for. I'm not always sure I can hear when something is compressed too much or too little. I know almost nothing about how to effectively tweak EQ. Then when you start getting into tools like oscillators and such I'm completely lost. I don't do FAWM, but a month to work on the production end with feedback would be brilliant.

IA's picture

@katpiercemusic Yea, that's how I feel about my stuff, too.

I say we do it, even if it's just the three of us. Haha.

Also, I had an idea that maybe we could just create a subreddit for this on and post everything there.

I'm always for this. For anyone who may follow or know me, they know this. However, what I don't understand is, (Q:) then what happens?

Now, that answer (A:), if I develop it, no one is going to want to "hear". And that ironically, will explain more than any offer of, from me, -- "then, what's next". That's the one (Q:) not engaged and if was, well then I'd consider something like this, -- again.

So, you ask, "Let me know what you think about this. Would you participate? Anything you would change?", -- not if it just a continuation of what the result is or has been when this is attempted to be engaged.

So, to be blunt, -- I've been commenting and being ignored about NOT using plug-ins and taking ONE song and attempting to track down HOW-TO, "manually", e.g. in Audacity achieve the level of "finished" one seeks and sharing the happy accidents, what you know for sure, and other with a "I did this and I got that".

This is done with 1 track with two sound sources on it ("1v1g"), or 2 tracks with separate sources, or 2 of the 1 w/2 to start. The core-dump that usually follows of (accompanied by), -- "I've been an audio engineer for 4,5 whole years now, seen all the YouTube vids and read all the free, for-fee blogs boot camps", will otherwise just be more of the same.

I've had enough "WTF's!" and "TLTR's"! and, "don't bother reading and I don't understand what the hello he's talking about but this is what I think...", -- to be able to summarise, as not the only one, -- how, "The Group Formation for Online Teaching and Learning", would have to be engaged, -- * first. THEN, the rest follows. It just does.

To address the example of "muddy" or muffled, -- YES, and that's why I've been saying, for which I was mocked in the "Album Challenge",
- document your signal chain end to end even diagram it and cellphone pic;
when doing "this" or even other, e.g.'d again as, -- "Hey ustaknow... I'm listening on/with" and this sound bad/good/fragmented... during the other projects, e.g., FAWM-5090.

To NOW relisten and expect a non-offended person whom I likely may have told, "hey, watch that red meter when recording..." and what that means and why... is the definition of insanity... -- same action expecting the effort to be appreciated or "engaged" for further.

Q: anyone ever wonder, -- "hey, I don't understand or like what s/he said..." COULD MEAN it IS the answer you seek since is NOT what you've been told by all the "cool kids" with 4, 5 whole years of "Engineering" and etc. experience that keep you in the "buy this thing" box?

Indeed, imagine, the 250 active folks here DID document their signal chain for recording AND reviewing their your stuff?

And, remember it's not like anyone has any false hopes of a "Nashville Studio" issue track... if even like that plastic sound anyway, BUT, will be able to bang out stunning 5min demos... by next year?, or so.

I still learn krappe and by accident, which if watch, I do try to share... to a member here, "hey, I noticed I had uber-compression on and on a PC speaker sounded amazing...." -- not that I shoot for that. Then I took the TIME to explain that... definitions, -- "I had max compression of the Mix board by accident, and the 12 str was plugged in NOT Mic'd and then did a 5:1 compression with a high sound floor and lower limit.

The thing is, -- no one who uses an expensive plug-in will know what I am talking about since don't know what it DOES. I STILL don't get some basic controls on the digital tools/daws. For me, "compression" was a vol limiter only with a noise gate that I manually controlled, -- period. Try to get that control today on any digital daw? Well, it used to be there. And, Audacity for all it's flaws offers that similarity if even does not produce the same result.

Try to use a Noise Gate pedal with a Compressor Pedal and see the krappe you'll get on "tape"... one can only Close-mic and Mix for that; and "live" -- that's not 1) Recording, or separately, 2) Mixing which many here get entirely confused.

So, derUgo! Wink , you asked.

PS: Oh, and so to explain then what's next, if don't get it or like it, ignore it or ask and develop a longitudinal conversation, "e.g., -- communication", concerning it. The WTF's and TLTR's may make you feel good, or look good to your friends, but, it does keep you in your box, -- not mine. Smile As anyone knows, who knows me, -- I'm here for the work not the popularity of the social network or 150 songwriting groups other "market" their stuff in, in hopes of?

IA's picture

Sorry, I didn't really understand large portions of that post. Sorry.

I definitely wouldn't use audacity as daw tho. It's like using ms paint for photo editing. Heh.