The Limitations of Identifying As An Artist

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One of the biggest tragedies I see in our field and our music making world is this limitation that people have to identify as an artist. To make their whole identity about being a musical artist.

Now, I'm not saying that can't work. I just think that there is you're tapping into what I call the caged life. You're limiting yourself to a very small part of being of the human experience and not opening yourself up to so many more opportunities, so much more joy and so much more money. Today I want to talk just about that.

My name is Zion and I'm the founder of The Triple Threat Artist online producer course. My friend, Josh Doyle and I love to teach students how to become a singer songwriter producer. Actually, we just focus on the producer and we call that being a Triple Threat Artist. If you're interested, check out the links below, we also have some free guides and tools for beginning producers.

So let's dive into this. Why am I talking about this today? Now I know this video is a little bit different. I'm not teaching you reverb. I'm not teaching, you know how to produce a bass or saturation or whatever. Today, I want to focus on the philosophy of being a music maker.

Now I come from the world of… I went through college and I went through this engineering school. I became an engineer. I worked on airplanes for awhile and absolutely hated it because I wasn't being able to be creative and express the talents and the superpowers that I have. And when I say superpowers, I mean just the God-given skills that I've been given, just like you have been given. And I felt very limited and just completely confined. So I broke away and I became, and I wanted to become an artist.

I wanted to become a musician and find success in that. Now I personally don't sing. I'm not really a singer. I thought I was at one time, I took a lot of music singing classes and realized really quickly that that's not my gift. But my gift is in the writing and producing side. So I really went after that and I really wrapped my whole identity around that too. And I found that I didn't have a lot of joy in that really quickly.

I felt very confined. And when I finally broke away from that, after reading some really great books I found a lot of joy. I found a lot of, a lot more money. I found a lot more experience. I found, I found I got my life back basically because I got out of this identity. So the old way of thinking and the past was everybody has these sort of segmented roles and the songwriter creates the song and then they give it to the producer and the producer puts it together with the artist and then they give it to the mixer and then they give it to the mastering engineer.

That was the very old way of doing music. But those lines have all blurred. And now it's just a big blob. You can be great at all of those. You can be great at three of those, you can be good at one of them. You can be good at none of them and just manage artists and maybe that's your super power just managing or the business side of music.

But the point of all that is we live in this world that is trying to constantly put us in these categories. It's black or white, it's Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal, and there's no subtlety in anything anymore. There's no complexity. And actually, most truths are found in a lot of complexity and not these segments of this or that.

The first point I want to make is that if you are trying to identify as an artist all the time, because you are, you feel this trapped feeling of, hey, I've told my friends and family that I'm going to go into music and this is what I'm going to do. And this is my identity there. They're looking for me to prove myself.

The very first point I want to make is that you are missing out on a ton of fulfilling experiences. There's so much more to life than just doing, making music. Perhaps your creativity is your superpower, and that could be harnessed in all kinds of other ways. Perhaps your creativity is looking at the big picture or knowing how to communicate to people and you do it really well through song. But there's other mediums and what you can communicate to people. Maybe you could be a great blogger or a YouTuber. If you could be a podcaster.

I truly believe that one of the greatest reasons we are here on earth and one of our purposes on earth is just to experience this life.

Now I'm not going to get all religious or woo - woo or anything. I'm just saying from a very general standpoint, to experience life, everything from creating, from learning new skills, from experiencing new places and smells and tastes and feelings and meeting new people and cultures and just experience is so important. And by limiting yourself to being just an artist in that way of thinking, you're caging yourself off to a lot of experiences.

Experience often comes through doing things through actually creating new things, through trying new things, through taking risks. In the last two years, I created a business on, besides my music stuff. I created a business called Get Known and its whole purpose is to help small entrepreneurs get known through social media, blogging content, creating just like what I'm doing here. And it's none of is rocket science. I just created it into a package and it's expanded into producing people's podcasts and it's extremely fulfilling. I really enjoy that.

And I've really found that I discovered that I enjoy creating things, whether it is music or it's a painting, or if it's something out in the garage or it's a business. I mean, all of those things are creating and it taps into a part of me that is, that just loves to create.

And if I had trapped myself, if I had limited myself to no, I'm just an artist, I don't do that. I don't do spreadsheets. I don't do business. I can't figure that out. I can't handle money. I'm just an artist. I make music and express myself. I think that would be the stupidest way to live life. And I bet you probably resonate with that. And I'm not trying to take away at all from being an artist from, if you have something to express or you just really know how to make music that resonates with people.

And you're really enjoying that. I'm not taking anything away from that. I'm just saying if you're feeling confined or bored or limited by that, I give you full permission to get out of that head space completely and go do other things. It'll actually make your music probably better.

I started painting and doing acrylic and watercolor about year and a half ago. And it has just blown up for some reason in my life. And I've taken a few classes. I was never an artist like a pencil artist growing up. I never did this kind of stuff. I wasn't the kid that drew in class and made all kinds of amazing drawings. I just never thought it was good at that. And so in the last couple of years I just started doing it. I was watching some Bob Ross videos and I started messing around with painting and bought some supplies.

Didn't even know what to buy and bought the wrong things at first. But I fell in love with the process of creating in that headspace. It's still in the creating headspace, but it's on a different medium. And I love to put on some music and find a quiet place in the house and just paint. And I can get lost in that for three, four hours. That isn't one of the most meditative things I've ever done in my life, but I wouldn't have opened myself up to that if I had stuck to just being a musician.

And here's the amazing thing about that that has really, really helped me in my music. I can see songs in more of a painting - in a visualization that I never could before. I can look at songs in from a more of an overview standpoint where I can see the big picture and where things need to be without getting lost in detail like I used to. So it's helped me.

So now when I go back to writing music and producing music, I feel a little better at it! Without even practicing that, I was doing this and it's helping. So there's a lot of cross contamination with our creativity. Again, if you are limiting your mindset to just being an artist, you're going to miss out on so many other opportunities and experiences.

The second point I want to make is that you're probably missing out on a lot of money.

There's a lot of opportunity. Entrepreneurs, they see the world as opportunity everywhere. It is raining opportunity and money. And the entrepreneur, a smart entrepreneur is the smart one that knows how to grab a bucket and go out and grab some of it. And most people don't even see that it's raining. They don't even see opportunity. And that is a mindset that has really shifted in me. And I see opportunity everywhere.

I don't have enough time to capitalize on the opportunity if you're not looking for other ways of making money through being hired out as a musician, a synch artist, a mixing engineer, a mastering engineer, looking for ways to make music for different things. Instead of just, you know, selling a CD, maybe you find a ways of creating music for a kid's album, or a podcast, or YouTube channel. Those things.

There's so many other opportunities out there. And if you're just motivated on being your artist and being the next Taylor Swift or whatever it is you want to be that is such a difficult road to hoe. You're probably missing out on a lot of money out there. And so I give you permission to stop limiting your thinking, to just making your own artistry, but looking for other opportunities.

There's no shame in that and it'll make you a better artist in the long run. And the last thing I want to say is if you're limiting your thinking to just being an artist, you're missing out on a ton of fun and joy. When you can express yourself in other ways, maybe it's clothing design, maybe it's landscaping or interior design, there's so many other ways to be creative, that your creativity, that you've practiced in, harnessed as a...

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How To Make Your Tracks Sound Vintage and Old

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If you've ever wanted to make a sound track, an instrument sound old after it's been recorded, this video is all about that. I'm going to walk you through how I do it and how I've learned to do it from watching other YouTubers and from other classes and learning and reading about how people do it. And I can share that knowledge with you.

My name is Zion and I am the founder of the Triple Threat Artist online production course. If you're interested in producing your own music, becoming a Triple Threat, which is a singer songwriter producer, you want to check us out. We've got a lot of great information. Myself and my friend, Josh, who is an amazing producer. We create content for young producers, people that are trying to produce on their own to help them get to where we've gotten, which is having some success. Being able to sell songs, working for other artists, getting asked and paid to produce other people, getting songs that we've produced into film TV, and get licensed. If you would like to learn from us, check out the links below.

All right, let's get into this. I'm going to show you how to create that old vintage sound.

So let's start off talking about this track here. This is a low-fi track for our the channel that I'm the music manager for called Lo-Fi Panda Music. Check us out. And this is … one of my producers put this together. It's really great. Great little song, got a great background vibe. You can do homework to it or whatever. There's a sound in here that's a really cool Rhodes Organ that I really like. Sounds like this (music playing) It's got a great vibe to it, that old electric piano.

I want to make the sound even more vintage. I want to really make it sound older. So one of the very first things you should do oftentimes is reach for your EQ and pull down some of the high end. So we're going to do that in this. This actually has some stereo width to it too, but I'm going to pull down some of that low end, the high frequencies.

Okay. And I should say that node two is actually sidechained to the kick drum, and that's why you're seeing it move up and down. This particular instrument, doesn't have a lot of real high frequencies in it, which is totally fine. So it's not, not super noticeable, but I've got that. EQ going on. The next thing you want to do is try to figure out some way of making the pitch warble or wobble, or however you want to say that - oscillate and there's different ways of doing it. I'm going to use a tool called RC-20. It's one of the, one of my favorite tools that I've purchased over the last year. And this makes anything sound really old, really fast. Now I'm going to illustrate these ideas using this tool, because it's just a lot easier than me trying to use a bunch of different tools for this video.

But the concept is all the same, whether you use this tool or not, the concepts apply. So the very first thing we want to do is we want to find a good wobble. Now, in this tool, there's a whole area right here for wobbling and there's two different types of wobbles. It basically gives you a really fast one. It's they call it a flutter and then a slow wobble, which is called a wow.

So we're going to put it all the way over to the wow and find a good, slow wobble. That sounds like the taper is playing back. Like the tape machine has a, has a bad I don't know, playback engine in it. (music playing) And it turned up the gain a little bit on this. So we can switch that around. We can add a little more or a little less, That would be an extreme, I don't want to do that. I want to kind of bring it back here And now let's add a little flutter to this as well. That would be extreme. So we're not going to do that. We're going to bring it down here. (music playing)

I like that. And there's different areas in this that you can tweak and stuff. This is kind of a randomizer and this is sort of a steady speed of the sine wave. All right. Let's add some noise now to this. And a lot of old tape machines in vinyl have a crack and a pop to it. And tape machines often have hisses to it. Kids - tape machines were things we used to use to listen to music on. All right, I'm being stupid. So this is the, the cassette sound. We're going to cycle through some of these (music playing).

Nice. So now we give a little bit crack and pop from a vinyl. And we can tweak that if we want to, but that sounds pretty good to me. And now we can add a little saturation or distortion. Distortions are just extreme saturation. So I they're often interplayed as far as how you talk about them. Distortion adds harmonics basically. Sometimes those harmonic sound rough and sometimes it sound really good. So let's see if we can add a little distortion to this. (music playing)

I like that there's some nice kind of warm tubes that are being, it's just a little oversaturated in there. Sounds good. I like that. If we wanted to, we could add some digital distortion. I don't like this so much. It'll make your song sound distorted, but it will be much more modern sounding. I don't want that.

Space. We can give it some space and decay, but we, I really want it dry magnetic is just like, if it's being played off of a, a, a tape, sometimes you'll have the little dropouts and stuff like that from the wear of the tape. So let's see how that would sound. (music playing)

So I don't necessarily think that's really adding a whole lot, but I'm going to keep it on. It definitely sounds a little more like a tape, a bad tape where sometimes the stereo even cuts out a little bit. So anyway, the point of this is to understand how you could use this. You could use this on vocals or all kinds of things, but the very first thing I would do is definitely cut the high end of your frequencies.

This actually has an EQ in it, and I can cut that here. It, it's already kind of preset to be cut and it's using a low pass filter. There's a hard cut and a soft cut. So start with the EQ. You want to make sure your EQ makes it sound dull. Things that sound real bright and tinny usually sound more modern as things age, the old mediums like tapes and vinyls as they age, they actually sounded much more dull.

So you want to do that. I usually like to start with a wobble to add a little bit of variation in the pitch. Then from there, you're just kind of adding just as everything else is sort of gravy, a little distortion. If you want that a little noise, like the crack and hiss. Sometimes that can be a mix nightmare though. So be careful with that also, when you're introducing hiss and you're introducing cracks, those are high frequencies and you may have to dull those out as well. And you can do, there's a tone knob in this.

And then if you want to add some magnetic where to it, I would love to know what is under the hood and what makes the software actually do its thing. But it is pretty cool. Again, this is RC-20. I like this a lot. I think this, this, I can't remember who makes this I'll put the link below, but oh, XLN-Audio is who makes it, but it's one of my favorite go-to plugins for making things old.

I used to have to do a lot of this work manually to make things sound old and use like LFO's to, to move the pitch around like this, and then grab a sample off of splice and mix that in and for the hiss of a of a cassette and then put it through some distortion. I have to do all this stuff manually. One step at a time.

Now I can just grab a preset in here and they're usually really quite good. All right. So that is basically it. I'm going to put it on one more instrument and let's see how that sounds. Let's find another part in the song. There's a guitar part in here. Yeah, here we go. So I've already done it to the strike, but let's take it off and see how it sounds. I'm going to put this here. So there was already a little bit of a warble going on in the sample, but I made it even more extreme by adding RC -20 to it. And this is how it sounded The mix. (music playing)

And one of the things I like to do is because those strings, those pizzicato strings are very, very clean sounding. And this is kind of, warbly sounding, there's a contrast there. And I like that contrast because on one hand, your ears are hearing something very clean. And on the other hand, they're hearing it, it gives a lot more flavor to the song if there's differences. So contrast, contrast, contrast is such an important tool in your production arsenal.

All right, guys, I hope that helped. If you have any questions, hit me up below, subscribe to the YouTube channel.




 RC-20 Link:

ALN Audio link: 

LoFi Panda Music: Subscribe Today!

This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

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How To Configure Clubhouse So That You'll Actually Use It


I'm willing to bet that you probably have the Clubhouse app on your phone, and you're debating on whether to delete it or not. You might have gotten an invitation, saw the potential, but then overwhelmed with how it worked, or the amount of notifications you were sent after setting it up. In this video I'm going to show you how to get your head around Clubhouse, and customize it so that it's actually useful and enjoyable.

Join the Triple Threat Clubhouse

Link for our Triple Threat Geek Out on 10/14/21 at 10am PST:

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And it came out at the perfect time during the pandemic. So it got really popular, really fast,. But a lot of people have a lot of confusion about it, including myself. And there's some issues with how it's set up that make it a little bit frustrating and overwhelming. And that's what this video is about. I want to un-frustrate you about how to use this app, because it's going to be extremely powerful going forward to communicate and be part of a conversation about where music is going, new software, gear, techniques, philosophy of producing, all those types of things, songwriting, whatever. If you're a music maker, you want to be using this app and I'm going to show you how you can make it worth your time and make it actually usable and not frustrating.


My name is Zion and I am the founder of the Triple Threat Artists online Producer Course. If you want to check us out, there's a link below. My friend, Josh Doyle, and I run this class together. We have some amazing students who are triple threats. They're singer songwriter, producers, and they're learning how to produce their own music from home. If that interests, you check out the links below. We also have some cool freebies and some tools that could help you in learning how to produce your own music. Okay, let's get into this.


The very first thing you want to do to make this app usable is you want to go into your notifications on your phone. Open your settings. I'm on an iPhone. It's going to be probably very similar on an Android. Go down to notifications, scroll down to CLUBHOUSE. And we're going to turn on all the apps or all the notifications for that.


Now you can customize it how you like to see it with a notification banners, you know, showing previews those types of things. Customize it, how you want, but you do need to have notifications turned on. You're thinking right now, I don't want to do that because I'm going to get hit with a lot of notifications. Yes. When you first start the app, if you set it up wrong, you will get hit with a lot of notifications. So when you first set up the app, you're going to have the screen that says interests. I strongly suggest just choosing two or three interests on here. Don't overwhelm yourself until you get really into the app and really know what you're doing. I chose entrepreneurship, podcasts and music. Those are the three interests of mine.


Next. I want you to go into your profile and actually add context, add text. And then at the bottom, I would strongly suggest putting your Twitter and your Instagram connecting those together. Now when CLUBHOUSE first started, you could not DM each other. And now you can. So you don't really need to know people's other social media before that was the only way you could DM people, but now you can do it in the app, but I strongly suggest having your Instagram and Twitter in there as well. Some information about yourself. Now, you're going to notice in my followers and following, I follow very few people and I have very few, few followers and I'm totally okay with that. I'm not an influencer. I just want to use this. I want to make this useful for me. So that I'm part of a conversation. And I'm hanging out with the people that I actually want to talk to your followers may go up, mine, go, may go up after this video, that's fine.


But what's really more important is who you're following. So if you click following, you're going to see the type of people you're following. These are friends and people in the music business. Cause I want this, I want this app to be mainly about my music interests.


And here's the secret. Here's the number one thing you gotta do in this. You need to go into each person and decide whether, how you want notifications from that person. So this is my buddy, Dennis, you see at the very top, there's a little bell. If I click that, I can choose whether or not I receive notifications from, from him. If he's either always meaning anytime he's on the app and he's speaking, I'll get a notification or sometimes meaning it'll, I don't know how it's curated, but I'm going to say 50 50. Sometimes it lets me know.


Sometimes it doesn't or there's the option of never ever. Now I like Dennis. I like to know what he's going to say. So I choose always, but some of my friends, I love them. They're great people, but I'm not necessarily interested in what they're going to say about the music industry. And you've got to make that determination. So you might have some of them on. Sometimes I think it's a good, I really think you should just start off putting everybody on never, ever. And she's one person that you want to listen to and get ready to hear that from them. So in review there, it's extremely important to go through all your people in your list and determine whether or not you want to hear from them always sometimes or never, ever, and strongly suggest you do never, ever on everybody doesn't mean you don't love those people.


It just means you don't want a notification. Every time they talk on this app, right? You only want to hear from just those people you want to hear from now, this pertains to clubs as well. And also explain what that is. And just a minute, but you can have notifications. You can be notified when a club is in a room. So let's dive into what it is. What is the structure and how can you, how can you get your head around what CLUBHOUSE is? Let me break it down to you extremely simply so that you just want to get your head around how CLUBHOUSE works is.


Think of the main screen as a hallway. This is going to show you a bunch of rooms that you can go into. And so you might have a room here. That's a, you might have a room here. That's B and all these rooms have different speakers. People speaking in it and different people contributing to it. Now you can choose which room you go into and you can leave whenever you want as well. There are clubs. You can join a club doesn't mean that there's a room actually happening, but they usually have rooms every once in a while going on. So if you're following a club, it'll tell you when they have a room going on. If you're following a person or a contact, it'll let you know, Hey, this person is speaking in this room. Do you want to join? If you have a notification. So it's important to understand the difference between rooms, clubs, and, and once you get that, it's actually pretty easy.


So a couple more things to note. When you find a room you want to be inside of and you click it, you'll start hearing the audio immediately.


If you want to leave, you can leave quietly, which is really cool because nobody knows you're coming and going, which is nice. You don't have to be intimidated by coming into the room and interrupting. Remember on zoom calls, it would often go didn't duke and you'd hear somebody coming into the room. Super annoying. I don't know if they've changed it or not. There's another thing down at the bottom that you can raise your hand. That's just very similar to a zoom call. You raise your hand. And if you're called on stage, that means they're asking you to speak and you're going to have to unmute yourself when they do that. It doesn't unmute. You automatically. You have to unmute yourself and you can talk and they in the moderators can have the control to mute you back immediately. If you're saying something or there's a dog barking in the background, they don't want to interrupt things.


It's extremely important to be very sensitive, to making this an enjoyable, enjoyable experience for others. So if you're going to be sharing in CLUBHOUSE, be in a quiet room, being a place where you're not interrupted and B get to the point immediately. Sometimes there's hundreds, thousands of people in one room and you don't want to be problematic or you'll get kicked pretty quick. The other thing is you can create little snippets in a room. If the moderator has turned that on and a snippet is just allows you to create a little part of the, the audio, and then you can share it, which is kind of fun. They are creating it's coming soon. As of now, this is October 6th, 2021. They do not have this in yet, but in a few weeks, they're supposed to allow you to allow the moderators to record the entire room, the entire conversation, and then they can post that.


And that's going to be great. If you want to add that to your podcast, if you're a podcaster, you can use these CLUBHOUSE sessions as an episode of your podcast. I would suggest if you do that, to make sure you're organized and that you have an agenda. And so that you have, and do you have a co-host? And so you're talking together and you're working together to make it happen, but just keep that in mind, you can record, or they're trying to implement this recording thing. The reason they didn't add that in before, as they wanted people to feel an urgency, like you got to get in CLUBHOUSE, otherwise you'll miss it. And I think there's been so much pushback on that. People are like, if we're going to talk about this stuff, I want it to be able to be repurposed. So they are adding that those are the biggest things you can schedule.


Just like you can schedule a zoom call. You can schedule appear in the top little calendar. These...

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How To Use the LFO Tool like a Pro

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Today, I want to talk about the LFO tool. This is a tool that a lot of EDM producers are using, a lot of DJs, and it's basically to control that pumping effect.

The first time I'd heard about it, I was using a different tool completely. I was watching a masterclass of Armand van Buren and watching what he does and making his tracks. And he's incredible producer, if you have a chance to check it out, but he uses the LFO tool like on every single track for something to give movement, to give all kinds of different effects. A lot of it is that the pumping effect for synths and bass, but he uses it in some really clever ways. So I downloaded it and I've been exploring it. And it's kind of a go-to now for me as well.

And I think if you haven't explored it, you're going to love it.

My name is Zion ,and I am the founder of the Triple Threat Artists online producer course. And this is a course to teach singer songwriters, how to become a producer as well, to become a singer songwriter, producer, a Triple Threat. If you'd like to check out our course and check out some of the freebies and some of the different solutions that we have found for singer, songwriters, producers, click the links below.

We have a couple of freebies as well. I created a template a while back. I called the red zone production timeline, which is actually just a timeline to help people that are beginning to produce, to kind of get an idea of the different stages involved in a music in producing a song. This is not a one-stop solution, but it might help you. And if you are new to producing, you might want to check it out. And there's a link below.

Okay. Without further ado, let's jump into this tool and let's explore the LFO tool together.(Music Playing) I want to add something either a swell or synth or something. That's kind of a cry or scream. So I added this cool sound. This has made in Exhale, which is made by Output, and it's got some really cool sounds in it. And it sounds like this.(sounds playing)

And I love that portamento fall and rise at the beginning and end of those notes. So I recorded a couple of notes and I put them down here and I grouped them together and together they sound like this. .(sounds playing) And so in the mix, it would sound like this.(sounds playing) .

So I like that, but I want to add some movement to it. I want these things to sound a little bit more interesting, and they're going to be kind of background effect things. Now you could use an LFO tool or something to give it a pump. In fact, there's a a program called Kickstart, which I often use or used to use all the time, which does this simulated side chain effect without actually having to side chains, just pumping volume. So it sounds like this,.(sounds playing)

And it's cool. It's great quick solutions. Got a mix knob. You can set just a couple of rates here in discussing preset curves, but you cannot go in and actually dial in the curves, which sucks. And I don't like that. So LFO tools, this is where they solve this. This is where, why a lot of DJs and EDM producers use this LFO tool looks like this. And it's great because you can maximize it down here. Thank you so much for making that happen, Mr. LFO tool company, and this is our graft. We can actually change the values with these nodes in here. And I'm going to go over some of the basics here. There's a lot more to this then I'm going to go into, but I want to give you some of the basics right off the bat.

So right off the bat, it's defaulted to control volume. And over here, you can see the volumes right here. A hundred percent means it's going to use this graph to a hundred percent of its value. If you put it in a less than zero, it would be backwards. It would use this same graph, but be backwards. Zero means it's not using it at all. Depth down here is all of these values using these curves, depending on what graph you're using. And it's like the overall mix of this tool. So this is, think of this as like the mix knob. So the main thing you need to know is that there's these different graphs and we're going to be using the first graph to control our volume. And these, all these routings here, you can, the LFO tool allows you to route and control the cutoff knob for the filter over here.

And this is a, like a filter. You have all kinds of different types of filters in here, but it also has, you can control the resonance knob and the panning and stuff like that. So down here, this is where you're going to control the rate. It defaults at quarter note and that synch to your DAW. This is the sync button. You turn that on and off. If you don't want the sync, it'll automatically just be going at its own rate at a quarter note intervals. If you turn that off, you can actually create a, you can determine how fast you want this rate to be based on Hertz, but we're going to turn that back on and we're going to just start at a quarter note. So if we started in just use this as the quarter note. There we go. I'm going to sync that to my DAW. And we're going to just see here that, how that sounds .(sounds playing).

Okay. It's kind of the same thing as the other tool and it turned that down..(sounds playing)

All right. I want to shape this a little bit differently and I want it to, I don't want to just a pumping effect. I want to do something different. Let's be more creative. I'm going to go to two bars for my rate, and I'm going to start off this by having a node that goes right up at the top and then comes down and then I want it to come back up and then I want it to come way up and then trail off at the end. So we will do something like that..(sounds playing) And I'm going to adjust that..(sounds playing)

So it's kind of like I'm using this as sort of an LFO now, or I'm sorry, an envelope like a volume envelope. I'm kind of using this first instance of, of what I'm doing as that. I like that. I think that's cool. But even if, if the note continues in cycles, it'll just constantly cycle. You're probably looking at this going, this looks a lot like an envelope, like an ADSR envelope and it does. And so why don't they call this the ADSR tool instead of the LFO tool? And it's because this is actually what makes this an LFO is that it's constantly cycling. If we put this over back up to like a eighth note intervals.(sounds playing)

That "ADSR" is cycling, which means it's a low frequency oscillator LFO. So it becomes an LFO. It's kind of like combining like tweaking an LFO cycle so that you can control all the bits and nodes of the cycle, but it's still really is an LFO. So that's confusing to you. It was to me as well. But just think of this as a pattern, normally, an LFO, if you've had a synthesizer, it would look probably like a sine wave and which is just gonna sweep up and down. We're going to use that in just a second. So I've used this. Now,I want to add some more variation, but the problem is, is if I'm using this to add two bars here, which I like.(sounds playing)

If I'm using this at two bars, then if I want to use a graph for something else and use a different rate, it won't let me, unfortunately. So you can, you could do a variation of the two bars, but I actually want to control this rate. And I'll show you why in a second.

So what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to open another instance of the LFO tool. So I'm going to control something else on this side of it. And let's open that puppy up here and this I'm going to control completely different. And we're going to start off looking at the cut. This is a low, low cut or a high cut. I'm going to turn it on over here. And we're going to have instance … well, let's just do two just to, so we're not confusing ourselves with the other one. And we're going to do a different shape here. Let's choose a sine wave, and it's going to just cycle like this, and we're going to control the resonance of this filter, which looks kind of like this at this rate. .(sounds playing).

So currently this graph that looks like this, the sine wave is using the cut-off knob of this filter, which is over here to go way back and forth. You know, it's super obnoxious. So I don't really want to do it at this rate..(sounds playing)

Okay. I kind of liken this and we can adjust this a little more over here..(sounds playing) And now what I'm going to do is I'm going to use the knob on my I'm going to attach this parameter to my DAW so that this is being controlled. And I'm going to do that using the, this thing here. And actually not that knob. I don't want that. I want this rate and we're going to now control that using we're going to mini-map that to this value here, and I'm ready to go. So now when I can do this on my DAW I can control it. (sounds playing).

And we can look at the view over here, and I'm going to record this parameter in. So I'm going to record the actual MIDI of this automation here..(sounds playing).

Okay. So I've recorded that automation. If you wanted to see it, it would look like that. And now it's going to follow that automation, and I've got a nice, cool thing going on there. Now. Let's see how that sounds in the mix. .(sounds playing).

Now I can hear a little bit of clicking in there. So if we can actually change that by adding a little bit of smoothness to this, and it'll help take out some of the clicking..(sounds playing)

Now, I think I want to do the same thing to the pan knob. So I'm going to change this so that this is being controlled by the sine weight as well. And we're going to start adding some panning in here..(sounds playing)

I really liked that. So as you can see, it's pretty powerful. And the reason I don't have to have a third LFO tool open is because my pan automate my pan controlling, being controlled by an LFO. And my cutoff is both it it's both being dictated by the same rate. That's it!

So, yeah, this is the filter area. This area over here is actually, you could use mini notes and key...

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Get Better Mixes Using Two Volume Levels

One of the best techniques I learned for getting a good mix is to work at only two volume levels. One that's nice and full without being loud, and the other very quiet. And mixing really quiet is actually one of the best tricks to set instrument levels and compare your mix to references to attain the loudness you're going for. And there's a lot of science to it. And this video is going to talk to you a little bit about using volume levels to achieve some of that. So if you've ever been confused by that, or would like some guidance on that, then this video is for you.

My name is Zion and I'm the founder of the Triple Threat Artist online producer course and community. And together with my friend, Josh Doyle an amazing producer, we work together with students to help them become Triple Threats, which is a singer songwriter producer. Nowadays the line between songwriting and producing is so blurred and some of the best songs are actually written by producers as well. So if that interests you, if you think you could use some help in that area, please check out the links below. We also have some freebies that could help you that cost nothing. So check it out below.

All right, let's get into this video … all about using volume to make better mixes.

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One of the first things you need to know is something called the Fletcher Munson Curve. Now you don't have to know this inside and out, but just understand the gist of what it's about. It is a phenomenon that we perceive frequencies - We perceive the tonal balance of a sound or music or talking differently at different volumes. So when we hear something very quiet, we actually hear, even though the tonal balance of the song hasn't changed, we interpret it a little bit differently than when we hear it really loud.

Now I'll put an article down below that you can check this out, but there's a whole graph of how we perceive sound. So what can we learn from that? How does that apply to us? Well, it applies to us because we need to understand how things sound when they're real quiet. We need to understand how our mix is going to sound when it's quiet.

And when it's loud, a lot, a lot, a lot of beginning producers and mixers, they produce everything they're doing - They produce really, really loud because they enjoy hearing it in full and they're bouncing around in their studio and having fun. And they don't realize that when you turn the volume down, the tonal balance of their song sounds completely different.

So mixing engineers often work at two or three different volume levels and that's it. They don't keep changing the volume. What I suggest is you find a volume level that works well for you before you go into your master bus. So this is my master bus here. I've got three plugins. I got a VU meter. I always like to start out with a VU meter, which is a way to kind of get things dialed in to about the same volume, same loudness originally, so you're not clipping. And then after I get those dialed in, so let's check this out. (music playing).

So I might turn this up just a little bit to get my volume on the VU meter to be - right around zero is really where I want, and this has a headroom of 18 decibels. (music playing)

So that's pretty good. I don't get it super dialed in because the song changes so much. I just find a place in the song that I think would be sort of a good place to average it and make sure my kick, especially the kick on a hip hop song, isn't just cutting through too much and overtaking the song with volume. A huge mistake I see with a lot of mixers, especially in the hip hop world or lo-fi world is their kick and their snare are way too loud, but they don't realize it because at a low loud volume, your ears actually kind of compressing those frequencies in that sounds good. And again, it has to do with that Fletcher Munson Curve.

So now that we've have our VU, the way we want it, I'm gonna go ahead and turn that off. We don't need to see that anymore, and we're going to bring it into the Ozone. Now I will say I'm mixing right now with my Apollo twin, the volume is set to about negative 28. That is where I like to mix it before I start to master. Once I turned my master bus on, I turn my Apollo twin down to about negative 40. And this is, to me, it sounds full without sounding loud. And I liked that volume a lot. And we're going to start mixing there. So I'm going to turn this on. (music playing)

So with Ozone on and my volume turned down from my studio monitors to negative 40. Let's see here, how that sounds. (music playing) And I've got my high area - my high frequencies over about 8,000 Hertz are a little, a little high and it's that high hat I know it is. I'm going to grab that high hat. We're going to adjust a little bit and pull up that. And I'm going to just turn that down just a little bit more. (music playing)

So now it starts to sweep or get back down into this area. I basically am saying, I want the high hat to be more in the high mid and take out some of those really high areas. Now this curve - my tonal balance curve for lo-fi hip hop is a little bit different than you would may maybe say for modern music. Modern music, your low subs are going to be a little lower. Your low mids are going to be a little higher. It's got a little bit different curve to it. It's more like that. And then lo-fi hip hop. I've analyzed songs. And the ones I like are about like that. So it's a very different curve. And I strongly suggest using the tonal balance plugin. This is by Isotope comes with Neutron. So I love this thing, but that's the point of this is just to talk about volume really.

So we're mixing at this volume. I've got a nice, solid feel. I've, I've kinda dialed my, my tonal balance in, and I've got a loudness here. I can adjust the loudness using this threshold meter in the maximizer of Ozone, but I've already got it pretty, pretty close. But to check that what we're going to do is we're going to actually turn on the reference. I have five different songs of other low-fi songs. I've already mixed that I've pulled clips in, that are saved into Ozone. And I can reference them by turning this button on right here. So let's listen to that. (music playing).

Okay. So as you can see, each of those have very different texture to them, different instruments. They sound very, very different, but they're all mixed at about the same volume, pretty close. They're all pretty hot too. You don't have to mix things this hot, but they are. So I'm going to compare now my song by turning this button on and off to one of these other songs. So here is this one's called smoke, and we're gonna turn that off and listen to the mix in my DAW. (music playing).

Yeah. If that was too loud or too soft, I could go into my maximizer and I could adjust this threshold here and it would turn down the music and put less compression on it. Or I could crank this even higher. It probably gets some distortion in it, and I may have to adjust other things as well, like the character of the compression, but I could get even louder. So let's just experiment and see what that's like. (music playing)

So that is a good way to now we can kind of set the volume of what this is supposed to sound like. I think this is pretty close. Now this is where the last trick is that I really, really strongly advise, take a utility plugin and drop it on the very end of your master bus and set the volume. It's just a gain stage, really - set the volume to something significantly lower. I've decided negative 23 is good for me. And now when you hear my mix, it's going to be very, very quiet, but that'll help me understand what the loudest instruments are in this mix. (music playing)

So what I did is I, again, I just am turning the volume way down and so I can just barely hear it out of my speakers. I didn't change the volume knob on my interface. I'm keeping that at negative 40, which is what I like when the Ozones is turned on. And then I am changing. I'm just turning on this utility plug to drop the volume significantly. So I can hear what is the main instruments that are cutting through.

Now, oftentimes what I see with a lot of new producers, new beginners is their kicks and their snares are way too hot and they're cutting through the mix. And when you turn it down to a really low volume, all you hear is just that snare or just that kick. And it's not a very pleasant sound at a low volume. So by doing this, it helps you understand where all those instruments are relative to one another with their volume.

So again, as a review, understand what the Fletcher Munson Curve is, understand that our ears hear things differently at different volumes. The sound actually changes our perception of the tonal balance - actually changes at different volumes. Find two or three volumes that you love mixing it in, stay with that before you put the mastering plugins on and after, and then also find a volume that you can mix at that's very, very quiet that you can just barely hear and it'll help you reference your volume against other songs to figure out how loud it needs to be. And it can also help you dial in what the tonal balance is at a very low volume and understand whether or not you have frequencies or instruments that are cutting through too much.

That's it for this week. If you got something out of this, or if you have a question or comment, please send me an email. My email is below. Check out our courses, subscribe to our YouTube channel. We'd love to hear from you.

Thanks guys.




This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

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Harness the Power of Automations in Your DAW 🎚

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One of the skills that I find a lot of beginning producers procrastinate on learning… is the ability and the skill of learning to automate things in their DAW. So it's because there's a little bit of complexity. There's a little bit of a learning curve to doing that. And so they avoid it. They end up trying to just mix everything at one level or find the right EQ and just keep it at that. And they don't really automate much in the production, in the mix of their song. And it really is holding them back.


If you are one of those people, or if you would like to have a little review about how you can automate and some tricks on how to do that, this video is for you.


My name is Zion and I am the founder of the Triple Threat Artist online production course, and my friend, Josh Doyle and myself teach students on how to become a Triple Threat, a singer songwriter producer. We have a bunch of tools and some free stuff on our site that you might want to check out, check the link below. And we're open for enrollment. If you'd like to join us, let us know. Without further ado, let's jump into this.


Let's talk about automation. (Music Playing)


So what I want to show you is a way of controlling your volume without using your main fader. And there's a reason why, and the reason why is because, well, let me show you. Let's say I wanted to automate this track here. (Music Playing) I wanted to change the volume. Okay. Let's say I wanted to change the volume. If I grabbed the volume here and change it, (Music Playing)


I can do it that way, but let's say I wanted to automate that volume change. So I'm going to hit show automation and I'm just going to draw it in here right now. If I did that, let's say I loved this automation. If I did that now I can't control the main fader. If I try to grab this, let's say the whole thing relative to the rest of the song was a little too loud. If I try to drag it down and turn it down, you'll see that the automation turns gray. It's because I'm overriding the automation by just using the volume. And you'll see a little light light up somewhere on your DAW. It might look a little different from this, but the point is that you don't want to use this. I rarely ever automate my main fader for a track. I just rarely do.


Sometimes I will a group like if I'm using auxiliary tracks, but I rarely do this. Instead I do this. Let me just show you, I'm going to delete the automation. I'm going to add something on here. Now there's a lot of different ways to do this, but I'm going to just grab a utility plugin and I'm going to grab this and drop it right here. And this utility plugin is just basic stuff. I can change the panning, the stereo width. I could put the bass in mono this is actually a really cool function. I have a video about that. I can change the balance. I can mute it. And I can add some gain. So if I use this knob, this is basically the volume now. This is like an extra gain stage in this track before it goes to this post fader. And this is the one I want to actually automate. So I'm going to automate this knob instead. And now if I change the automation on this, let's say I'm doing this and doing that, doing this, doing that, something like that. Now I still have this. I can control without messing up this automation (Music Playing)


I turned it way down. The automation is still there. If I right click it and you can see it. So I can control this whole level relative to the rest of the tracks without messing up my automation. This is the way you want to do your volume, your gain staging automation. Because again, you want to make sure this is always free for when you're leveling. You're doing your final levels and you're mixing and mastering. Okay. So that's step number one, use a utility plugin, a lot of plugins like an EQ for instance. You might have an EQ on your track. They're going to have a gain stage as well. And you can automate that as well. You don't have to use a utility if you already have a gain.


The next thing I think you should know is how to connect one of your knobs to an external midi controller.


So I have connected this gain knob. I'm going to move my mouse to a knob. You can't see it, but it's a knob on my mini controller. And this is a, I'm using an M audio oxygen, 61. It's an old controller, but most controllers work. And this is using, what's called MIDI mapping. It's using a value that is from my keyboard to control this knob. Now how to do that in Ableton is you actually have to go into the, the preferences and I select oxygen 61, I make sure track is on, which is going to track the keys like when I'm playing. And then I make sure the remote is on and the remote is actually what controls these values. And then I actually have to map it. And I'm going really quickly here because it's going to be probably be boring for those who don't use this DAW.


But it's the same concept applies. So if I go over here and hit edit midi-map I selected this item, turned my knob, and it, if I turn a different knob, it'll say 178 there. So now I'm going to use a different knob. And then I check this and now that knob controls this. But the point of that is if I'm going to be automating something, it might be a lot easier for me to use a real physical knob or lever or slider instead of try to do this by mouse. In fact, it's oftentimes a lot more natural sounding. So now if I automate this or let's just hit play, (Music Playing) So you now have all that control. And now if I wanted to record it, there's a way in which you can actually record. I think it's this one here. I've got a check here. (Music Playing) It's only recording the automation movements I make from my DAW. And now if I play back, it's going to be the exact same. (Music Playing)


I strongly suggest learning how to do this because it will make your automation a lot easier and really quickly two to dial in. And you're not going to be sitting there trying to draw all these little nodes and go, okay, I want this one there. And I've done this many, many, many, many times. And it, it can be very, very cumbersome. And I strongly suggest learning how to do this from a manual knob on a midi controller. And it doesn't really matter what kind of midi controller use. Most of them, you can set up with your DAW so that it reads for that.


Okay, lastly, I'm going to bring up this instrument. This is, this is done in Massive, and I want to actually control one of these values in an external instrument. This is the effects knob for this synth.


And what I'm going to do is for Ableton, and again, it could be a little different in your DAW, but you see, you got to figure it out. I'm going to actually open up this area and hit configure, and then I'm going to grab that knob. And so I'm going to control that and then configure it. And then for the slider, I'm going to edit that value, using the midi-map and then tell my controller, which one to use. And now on my controller, I'm using this and now I can control the effects. And now we're going to hit record and record some effects just at the end of every line. (Music Playing) Okay. So now I added some effects in there. And then if we play that, (Music Playing) I like that. Now let's do that with a cutoff knob and let's see how that sounds. So again, I'm going to add the cutoff nod by touching it after I've hit configure. So it knows that that's the one of the ones I want to adjust. And then I'm going to hit the edit midi knob, and we're going to grab another controller. I just wiggle a knob on my midi controller. And now it's programmed to be this one and I'm going to hit the same thing. (Music Playing)


I like that. So I had to do a couple passes, so I could kind of dial that in better, but let's see how that sounds now. I'm going to get rid of that little slope. (Music Playing)


So let's review. The very first thing was use a utility knob so that you can always control the overall gain of, or the track volume externally in your mix without messing up the automation. The second is learn how to control your automation using a midi controller. And so it's a lot easier. You can use it from a physical knob. And then lastly, learn how to control and configure values in an external VST or AU plugin. And that way you have full control of all these things, and it'll make your life a lot easier. I strongly suggest it.


I hope that helped guys.




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Using DAW Default Templates To Save You Time ⏳

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Did you know, you can save a huge amount of time with some tricks in your DAW - your DAW being your digital audio workstation. Pro Tools, Ableton, Fruity Loops, Cubase - whatever it is you use, I'm going to show you one of the easiest things that is often overlooked, and that is building templates as well as a default template.

My name is Zion and I'm the founder of the Triple Threat Artists course and community and together with Josh Doyle, another great producer, we teach students and support students in getting their music production better and better so that they're not having to rely on a producer every time they write a song. And we're always looking for ways to help you save time.

If you'd like to check out our course or community in any of the freebies, we offer, check the links below. All right, let's jump into this.

A lot of people don't realize this, but your DAW, no matter what DAW you have, as far as I know, has a way of making a default template. So when you start, you already have something. Now, there are some thoughts behind this.

One is that I used to always start with a drum track. And so I always wanted to have a drum set. So what I could have done is maybe just started like a drum tack in Ableton. I'm using Ableton Live. It's just my thing. So I could have just started with the drum track and immediately just started hammering things out.

The only problem about that is when you have an instrument already loaded, it takes up CPU. It takes up time to load. Sometimes you want to open your DAW and get started right away, or you're going to open a different project anyway, and you don't want to have to load up a drum set.

There you go. I like to do is I usually separate my tracks into two groups. I have my drums at the top, and then I have my instruments. Now, of course I would have vocals as well as a group of vocals, but I usually, because I don't sing generally, I usually use vocals from somebody else that gives them to me.

They'll come in later and I'll put them in later. But just right off the bat while I'm recording and getting started, I like to have a track that's already set up for a kick, a snare to two snares. I actually like hats, tops, tops, or like loops that are kind of high-frequency loops. And then maybe an extra thing just for symbol swells or something like that.

And then in my instruments group, I like to have all my basses together. I usually like two different basses available to me. So of course, if you've watched my last video I separate bass tracks and the low frequencies and high frequencies, I just copy and paste the bass track. And I like to have two sets of that because oftentimes in a song there's two different types of basses.

And then I have all my instrument tracks, well, nothing, none of this is rocket science, but here's the thing I have each one of my tracks already set up so that I've got Neutron, which is kind of my mixing plugin already ready to go on every single track and its side chained to the kick.

And that's nice because if you've watched my last video, the side chaining will, will happen. I can control it right away. And I've also got a slope on the higher frequencies. Oftentimes I'm doing a lot of low-fi stuff. So I'm usually having to duck a lot of the higher frequencies cause it's supposed to be a kind of a warm mix. So that's why I've set up this way.

Now about the master bus. The master bus I always have three things here, actually four. Usually I throw one more on here. That's my mono plugin. So my first plugin is a VU meter. I use a VU meter just to go ahead and get a sense of the loudness of my project. This the headroom is set to 16 and I'm trying to kind of dial the loudest part of the song so that the frequencies hit around zero just right off the bat.

VU meters, you probably already have one. You don't even know it, but they're very smart to have, and that's kind of modeling off of an analog console. And I can't remember exactly how the units of volume are measured in this. The way volume is measured is so complicated. And, every time I learn it, I forget it. So I'm not going to go into it. You can YouTube that if you want to. This is made by Waves. I don't really recommend this one because it doesn't have an AU version for the plugin. It's only a VST and I like AU plugins. So this is the only plugin I have that does this. And sometimes it crashes my DAW. So as soon as I get things dialed in, I usually delete that plugin out of there.

Then I have Ozone. I use Ozone, this is Isotopes, Mastering plugin, and I've already got it set to… I like the IRC three. This is the balanced setting for the maximizer. I always have a ceiling of at least negative 0.1 or sometimes 0.3. And then my threshold is going to be usually set somewhere in here. So I just started at negative eight, but you could start it wherever you want. If you could start it with no threshold and not really make it loud. I usually don't even turn on Ozone until I started mixing a little bit. I get a little further down the line and get a pretty good mix before I even start using Ozone.

And then I have my tonal balance tool. And tonal balance is one of the best tools I've ever bought. It comes with, I think, comes with neutron, isotopes, neutron. I love this tool. I'm not a sponsor of Isotope by the way. I just love their mixing tools. Isotope, if you're listening call me!

Anyway, they've got a lot of great settings in here and they have actually, you can create your own curve for whatever songs. You could like, if you loved the sound, the EQ curve or the tonal balance of a YouTube album, you could put the entire album and have it do an analysis of it and create a curve for you for that album.

I usually use the modern a lot for a lot of pop stuff. And then lo-fi hip hop is the curve I created. I analyzed a bunch of songs that I really admired and I created this curve and that's what I use all the time. So it's already set to that because I mix lo-fi songs at least two a week.

And then lastly, I like this mono plugin. I usually have it turned off, but this is just to see how my mix is going to sound in mono. It's nice to have right there on the master bus.

So after you finally kind of get the … i'm going to turn these off… After you finally get all the tracks you like, and you got stuff set the way you like… Oh, by the way my groups are set. My drums are already set to negative seven. And my groups within this instrument's groups are set to negative seven.

So I'm already starting all the tracks kind of quiet because inevitably if everything's set to zero, when you start loading tracks in, if you're mixing somebody else's stuff, you're going to immediately have to turn down your volume anyway. It's just going to be clipping like crazy. And you're going to get a lot of distortion and your VU meter will be off the chart. You don't want that. Okay.

So after you got everything just the way you want it you're just going to go up to here to 'file'. And this is in Ableton, and you're going to just say, save, live set as default set. Now you could save this as a template if you want it to, or, but I would definitely find the option. It might be in your settings or preferences or something about saving this as the default set. Then once you do that, then every time you open Ableton, this is just going to pop right up.

It's really slick! And it'll save you a ton of time. I didn't even know about this for several years while using Ableton. Feel kind of embarrassed about it, but this will save you a ton of time. So you might want to have several different templates. But find a way to be able to open your DAW very quickly. You might even want to have just one midi track with with nothing on it and no audio tracks as a template. It'll load your DAW really, really fast at that point.

Okay. I hope that helped!

  • Zion



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Two Simple Bass Production Tricks You Should Know

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If you've ever wanted your bass instruments or bass guitar to stand out and cut through the mix a little bit more. And you're also looking for little cool ways to make it more interesting. Maybe you're curious about side chaining your base with your kick. This video is for you today. There are two cool tricks, very simple tricks, to use and to start implementing right away in your music production that I think you're going to find really interesting.

My name is Zion and together with myself and Josh Doyle, we run the Triple Threat Artists course and community. It's a place for singer songwriters to become a Triple Threat by adding that producer element to their name. Nowadays, a lot of music is created by producers who know how to song write, and it, you're kind of behind the curve.

If you don't know some music production, and that's what we want to help you with this course. And this channel is all about that. If you haven't subscribed to our YouTube channel, definitely check that out, subscribe and hit the like button, but let's jump into this.

But one more thing before I forget, we have a couple of freebies on how to produce your music. Well, a one is a PDF guide to call the red zone production guide, and it kind of walks you through the different stages of music production. You can download that for free below as well as a tool called gizmo that we've created that helps music, songwriters, creators to keep track of all their metadata and keep those things organized. All right, without further ado, let's jump into these tricks.

This is a track. This is a lo-fi hip hop track for our YouTube channel Lo-Fi Panda Music ( If you want to check it out, the link is below I'm the music director for it. So I like to mix a lot of the songs or at least have the final say on the mix. This track was produced by my buddy Blake. He's an awesome producer and it's supposed to sound very old and kind of warbly and kind of grainy and warm.

It doesn't have a lot of bright, shiny sounds on it. Even though there's some slight bells in there, I really duct those back. I really, really pushed a lot of those things back using a I used neutrons isotope, neutrons, EQs, and stuff like that. Anyway the point of this video is to talk about base though. So when I want to focus on right now is the bass guitar.

Now what I did first and foremost is I took the basis, split it into two, or I didn't split it. I copied and pasted it into two tracks. The first track I call it bass low. I roll off everything over 300 Hertz. So here's 300 Hertz. I roll off everything and it's a gradual slope. This is a 12 decibel per octave slope. And then I on the high track, what I did is the exact opposite. I grabbed a filter. This is a high pass filter. And I did the exact same thing, same exact slope. So I don't have any phase issues or try not to have any phase issues and roll it off at 300 Hertz.

So what happened? Why do I do that? What's the point of that? Well, it's because I want to treat the low frequencies a little bit different from the high frequencies. Namely, I want my, the low bass frequencies to always be right down the middle. I want them to be in mono. Now this track is pretty mono already. And but if we listen to it right here, so load up,

Music Playing.

It's right down the middle. But if we wanted to make sure I could take this width and put it down to negative a hundred and it would sound like

Music Playing

Right now, you're probably wondering why is something moving over here? I'll explain that in just a second. That's the second trick. But the first trick I want to point out is that the, my low base is in mono, meaning it's right down the middle. I don't have any stereo separation between the left and right. I do the opposite with a higher frequencies. I actually widened them using the widening tool.

Most Daws have a widening tools. It's also called a stereo enhancer. But what you do is you enhance your stereo, enhance the higher frequencies, everything over 300 Hertz. So it fills out the base part. So this is going to be what it looks like without it. I'm going to go ahead and put zero here and you're going to hear, this is both the low and high base together and it's all mono.

Music Playing

So now what I want to do is I want to actually widen the top one. So I'm going to graduate that in.

Music Playing.

So if you're listening to this on a good stereo headphones or speakers or whatever. Maybe you've got good laptops speakers. You're going to probably notice that subtle difference. Now, why would we want to do that? Well it's because it helps the bass clear space, those higher frequencies, clear more space for the other instruments. And it makes it cut through the mix a little bit more. What are the disadvantages to doing this? Well, one disadvantage is it does mess up the tone of the bass guitarist. If you're working with a bass guitarist and they really liked the tone that they had, you might want to make sure they're okay with you doing that. But the other disadvantages you can run into some phase issues. So what I always do is I put a mano plugin on my BUS to make sure that it sounds about the same. Now I'm going to go ahead and turn off the, the the kick, the side chain, so we can hear it better. I'm going to just listen to the high and I'm going to turn the mono button on and go back and forth to see if I hear any frequencies that are disappearing in the mix.

Music Playing

Now, inevitably these types of stereo enhancers and with tools, they often bring… They often introduce certain phase issues to certain frequencies. And the goal is to figure out if it's doing it too much, and if it's problematic for your mix or if you'd like the sound of it. The other thing about it is if you're going to be making music such as lo-fi hip hop, that is probably going to be played on one speaker through someone's Bluetooth speaker, that's out by their pool, or a laptop that, you know, when the speakers are so close together, it's practically mono anyway, you want to be very conscientious of whether or not your, your frequencies are disappearing. And it's pretty noticeable pretty quickly. If it is, I didn't hear any problems with that. There might be some frequencies that are disappearing a little bit, but I didn't hear any issues. So I'm liking that. I'm, I'm digging that. So now let's put this whole thing back in the mix

Music Playing

So I'm loving that. Okay. So that's trick number one is splitting your base into two parts and then treating them differently. You might want to do that also to 'sparkl'e up using an exciter. I say, 'sparkle' …. using an exciter on the high frequencies. You might want to do that, or you might want to EEQ certain frequencies out of the low, without messing up the high or compress them differently. You could do a lot of different, there's a lot of different reasons why you might want to do this. I like to do this a lot. There might be faster ways to do this, but this is the way I like to do it.

Let's get to part two. So the part two of this is to use ducking. Well, I've already kind of shown you it, but I'm going to show you with the kick on and how it affects…. I've got a a side chain frequency here that's being effected. So let's listen to the bass. This is the low bass actually will listen to both.

Music Playing.

You can definitely tell when the kick happens, because this frequency it's right here. This is the one that I've told to do it. It's ducking way down and every time the kick happens. So why do you want to do that? It's because you want to make sure that you give room and space for the kick. Also, it sounds cool. Plus, it's a very modern thing to do, and I like to do it even though lo-fi is supposed to sound kind of old, it's kind of a new, fresh take on old mixes, right? Old lo-fi fidelity track. So how do you do that? Well, I use Neutron and you first, when you put it into, this is Ableton's way, you have to figure that out for your dog, but it neutrons pretty set up to do this kind of thing really well.

They've kind of thought about this because a lot of producers do this, where they control one frequency and duck for certain frequencies based on another. And I've told it to, to use the kick, look at the kick and every time the kick happens, I've told it this to be dynamic. If I turn this off, this would just be a big cut right here. And I don't want to do that. I actually want to make it so this only cuts when it's side change to an external frequency and I've told the external, and it's going to the kick free kick track. So now when you hit the when you hit play…

Music Playing.

And then the mix,

Music Playing.

And actually other tracks are doing the same thing, even on my main piano, I'm doing that a little bit as well.

Music Playing.

So that's it, those are your two tricks split them out. And so that you can make the bass in mono or the low frequencies in mono, and then also using side chain to give that pumping effect and make room for that kick. I hope you learned something. If you did send me an email back.

All right later, guys!




Background music is from Lofi Panda

This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

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Visualize Your Mix To Elevate Your Productions

What's up guys,

If you're looking for a way of getting your head around the space that you can use and what's available to you for when you're producing and mixing, then this tutorial is for you today. I'm going to go over how to visualize the mix in your productions and then how to take advantage of that to elevate your productions.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Hey, I'm Zion, and I am the founder and one of the co-owners of the Triple Threat Artists online production course, where we teach singer songwriters how to become a producer also, so that they're a triple threat when they're making music. If you haven't done so, check out our website where you can see a whole list of our courses and the offers.

We have things like setting up your vocal chain. If you're a singer and working with other producers, keeping track of all your metadata. Getting integrated into a community with like-minded music makers and of course, a full on production course.

Okay. Now let's get into today's Video.

I want you to start thinking of songs as this big three-dimensional box. Right now, this is two-dimensional, but if I'm visualizing it, you can have elements on this side. You can have elements on this side. You can have elements up here. This would be higher frequencies. And these would be lower frequencies. So your bass usually sits down here. It sort of finds its home. It's typically kind of in the middle and it's usually in its lower frequencies. Now base, if it was all low frequencies, that's usually called a sub. But base actually has other little frequencies that kind of come up in here that give it sort of the attack. Those higher frequencies give it sort of the punch.

In general, let's just think of bass as low. Your kick drum is going to be low. Also your voice is typically somewhere in here and it can spread all over it. You know, these are very general terms, but these are things that are typically in the center.

Your guitars often spread pretty wide and oftentimes spread over a large frequency spectrum, but you oftentimes want to get them out of the way of the voice. So you could split them and make them really quite wide. And so they're way over on the left and way over on the right. Or you can put them just to the left and right of the voice, but you give room for the voice.

What you want to focus on here is giving room for things - you want to have everything in the mix to have some separation. One of the things that I get a lot of compliments on is how clean my production is. And it's because I'm working harder and harder to give everything some space.

Now, some people, they will use an EQ on the voice and EQ the voice to be just in this spot and they don't let it bleed into any other area. And the kick is just in this spot. And I feel like there's a lot of people that overdo this concept. I would just do this in general terms. So if you don't know where to put something, just get it out of the way of the voice. The top line of the voice always needs to be in the middle. Harmonies can be a little out here if you want. They don't have to be right in the middle.

Improvs - background vocals, you definitely want out here. You want to get some space with those things, think of everything in a box, think of left and right as your panning. And think of the top of the box is higher frequencies. So really high frequencies, like 10,000 Hz and low frequencies, like 80 Hz. Don't let the Hz throw you off or push you away. Just start getting used to hearing things spoken in frequency ranges. So anyway, this is kind of how you visualize it.

Now we're going to talk about in a second, the 3D-ness of a mix. Let's say this is the front of the box. This panel right here is the front of the box. This is the front of the mix. This is how close it is to the listeners ears. Here's a listener.

This is the back. This means it's far off from them. This would be the right over on this side. This would be the left over on this side. And they're listening into this box. This box is the mix. Your bass might be like right here - this blob here.

And vocals, yada yada, and you've got all these other instruments. One of the things you're going to start realizing is using reverb and delay can make things sound way off in the distance. So you can put background vocals like way back there. So instead of just left and right, and high frequencies and low frequencies, you can throw things like a cool little effect. There's an effect that's way back there in the back. And one of the great things about learning to produce is learning to use a variation. You may have all your instruments in this area here, and you want your mix to be pretty close to the listener. And it's all right up close, all the different elements. But if you do something like suddenly throw a little element, that's way back here in the back, it doesn't have to be all the time, but just every once in a while, it's amazing what how that legitimizes the total production. It's kind of like saying, Hey, I'm a producer and I'm choosing to keep all these instruments right there.

But I know that I have all this other space to play with. I'm just choosing not to use It. And I can prove it by shooting something maybe way up in there, where it's real interesting, strange guitar solo way, kind of in the background. And it just comes in one little spot. And then the rest of the mix lives in this area upfront.

But you're basically proving to the listener that I know the space. I know that there's other areas in which my music can fall. So one of the things I love to do is regardless of where this big clump of most of my instruments lay, I like to throw an element somewhere in the mix every once in a while, somewhere to show the listener that there is space.

It's a really interesting concept. I've never actually heard anybody talk about this, but I think it is very effective. And I hear it all the time on songs produced on the radio or whatever. A lot of hip hop now, they don't have a lot of bass in it. The bass is held for a long time, and most of the mix stays above the bass range. And then suddenly in one specific spot in the chorus, boom, you'll have a big bass note down here.

And it just sort of says to the listener, Hey, we knew that was there this whole time, but we've chosen to just keep it for now. We're saving that little spot for just this moment. And then we're going to take it away. And you're not going to hear it again for a long time, but you'll know the listener knows subconsciously that this producer and this song knows about these other areas. They're just choosing not to go to them. It's kind of a bad-ass way of producing.

So I recorded this illustration a couple of years ago and I found this the other day and I thought I'd bring it back up because it really still applies. But I want to also make an emphasis that I didn't make then, which is the opposite is true. If you take all the elements in your mix and everything is very, let's say sounding very close, like it's in a very small room, or maybe it's all distorted or put through like high pass, low pass filter. So it sounds very kind of 'megaphony' - the whole mix does, and nothing ever comes out of that. And even though that may be very intentional subconsciously, what that can do is tell the listener that you actually don't know how to mix, because you don't know how to get out of that. Maybe that's the only way, you know how to mix is in this tight, little bubble, but by doing something, even if most of the song is in this one area, by doing something that's outside of that every once in a while, by getting outside of that every once in a while, just showing the listener that you know, that there's other areas of the production mix, whether it's a panning thing, a distant thing, a frequency thing that, you know, there's other space in your mix that you're just choosing not to use it really validates and elevates your mix to the listener.

It's a very subconscious thing, but it's really important. So even if you decide to make your mix, maybe it's super wet, very washy, eighties, song sound, maybe take one element and make it really dry and show that you know how to do that.

Maybe it's just an effect. Maybe it's a snare drum. Maybe it's a shaker. Maybe it's a tambourine. Maybe it's a vocal thing. It could be something like that. Or maybe your mix is extremely like indie rock and has a lot of dirt and distortion in it. If one part of your mix actually has something very clean or simple and clean, it shows the listener that you know how to actually take advantage of the entire spectrum of the box, the mix box. I hope that's helpful to you today. If you have any questions about that, or if you have something to add to that, please either email me back or send it in the comments.

I'll see you next week.



This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

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How I Upload Metadata in Disco

(Please excuse my super hoarse voice, not sure what that's about... LOL)

Many musicians and artists I know use Disco for sharing their music with other artists, and just tracking their catalog. But as you know Disco has its own way of requiring metadata. 

Today I was sending music to a Licensing Agent, and needed to update a playlist that they asked for. So as always, I started from my GIZMO tool, and grabbed sets of metadata for each song. 

This used to be a process I loathed, but now with the GIZMO tool, it is so much easier, and drastically reduced errors.

Now I admit, my way of doing this is probably overkill, but I'm ok with that.

In this video I just walk you through my process, to show you how I go about it. 

Of course, there might be tricks I haven't thought of, so if you think of something, please leave it in the Facebook comments below. 



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