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Top 5 Production Tips

DJ Times caught up with heRobust, who spilled his top 5 tips for producers:
Make use of track delay.

“Track delay is a parameter that affects the timing of an entire mixer channel. It is used to make all the audio on a channel later or earlier by a matter of milliseconds. Moving some things forward and others backward can be desirably imperfect. This is referred to as a “pocket” or “groove.” If you’re looking for that J Dilla swing, or a even a house groove, track delay will help.

Check your mixes in mono.

“Always check your mixes in mono. A lot of club systems are run in mono so that is how your songs will sound live. If your mixes sound off in mono, you probably have some stereo phasing issues. Stereo phasing is when frequencies on both sides cancel each other out. In stereo, you’ll never notice, but in mono it is easy to hear which frequencies are missing.”

Start with gain staging.
“Gain staging is the mixing at the most basic level, adjusting only the level of each channel. Many young producers start utilizing compressors, limiters, and equalizers before they develop their ability to properly adjust gain. Don’t do this. No amount of EQ and side chain compression will correct your mix if your gain staging is way off. So take the time to get it right on the ground floor.”

Use two compressors for “duck” and “pump” side chaining.

“Using two side chain compressors can give you more control over the behavior of your sound. Label one ‘duck’ and the other ‘pump.’ The duck compressor will have very short attack and release. This will quickly lower the volume of your sound when the kick punches and allow it to return shortly after. The pump compressor will simply have a longer release to control how long it takes for your sound to return to full volume. The key to maximizing control with this method is using different levels of gain reduction on each compressor. For example, know your sound can be drastically ducked without a drastic pumping effect.”

Keep the DJ in mind.

“If your goal is get your track played by DJs all around the world, keep that in mind when you’re planning the composition. Make it convenient for them. Leave intros, breakdowns, and outros that are sparse but still rhythmic. Even if DJs love your track, they may pass on playing it if it’s difficult to mix.”


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