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Old 08-09-2015, 04:28 PM   #1
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Production challenges / limitations

I find one the best ways to stimulate creativity is to limit yourself in certain ways, or to set yourself challenges. Sometimes I'll set myself rules before opening a session. These might be things like only using stock instruments/effects; only allowing myself X amount of tracks; not having any drums for the first 2 minutes of the song; making the lead and harmony with the same synth, and so on and so on.

Do any of you do this? What are some methods you use to try and stimulate your creativity when you're not feeling terribly inspired?

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:42 PM   #2
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I guess when I was learning new things I would limit myself to projects that focused on them. At the moment, I'm interested in learning a few audio programming languages, for example. So I'll do a few Max4Live experiments to find my way around it.

But if it's a purely creative project about expression, then I think there are enough limitations in the expression itself without hindering it by restricting the tools and techniques I can use. If I have an idea then I'll use everything at my disposal.
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

When I use my VST instruments, I spend a long time deleting all the presets which sound lame. Along the way, I edit some of the presets to sound better. Sometimes that's all it takes to find a fun sound or to be inspired on how to make a good sound. Part of the payoff for all that time spent is that then, when I go to start a fresh tune, all of the presets sound good and no time is wasted hunting for something fancy. And when I jam with that I get better results. But it sure takes a very long prep time especially when so many preset libraries are huge.

Similarly, when I download free one-shot percussion samples, sometimes I will skip auditioning all of them and just pick out some good sounds randomly and mass delete a bunch of the intermediate sounds. So instead of having 100 kicks and 100 snares and so forth, I'll have 20 kicks and 20 snares etc. And then to make them more interesting, I'll blend them together to get different compound sounds. Also, since I randomly combine different sample packs from different drum machines and live samples, I get a more varied sound when it works out.

A few years ago, I limited all my tunes to just 2 BPM's 80 and 96. It sped up composing somewhat because I could combine my loops and riffs if the BPM's matched.

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Old 08-09-2015, 07:43 PM   #4
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

If you've got nothing against trackers, participate in some compos. One of the more active ones is [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. I did that several times, it was pretty fun experience.
Microfunk community had a contest 3 years ago, the only sample you could use is TR-808 kick.
.

Speaking about myself, I didn't really set any limitations during last 3 years. It's because my gear set is pretty minimalstic already I guess btw, yeah, I strongly suggest having as little plugins and samples as it's possible. Synth1 ftw!

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Old 08-09-2015, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I have been starting most of my recent stuff out on my electribe and iPad combo it has its immediacies but is also more limited than the computer. It's a great way to smash out a bunch of loops/ patterns and then flesh them out once I record them into my DAW
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:20 PM   #6
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

If you don't need to do this consciously it just means you're already limited enough as you are.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:56 PM   #7
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I feel like the objective "make music in the box" is limiting enough.

If you want limits, use FL Studio or Mixcraft. Trust me when I say it doesn't enhance your creativity, it squashes it into a bloody pulp.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:28 AM   #8
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

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Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
I feel like the objective "make music in the box" is limiting enough.

If you want limits, use FL Studio or Mixcraft. Trust me when I say it doesn't enhance your creativity, it squashes it into a bloody pulp.
I don't know if I agree with that. I think it's easy to feel overwhelmed with sound choices when you have access to pretty much any sound imaginable.

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Old 09-09-2015, 12:58 PM   #9
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

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Originally Posted by Orray View Post
I don't know if I agree with that. I think it's easy to feel overwhelmed with sound choices when you have access to pretty much any sound imaginable.
I think that's the limitation that he's getting at regarding in the box production. Computers can do a lot of things okay, but virtually nothing well. Producing music exclusively on a screen is incredibly limiting, not least because a backlit screen full of completely irrelevant information (that's the graphical display of your project) is constantly distracting you and stealing your attention from writing music.

Contrast to working on music with any instrument, electronic or otherwise; Maybe it only does one thing, but generally there is no limit to what you can do with that one thing. Just look at the longevity of a circuit like the 303. Incredibly basic instrument with virtually zero complexity of sound. But boy, still to this day, people are finding new and interesting things to do with its very basic mechanics.

And I can guarantee you, somebody with a MC-303 or a x0xb0x and a drum machine is writing way more music than some dude with a bunch of software on a computer. No contest.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:35 AM   #10
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I've been slowly acquiring cheap boxes (volca keys/bass, a microbrute, kp3) so I've been trying to just do drums in ableton and make all the synth/bass/fx stuff just with the sequencers or live playing, maybe back to the computer for some pads via Alchemy, since monosynths and Volca keys aren't really suited to the task. it's been loads of fun. Hoping to get the Volca Sample next so I can do drums outside the box as well. Definitely a form of limitation, but getting outside of the computer more has been very inspiring as well.

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Old 10-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #11
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
A few years ago, I limited all my tunes to just 2 BPM's 80 and 96. It sped up composing somewhat because I could combine my loops and riffs if the BPM's matched.
actually, this is a very good advice that can be reformulated in a more general way : re-use the good ideas, and eventually bend them to fit in. that's definitely the way to go to build yourself an imprint as a producer.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:06 PM   #12
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

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Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
I think that's the limitation that he's getting at regarding in the box production. Computers can do a lot of things okay, but virtually nothing well. Producing music exclusively on a screen is incredibly limiting, not least because a backlit screen full of completely irrelevant information (that's the graphical display of your project) is constantly distracting you and stealing your attention from writing music.

Yeah I see what you mean - I guess 'limiting' can be interpreted in many ways

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Old 15-09-2015, 10:22 AM   #13
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I'm working on a 25-key MIDI controller these days. That's definately a limit when I'm used to a 49-key or 61-key MIDI controller.

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Old 15-09-2015, 03:11 PM   #14
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

I'm limited enough. I don't feel a need to add extra limitations unless for an academic excercise.

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Old 15-09-2015, 03:45 PM   #15
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

^ science is for wankers anyway
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Old 15-09-2015, 05:48 PM   #16
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

i have for only keyboard a 30 years old alpha juno 2 without any B working (and other notes that are slowly but surely starting to die on me). i guess that's a good limitation for harmony and melody... right?
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Old 15-09-2015, 05:52 PM   #17
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

oh and that other day when i tried to make a tune only with a multisampled violin with my eyes closed and sitting on some kind of fakir chair (that i designed specially for this occasion)... didn't ended so well
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Old 17-09-2015, 02:33 AM   #18
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

Six years ago I couldn't make cool melodies. I was leaning too hard on the quality of my sounds to carry the track. To fix the problem I decided to start making hella retro 80s sounding tunes. In exploring new synthruments, which sounded terrible, 80s synth artists had to make really good melodies to make their songs good. (Nowadays, you can have a track with one instrument hitting one note and it's fine because the sound itself is so good.) In listening to and limiting myself to terrible 80s sounds I taught myself how to make decent melodies.

I call this the piano effect. Pianos do not intrinsically make a pleasant sound hitting one note. But playing multiple notes in succession the piano sounds beautiful.

I am now trying to learn how to make better bass lines. I haven't found a genre to teach them to me yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
When I use my VST instruments, I spend a long time deleting all the presets which sound lame. Along the way, I edit some of the presets to sound better. Sometimes that's all it takes to find a fun sound or to be inspired on how to make a good sound. Part of the payoff for all that time spent is that then, when I go to start a fresh tune, all of the presets sound good and no time is wasted hunting for something fancy. And when I jam with that I get better results. But it sure takes a very long prep time especially when so many preset libraries are huge.

Similarly, when I download free one-shot percussion samples, sometimes I will skip auditioning all of them and just pick out some good sounds randomly and mass delete a bunch of the intermediate sounds. So instead of having 100 kicks and 100 snares and so forth, I'll have 20 kicks and 20 snares etc. And then to make them more interesting, I'll blend them together to get different compound sounds. Also, since I randomly combine different sample packs from different drum machines and live samples, I get a more varied sound when it works out.

A few years ago, I limited all my tunes to just 2 BPM's 80 and 96. It sped up composing somewhat because I could combine my loops and riffs if the BPM's matched.
Your advice is dope and so is your soundcloud. I'm going to do the bolded part.
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Old 23-09-2015, 04:08 AM   #19
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

Lately, in an attempt to move closer to mastering particular plug-ins, I have been working on projects that only use 2-4 plugins for everything. I've really been trying to break everything down to the smallest piece so when I start using everything at my disposal I will have a better and more skilled perspective on it. In a nut shell; practice, practice, practice(in limiting ways) .
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:55 AM   #20
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Re: Production challenges / limitations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
When I use my VST instruments, I spend a long time deleting all the presets which sound lame.

Wow I don't know how to do that and want to... Can you/someone tell me how??

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