I don't understand what I'm doing wrong
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:03 PM   #1
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I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

Lately, all of my music sounds cold and lifeless, there is almost no warmth to any of it, it's not inviting, or entertaining, quite frankly, it's boring.
what am I doing wrong? is there a way to change this? or is it normal? I don't understand...
here is my last few songs I've made for reference.







I don't know what I'm doing wrong, honestly, I thought I had overcome a huge block, but it's just getting worse.

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Old 10-03-2017, 06:08 PM   #2
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

I don't hear anything wrong. I do hear a lot of good rhythms and harmony, but not a whole lot of lead melody taking control. You could be working on including many more melodies competing with each other for harmony, it would breathe a little bit more life into these tracks. There could be a little bit more EQ maybe, I get the feeling a lot of these tunes sit in the mid-range and you could be isolating your basslines + additional leads more. I do hear a little too much bitcrush amount/saturation in the first track you could always bring those down a notch but retain the bitcrush effect.

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Old 10-03-2017, 06:16 PM   #3
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

They all sound so vastly different that I'd be surprised if there's really 'one thing' you're 'doing wrong'.

There's no wrong way to make music, but this seems like an extended LB post TBH.

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Old 10-03-2017, 06:26 PM   #4
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

I'll try not to go on a rant here, but what does "warm" mean? I wouldn't worry about that. I feel like that is mostly marketing garbage man.

As far as "inviting" do you mean that there isn't any hook? As far as entertaining I'm a bit lost as to what you think is missing too. I mean, ok, you are making pretty meloncholic, down tempo stuff. So if you are looking for more energic material with more of a pop sensability, that shouldn't be much of an issue. Busier drums and more melodic elements (as Proton said) can help with that.

Listening to the first two tracks...my immediate reaction to the second meldoy was that it sounds super similar to the first. The notes, the cadence, they rhythm, the synth patch. Super similar.

The third one is pretty different.

I only had a quick scan over each of the tracks they all have a pretty similar structure and kind of "do the same thing" in that they are all kinda divide in thirds. The first half establishes a theme, then there is a "bridge" of sorts then the theme comes back with a bit of variation. I think its really hard to keep that kind of minimalism interesting even over a two minute track.

In either of the first two tracks could really get that lead melodic part dancing over the established rhythm.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:07 AM   #5
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
I'll try not to go on a rant here, but what does "warm" mean? I wouldn't worry about that. I feel like that is mostly marketing garbage man.

As far as "inviting" do you mean that there isn't any hook? As far as entertaining I'm a bit lost as to what you think is missing too. I mean, ok, you are making pretty meloncholic, down tempo stuff. So if you are looking for more energic material with more of a pop sensability, that shouldn't be much of an issue. Busier drums and more melodic elements (as Proton said) can help with that.

Listening to the first two tracks...my immediate reaction to the second meldoy was that it sounds super similar to the first. The notes, the cadence, they rhythm, the synth patch. Super similar.

The third one is pretty different.

I only had a quick scan over each of the tracks they all have a pretty similar structure and kind of "do the same thing" in that they are all kinda divide in thirds. The first half establishes a theme, then there is a "bridge" of sorts then the theme comes back with a bit of variation. I think its really hard to keep that kind of minimalism interesting even over a two minute track.

In either of the first two tracks could really get that lead melodic part dancing over the established rhythm.
to me, warm is having a smooth bass, I don't think it's too much than that.

like this track at 2:30


or pretty much any part of this track


I can't really explain it, but when I think warmth, I think bass tones, really inviting bass tones that pull the listener through the track without it sounding repetitive, even though the track is by nature, repetitive.

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:35 AM   #6
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

OK. We are on the same page then. I prefer the term "round" for that actually. Saturation and a LPF with distortion or feedback helps a lot with that. If you process things right you can make a single wave form sound really good. I would recommend using single oscillator and no sub oscillator. I prefer square basses or triangle sometimes. Saw waves have too many harmonics and sine waves, obviously, have the opposite problem.

I'd say it also has to do with how your mix your tracks as well. In a lot of electronic music, all the instruments except the kick and bass sounds use pretty aggressive shelf EQ on all the other elements to make plenty of room for that bass and and kick to sound big. I also like to use saturation on the master to kind of give everything some extra presence and gel things together, it kind of helps the big bass tones feel like they are enveloping the rest of the mix in a pleasant way.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:56 AM   #7
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

sounds normal,

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Old 11-03-2017, 02:16 AM   #8
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

i give the same creative advice over and over, and i will continue to repeat this. Most producers are so fixated on producing a high quality sounds step by step, based on industry standard levels of quality, that they don't "loosen up" and trust in their skills to throw everything at the table and mix/master towards the end. The result being high quality audio but stale in the creativity department.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:37 AM   #9
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

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Old 11-03-2017, 04:56 AM   #10
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

The third track of yours seems the closest to your goal, IMO. The first two seem stale and like they lack automation of any sort, if that helps at all. The tracks you reference tend to have a lot of intricate details going on that yours miss. This doesn't mean your tracks suck, it just means you're noticing the lack of detail / depth in your own work and that's part of the process (IMO, I'm just as lost as you TBH).

'Boring' doesn't have to mean a lack of layers, but it can also mean a lack of movement in terms of automation and otherwise. If I were to be as objective as I could possibly be, I'd assume that's what you're talking about.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, I probably am.

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Old 11-03-2017, 05:58 AM   #11
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

If you want to have more rounded/warm/full/toneful basses (and instruments in general), my trick is to not screw with the fundamental harmonic. If you get your highpass where you want it and you're cutting off the fundamental, either shift that synth up an octave and maintain the fundamental harmonic or be willing to accept it's going to sound square/cold/empty. I don't want to try and explain the math with numbers, but having your fundamental at 100 hz cut out by a highpass and then hearing all the harmonics is different from hearing a 200 hz fundamental and it's harmonics. If your highpass is at 150 hz, choose the latter wave and it should sound more like what you want.

That's just something I keep in mind while I'm working, I don't know how much that contributes to the final sound, but it can't hurt.

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:20 PM   #12
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

is it the sound itself or the arrangement/composition? I noticed all of your three tracks seem to rely on long notes, or pads, loops with no silence in them. Maybe you could experiment with elements that sound more plucky or have a shorter tail, and write melodies with more syncopation in them, even basslines (as opposed to a long sub root note that rumbles through).

You posted two of those in the LB already, and I think you had rather positive feedback on that third one. I don't think it has "no emotion".

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Old 13-03-2017, 06:57 PM   #13
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Re: I don't understand what I'm doing wrong

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Originally Posted by mute machine View Post
to me, warm is having a smooth bass, I don't think it's too much than that.

like this track at 2:30



I can't really explain it, but when I think warmth, I think bass tones, really inviting bass tones that pull the listener through the track without it sounding repetitive, even though the track is by nature, repetitive.

The example at 2:30 is definitely a FM based bass sound that or an analog synth bass that has been bitrate reduced, nothing warm about it to my ears.

Its got digital-y overtones and would be something i describe more as cold.

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