I just need some help


Well I know how to write songs. I think I do anyway. I’m a complete newb to EDM.

I have good melody, lyrics and vocals ready for this.

These are pieces of the song I’m creating.

I’m very new to programming synths! First time w/ wobble bass, modifying sounds etc.
Basically no loops anywhere in this. I played and programmed everything.
No presets … well at least I tweaked them all to be different.

I want to make pop sounding dubstep similar to Au5, Virtual Riot … dare I say it? The Fat Rat ( sorry) … early stuff with Laura Brehm especially.

I’m looking for feedback about synth sounds, drum programming, sections of the song if anyone is willing.

I haven’t done very much in the way of EQ or anything else.

I’m trying to avoid amateurish or outdated sounds before I get too far in.

Thanks for your help!


I will defo have a look…errr…listen to this later tonight. I won’t lie, I am a little groggy from a nap. One thing I will say is that it might be good to use presets for a while or to lean on some other tools. It is a TON to take in all at once. I will be back : ) I need to wake up and have dinner first lol


Hey, here are a few thoughts:
My initial impression is that I think your sounds and the melodies/bass line/drum pattern composition are all in the right ballpark for the style. I don’t have a good sense for what sort of sounds are cool vs. overplayed/outdated right now. It all seems to go in cycles anyway so I don’t follow that stuff that closely, but others might have a better sense.

It’s hard for me to judge the mix/levels of the parts you’ve posted due to the way they are separated in the sketch. The quiet/ambient sections seem maybe too quiet, but I’m not sure how much of that is just the placehoder fades between the sections.

I think what will make-or-break the track is going to be how you build this sketch out into a full arrangement. Things like the progression of intensity/energy level over the course of the track and transitions between the different sections are maybe even more important than the composition of the individual sections. You already have some of the typical transition elements in your sketch (filter sweeps, automated effects, crossfades, risers, etc.), but it’s hard to judge how well those transitions work right now with the sections separated, need to hear everything stitched together.

Finally, this might be a personal taste thing, but I’d want to hear a little more variety in the drum patterns and arpeggios. One thing that stood out to me is that your piano tone sounds like a high quality, real piano but the playing sounds really robotic. If you are going to use a realistic piano sound, I’d want it to sound like it’s a sample of a live performance (rather than sequenced). If you play keys, maybe re-record the parts once you have the track built out, and perform it with some expression. Or if you don’t play keys, you can refine the sequencing with manual edits to the note velocities and timings to give it a more human feel.

You are clearly working in a different genre than what I produce/usually listen to, so take this all with a grain of salt, but hopefully some of this is still helpful.


Thanks @Faintbrush
This will be helpful, I think.
That is me playing keys on it. … but I was worried to go too rubato … so I quantized it … probably more than I should have.
I can make an un-quantized version and see how it sounds. That will be the easy part of the advice you gave me. :slightly_smiling_face:
The arrangement is the scary part. :grinning:


I played the piano without quantizing @Faintbrush
Down to The water - test 2 | Bill | Listen on hearthis.at

I don’t think it really sounds all that better. Just more out of time.

I guess robot playing is just my style.
:robot: :musical_keyboard:


I dunno, to my ears the un-quantized piano sounds a whole lot better, in particular for the first 30 seconds (before the heavy drums come in).

I agree the timing gets a little sketchy once the drums start. But I would suggest trying to work with the loose timing of the piano track and adjusting the other sections to fit the piano performance. You should probably make sure you piano phrases are close enough to in time at the start of each 8-bar section, maybe even do some manual adjustments so that the start of the piano phrases are in time every 2 or 4 bars. But if there is loose timing within those segments, I’d suggest editing the timing of drums (at least the kick) to get it to follow the live piano rather than adjusting the piano to snap to the drum grid. Of course, this is hard (and ultimately might not work), but if you can get it to work it’ll make for a much more interesting track.


This is a great sketch @Bill and @Faintbrush is giving you good advice… especially about the natural piano playing and “stitch it together.”

You could start filling out the composition just by repeating those individual sections to 32 measures each and working each 8 bars to change the character. Sometimes an abrupt change… some times a slow morph to the next section. Just by doing that it will start to feel “stitched together.”

That last section definitely wants to be longer!

Once you’ve done that then you can think about arranging the form in a more interesting way. Right now your form is A B C D. You could (for example) try AABD BB CD CCBD AADD with the quiet spots happening at the spaces.

I find that adding lots of ideas. (More than you think you need!) and then editing back is an easier way to build a composition than trying to just get it right in one try. That goes for layers too! Stack it up… make it dense… and then start deleting individual tracks for a few bars here and there. You will be surprised at the great variety of textures that will appear through the windows you open up.

It’s going to be a great piece :sunglasses:


This is a great start and to be honest @Faintbrush have all the right feedback already so nothing to add from me.

Just a note, normally in-progress track would go in the Listening Booth section


Edit: I prefer the unquantized piano too


I think you’ll find arrangement at least as important as the most updated sounds. How you connect these different parts will be important. For this style you want those big changes in energy.

I think everyone else nailed it as far as how to get this put together into a proper song. I honestly wouldn’t say anything different.

Sounds: Virtual Riot is the only of those artists I recognize.

If this is what you are going for I would recommend SeamlessR on youtube. Most of those sounds are not basic subtractive synthesis though for basic wobbles I think you are doing a fair job so far. I don’t know what exactly is popular these days as far as that kind of sound. You might consider “frequency splitting” to get more control over those big synth sounds that take up a lot of room in the mix.


Thanks for the advice @relic I will look into SeamlessR.

I’m kind of amazed that thing people commented on was the piano playing. I mean, wow!
I do that everyday but I’ve never programmed synths before.
I thought for sure someone would say trash that third variation or something.

One person mentions it and it becomes the subject of the other comments. :smile: Funny how forums work.

I apologize if I offended you by the location of this post @Auto-meh-geddon
@relic will confirm that I checked before posting this and tried to choose the best place considering I only had an A section and a few variations of the B.
Just trying to get some help with synth sounds.
I won’t be upset if you need to move it.


To be frank, you ended up getting better suggestions and feedback this way, so no problem, just keep it in mind for the future.
As for the piano, I think that coming from that background already gives you a better idea on where the sounds should sit in the composition.


I also told him to post it here, I was trying to sort him on getting into the LB since we knew he wasn’t a bot/troll. I also thought since he has some very specific technical questions (sound design) it was OK here this one time.

@Bill yea, I mean, I think there are more advanced patches you could have made, but the piano to me is kinda the key part of this tune so I wouldn’t Transformers crazy ass sound FX all over that : )


Hi @1roomstudio I guess for this you would stack the midi tracks into different instruments?

For other genres we record separate performances to give the double tracks more character. That wouldn’t be the right way in EDM music I think. Trying to make it all very precise. ( … except the piano … lol …)


There are some electronic production techniques that are similar to double tracking, not exactly the same, but worth mentioning in case you haven’t explored them yet:

Polyphony: You’ve probably seen this, but in case you haven’t, most synth plugins have polyphony options which will play multiple versions of the same patch with slight changes between the voices (usually detune and pan, sometimes changing the phase of the LFOs, etc) in order to create a more full-bodied sound.

Layering Patches: This is where you send the same sequence to multiple synth patches. In a simple layering you might stack two sounds to have them both play at the same time. Like maybe a brass or guitar sample with a bass synth added to fill in the low end. But it can get really fun when you use different timing on the envelopes for each different layer to create controlled variations in the tone over the course of each note - say use the piano sample for the attack portion of the note, but have that fade out pretty quick and be replaced with more of a strings sample or a synth pad for the decay/release. Another fun one is to use layers to change the level of an effect over the duration of each note (like tremolo, distortion, or pitch envelopes).


Not necessarily…but you get the idea.

@Faintbrush extrapolated on this nicely. Some great techniques he laid out there…