8 Tips & Techniques How To Improve Your Sound When Producing Music

music production tips and tricks

Did you ever wonder if there are some tips and techniques on how to improve the sound of your music production just a little bit? In this post, we will further explain to you these eight techniques on how to make your sound better. Just keep reading!

Make More Versions of The Specific Sound With Different Macros And Automations To Bring Life To Sounds That Felt Stale or Repetitive

This will make your tunes more dynamic and fresh because you are using a series of the one sound just with a different approach. This approach is great to avoid your sound being monotone only by doing little tweaks with your effect plugins, and by doing that, you can create slightly different versions of that sound. On the other side, when you will use only one sound very often, then it could sound too obvious for the listener, and your music will lose the magic and shine.

Make More Versions of Different Sounds With The Same Effects

Opposite of the first tip – Now, you want to make sure that your sounds are compatible with each other. You can apply this technique almost on anything like drums, bass, synths, pads, effects, etc. It’s not only great to give your sound direction, but it will also create a kind of Unity that will make your music more glued, and in the end, it will sound pleasing. It’s worth of try.

After Processing Your Drums Separately, Group Your Drums Together (Drumroom) To Get Them To Sit Together Nicely

It’s not necessary to do, but it’s an excellent technique for you if you want to create a great atmosphere, sustain, and to bring some tension to your drums. You don’t need to send everything to this group, but what you want to link to this group are at least main drums (like kick, snare, clap, etc.) With this simple technique, you can create drums that have great sustain plays together and not as the individual drums. Of course, you have to use proper tools and effects to make your drums working great together, but from the beginning, try to use some essential plugins for it like EQ and compressor.

Tip – Go to your compressor settings, and just search for something like – Drumroom, Parallel Compression or New York Compression. These are the presets that you would try to use to see how it sound and work. Anyway, don’t trust to presets only, because you need to make tweaks on your own according to your current track. The last thing is to keep in mind that presets need to be adjusted.

An excellent tool for this is the compressor by Cytomic – The Glue.

Here is an audio waveform of drum break that wasn’t grouped (only basic limiting was applied)

audio waveform 2

And here is waveform where drums were smashed together (you can see how it increase the sustain and fulfill the space between main drums)

audio waveform

Don’t Worry To Get Rid of Things That You Like Now And Think For The Future

It happens very often that when you are producing, your sounds can sound pleasing for the first time. But as long as you start playing it over and over again, it starts becoming annoying or even wrong. In that case, you want to remove it and replace it with a better sound alternative. Before that, make sure you have a backup just in the fact that the second sound is even worse. The things that you like now don’t mean that it will sound great after more listenings. Some of the producers know it very well – You are working on a brand new project, and when you start listening to it in the next day, all things there seem to be useless.

Add The “Click” To Your Main Drums Like Kick / Clap / Snare

Clicks are very short high-frequency sounds that you can hear, for example, when your ASIO driver is not optimized correctly, and your project start to stuttering, lagging and clicking. However, you can use this sound for your advantage in music production. When you are making pillar drums like kick, clap or snare, (or anything that you think would be the main drums), it’s great to add this microsound to the beginning of the sample.

Add it across your entire track and then make A/B testing. You will quickly see how this high-end sound will improve the HIT of that sample. When you mute the click sound, your drums will seem like they have a lack of attack, and that’s exactly it. All that it does is adding a little more attack on the high-end and improving initial impact whenever your drum starts playing. Here is an example of the click sound that we made for you to exactly know what we are talking about:

Resample Your Sound And Put To The Same Mixer Track

This technique is useful if you want to achieve rough and solid sounds. Anyway, at first, you need to make sure that the first initial effect plugins that you have used in your mixer chain are good because if not, this technique will double it. All you have to do is resample your sound with the effect processing on it, and then add this resampled sound to the same insert. What it does is that it will double that power and will sound more sharp and edgy. It’s a perfect thing to do if you want to bring some additional strength to your sounds.

For example, if you want to make your snares warmer and bring some vintage feeling to it, try to apply this trick. It’s a generally proper technique to use for your low end to make it rock-solid. When you compare the first with the second version where we applied this trick, most of the time, it will definitely sound more pleasing. The last thing – when resampling your sounds, don’t forget to work only with the lossless audio formats (F.ex. .WAV file.)

How To Fix Phasing and Correlation Issues Quick Tips

1. Low-Cut Side Filter

In case that phasing issues are caused because of the low-end negative cancellation, use the low-cut side filter to fix the problematic frequency region that is causing it. To be able to do that, you need to have an equalizer plugin that has M/S (Mide, Side) functionality built-in. For example, Fab Filter Pro Q2 or Pro Q3.

2. Imager

If your audio sounds beautiful and centered in the stereo analyzer, but the correlation is little off, great technique on how to fix this is to add the imager plugin that will reduce the stereo wide. If you used the headphones that have an extensive stereo range, your first feeling would be that it sounds a bit strange.

The reason being is that these headphones producing too much SIDES and when you start decreasing the stereo wide with the Imager, it will result in reducing the sides and you will think that there is something wrong. But the truth is that you’ve normalized the stereo wide and now it sounds how it should (To make sure that you have normal correlation values, use the stereo analyzer that will show you if you are very wide or near to the mono.) Also, you can check this post and get more info on how to fix the stereo correlation,

Get one of the best stereo Imager/Analyzer for FREE here: iZotope Imager

3. Use the Left/Right Method 

Use Longer Reverb or Delay On Your Rare Sounds

It’s good to use these effects on sounds which are don’t playing so often on your timeline to make them memorable and more resonating. Not even that – this would also be a useful technique if you want to make really smooth transitions between parts of your track and make your song a less monotonous and dry. Also, keep in mind that the more your sounds are repeating, the smaller feedback of these effects should be. Not only because they could interfere with each other, but because of the structure and musicality.

Here are links for decent Reverb & Delay effects: 

Free Reverb Plugins

Free Delay Plugins

So here is it! We hope that this would help you in some way so you can start practicing these tips to your advantage and being able to make a little improvement on your current projects!

Viliam Šulek

MusicGearo is a blog site created by passionate music producers for the music lover who wants to build a home studio or purchase various music performance or production gear.It also addresses those who already own home studios but need to learn how to get the most out of the gear they already own.

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