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

music production tips and tricks

Have you ever wondered if there are any tips and techniques for improving the sound of your music production? In this post, we will go over eight techniques on how to make your sound better. Keep reading!

Make More Versions of A Specific Sound With Different Macros And Automation To Bring Stale and Repetitive Sound to Life

Doing so will make your tunes fresher and more dynamic, as you are using a series of the one sound just with a different approach.

This approach is great for avoiding a monotone sound. All it requires is a few little tweaks with your effect plugins. By doing that, you can create slightly different versions of that sound. On the other side, when you use one sound very often, it can sound too obvious to the listener and your music will lose its magic.

Make More Versions of Different Sounds With The Same Effects

This tip is on the opposite end of the first. You want to make sure that your sounds are compatible with each other. You can apply this technique almost on anything, such as 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 glue your music. In the end, it will sound very pleasing. It’s worth of try.

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

It’s not necessary to do, though it’s an excellent technique if you want to create great atmosphere, sustain, and bring some tension to your drums. You don’t need to send everything to this group, though you should at least send the main drums (like kick, snare, clap, etc.) With this simple technique, you can create drums that have great sustain and play together rather than individually. Of course, you have to use proper tools and effects to make your drums work great together. From the beginning, try to use some essential plugins, such as EQ and compression.

Tip – Go to your compressor settings and search for something like – Drum Room, Parallel Compression or New York Compression. These are the presets that you should try to use. Of course, don’t only trust to presets, as 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 a 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 increases the sustain and fills the space between main drums)

audio waveform

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

This happens very often when you are producing. Your sounds might sound pleasing for the first time, though when as you start playing them over and over again, they start becoming annoying or sounding “wrong.” In that case, you might try to remove them and replace them with better sound alternatives. Before that, make sure you have a backup just in case the second sound is even worse. Just because you like something now doesn’t mean that it will sound great after listening more. Some 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 of the elements there seem useless.

Add The “Click” To Your Main Drums (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 starts stuttering, lagging, and clicking. However, you can use this sound to 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 “micro-sound” to the beginning of the sample.

Add it across your entire track and use A/B testing. You will quickly see how this high-end sound improves the HIT of that sample. When you mute the click sound, your drums will seem like they lack attack, and that’s exactly it. All that it does is add a bit more attack on the high-end while improving the initial impact whenever your drum starts playing. Here is an example of the click sound that we made for you so that you 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. At first, you need to make sure that the initial effect plugins you have used in your mixer chain are good. If not, this technique will double it. All you have to do is resample your sound with the effect processing on it and add this resampled sound to the same insert. What it does is doubles the power, giving you a sharper and edgier sound. It’s the 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 a vintage feel 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 and second versions, most of the time, the second will sound more pleasing. The last thing to note is that when resampling your sounds, don’t forget to work with lossless audio formats only (F.ex. .WAV file.).

How To Fix Phasing and Correlation Issues – Quick Tips

1. Low-Cut Side Filter

In case you run into phasing issues caused by low-end negative cancellation, use the low-cut side filter to fix the problematic frequency region that is causing it. 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 a bit off, a great technique to fix this is to add the imager plugin to reduce the stereo width. If you used the headphones that have an extensive stereo range, your first instinct might be that it sounds a bit strange.

The reason for this is that headphones produce a lot of SIDE content. When you start decreasing the stereo width with an Imager, the result side reduction, in which case you might think there is something wrong. The truth is that you’ve normalized the stereo width and now it sounds how it should (To make sure that you have normal correlation values, use a stereo analyzer, which will show you if you are very wide or closer to mono.) Also, you can check this post and get more info on how to fix 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 that aren’t playing often on your timeline to make them memorable. This technique is aso useful 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 repeat, the smaller the feedback of these effects should be, as they can interfere with each other within your structure and musicality.

Here are links for decent Reverb & Delay effects: 

Free Reverb Plugins

Free Delay Plugins

So there it is! We hope that this helps you in some way so you can start practicing these tips and make little improvements to your current projects!