Compression - The Beginners Guide!


Compression - The Beginner Producer's Guide! What's up?! One of the most confusing mixing concepts for producers is compression. It's one of the most common questions I see being asked by Read more

Improve Your Drum Patterns Series: Part 1 - Layering


Improve Your Drum Patterns Series: One of the key elements to a great production is the drum patterns. Especially in urban based music. If your drum patterns don't sound right, they Read more

The three websites that taught me everything!


The three websites that taught me everything! Since I started getting a little bit of popularity on youtube, people have been asking me questions left right and center. Everything ranging Read more

How to get great mixes without ACTUALLY having to mix!


How to get great mixes without ACTUALLY having to mix! First of all, before I begin writing this, I want to say that I do not consider myself a great Read more

5 Steps to self releasing an album!


5 steps to self releasing an album! With music equipment and software becoming cheaper and cheaper everyday, it's becoming easier and easier to self-create a quality CD within the confines Read more

Beat-Block. Why we get it, and how to beat it!


Beat block I'm sure we've all experienced it at one time or another, and I believe everyone who pursues creative endeavours experiences creative blocks regularly, whether that be weekly, monthly, Read more

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Compression – The Beginners Guide!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, Mixing | Leave a comment

Compression – The Beginner Producer’s Guide!

What’s up?!

One of the most confusing mixing concepts for producers is compression. It’s one of the most common questions I see being asked by beginners on forums, as well as to me personally. What exactly does compression do? And how can I use it in my tracks?

Today i’m going to try explain what exactly compression does, and how you can use it in your music and mixes.

Compression is basically used to ‘compress’ (as the name suggests) or squash the volume of the sound in a certain way. This can be used for different effects. For example on kicks I use it to compress the ‘trail’ of the kick, so the ‘punch’ stands out more. On vocals I use it to ‘flatten’ out the volume so it’s less dynamic and certain words don’t stick out as suddenly getting louder, if the singer got too close to the mic at a certain point or something like that.

You can use compression to ‘flatten‘ out the peaks of a certain sound overall, or you can use it to compress the volume of certain areas of the sound. There are many ways the compression plugin can be put to use, and I suggest you experiment a bit with the settings to find out more!

Anyways, the knobs.

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Improve Your Drum Patterns Series: Part 1 – Layering

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, Drums | 5 Comments


Improve Your Drum Patterns Series:

One of the key elements to a great production is the drum patterns. Especially in urban based music. If your drum patterns don’t sound right, they can ruin the entire track. Your melodies, arrangements and everything can be on point, but if the drums sound weak, the quality of the song will suffer as a result.

That’s why I get so many questions regarding my drum sounds and drum patterns. People are constantly asking me how I get my drums to sound so punchy and clean, how I get them hitting so hard, and how I get the patterns to sound interesting. I’d usually respond with short advice, like ‘source great drum sounds’, ‘layer your drums’, ‘learn about mixing’, ‘study and practice’ etc, but none of the advice I was giving was detailed and thorough, and in retrospect, probably not very helpful.  Recently I decided to write up a detailed explanation of the techniques I personally use on my own drum patterns, to get them sounding punchy and clean.

It took me a lot of practice and studying to get to the level i’m at now, and i’m still improving every single day, but over the years I have learnt a few key techniques which I constantly use on my drums which I wish I knew a few years ago, when I was learning. I didn’t have anyone to teach me, and although there were forums and stuff like that, that I frequented, there were no real detailed guides on how to get great drum patterns. I pretty much had to learn everything myself.

That’s why I’ve created the “Improve Your Drum Patterns Series”.

Basically, the aim is for me to put my knowledge on drum production into video and words, so you guys can improve YOUR drums and get your production to the next level. I want this to be a sort of guide for improvement, something you can use as a reference to point you in the right direction.

You know this website is all about improvement, and taking the quality of your music higher, and drums seems like a natural place for us to start!

The first lesson in the “Improve your Drum Patterns” series is Layering.

Layering is one of the most fundamental techniques I (and many other producers) use to get a much thicker, fuller, and overall punchier sound from their drums. This technique can be used with virtually any sound (including melodic instruments, but that’s another lesson in itself), and it is most commonly used in Kicks, Claps, and Snares.

So what is layering?

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The three websites that taught me everything!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, Resources | 35 Comments



The three websites that taught me everything!

Since I started getting a little bit of popularity on youtube, people have been asking me questions left right and center. Everything ranging from how to play the piano, to how to mix tracks, and anything else in between. I try my best to answer each and every question to the best of my ability, and one of the main reasons I actually started this website.

Now just so you know, I’m grateful to be in a position where I can actually help people with something that i’m extremely passionate about, and if I can improve your music in any way possible then i’ll of done my job. Even if you’ve been producing for a while and everything I write is just reminding you or reconfirming things for you, as long as you get SOMETHING out of it i’m happy.

Anyways, I’ve been producing for around 5 years now (almost a quarter of my life!) and i’m blessed to have gotten my music to a point where lots of people are enjoying what I create, as well as feel like they can ask me questions on it. I love helping people, and I love creating, so doing this is fulfilling for me in so many ways.

However, despite where my music is now, there was a point in time when I was just starting out, and didn’t know the first thing about producing. All I knew was that I wanted to make good music. I would scour the internet for tutorials, advice, anything I could learn to get my tracks to that next level. I spent hours and hours sitting behind my keyboard looking for the ‘perfect drum sound’, or learning the chords to the new Usher song, or trying to find the ‘perfect’ preset to make my beat amazing.

I was 16 when I first started, and every day after school i’d rush home to work on my music, and try learn anything I could to get better. And it worked. I started improving more and more, and still am improving to this day.
I’d like to take credit for all the improvement I made to myself, but that’s really just not true. There’s been so many resources and people out there who have taught me so much about music, I wanted to share some of those resources to any of you guys who might be just starting to get into music production.

Because there’s so many sites, forums, youtube channels all over the place that it’s real easy to get overwhelmed, so I decided to make a short list of sites that I found particularly useful when I was in the early stages of my music development.

Now for: The three websites that taught me everything!

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How to get great mixes without ACTUALLY having to mix!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, Mixing | 4 Comments

How to get great mixes without ACTUALLY having to mix!

First of all, before I begin writing this, I want to say that I do not consider myself a great mixer at all. I really only have basic knowledge, and I would never claim that I am anywhere near an expert on the topic. However, I still get a lot of people asking my how I mix my tracks and get all the sounds to sit well with each other.

The funny thing is, any mixing I do on my beats is really quite minimal. Today i’m not going to focus on my actual mixing process (that will be covered in a future post), but I will be talking about the MAIN technique I use to get everything sounding clear. And the thing is it’s really quite simple. 

It all comes down to choosing the right sounds.

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5 Steps to self releasing an album!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, Business, Uncategorized | 9 Comments


5 steps to self releasing an album!

With music equipment and software becoming cheaper and cheaper everyday, it’s becoming easier and easier to self-create a quality CD within the confines of your own home recording studio. So as creating and releasing your own CD becomes more and more accessible, more and more musicians are opting to do exactly that.

And why shouldn’t they? It’s a great way to spread your music (I don’t care if CD sales are plummeting, giving someone a physical product you can touch is always preferrable to a digital copy), as well as make some money off the music you’ve worked so hard on (if you’re selling the cds)

For those of you who follow me on youtube, you should know that me and my go-to singer/songwriter/business-partner Marque Benedicto self-released an underground rnb EP titled ‘Back To Basics’ earlier this year. We sold a few hundred copies (not as much as we had planned, but other things came up for us so the EP was unfortunately put on the back-burner), and the whole experience, from idea to selling the final product, taught me a lot about marketing and how selling music works in general.

Today i’ve decided to put together a quick guide on how to put together your own cd or mixtape from the idea to releasing and selling it.
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Beat-Block. Why we get it, and how to beat it!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, General | 22 Comments

Beat block

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it at one time or another, and I believe everyone who pursues creative endeavours experiences creative blocks regularly, whether that be weekly, monthly, or daily.

Now for me, I experience some form of ‘beat block’ at least once a week, sometimes once every two weeks if i’m on a roll. In general I make around 5 – 10 beats every week, and no matter what eventually I will reach a point where I am (seemingly) out of ideas.

When I used to get creative blocks it would stress me out. Because I pride myself highly on being able to create music, and I consider myself a very creative person, when those ‘creative’ juices that bring me joy stop working, it’s a bit of a drainer to say the least. In the past I would sometimes try ‘force’ the music out of me (which doesn’t really work, at least for me), or i’d listen to a bunch of music trying to force my brain to come up with the next genius track idea.

This didn’t seem to work either.

After a while I realised that my tactics for getting rid of these creative blocks didn’t seem to be working, and i’d have to try a different approach. I started looking into what was causing my lack of creativeness, by studying my mindset both in ‘creative mode’ and in my creative ‘slumps’, and trying to figure out what was the difference between the two.

So first of all, let’s get into the causes of beat block.

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15 ways to instantly improve your music!

Posted on by Stuart B in Articles, General | 25 Comments


15 ways to instantly improve your music!

That’s why you’re here right?

You want to take your music production to the NEXT level? Well I’ve put together a list of things you can and SHOULD do to improve the quality of your music NOW.

 

1) Listen to MORE music

Obvious? I don’t mean listen to the same music you’ve been listening to every other day. I mean find and source NEW music. The sound click charts don’t count. Listen to music and genres you wouldn’t normally listen to. Listen to music from the past.

Find the music that inspired the artists you love, and hear their influences. Delve into a broader range of tunes. Even if you don’t make that kind of music, widening your ‘musical peripheral vision’ will definitely have an influence on the music that you create. Remember to treat it as an art, and like all art inspiration is key. Be inspired by music you haven’t heard before.

I try to make it a goal of mine to search out new music and new genres that I haven’t heard before, rather that stick to the same artists. You may have to wade through some bad music in the process, but trust me the widened knowledge you gain will be worth it.

2) FOCUSED practice

More specifically, practice specific areas of your production. Take a few hours to improve your drum programming, with no intention of creating a full track. Spend some time exploring different EQ settings or mixing techniques you haven’t tried, or going through those plugins you have but never use.

A lot of people make beats regularly, but don’t improve (Or improve at a high rate) because they’re stuck in the same patterns over and over. Focus on improving specific areas of your production, whether it be drums, mixing, chord progressions, percussion, sound selection, sound creation, arrangement, and the list goes on… There’s always specific areas that need improvement, identify some of yours and get to work, NOW.

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