Random notes about electronic music production
by Joona Tuunanen
I've started to learn to produce electronic music. It's something that has intested me for a few years, but now I want to put more effort into it.
I am always learning by first reading, studying and watching as many Youtube videos about as I can stomach and when I have some kind of understanding, I start to do things in practice.
That's a bit of an oversimplification, but I'll run with that now.
Here are my notes about different things I've learned somewhere. This is intented to help me remember the important things myself, but perhaps these notes help you too.
If this looks like it's under construction, that's not a surprise as this is intended to be a living document that evolves as my own skills and understanding evolves. In case you have good tips or you disagree with something in these notes, send me a msg on Twitter.
- Bass should be in mono.
- It's probably a good idea to have a separate sub bass (especially when producing techno). Sub bass should sit between 40 and 60 Hz.
- The lowest note club soundsystems can reliably replicate is E1 (43.65Hz).
- Cut out all frequencies under 43hz or so as many sound systems don't go under 43 Hz reliably. (This can be debated until no end.)
- Sub bass should use only one oscillator.
- When mixing sub bass, you can't probably hear everything (my speakers go to 48Hz). So use a reference track with a frequency analyser and compare.
- Consider splitting the bass to 2 parts: one that's EQ'd between 100-200 Hz and under and another above that.
- Bass doesn't typically need a lot of processing to avoid muddiness. So keep low-end dry.
- If you split the bass, you can add some processing to the higher part of it. Good starting points are distortion or some saturation.
- Try to preserve headroom so there's enough room for other elements besides kick and bass.
- For sub bass the best oscillators are sine or triangle wave. Other's have too much harmonics which can interfere with the upper octaves.
- Try LFO's or envelopes to keep the bassline interesting. Route it to filter cutoff.