Just Getting Into Production? What Are You Personally Struggling With?

Getting started in production can be understandably intimidating, difficult and flat out frustrating at times for beginners and even those who’ve been producing for years. I’m curious if you’re just getting started, or even for those who have experience and want to comment, what do YOU consider to be the most confusing, difficult, or frustrating aspect of the craft? What obstacles are you running into and what are you working on to overcome them?

Some things that took me a while to learn but eventually changed the game up for me:

  1. Learning to turn down, rather than turning everything up loud. Using gain staging to get balanced mixes.

  2. Using loud, crispy drums and samples instead of trying to polish weak sounds.

  3. Dialing in small amounts of different effects rather than large amounts of just one or two.

  4. To produce in a way that’s mindful of using different panning/stereo techniques, rather than having everything down the middle.

  5. Try to finish tracks as much as possible from the beginning, even if they are crap. Don’t get hung up on any one track or take things too seriously. Have fun.

  6. Using tools like filters, lfo’s, and automation to breathe life and interest into sounds.

  7. Turning the fucking velocity up to about 70% in ableton’s drum racks haha.

  8. The powers of return track processing

  9. Cthulhu. Absolutely one of my favorite plugins that changed the game for me.

  10. Learning to use compression properly.

Would be curious to hear your thoughts and experiences!

In the past year I’ve switched to an out-of-the-box setup and the greatest challenge by far has been sequencing. I’ve got a 4 channel looper that can switch between banks in real time quantized fashion, as well as a sick sampling groovebox that does the same. Even so, getting a progression that sounds good or even a working progression at all can be very challenging. It’s always a struggle with the format of the machines, but it’s pretty fun and can feel extra rewarding when it’s done right.

Things I’ve learned

  1. I had no idea the red meter (meaning clipping) was bad, lol my first few songs were absolute distorted piles of crap. (This was about a year ago but still thought is include it)
  2. Compression is important
  3. Eq is f***ing essentual, especially the lows
  4. Learned the 4 bar structures
  5. Learned to turn down the mix, then master hard

Things I want to / haven’t learned

  1. How exactly mixing is done, I think I got the main concept; comoression, eq, limiting, volume. But I am not sure if there is something I am missing.
  2. What it is that I am missing from making it professional sounding. Whenever I listen to mine and professional back to back it seems like it is missing something
  3. How to pump out tracks quickly. I have been producing for just under a year, but I have very few finished tracks to show for it. I get to hung up on the first 4 bars, and trying to compare every element to professionals to figure out exactly what I am missing, but then I get bored of the track and abandon it. I have to stop, but I can’t stand listening to it distorted or not quite as crisp as I want.

Sorry for typing so much but I really want help.

1 BigUp

Some things that trouble me alot:

Coming up with a good melodic idea/melody to build my tracks around.

making interesting lead sounds


Most of the technical stuff is basic knowledge that can be found in published books and elsewhere electronically.

Knowing it its one thing. Training your eyes and mind and being able to apply it succesfully comes from building up experience.

While you do that I suggest learning music theory and working on composition. I dont have any formal training and have only read about one hand a half books on the subject. Learning chords and progressions and how harmony works was the game changer for me.

I aint writing timeless synphonies, but I can sit down at the keys and work out chord progressions, changes, melody and bassline w/o looking at a book or using software to make things for me.

I also got into hardware and learning about recording instruments, signal routing in the real world, being able to record real knob twists, playing my riffs, doing things live etc have all made my music better.

I also think having recorded instruments, even synths and drum machines through an interface, lends something to a song that you dont get working all ITB. There is no noise floor in an all ITB recording, I think that has something to do with it.

To make music in block multiples of 2/4/8/16/32/64

Working on getting my stuff to be less repetitive and keep things interesting, as far as composition goes sometimes I’m just removing and adding elements and it doesnt feel very “natural”

also, sound design, or maybe just getting my sounds to fit in the track, can make some nice stuff by itself but once I try to make or find a sound to use in a song i’m usually not happy

I like this word.

dont just arrange loops. cut things up. use volume, filter, EQ automation to help things transition :wink:

1 BigUp

yup, really lacking some automation usually


anything you cam tweak live is great as well…you dont have to use hardware…but I find when I record one track live fOr the duration of a song and tweak a filter or something like delay feedback it really adds an organic, slightly off time feel to things. Really makes things feel human.

I usually do that for pads and it works so should really start trying out with other stuff

in fact I hardly been automating any effects I have on the tracks, that’ll help to keep things more interesting

Perhaps a bit off topic but what interests me most about making electronic music-and much of what I listen to-is evolving timbres and lively texture. Most of what I am imto these days is deceptively simple in a lot of ways. The beats arent even that involved. A lot of times there are only like three or four things going on at once in this music. I think there is a tendency in amatuers to get overly complex or maybe rather to overload tracks w too much simultaneous sound. This Is something I am just getting over myself.

I recently finished recording an album using a fairly small hardware setup. For six of the eight tracks I only used multitracked audio from live takes/jam sessions. Once I got in my DAW I had to get creative with the audio I had recorded. And many times different sounds were all recored to a single stereo or even mono track. I didnt use any soft synths, but did use a lot of soft fx.

It was a really fantastic experience and I learned alot about that more minimalist approach.

1 BigUp

That’s how I’ve been making about 90% of my music over the past year or so. Really fun stuff.

1 BigUp

Been learning that the hard way, so many times I’ve added a new track just cause I thought it was lacking something, but it just overloaded and all I actually needed was to tweak the melody/sound design

1 BigUp
  1. sound design
  2. melodies
  3. drums
  4. making a good bass drop
  1. song
  2. tune
  3. cut
  4. jam
  5. hit

making rasta/ragga sort of piano synths and reggae sort of pads

Using samples is fine.
Using presets is fine.
Learn rudimentary music theory.
Minimalism is important, don’t add anything to the mix just to fill gaps.
Study bits and try to replicate what you like.
Constantly trim your synths/sample library.
Sound source and arrangement are more important than mixing or mastering techniques.
Add variation/evolution to as many elements as possible. Flanger on hats, slow LFOs on synths, syncopation. Subtle changes to the timbre keep tracks fresh.


^yea…adding things to “fill in” frequency gaps is terrible…I tend to saturate things a little, maybe in parallel…usually does the trick