A little feedback for this trance track?

Hello there! I just found out about this section of the forum so I tought I’d take a little advantage of it.

As you will be able to tell from my track… I’m a complete beginner at music production. Followed some courses on Sonic Academy and then tried to do something on my own.

I did my best to craft all of the sounds myself (only drums and FXs are sampled) but I think there are several issues with them that I’m positive I can’t recognize on my own due to the lack of experience and training at doing this.

Also… I think there are arrangment issues… after all I did my best but I kind of tried to “emulate” what I saw in the courses without a real knowledge.

If anyone would be kind enough as to point out the mistakes, what is missing and, perhaps, link me to the resources I can use to study and get better in those lacking areas would really be an awesome deed :slight_smile:

Thanks to everyone that’ll spend a little time listening and answering back :slight_smile:


Hey there @Svalinn85

OK, let’s dive into this one :wink:

Several issues in this track, I’ll try to point them out for you, but before diving into the feedback, let’s talk about some main “ingredients” that can make a good track. It’s mainly choice of sounds, building rhythmic groove & musical phrases/parts with those sounds that are catching & retaining listener’s attention, arranging those musical parts into a progression that will retain interest through the all track duration, mixing all elements together to get a well balanced final track. Let’s forget about mastering here, which is just the final stage to “polish” and get a track ready for delivery depending of the medium.

For choice of sounds in this track, since you mentioned “Trance” music, it doesn’t work for me. Then the musical parts & melody built with those sounds is also not enough catchy, punchy & dreamy like we can expect from this genre. As a result it’s sounds quite “cheesy” in the end. While you retain a tempo ( probably 138 bpm ) that matches this genre, I think that the choice of sounds, tonality & key of the track and melody doesn’t work for a “Trance” track.

Then you have mixing issues : first of all the overall track is too loud and that’s probably due to the initial levels of your kick and bass. Levels addition themselves & build up across channels in your all mix. So basically, if you start with a very loud Kick, you’ll need to level up your bass to make them work together and then if you need to put a synth lead or pluck into the front, it will also need to be quite loud to get through the Kick & Bass. And so on & so forth, then you’ll quickly end up with a very busy mix and you’ll have a hard time to mix all elements together, your monitors are also gonna struggle to reproduce all this energy and you end up with a very cluttered mix and it’s gonna be difficult to make good mixing decisions.

So give yourself some headroom right from the start with Kick & Bass. It’s common practice to start with a Kick channel at -12 or -14 dB, it will give you more headroom & dynamic range. Mixing at lower levels is also a good habit for your ears, it trains them to listen to details. When we push something louder, we feel that it’s just sounding better, but that’s just our ears tricking us because that’s the way human brain perceives audio.

If you collapse this track to Mono, you’ll noticed that the synths almost disappear and we’re left with the Kick & Bass which are way too loud and with too much unwanted low end information taking all the energy & space in the mix. Raising the synths levels & widening them in the stereo field won’t help in this case. You have to go back to the start and lower down your Kick & Bass and filtered out the unneeded low frequencies.

No worries about all of the above points, this is nothing but very normal when starting, it really takes time & practice to get things quite right and even seasoned & established producers struggle to get there.

So what are resources or solutions to get better ?

As just mentioned : practice a lot, make tracks, make mistakes, learn, unlearn, re-learn ( this never stops, it’s a journey into music production, nothing’s gonna happen overnight, it takes time ) but if you’re passionate about it, then the hard work will be rewarding in the end.

Get a clear picture about what you’re trying to achieve when deciding to make a new track. For this, there’s nothing better than to listen to a lot of music, but not as a casual listener, you need to dive into critical listening, use other artist’s tracks as reference and deconstruct them : study the sounds choice, the progression and arrangement as well as the mixing.

So grab a track that you like or pick up a full Sonic Academy tutorial with project resource, and study it. When starting a new project, use a reference track to start with. If you import a track that works into your DAW, match the tempo, then it’s easy to deconstruct the different parts using markers or empty Midi clips to “slice” the track into parts. Next to have the track as audio, it can also help to have information like Key & BPM and a visual representation of the arrangement. You can for example pick a track on Beatport and make a screenshot of those precious information ( see the example pic below ).

Deconstructing tracks helps to learn about sound choices and the all progression, tension build and release moments, peak times & hooks, drops…etc : all the elements that make the track work for listeners.

For mixing, definitely watch this tutorial here on Sonic Academy ( 200% worth it :wink: )

Understanding Mixing Fundamentals with Phil Johnston

There’s also full series on EQ, Compression, “Tech Tips” and “How to use” abut tools & plugins that you can learn about along your journey and incorporate into your production among time and you’ll see that you will learn, unlearn and re-learn until you’ll find what works best for you & your workflow.

From the tutorial’s page on the main S.A website, there’s a magnifier icon on the top right side that you can use to search courses & videos by keywords, that’s really handy for browsing through the tutorials. I definitely recommend to get a subscription as well, it really worth it to be able to get access to all courses and the projects files & resources.

So in a nutshell, DO reference & deconstruct tracks, learn about existing projects and keep making tracks, share them with others to get feedback, be open minded to critical listening from others and keep on learning techniques and apply them into your own production.

Hope this helps :wink:

Cheers !

Thanks! This is exactly what I needed/wanted. I do compose a lot… and as you can see I do make mistakes (lots and lots of mistakes xD ) but i have 0 people to ask for feedback to so well… I have no way of improving from my mistakes.

Now that I have some pointers I can go and work on everything step by step one at a time :slight_smile:

Of course I did watch some courses but it is different, expecially for a beginner, trying and having someone pointing the mistakes out… and just watch someone do stuff with absolutly no way of asking or getting personal feedback :slight_smile:

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Glad if that was helpful :wink:

Yes, I’ve listened to your track “Memories Of The Past” on your Soundcloud and it’s a nice piece in the classical genre. So if you’re a trained musician, it certainly helps and it’s a good point, but with Electronic Music things are different, we’re dealing with sounds that are less familiar to our ears. So another point is when starting, trust & don’t be afraid to use presets, synthesis & getting into sound design is another part of the journey.

There’ a page for each Sonic Academy tutorials where you can ask questions & leave comments if you didn’t get something or need more explanation. Browsing through existing comments can help as well, someone might have struggle with the same issue before.

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Well… I wouldn’t call myself a “trained musician”.

I’ve studied piano for 8 years as a kid… I didn’t play a single note for like 20 years… and I’ve never ever composed anything before not more than three months ago :sweat_smile:

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8 years of piano sounds like “trained” to me… :smile: Even if it was a long time ago and you did well with that track.

Oh, and forgot to mention this before, there’s also a private FB group for Sonic Academy, you can join here, don’t forget to answer the 2 questions about DAW & preferred music when requesting to join so that me or an admin can grant your request. No self promotion and direct link to your music or track feedback there but it’s another place to exchange about S.A stuffs, gears, plugins or asking advice.

OK, that’s it from me now, wishing you a nice weekend and 'till next :wink:

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