My first production, need constructive criticism

Hi guys, I’ve been learning production for the last 2 month and I just created my first track! Would like some feedback on it. Thanks!

Hi mate,

Very brave to put it out there, nice one.

I liked it.

Believe it could benefit from some more transitions swooshes, up and down etc.

A thicker lead, maybe layer some sounds to give it more power.

I’m new also and hope to have something out there soon. Hope you can return the feedback favour.

1 Like


You’re right, It is brave to upload a track and to decide to share it with others as well as asking for feedback :wink:

Critical listening and constructive comments is a very good way to progress IMO, for both the track producer and the listener getting involved. So that’s the place for this here on the forums, it’s nice to see people sharing here :wink:


Haven’t been through this one yet but I will do and provide some feedback like I try to do with everyone’s request. I just try to do this when my ears & mind are in the right mood & disposal :smile:

Will update later with comments, no worries :wink:

Cheers !

Hi again @lc2887

Some nice elements in there, both rhythmic & melodic ones and a sense of arrangement and progression. That’s already good points, especially after only 2 months learning music production :wink:

Watch out for your levels and if you use compression and limiting on your mix, especially for such dynamic tracks at this tempo, compressor & limiters might have a hard time to release their effects, so in the end it can quickly makes the mix sound cluttered and dull since those devices/plugins aren’t able to work as they are intended. If you want to preserve transients use a long attack, then a short release and don’t push the compression/limiting ratio too much. The level at which you hit those devices is also important.

Not sure about the choice of kick & bass in this one. The kick is missing some body for me and feels very compressed and synthetic, missing some thump in there. The bass is perhaps a bit long, it’s hard to keep with the bass-line rhythm, a shorter bass sound might work better.

That first synth sound you bring at 0:28 doesn’t work for me in the track.

Arrangement wise, there’s a nice sense of progression as mentioned before, the break is maybe a bit long, it could resolve before ( unless you bring more elements to build tension during this part, but as it is now it feels a bit empty and can get boring for the listeners after a while ) and the section before the drop after the break doesn’t work for me ( from 4:10 to 4:25 ) : you just created tension with the snares rolls at the end of the break, so people are expecting climax time and the main drop, that “pre-drop” isn’t needed IMO.

Missing some atmosphere layers in this track, use of more effects like noise, whooshes and other ear candies that can fill the all frequencies spectrum, give a background layer to support the track and create interest.

Some mixing issues in term of levels, some parts too much in the front comparing to others, the result is that tracks are not blending as a all in the final mix, but this is something that will came with time and practice. A good thing is to mix your tracks against a reference track and gain stage each channel accordingly.

But yes, already some nice work in this one, that’s cool :sunglasses:
It takes time to get there, the important thing is to keep the joy & fun of doing it and keep making tracks, it’s the best way to improve over time.

So keep on the good work & hope that could help :wink:

Cheers !


Thanks Spoon! You weren’t the first to suggest more effects and swooshes so I’ll be adding more of those. Post your mix and I’ll definitely try to give feedback!


Thanks for the detailed feedback! I was wondering if you can clarify what do you mean by the levels? I have used tons of sidechain compression on this, but I noticed its been difficult to bring the kick to the forefront of the mix, and along with the sub, it seems to have muddied it up. My sidechain compression has been around 0.05 ms attack and 15 ms release with 2:1 ratio.

I agree with you about the kick and the bass, that’s definitely been challenging. I’ll try shortening up the bassline a bit. It’s probably too late to look for another kick replacement, but I’ll keep that in mind for my next track. Any tips on how to select the right kick?

Also agree with you on the noise, I’ll try adding more.

Also wanted to clarify, how do people go about using a reference track? How do I select the track and what should I be listening for during the mixdown? The mixdown has definitely been the most time consuming part of this process.

Thanks for the detailed feedback once again!

I’m simply referring to “Volume” when using the word Levels, the technical word would be “Amplitude” in audio, but no one use this, we talk about recording levels, output levels…

You have several stages of control over the levels, you need to think about the audio signal workflow inside your DAW.
It starts by the level of your source ( output level of a sample or a midi instrument ) that goes through your channel ( individual track ) effects from left to right ( some effects will give you another level knob or/and a wet/dry knob ), then reaching your channel ( track ) level and from there it can either go to group/bus or directly to your Master channel. That’s the basic audio signal workflow in every DAW. Best practice is to keep your Master channel level to 0 dBFS and don’t touch it and gain stage each track against each other : the goal is to set appropriate level for each track, think about it like balancing your all Mix and make each element sit well together, nothing to weak or to loud. Each track output level are summing on your master channel, if you start to hot with your kick and bass, it’s gonna be harder to balance your mix and you will loose clarity since you will need to work with loud levels on each track. Another problem is what you’re gonna hear from your monitors, because output levels are summing on those too. Depending of their specs & ability to reproduce sound ( especially at low frequency ) if you start to mix with a loud kick, bass or sub, then your monitors will struggle to reproduce the sound and adding other elements will soon lead to muddiness & lack of clarity.

Try to start with a Kick around -14 dBFS ( using the kick track output level fader ), you will then have more headroom to mix the other elements in. If you feel like you’re missing some “juice” for monitoring ( levels are too low ) then rise your sound-card output, not your DAW Master channel level. But iMO, it’s good practice to learn to mix at lower levels, it takes some time & habit though.

Another consideration for levels ( when I wrote in my comment “The level at which you hit those devices is also important” is the output levels at which one you reach your effects input. If you’re using your DAW devices like compressor, they are 100% digital and more forgiving but if you’re using 3rd party plugins that were designed after analog gears, those device are engineered to work best at input levels around -18 / -20 dBFS, if you hit them too hard, they saturate & distort or at least they won’t work as expected.

Go back to the source choice first. Kick and bass have to work together almost right from the start. If you’re using a long kick like a 909, it’s gonna be more hard to use a long bass sound, they be dueling & fighting. There’s elements in a kick like Oomph, Thump, Body, Punch, Click ( basically going from lowest frequency range to highest one ) that makes a kick sit better with a bass ( or your full Mix ) than others. It’s very common practice to change kick at the end of a track because you realize another kick is working better than the original one you used.

Same goes for bass, there’s different frequencies areas, you can use EQ to filtered out the unwanted sub frequency below 45 or 30 Khz with a High Pass Filter ( Low Cut ). But there’s other mid-range or higher frequency areas that might need to be accentuated a bit and help the bass to come through. Sometime there’s not enough of that in the original sample or synth preset you’re gonna use, you can then need to add a “click bass” layer to help the bass to cut through the mix.

Side-chaining your bass to the Kick is of course good to do, you can also use automated filters or plugins like LFO Tools to achieve this, but in the end you won’t fix all your issues with compression if the Kick & Bass don’t work together from the start. Using side-chaining compression to achieve that “pumping” effect is another story.

If you’d like to dive more into this I suggest you watch this tutorial from Protoculture :slight_smile:

Also use the search ( magnifier icon on the top right ) feature on the tutorials main page and type in “Compression”, “Compressor”, there are series about understanding compression as well as individual videos that can be very useful to watch on the site.

How To Mix Kick and Bass with Protoculture | Tutorial 01 - Introduction[quote=“lc2887, post:5, topic:35114”]
Also wanted to clarify, how do people go about using a reference track?

There’s several reasons to use a reference track. You can use it to better understand/follow a track structure and arrangement and reference a final mix in terms of final loudness, levels that you should aim for.

You need to use mastered tracks in lossless audio formats like Wav, Aiff, Flac. MP3 are compressed and less reliable, there’s a lack of audio information. Pick up a track that you find well mixed in the same genre as yours. You can simply load the track on an audio channel inside your Project and refer to it as needed ( trying to match the kick level, drums elements, bass, synths, vocals, fx…etc ). This can be cumbersome though since you’ll need to mute/un-mute the reference track to compare it to your own Mix. Another solution is to use 3rd party plugins that allow you to load the track ( or even several tracks ) and depending of the features of the plugins it will offer a much more user friendly workflow as well as some visualization or options.

One of the best tool for this is Metric AB from Plugin Alliance ( pricey but really powerful ), but there’s other options too like “Reference” from Mastering The Mix. Sample Magic AB is now discontinued I think.

Again here’s another course from Protoculture about ADTPR Metric AB :slight_smile:

How To Use Metric AB with Protoculture | Tutorial 01 - Setup and Basic Operation

It is most of the time but it shouldn’t…LOL. As explained before, go back to the source. You won’t fix things easily during the mix-down and even less during mastering stage. From sample to preset choice, try to get it right at the source, adjust levels, use filters and EQ to make the sound sit in the mix. It’s much more efficient to spend more time choosing your source material than trying to fix things later on in the mix.

Cheers !

Thanks for the feedback! I took your advice and made a little modification to my track. I feel the acid and the predrop is kinda subjective so I decided to keep it in ;). But please let me know how the overall mix sounds…is the kick coming through? Is the leads not being heard? What areas could benefit from better sound selection? Thanks!

Some slight improvements, kick is more appropriate, could be raised in volume now. The pre-drop works better since it was reworked. If what you call the acid line is that sound you bring in at 0:28, it still doesn’t work for me : this is not an acid line sound. Reference acid lines in other tracks and you’ll get the point.

Won’t dive too much more in depth on this revision, quick changes & fast revisions won’t always work in the end. You’ve got a load of information to refer to in the previous comments. Don’t rush yourself for the end result, there’s a lot to dive into, learn & grasp and then implement into music production. Spend some time on learning and experimenting with techniques. There’s no secret, it takes time and practice and it also requires patience, don’t rush :wink:


Hi there! Just posting words of encouragement as a fellow producer in the learning process! Considering you are only 2 months in, you are doing a fantastic job!

As for mixing and other information I wouldn’t dare to even giving out misguided advice, but Tekalight definitely has you covered on all those topics above.

As for arrangement, it seems you have a pretty decent understanding of how a track should be laid out which is great!
My only critic would be to drop the 2nd mini breakdown right after the first buildup from the bridge and go straight into the 2nd chorus section, or give it about a one 8 bar section of space/silence with the last 4 counts with a rise/drum fill for a much bigger impact!


1 Like

Thanks guys for the thoughtful responses!

1 Like


Next to the track feedback here on the forums there’s also the weekly Sonic Academy Live stream on their YouTube channel and among Music tech discussion & chatting about different topics Chris & Phil also host a “Demo Doctor” & “Fix My Mix” where they’ll review & give insights about user’s tracks.

You can submit links to your tracks via mail at

More details about this here : Live Stream Announcement!

Cheers !