The world of EDM production has never been more accessible. Anyone with a halfway decent computer, a pair of headphones and a copy of a digital audio workstation (DAW) can get started making music. Combine that with some dedication, practice, determination and time, and you can actually begin to produce some decent tunes.
However, there are a few very common pitfalls to producing dance music that can easily be avoided. Let’s take a look at 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Producing EDM.
1. Your Kicks Are Too Loud
The most common mistake that beginner dance music producers make is creating huge, earth-shaking, bone-rattling, bass-bin blowing kick drums. This is easy to do, because amplified bass is a very new phenomenon to the human ear and is quite exciting to hear. It can be tempting to use all sorts of compression and distortion and create huge and deafening kicks. However the aim of production is to give yourself enough headroom to let the other elements of your mix sit well. So tone down those kick drums and give your track some breathing room.
2. Conflicting Frequencies
Another common mistake is heaping loads of layers into each and every track. This can mean a crowded, chaotic and busy mix. While dance music traditionally has many layers and sounds, it is best to make sure that each individual element occupies a different space on the spectrum of audible frequencies. A spectrum analyser can be used to determine if your sounds are clashing.
3. Cut the Low End
Speaking of frequencies, anything that isn’t your low end (that is, your kick drum and bass sounds) should have a high pass filter applied at between 100 to 200 hertz. This is to make sure that your low end has plenty of breathing space and can be easily heard while the rest of the mix is doing its thing. This can be overcome by complex side-chaining, but for those starting out it would be best to follow the above rule.
4. Tricky Presets
Most virtual synthesizer instruments come with a load of huge sounding dynamic presets. They sound amazing, and they should – they are designed to show off the instruments’ potential. However it can be easy to over use presets, which are often chock full of effects and use multiple oscillators. They sound great but run the risk of overcrowding the mix, as discussed above. Choose maybe one or two, and try your hand at some sound design – that’s where the real originality lies.
Featured image: @RUKES