Old 06-18-2021, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default Any tips for polishing tracks?

Currently, I think my composing skills are pretty decent, but the songs I make more often than not always feel like there's something missing. I know I can add a bit of reverb to some instruments (that stuff does wonders) and maybe add a couple soundgoodizers (not the best idea, since it often makes the audio peak), but otherwise, that's kinda it. I know I'm not great at doing basslines, so it's also a part of the problem, but otherwise, I don't know what else to do or add.
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Old 06-18-2021, 11:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

I find that the biggest thing that could relatively improve music creation is to incorporate some level of fluxuating volume levels & SFX to specific instruments. It can take something that's rather stale/dull/meme-ish in nature, to an actual instrument.

Example, and it will sound crazy: air horns.

example of meme usage:

example of masterful usage (1 minute and 28 seconds in):

Then again, I have barely made music myself and have barely scratched the surface so take my advice with a grain of salt. I just personally find that the more work/effort is put into making instruments feel more life-like beyond just meeting the pitches/notes on a track at a specific time gives music more emotion, energy, and reasons to listen.
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Old 06-18-2021, 11:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

Practice makes perfect. The way I have become more confident with my productions is just by experimenting with different things and then further advancing the stuff that I think works. Sometimes the best result can come totally by accident, and that's a cool feeling
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

start at 200 grit if the tracks are really worn down and work your way up to 1200 grit. after that you can use some polishing compound with a buffer for a shine. you could do it by hand but i prefer using a drill attachment because i aint about that life
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

Vinegar and baking soda will contribute greatly to deoxidization of rust as well as exfoliating out any other gunk you'll find on your tracks. Mix 2 parts baking soda with a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar 3 parts water) to make a slurry that you can apply to your tracks with a toothbrush. Tip: this also works on shining old, dirty pennies! You'll have your tracks looking brand new by no time. My secret ingredient is just a pinch of salt - it works wonders.

EDIT: oops sorry thought this was the Model Train Association forum, my bad

Last edited by rushyrulz; 06-19-2021 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

haven't touched a DAW in like two years tbh, but in my experience that empty feeling can be fixed by (1) filling each frequency range with instruments and/or (2) using Maximus

mid-range instruments often contribute most to that feeling of "fullness" so this is usually where the bulk of the sounds are; so stuff like the melody, chord progressions, snare drums, literally any mid-range instrument that you can think of
lows are pretty important as the song may sound oddly hollow without them; so stuff like kick drums and any other bassy instruments that you can think of. generally speaking there's less instrumental variety in this range and if you put too much here it'll sound muddy as fuck
and for lack of a better explanation highs add a noticeable sharpness/crispness to mid-range instruments. also some examples of instruments that would appear here would be like hi-hats and cymbals

also you just need to get gud at harmony/chord progressions I guess, otherwise you'll just be throwing instruments everywhere and it'll sound like piss
learning this is pretty nontrivial though, and is something that just comes with time

anyway if you're using FL Studio I usually just vomit the Maximus plugin onto the master track and the use the preset "Max loudness 2"
it's lazy as fuck but it just werks, but I would like to note that this isn't any substitute for actual good mixing

Last edited by suicidaln00b; 06-19-2021 at 06:02 PM.. Reason: j
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Any tips for polishing tracks?

  • Trim your sounds perfectly. Milliseconds can make a difference.
  • Export your tracks in a few different file formats and bitrates.
  • Try different software.
  • Check out different audio communities, maybe you'll more new inspiration.
  • If you're playing your own instruments, use hand grip strengtheners to exercise your fingers and hands. It's quite effective.
  • Listen to your stuff through different speakers. Big ones, small ones, TVs, phones. Find what you like best, or which is best all-around.
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