Posts Tagged ‘making beats’

513 Free Analogue Tube Drum Samples!

September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

FREE goodies from our friends over at Samplephonics


Samplephonics says:

Some time ago we gave away some deliciously tasty drum one shots that had been processed with some gorgeous analogue tube saturation. Since then, the Samplephonics community has grown dramatically and we thought it would be a shame to deprive all of our noobies from the tube goodness!



We hope you enjoy this gift and turn these little beauties into something special. Send what you create with them to

Until next time!

– The Samplephonics Team

Setting Goals as a Producer

May 17, 2013 1 comment

Forum hound Griffin Avid chimes in over at FutureProducers and drops a gem or two…

A poster named Benjah had this thought and question…

Music Production Producer at console

Without a definite end, you may find yourself at the beginning.

Setting Goals as a producer.

So my summer has started and I am trying to Create a goal and a Plan for improving my production skills.

My only problem is the goal is extremely fuzzy. ” Considerably improve production skills.”

All research suggests that goals are best set as Specific Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Time-Framed statements.

So how do i go about Making a Goal like this for production? What do you guys do? What is your goal setting process like? And while your here you can also give me some general suggestions on the process of improvement.

What is your goal setting process like?
So how do i go about Making a Goal like this for production?
I say if your goal involves becoming a better producer, you need to do some producing.
Make your end goal to produce a real record by summer’s end.
If that’s the finish line; to release a project, then you can work backwards, step by step figuring out what you need to do and be doing week by week, day by day.

I don’t know too many people who just keep getting better and better (forever).
I know early on, it’s technical concerns…how do I…what fixes….what’s the best…
But after that, it’s all what you choose to do….
and I don’t think you make better choices without EXPERIENCE.

What I see are artists who always like their newest stuff more so they think they are improving-
when really they are just staying in the same place, which is slightly behind the curve.
When strings were poppin, they made 100 beats with strings….
When 808s were what’s up, they made 100 beats with 808s…..
When trap beats are….you get the idea…that guy will always be following the current trend trying to be relevant and always remaking his catalog.

That is also close to eras, like when you kept making the same kind of beats….and then you switch up. It’s possible that people could like a certain style of tracks more, but you don’t really find that out till you get out there and show some consistency.

What do you guys do?
First, pick your lane/direction. Understand that your goal is to be the best (you can be) in that direction.
I say you get past the technical concerns.
Can you make music? You got that part down yet?
Next, grab some acapellas and make some remixes.
Mostly, it’s about working with vocals. If that’s what’s at the end, why spend all your time playing around with loose beats and unfinished instrumentals?
Make some songs with other rapper’s vocals. That is the process.
You’ll learn to work harder and construct bridges, hooks, intros, outros, variations and you have the original track as a bar to rise to.
Not only can you share that music as a primer for what’s to come, you can use that feedback (FROM A LOT OF [regular = not other producers] PEOPLE) to figure out your weak/strong areas.
Real data on what works and what doesn’t.

Your music needs to improve to the point where NO ONE has technical concerns and feedback is only like or dislike or they like one track better than another.
When people want copies of your music to listen to and rappers want to rhyme and make songs with them…
makes it pretty easy to figure out how close you are. People should like and want to listen to your remixes. Someone should suggest you send it to the artist.
Comments like that are your gauge. If everyone just says “That’s nice” or “That’s cool” you’re not done yet.

What is your goal setting process like?
I write a list and have documents called planners. Planners are outlines for projects [title, song names, artists, business ideas even a tally of money spent]
There is also a list I have with things to do. It’s on one sheet of paper and as I do something I cross it off. When I get everything done that can be done in a day, I can relax fully.
There are so many things to do, you can’t possibly carry them around in your head, you’ll need to write them down. One column might be small stuff and another might be far off stuff that needs prep time.

And while your here you can also give me some general suggestions on the process of improvement.
Honestly, the simplest one is to decide who your target audience is and expose yourself for feedback.
There’s no point to using your imagination. “Boy when they hear this…”
“This is something they ought to like” “I wonder if…”

I’ve already typed too much but there is a balance between pleasing yourself and pleasing others.
You can do both, but if you (mentally) can’t; then you should pick one and accept your decision (and its consequences and/or benefits) and keep it moving.

– Griffin Avid 2013

Halloween 2012 FREE TREATS and LESS Tricks!

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

There is one day a year where it is acceptable to knock on a stranger’s door and ask for a treat. A lot of us, in and around the music industry, tend to feel and act like every day is Halloween. We wear the costume of someone serious and expect doors to be opened and our grandest aspirations advanced just because we knocked really loud.

I’ve come across many producers and beat-smiths who feel their work is done because a particular A&R has their music. They say things like they are in or it’s a done deal. I ask why? They reply something along the lines of my beats is dope. I say: yes, but why are you getting the exclusive shot? Is it possible he’s heard a lot of dope beats? Is it possible, you are not the only choice for submissions? How good an A&R can he be if YOU are the ONLY music he has to shop?

We say to artists all the time – it takes more than talent, or better yet, it takes EVERYTHING but talent. Don’t expect your ‘relationships’ to give up their contacts or pass you along or give you your big break until you’ve earned their trust or understand that they won’t help you until it helps them more.

Two sides of the Bag

What works? As a person who’s done his fair share of trick or treating I have to say some approaches work better than others. The houses that had no candy or crappy stuff got egged. The people with the quality treats got revisited -sometimes with us wearing new costumes. As a creative, that’s your goal- to keep showing up with new and engaging looks and showing your ability to arrive prepared.

If your goal is to be solicited as a business, then it makes sense to have your house in order and be able to deliver on the promises you make. Smoke and mirrors has always been a part of the game, but we are looking to create a career, not a hustle. In reverse, as a content provider, it is in your best interest to position yourself to receive long work, not luck up on a big break. Put in work if you want those doors to open.  Have a happy and safe Halloween. This blog post is sponsored by Big Fish Audio. I’ve been using their libraries for a while now and thought I’d share a one in particular that got our attention in the office.

–Drew Spence Editor In Chief Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine

Platinum Synth Melodies $49.99

Platinum Synth Melodies from Big Fish Audio

Platinum Synth Melodies from Big Fish Audio

Need blazin’ synth loops that will set your productions apart from the pack? Platinum Synth Melodies is loaded with 30 multi track synth loop sets ready to help create your next urban synth laced track. From big screaming lead lines to club ready arpeggios to thick warm pads this product delivers. Whether you need hip hop, urban pop, or dance this product has you covered. Mix and match the loops to create thousands of music ideas. Platinum Synth Melodies is another Beat Warrior product from Nova Loops. The production team’s credits include Tu Pac, Flo Rida, Wu Tang, Jodeci, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, NFL, BET, HBO, and are responsible for over 20 million records sold worldwide! All parts in this product are separated, edited and come formatted in WAV(Acidized) and Apple Loops format. When you need synth ideas for hip hop, urban pop or dance, look no further than Platinum Synth Melodies.


Also, the newest Mark of the Griffin is here. It’s a Halloween themed episode called NIGHT ZONE. If you don’t know, Drew Spence from PE Mag has been working on an adventure web series about a regular guy who is turned into a vigilante/detective. Check it out.

-Xodus Phoenix

I want to know from you all why some people never truly become successful?

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Forum hound Griffin Avid adds his 2 cents to a  question. (more like a whole nickel)

Image from:

Is your life nothing more than the climb?

I want to know from you all why some people never truly become successful?

I can’t speak for people who have never had their turn. Your (missed) turn is when the door is opened and you can’t/won’t/didn’t go through it.
Why some people don’t get or haven’t had their turn? I have no idea. I’m sure many have but didn’t realize it.

But I do understand the FACTS of BLOWN OPPORTUNITIES.
Some I have seen, some I have lived.

1. Refusing to let go of one rung to grab another on the ladder.
People get comfortable being where they are at. Being the big fish in a small pond. It’s like spending the rest of your mental life in 12th grade cause you were the man in high school. There’s an absolute FEAR of starting over and not knowing the answers. If you expect to achieve anything of significance, accept the feeling of being uncomfortable and doing stuff you’ve never done before. It’s part of growing.

2. Refusing to relinquish TOTAL CONTROL.
Accomplishing larger goals requires more people and resources. Basically, it’s a team effort even if ONE PERSON claims all the credit at the end. To get HELP, sometimes you have to let the person helping YOU do their job THEIR WAY. Crazy as it sounds even if you think you MIGHT do their job as good or better- it can be the best plan to let someone helping you- help you. You can always suggest, point out, advise etc, but when EVERYTHING IS YOUR WAY OR NO WAY…you find yourself being limited to what one person can do and that person is you.

3. Making Business decision based on personal feelings.
Your EGO needs to come out of the equation as soon as possible. 1 & 2 are related to this. Which word is more powerful and meaningful? Better or Best?
Which word is more related to your ego? Best?
Actually BETTER is. There is nothing wrong with thinking you are the best at something. The problem creeps is when you think you are BETTER THAN SOMEONE because of it.
Thinking you’re the best is about how you treat yourself.
Thinking you’re better is about how you treat others. When you think you are above people, you take any resistance to your goals and dreams very personally. You hold grudges and can’t let things go. Business is about compromise and finding common ground. Working together. I’m not saying never get angry, but get angry over things worth getting upset over. time and time again I’ve seen important business get sidetracked because someone was offended or their feelings got hurt. Works great when you’re the boss. Not so good when you’re the guy looking for a job.

4. Simply not ready.
Most people walk around ready to knock, but they have no idea about what to do if the door was actually opened.
That’s why I keep saying produce Something…anything anyone…do least once….
I can’t imagine spending months/YEARS making beats and hoping to SELL ONE (or some) and NEVER doing anything more with my beats than trying to sell them.
Most figure they will learn all that producer stuff when they finally sell a track to somebody important. I don’t know any other endeavor where the first time you do it- it’s for the championship.

5. No research. Bad research.
No research is using your imagination. Bad research is using stories about people you don’t know as a guide. That includes celebrities and generally all fantasy-media-based information. (music videos, song lyrics etc..)
“So and so did this so I’ma do that too. Well this is how so and so started so I’m going to do the same thing.” One, you don’t know ALL that they did and two, you aint them. Three, this aint that same time or era. EVERYONE is doing that now- it won’t have the same effect.

6. Basing their chances of success on factors that have NOTHING to do with success.
1. Being original. There’s probably a logical reason why no one you know has done that. ‘no one you know’ doesn’t meant no one has done it, it means no one has had had enough success doing that to reach even your own radar.
2. Wanting it [really, really, really, reaaallllyyyy bad]. EVERYONE wants to arrive, very few want to make the journey.
3. Talent. Once you find one person more successful than you with LESS TALENT, it becomes a fact that success is not talent based. Although you will NEVER convince an artist of this.
4. Doing it a long time. Putting in work. Paying your dues. None of this relates to success. Success is being the right person at the right time and doing the right thing. If it takes you ten years to become the right person- that’s not a law of success it’s the law of your personality and work ethic. The right time is always as soon as possible. And doing the right thing means you know enough about what you want and how to get it to understand how to operate in that world. Enough of these already…

7. Creating intermediate goals [that are sometimes even harder]
I want to be an actor, so I’m going to be a rapper first and then cross over cause it’s easier to break in that way. Right. Conquering TWO fields is easier than one.
I’m going to be an HUGE ARTIST and then become a business owner. So you’re going to get rich first and then learn about business to… get ….rich….

8. The BIG ONE. Writing your own history BEFORE YOU LIVE IT.
“I’m going to do this and then this and then this is going to happen.” Two very bad things happen when you think like this.
1. You exclude all other possible outcomes because you did not envision them. This is like when someone says “I’ll be ready by next year” That guarantees they won’t be ready till next year. Or ignoring, blocking [sabotaging] OTHER points of success because it’s not the one you were directly going after. “Nah I would, but I’m trying to be [insert plan A] right now” Even deciding an order. I’mma do this THEN this and later on that” Can’t do that FINAL THING yet- even if a door opens.

2. You don’t look at what you’ve done as a success because it’s not what you were gunning for originally/ultimately.
The previous host of The game show Family Feud (Roy Combs) killed himself because he didn’t become a big time comedienne. Steve Harvey (hugely successful comedienne) and Drew Carey (The Price is Right) are both extremely well known and successful and they enjoy being game show hosts. The world counts what you’ve done. You count what you have yet to do. This also includes self-imposed time limits. If I don’t by….

I know a lot of people that are haunted and depressed because they are chasing the success they don’t have instead of enjoying the success they do have.

– Wise words from Griffie.

What’s your thought?


Why do so few people wanna be artists ? Drew Spence weighs in

Found this on one of the music forums I am a part of.  I replied.

Will Make Beats for Food

The Passion for Music verse the Pursuit of Profit

I actually WISH that I didnt want to be an artists. Too much effort, chances you will make it is little, spend too much money and might not blow up.

And think about your family. My mom wish that I wanted to go to college and study, but whenever I told her I wonna do music I can just see it in her eyes that she thinks “Your throwing your life away son”. There is just too few people who will ever make it and you have to work really hard to even have a little chance.

Think about when you have a teenage child. Do you really want to see your child lock her/himself in the room making beats all day? Or would you rather have your child go to lawyer/doctor/manager school?

Mostly the following is not particularly aimed at YOU, but you represents many of us pursuing this musical ambition.

Ten reasons why I disagree with that line of thinking:

 1. Wishing you didn’t want to be an artist? Like it’s some uncontrollable passion that guides your life? A joke. It’s an idle thought, just as valid as you saying “I wish I didn’t want to be President of my country, an actor, a doctor, a chess master” etc…..

2. Either you are or you are not. Either you’re an artist or you are not. There is no “Want to be”. Either you are a great artist or you are a poor artist. If you are struggling with technical concerns that prevent your creations from being enjoyable then you are some sort of apprentice- still learning HOW to express yourself in a wholly meaningful way.

 3. Too Much Effort. An artist struggles with themselves. Creativity is centered around a million judgements. Anything that interferes with that process can be farmed out. If it is too much ‘effort to create art’ then you are not any kind of artist. See #2

4. If your struggle is with the business side and “breaking in” the source of your great efforts and pained labor then simply focus on creating and let the world worry about your place in it. Your greatest obstacles can be easily eliminated by a simple mindset adjustment.

5. spend too much money Art requires almost NO MONEY ever to be spent. We can do (A FREE BUDGET) this with EVERY art-form in existence. The problem is that non-artists believe art can be made greater or better by acquiring or using greater or better TOOLS. The process is the same no matter what the level of tools. Precise Tools (which is different from expensive) allow the artist to concentrate on the finer details. The same finer finer details they are only apt to control AFTER mastering their craft.

6. might not blow up That’s never the goal of a true artist. Creating is its own reward.

7. might not blow up Every artist has a goal in mind. Being compensated and recognized for their work is usually one of them. That’s fine. Blowing Up is usually reserved for those who want Success in Excess of their Accomplishments. They want to noodle around with some toys in their bedroom and make millions. They want to have “Fun” being a produca and retire at a young age. They basically want money for almost nothing. That’s the dream and fantasy. You want to BE LUCKY. Be at the right place at the right time and meet the right person, say the right thing have the right 99 cent beat.

8. might not blow up no one ever imagines themselves being worthy of DEMANDING THEIR COMPENSATION and that being worth millions. YOU GO FIRST and accomplish the kind of stuff that makes you and your art/music WORTHY of millions. You always imagine it being GIVEN TO YOU- never REPAID TO YOU. What? Imagine making 4 or 5 big accomplishments FIRST and then restating what you are worth as opposed to someone else making your art worth supporting. But alas, no one wants to actually work hard without some kind of GUARANTEE of being paid. Which is what this meant: you have to work really hard to even have a little chance

9. You have no idea what it is to do art for a living. It is not the same when you have exact expectations, timelines and pressure. There is no ‘mental block’, turn on the XBox and try again tomorrow. There is no “I made 12 beats today” You need useable music for whatever your industry is- and useable means that they WILL BE USED. You are no longer creating for yourself, you are trying your best to create for others. It’s your JOB to please others so any thoughts of making ART needs to go out the window. And you will not have the energy or ability to do both. You will find that ‘your own stuff’ takes a back seat to what is commercially viable.

10. Do you really want to see your child lock her/himself in the room making beats all day? If that’s what they enjoyed doing, yes. Suppose my kid wanted to stay outside and play all day- as opposed to staying in his room and studying? Would that be okay? Should there be balance? Of course, but if I ever saw any kind of obsessive inclination I would support it. Maybe convert the den, garage or shed into a studio or make a skating ramp or basketball court or…or….

Or would you rather have your child go to lawyer/doctor/manager school? There are people on both sides of the fence. People making tons of money, but hating what they do and people doing their art with no money that are miserable. Happiness is about time management. How much or the ratio of doing what you like to do and doing what you don’t like to do. Minimize the boring, arduous and tedious- Maximize the engaging, fun and awesome. That’s life. That’s relationships. That’s the universe.

As far as money goes, you can basically have and do anything you want in life- it’s just that you may not be in the position you envisioned when it happens- and you may squander those perfect moments trying too hard to decide how your life is truly meant to go. Some people limit their creativity by looking at their resources and some use their creativity to increase their resources.

Look at what a person goes through to become a doctor.

1. The HOURS spent studying.

2. The loans and inve$tment in medical school.

3. The mental capacity to survive those LONG WORK HOURS

4. And it’s even a cut-throat hospital system too. Lots of politics there too.

You get a lot of money but you get even more RESPECT. Why? Because your “job” is making people’s lives more enjoyable- sometimes even extending their lives.

You would get that from music too- if your aim was to make art that impacted peoples lives. If you were doing more than seeking to be rewarded for your musical luck.

Would mom be happy if you were a world famous musician? Would she respect and love you if your art was respected and loved by the world? Yes. But your goal(s) are materialistic things. Things you could get being a manager, a consultant, a stock broker or any other job that pays well, but no one cares about.

Imagine what you could accomplish in music if you pursued it like any other professional who considers their work to be ART.

-Drew Spence, Editor in Chief Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine

I say stuff

Drew Spence Interview and Fallout Shelter Music in Rapper’s Delite Magazine

December 28, 2011 1 comment

Two things that are pretty cool this week. Griffin Avid hooked me up with some questions about making music from a site called Producers Corner and couple of tracks I produced with Fallout Shelter got bundled with the newest issue of Rapper’s Delite Magazine.  The deal is, you can download a bunch of beats  for free in every issue or get a bunch more when you become  an MC Subscriber. There’s even some beats from my friend  Sean Maru; the writer for the Vintage Series.

Read this issue

Rapper’s Delite Magazine the Original Sugarhill Gang

Here’s the issue sampler so you can get an idea of what everyone donated.

And here is the interview hook up.

Drew Spence is the Owner and Editor in Chief of Producer’s Edge Magazine. It is a quarterly publication centered on the production of Hip Hop, R&B and Rap music. After creating a raucous underground radio show called the M-Train at Adelphi University 90.3 FM, Drew Spence worked as media editor for Don Diva’s Magazine D3 DVD. He creates music under several aliases that range from underground hip hop, Nu Jazz, pop to Electronic Dance Music. After collecting numerous accolades and glowing reviews, he has turned his attention to creating a modern journal for beat makers and music producers.

 ”Music production is the relationship between the creativity of the artist and the craftsmanship he is able to employ through the mastery of his tools.”

1. Sampling. How important is it in producing music?

There’s a distinction between sampling and using samples. For Rap and Hip Hop music to be accepted in a larger commercial sense, it had to be sell-able. Un-cleared samples became such a legal problem, that sample interpolation became the new sampling standard. Being able to create music without using the works of others is paramount for establishing a career in this modern industry.

2. Where do you see new producers making mistakes?

Sharing their music too soon. Every beat maker thinks it’s time to share a beat once it’s finished. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Why have someone come to your site or profile and hear unfinished music or tracks that are not up to par? It taints your image and lessens any confidence a potential customer could have about your music.

3. What software do you recommend for making beats? And why? And what do you use?

I don’t see an influence in a producer’s sound depending on what he uses. The most I hear is producers only using the very basics of their tools, because they haven’t taken the time to learn them properly.

4. To all those new aspiring producers reading this learning to produce music / make beats, what advice can you give them starting out?

Great writers do more reading than writing. If you intend to make great music, you need to understand the working behind what we consider to be the best music. That means knowing the history of your genre to understand where it has been, where it is going and gaining valuable insight to where it’s going next. Higher understanding also involves absorbing music outside of the genre you intend to produce.

5. What are the 3 most important steps to making beats?

I’d say One is choosing the direction of the instrumental which is tied to understanding the purpose behind creating the track. Making a story track? – then it means to be evolving and dramatic. Making something for lyricists? – then it needs to be open and have room for the vocal to lead the intensity. That’s the general principle.

Two, would be immersing yourself in the culture of the intended genre. They are different approaches to every genre, tempos, song length, arrangement and even complexity.

Lastly would be understanding the industry behind the marketing, promotion and selling of the music. Making battle track and presenting it in the same fashion as a club banga is a mistake.

6. Very few producers make it to the top of there career as a world famous producer. What’s the difference, in your opinion, between a famous producer and one who can’t seem to it? What do the ones that make it do that the ones don’t?

People that don’t make it fall in to two categories: ones that give up and those who don’t take advice from those around them. When you are sure that you know better than everyone around you and you are still not making forward progress, it’s time for a reality check.

7. Which do you prefer new producers start with when learning to make beats: Hardware or software? And Why?

Use whatever you’re attracted to. Understand the final delivery medium and be sure you are able to present your tracks in a proper industry format. You don’t need Pro Tools, but understanding how records are made should influence your early choices.

8. What makes a quality beat? What must it sound like? How do you know when you’re done?

A quality beat actually sounds like the instrumental to a full record. Many producers only present the foundation, which is enough to inspire the artist to create over the basic skeleton. Even in this open state, the track should indicate a general direction for the artist to build off of.

9. Should I go to school to learn more about music?

If you feel you learn best in a formal setting then yes, but don’t discount the life experience gained from internships and mentoring programs. Real world experience is invaluable in transforming yourself into a valuable asset in this production industry.

10. Any final thoughts or advice to aspiring producers?

Take the time you spend doing music seriously. You never know when your life will change course and music won’t be able to be your number one pursuit. When beat makers have the luxury or time to make music every day and to follow music as their number one interest, it should be cherished. Regrets based on the things you wished you did outweigh the things you wish you didn’t do. Do music, take it seriously. No one will take you seriously if you don’t take your music and art seriously.

Thanks you for supporting Producer’s Edge magazine.

And thanks to Producers Corner

Producer’s Corner Interview with Griffin Avid

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Producer’s Corner Interview with Griffin Avid

Griffin Avid Logo

Griffin Avid

A blogsite about making beats did an interview with me and Drew Spence. Very Cool.

Griffin Avid is a sound designer, music producer and media editor attached to Producer’s Edge Magazine where he handles all of the content featured in the publication.

1. Sampling. How important is it in producing music?

Sampling records was the earliest production tendency and the nuances and [beloved] artifacts of the sound design have been indelibly imprinted in our minds as the sound of authentic hip hop. Every producer as some point has tried to fake it by adding sounds like turntable hum, scratches, pops and even noise to emulate a vinyl source. The lo-fi aspect is emulated with bit-reduction and some producers buy vintage samplers to capture the character of our earliest rap records. Even when beat makers are looking for drum kits and commercial samples to incorporate, the packages listed as being dirty, crusty and dusty remain the most popular.

Sampling even impacts the arrangement of our music. The huge change-ups and number of musical elements that are linked together are a throw-back to producers manipulating samples that were composed of multiple instruments playing on top of each other. Very few producers have been cable to capture that style of arrangement once they play or perform all of the instrumentation themselves.

So in conclusion, sampling as a sound is the most important aspect of rap and hip hop music. This still holds true long after traditional sampling has all but been eliminated by the modern producer.

2. Where do you see new producers making mistakes?

Thinking selling beatz is the shortcut to being a producer. They wrongfully believe they will sell a beat to a well-known rapper and once they have that one major placement; they will become the next super-producer. Being a true producer is what happens around, on top of and after the beat. There is no shortcut for this. You start the journey by producing the records of whoever you can and you certainly do not want to put off your growth by waiting. Take your career in your own hands and start making it happen for yourself now.

3. What software do you recommend for making beats? And why? And what do you use?

None of that matters to me. I’ll use anything. Usually, I get stuff to review for the magazine or at least to be familiar with to remain current and use that. I think cats should choose their tools by the amount of inspiration they feel using it. If it feels right to you, you are more likely to dive deeper and master your toolset.

4. To all those new aspiring producers reading this learning to produce music / make beats, what advice can you give them starting out?

I would suggest they avoid the trap of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I see the advice ‘practice makes perfect’ and beatmakers think they will magically get better by simply making more beats. The learning process comes from experimenting and studying the different aspects of production, and not just from repetition.

5. What are the 3 most important steps to making beats?

1. Choosing to make beats that you like and not beats that ‘should be liked’ by others. This is really related to number 2.

2. Making sure it works in whatever context you are making the beat for. Bangerz should bang in the club. Battle beats should inspire freestyle verses. It seems simple, but many producers focus on adding signature elements and not sculpting the overall vibe.

3. Adding that final 10% that turns a beat into the instrumental for a record. That’s pretty much the part producers never show you because it’s the workings of their inner ear. Anyone will show you the building of the foundation. No one shows you the roof being put on.

6. Very few producers make it to the top of there career as a world famous producer. What’s the difference, in your opinion, between a famous producer and one who can’t seem to make it? What do the ones that make it do that the ones don’t?

Being famous is a matter of your hard work running into luck and chance. Everyone will have their turn, but for most, it won’t happen until you are ready for it. If your opportunity arrives before you are ready, you will miss out and probably never know what you could have accomplished.

7. Which do you prefer new producers start with when learning to make beats: Hardware or software? And Why?

Doesn’t matter. I usually advise producers to physically imagine HOW they want to work and go in that direction. Either approach or a mix of both will get it done so why choose?

8. What makes a quality beat? What must it sound like? How do you know when you’re done?

A quality beat sounds right for an artist to use. Lots of beat makers have beats that sound great, interesting, original and impressive. What’s hard to find among a huge catalogue of beats are usable tracks.

9. Should I go to school to learn more about music?

School is about creating an artificial environment that fosters learning. At best, it gives you real world experience. At worst, it gives a false sense of entitlement. The paper is a statement about your dedication and commitment. If you understand that most courses only provide you with the material and it’s up to grab your own education, you’ll be fine.

10. Any final thoughts or advice to aspiring producers?

Start producing today. Live the music, not the stuff that happens in-between the beats. Focus on the stuff that counts, which is the end user’s reaction to your art. I see too many beat makers overly focused on the opinions and thoughts of other producers. Rappers and those concerned with making records need to be the most important people in your mind. Thanks for the time.

Read the Drew Spence take on these same questions.

Check out the Producer’s Corner

Producer’s Edge Magazine Issue 09 Special Holidaze FALL 2011

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment
Producer's Edge Issue 09 Cover Happy Holidaze

Are you Naughty or Nice with it?

Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine Issue 09 has dropped. This is a special Holidaze themed issue. It’s all about the giving and the getting- – ready to have a productive 2012 and beyond. We’ll rewind with tips for making better beats and finding your signature sound. By the end we’ll know if you’ve been Naughty or Nice.

Xtra Content Subscribers do not need to download any of the FREE content inside this issue. You will be getting every item included in your normal Issue Download Package. Check your email. This issue’s Download is 1 Gig in size and can be purchased separately.

This issue’s package contains samples from:

Big Fish Audio Southern Grilin

Big Fish Audio Grind Mode R&B

Big Fish Audio The Crate Ultimate Urban Samples

Big Fish Audio Beatage

Visit Big Fish Audio

Enjoy the Holidaze Season and be safe, full of sound and productive.

-Drew Spence, Editor in Chief Producer’s Edge Magazine.

Issuu Producer’s Edge issue 09 Holidaze Special

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Advice on making better beats

October 20, 2011 10 comments

Advice on making better beats

Strangely enough, most of these thoughts DO NOT center on buying more equipment, better sounds or taking lessons.

I don’t believe you get better by making more beats either. I see advice like “Just keep making beetz and you’ll get better”

In the beginning, it’s mostly about technical concernsHow Do I…?

Eventually, it’s about Control. You want creative freedom to do what you want in the way you want to. You want what fits your style.

A better MIDI controller/keyboard/DAW.  A Simpler work flow. A more organized system of production.

After control comes the quest to control your creativity. You want to understand WHY you get the results you do and even what went wrong when you don’t.

Is it tied to your mood? Your focus? Some cosmic…energy or synergy?  Why were those last 4 beats usable, but today I just made okay stuff?

Let’s go back and answer some early questions and see what bubbles up.

What helped yall to make better beats?

1. Putting your ego aside that you don’t know everything. Lots of producers make consistently “good” beats and think they suddenly know it all. That causes them to stop progressing. Even when every beat is ‘excellent’, you can still continue learning/improving.

2. When you listen and adjust to feedback. What’s the point of asking for opinions if you are already convinced that you are the best you can be. There needs to be a balance between pleasing yourself and pleasing others. Avoid making beats that you don’t like, but you think others might. (mostly) Avoid making beats that are fun to make or nice to listen to. You want to create music that is usable in whatever context you are aiming for.

3. Stop building beats/songs/tracks around drum kits and sounds. Ideas and concepts make memorable records. When you merge a mood to the music, you have something special.

4. Aim for the top. Accept that your career is what happens AFTER you make a hot beat. When rappers begin to think about performing in front of a large audience, they make different rhymes/music. When rappers think about standing in an office pitching their music, suddenly a lot of things that seemed cool in the studio or on their profile page are no longer good enough. Imagine that THIS RECORD/THAT BEAT. That union of rapper to your music is supposed to make it happen. Are you turning out the kind of music someone (rapper + label) can bank it all on?

5. Focus on learning what you need to know. And knowing it WHEN you NEED to know it. Lots of cats try to master aspects of the production chain when they only need a working knowledge. I see cats trying to find DA BEST EQ and learn EVERYTHING about EQ when they need to only understand the basics of mixing and what EQ is for. It’s better to grasp what it’s for as opposed to using it on EVERYTHING because you keep reading that it’s the answer to HOTT BEETZ (along with over-used compression). Why are you studying the intricacies of Publishing when you still haven’t learned how to deliver a finished track in the proper format(s)?

6. Sharing them with the intended audience and seeing what happens. My girl loves my beats. So do my homies. The local rappers aint really feeling them. They mostly say They Aiiight. Do I need to step it up?

And when did you realize that your beats were starting to sound good?

1. When people wanted to use them for records.
2. When people are willing to pay for my time and talent. I would start charging for beats when people ask “How much do you charge for beats?”
3. When people started calling the room with all my equipment in it- a studio.
4. When I started wanting to share my music with rappers and NOT with other beatmakers.
5. When people began to imagine known rappers over my beats “You should give this to…”
6. When my music stopped sounding like beats and started sounding like the instrumentals to records.
7. When people began hearing my beats and asked questions. How did youWhat did you
8. When I began to answer those questions without naming drum machines, synthesizers, DAWs or samples.

I don’t believe you get better by making more beats either. I see advice like “Just keep making beetz and you’ll get better”
So what’s the friggin answer, Griffin?!

Look outward for the reality, look inward to make reality real.

Mighty Zen of you.

Sometimes. Would it be clearer if I said develop the YOU and YOUr music will improve?

Still too hard to understand.

How about “Make music as an exercise in self-expression. Take inspiration from everything around you and NOT just what you hope to gain from the exploitation of your art.”


What should I use to make beats? or Music Production: Where should I start?

November 12, 2010 3 comments

Music Production: Where should I start?

Words by Griffin Avid

Studio Picture

Gear to share what’s in your ear, right here

One of the most frequently asked question is ‘What do I need to get started with Hip Hop production?’ It’s overheard in music retailers and posted on forums. The typical answer usually consists of entry level software, a staple drum machine or workstation keyboard. More important that what you should get is what you bring to the table and how you intend to work.

My initial foray into Hip Hop consisted of commandeering the home stereo system (a phonograph was my first turntable) and digging through my sister’s closet for a microphone that came with her tape machine. The first sampler I ever used had 90 mins  sample time. Don’t sleep on the dual tape deck. My parent’s record collection was raided for my first sound library. Today, you might be utilizing mom’s old computer and the Casio keyboard you received for your 12th birthday.

No matter how you approach a production task, the workflow will involve both hardware and software. Hardware is controlled by software, software runs on hardware. Increasing the quality of either will have a positive effect on the sound quality of your production work. But! keep in mind it’s the relationship between your creativity and talent in conjunction with your tool set that decides the final results of your production work.

Teach me how to make beats

No one can teach you how to make beats. True, you can pick up a book about production or magazine and read up on the subject, scan a production website and dig through all sorts of tips and tricks. Yes, you can watch videos of another producer laying down tracks and adopt some of their working system. You might even be advised ‘Work at these tempos’ and ‘Put the snares and kicks here and here’. A mentor may even bring you along and share a production style or workflow. Fledgling producers may even snatch up the original samples used in a track and reverse engineer the composition. All these ‘educational exercises’ add tools to your box, but they do not teach you How, Why and When to use them. The actual learning occurs as you are producing.

What’s In a Studio?

The level of a studio is obviously defined by the sound coming out of it. There is base level of equipment any producer should aim to stay above. For the analogy of a tool set, you can imagine a wrench that was machined improperly. Now, instead of gripping and loosening, your tool is stripping the nut and damaging whatever you were working on. It follows then, you don’t need the most expensive tool set available to achieve great results, but I also stand by the cliché of selecting the right tool for the job. We won’t be discussing budget here since the ability to actually produce music is more important than assembling the ultimate studio on your first trip to the gear shop.

Audio Interface

The soundcard is a very important part of your studio chain and often a huge factor in the overall sound quality. The default card in a computer is usually inappropriate for music production since it lacks the base level connectors (RCA [back of your VCR]) and the number of adaptors needed to make studio connections degrades the signal too greatly. Be sure to take note of the actual connection points in your studio before you pick up a dozen XLRs and find you needed ¼ inch cables instead. Also pay attention to the end points. ‘Males’ are the plugs and ‘females’ are the sockets/openings.

MIDI Connections.

MIDI allows computers, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, sound cards, samplers and drum machines to control one another, and to exchange system data. MIDI does not transmit audio—it simply transmits real time digital data providing information such as the type and intensity of the musical notes and technical cues played during a performance.

Flexibility is key here. There is more to MIDI-ing  up a studio than Out going to IN. If you have several tone modules and drum machines all connected, you can use any MIDI interface to trigger any sound source and increase the total possible combinations of tools/sounds available. A MIDI interface is an excellent addition to any studio.

Keyboard and MIDI Controller

A MIDI keyboard is a viable option for the producer who wants to use rack mounted tone generators and VSTs. Full sized keys and a full length board increases the playing options since you may not always be the only producer working out of your studio. The aim here is a well rounded studio which is able to accommodate various workflows without the avoidable limitations. You may not play the keyboard well today but…

Microphone, Vocal Chain and Acoustics

There are many opportunities to record artists beyond making demos or pre-production tracking. Even for the recording of ideas or inspirations, a microphone is a vital tool in any studio. It is always best to record the vocals dry (without any effects like reverb) and minimal processing from a compressor (to decrease the variation in volume level) and Gate (to eliminate ambient noise). The reflection of sounds off the walls of your studio will adversely affect your ability to properly hear your production and negatively impact your mixing curves. Padded walls and bass traps are recommended.

Speakers verse Monitors verse Headphones

A car is about the worst acoustic space you can find which is why it’s always a good idea to test your mixes on the road. Home stereo systems tend to have an inaccurate/sweetened bottom end, diminished middle and a curve upward on the highs. The EQ line looks like a smile and is the reason why everything sounds good coming out. Headphones will enhance the stereo field. The best option is a system without as much coloration as possible. Studio monitors are meant to deliver the most accurate account of ‘what’s doing with your audio’. Beyond reviews, salesman recommendations and company reputation, you’ll have to select monitors YOU can mix with. Once you have selected your monitors you will have to ‘learn them’ by listening to well recorded material and hearing the impact of your studio space on the material.


I saved this aspect for last because I feel it’s the most important element. Your interface, whether it’s the LED from a drum machine/groove box or the GUI from a software tracker, is the place where you will spend most of your studio time. It’s the studio tool you’ll turn on first and turn off last. Countless hours will be spent here as you search for inspiration, fine tune ideas, mix and even master your latest production. All of the major sequencers have enough functionality to bring your creative sparks into reality, but they differ greatly on presentation and workflow. Here is a listing of some of the most popular sequencers available.

Ableton Live
Apple Logic
Digidesign ProTools
Cakewalk Project 5
Cakewalk Sonar

Cockos Reaper
Imagine Line Fruity Loops
Mackie Tracktion
MOTU Digital Performer
Propellerhead Reason
Sony Acid
Steinberg Cubase

Steinberg Sequel

Total Solution Hardware Workstations

AKAI MPC 2500, 5000

Best value MPC 1000

KORG Triton Extreme, M3

Best value microX, microKorg  TR

Roland Fantom X, G

Best value Juno-G, SP 404

Roland MV 8800

Yamaha Motif ES, XS,,CNTID%25253D544448%252526CTID%25253D206400%252526CNTYP%25253DPRODUCT,00.html

Best value MM6,,CNTID%25253D544864%252526CTID%25253D206400,00.html,,CNTID%25253D62580%252526CTID%25253D206400%252526CNTYP%25253DPRODUCT,00.html

And so…what should I use to make my beats?
A classic production related question that has no definite answer. If you round up any group of producers and pose this question you usually get a suggested favorite workflow. Assuming the talent levels are even you can make music using any workflow or combination of studio pieces.
“Music production is the relationship between the creativity of the artist and the craftsmanship he is able to employ through the mastery of his tools.
When I read that quote I thought ‘damn, that’s an ill definition, but it really doesn’t spell out the hidden tangibles. I consider music production to be “the result of a particular sound placed when.” That’s all you really have to go on. You choose a sound, whether it’s an existing tone or something you created and manipulated and decide this is a puzzle piece and decide next when to place it in time. This encompasses all the aspects of sound design and timing -also known as rhythm. Most of us in the studio have agreed to use the term EAR as in an ear for music. Your ear tells you when elements are out of tune and when timing needs to be tighter or looser.
Should I pick my gear by what other producers use?
You can never buy a piece of gear and suddenly become as talented as another producer. For some elements of sound design, it’s prudent to pursue a particular bit of gear to add the tone many other producers have taken advantage of. There is a confidence that lies behind a studio tool knowing it has been used on countless hits and is reliable to deliver a musical tone. Many artists and producers start out emulating other producers and eventually switch to the pursuit of their own voice and a unique and original sound. It doesn’t hurt to explore different techniques and explore the various methods of production so feel free to mix and match systems.
As stated above, you spend a great amount of time staring at the screen of your chosen sequencer and interacting with your hardware. Features and specs only tell half the story. What may be the most important factor is the comfort level you are able to achieve with your workflow. The final choice rounds down to which method of production allows you the freedom to use your ear and sense of rhythm to produce the music you want to.
Press pause. See you in the lab.
Griffin Avid