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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Back For um, 2014 / Mixdown moans / Finishing material.

It’s been a while. Too long, in fact.
Although I started this blog many years ago with good intention, as with all things, OTHER STUFF just gets in the way.
However, having spent many months devising a plan to fit in music production/social media updates alongside the ‘other stuff’ in my life, I am now confident that I can probably keep this updated. Weekly. And on a Wednesday. Woohoo.

So, new year, new start and all good things that come with it. As this is my preferred time of year for completion hibernation, I have been locking myself in the studio of late, trying my best to finish 'new' material.
During my youthful days (where nothing matter and I seemingly had an infinite amount of time to be creative), I’d be writing tunes like a machine; churning them out one by one and handing them out like sweets (literally turning up at events in London armed with CDRs to hand out every week).
Ah, those were days. Much has changed since then (and not just the fact that I don’t need to physically go out and hand CDRs out anymore). Life progresses, time never stops and older we grow.
And with that comes greater responsibilites.

How does one manage time to fit in music amongst everything else? With bloody great difficulty I can assure you. While I can still write music as fast as ever (probably faster than I could when I was younger as I actually have a set up worthy of being called a ‘studio’ now), actually FINISHING something is a nightmare!
Why? The mixdowns! The RMS levels! The width! The power! The frequencies! (and so on)
If you’re in the mood to mixdown it can be a joy (I dream about spectrum analysis occasionally; don’t judge me). If on the other hand, you’d rather be producing material and flowing with creativity instead, it can drive you mad.

As with my lack of enthusiasm for DJing (due to the fact that everytime I attempt to have a practice mix, I get inspired to make a new beat instead!), sound/mastering engineering definitely requires dedication.

Over the past 3 years I attempted to learn Logic on a Mac OSX (as opposed to the OpenMPT/Cubase combination on a PC which I previously used). Getting used to sequencing ‘like a normal person’ (OpenMPT sequences vertically instead of horizontally; Amiga tracker style!) took me some time. In fact it probably wasn’t until 2011 that I got to grips with it.

I upgraded my sound library (Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Omnisphere, Trilian) and the rest of my set up (Adam A7X) during this time and began writing ‘music’ (which made a change of just knocking out beats)

As much as I tried (I literally must’ve written over 100 tracks), I just wasn’t programming the beats as well as I had hoped for. This was stopping me mixing down tracks and ultimately, stopped me actually finishing anything.

I took a break from it for a while (as you do) and thought long and hard about a solution to my problem…

One afternoon in late 2012, I went back to my PC to dig out some material from the archives. Having not even touched OpenMPT for over a year, it felt somewhat strange returning to my old love.
Strange for 30 seconds that is, until I remembered why I loved it so much in the first place!
The beat programming vibes returned instantly, and within minutes I was creating the type of drums I’d been aiming for (for years)

So to conclude THAT story, I decided that I should now create my beats in OpenMPT (PC) and export them to Logic (Mac) whereby I can write the music and basslines to them afterwards. Ridiculous idea? Probably. But it was the only logical idea that made sense in my (often) illogical mind.

And it worked. Within days I began writing material at the pace I was used to, with the drum styles I loved, but with a new enhanced understanding of actually playing music (opposed to just chopping samples) in the process.

This was it, I was happy. I had tunes 90% finished. Oh wait, I still need to mix them down (damnit!)
Using OpenMPT to mixdown was a no-no (I used it in the past for my earlier material, but it’s not entirely appropriate for that purpose) and Logic was just too distracting with all of it’s bells and whistles.
I needed a totally separate environment, so I opted for Harrison Mixbus 2 (apparently the digital summing provides results as close to analogue warmth/width as you can get without dedicated hardware; I don’t know how true this is, but I like the sound it creates)

At first I tried mixing down on this program using a Mac and was fraught with many a problem.
As soon as a Windows version was released, I thought I’d try it on my PC instead.
Low and behold, it performed at twice the speed of the Mac version (which is weird as both machines are similarly specced i7 machines with 16gb RAM). PC it is then.
Still reading? Wow, erm ok. So here I sit with a pair of Sennheiser HD-650 headphones and a Subpac, trying my best to mix these beats down and actually GET SOMETHING FINISHED (which I do believe was the point I was trying to make all along)

So anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m going to spend the next few days ensuring I have my next batch of beats ready to be heard by the general public on January 6th...I’ll also be uploading my back catalogue (in 2 minute clip form) to YouTube soon (with a new HD YouTube self-indulgent-brand-overload template that has taken me way longer than it should have done)

PS. Look out for my weekly #samplesunday series forthcoming on SoundCloud (as of Sunday 5th January 2014). Every week I’ll be giving away a sample containing 16 bars of either Beats or Bass ripped straight out of material from my back catalogue.

PPS. Follow me on my other social network thingies too:

PPPS. I may post teaser clips of material on Vine and Instagram over the coming days (although I may not if I struggle to finish them!)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Friday, 16 March 2012

Facebook Timeline Cover

The inevitable has happened and my Facebook Music page has switched to a "Timeline"...which has led me to create this timeline cover:

Dan Miracle Music Facebook Page

Monday, 12 March 2012

Dan Miracle Music Mobile App - iOS and Android

Dan Miracle Music App available to download for iOS and Android devices.


Google Play:

Mobile web app also available by visiting on your mobile advice.