DSF Q&A Sessions 19: Phaeleh

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Postby phaeleh » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:38 pm

Collyer wrote:Was there anything over the time that you were first learning to produce that would have made you better, faster or did you get everything quite quickly? HUGE fan of the music. Without doubt in the top three artists accross all genres for me!


Nice one mate, that's quite the complement!

In terms of the question, it's a tricky one as I'd played music/instruments for years before producing so in terms of theory and writing I was quite experienced, it was mainly the technique of production which was new to me. When I started, VST wasn't about, cubase I was using was only about to introduce audio, and the most tech thing out there was Rebirth if I remember right. I would love to have the endless supply of vsts, samples, production guides which are out there now. But I think the main thing that took a while to sink in was drum sounds. I could never work out why my midi drum tracks never sounded as heavy as a lot of the tunes I was rinsing. It was when someone gave me a pack of old school breaks/hip hop loops that I suddenly realised that an XG/GM electro kit is never going to stand up against an amen break with some think break on top. For me I wished I learnt that earlier, but guess it enabled me to focus on melody a lot more at the time!
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Postby TimmyTrash » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:19 am

Hay Phaeleh, I just saw your status from your fanpage and couldn't resist coming on to tell you that i love your style. I also agree heavily on your views about how a producer should in general go about doing what they what and not trying to be something they are not. & congratulations overall man, i think its an awesome thing to see when someone manages to turn they're passion into an income and do what they love.

You've answered most of the things already i would of asked aha. Was a good read.

I saw you mentioned about you was going to Leave it till the age of 30 until you packed it in if nothing kicked off. Well what about before, did you have a part-time job leaving enough time to work on your music? or was you backed up by your family? & if you did have a job, did you find it hard to find time or commit to making music in your time off? Im coming up to 20, a part of me just despises the thought of putting time and effort into something that music related. Ive survived on £30 college allowance for 3 years just simply because i much rather put my time into music, w all my school friends are still working at some telesales company blowing every penny on a car etc, What was/are your views on this?

Thanks alot man :D.
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Postby JannikR » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:12 am

Hey there fella! (har har)
Like everybody else on here I have to say big up for doing this - it's really great to see that there are still big ones out there with their feet on the ground. I'm quite sure a lot of people (me included) see you as some kind of musical role model thanks to that.
Anyways, I've got a couple of questions that I'll try to keep as short as possible;

1. You said something about having a plate reverb set that you use as send on every instrument - is this the first thing you do, or is it the last?

2. Can we expect some kind of Phaeleh masterclass in the future? That's something I'd love to see, and I think a lot of people would agree.

3. You said that the turning point in your career was when regular Joes started telling you they enjoy your music - was that something slow and gradual, or did you come to a point where someone said "holy shit, this needs to go out on my label pronto"?

4. Last one is about your record label, Urban Scrumping Records. How did you chose your released artists? Were they people who sent in their tracks, or were they people who you accidentally happened to hear a track from when roaming the net?

Thanks again for taking your time to do this. I wish you the best luck, and hope to catch one of your shows sometime when I visit the UK, or even better, if you decide to bless Sweden with your appearance!
//Jannik
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Postby abakus » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:18 am

Phaeleh, I'm a big fan, I remember the moment when I discovered your track 'numb' for the first time, I almost queefed.

I always find when I'm making a tune that i get to the end of the drop and I don't really know what to do next without the track starting to sound boring and repetitive, what suggestions do you have for spicing up the tunes a bit?

Also are you planning on playing outlook next year, I didn't have the cash this year and me and me mates are all set for that next year, would love to see you play! (Also do a set in Nottingham sometime this year, yeah?!)

Cheers mate
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Postby legend4ry » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:48 am

Errr - a screenshot of any project file would be good!
Soulstep wrote: My point is i just wanna hear more vibes


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Postby smess » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:20 am

Great read Phaelah! Cheers for taking the time out! Got into your music after seeing you a couple of months back at the Soltek night near Old Street in Ldn, really enjoyed your set that night! Couple of questions...

Did you get into djing as a result of producing your own tunes obviously to promote yourself and your music? Or did you dj anyway before producing your own material, therefore it not really being a big deal playing out.

If you did start djing post production did you teach yourself or learn from friends or whoever? Also what was/is your preferred format vinyl/cd/digital? Would you ever (do you) use a digital programme like Serato or Traktor?

Cheers!
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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:36 pm

TimmyTrash wrote:Hay Phaeleh, I just saw your status from your fanpage and couldn't resist coming on to tell you that i love your style. I also agree heavily on your views about how a producer should in general go about doing what they what and not trying to be something they are not. & congratulations overall man, i think its an awesome thing to see when someone manages to turn they're passion into an income and do what they love.

You've answered most of the things already i would of asked aha. Was a good read.

I saw you mentioned about you was going to Leave it till the age of 30 until you packed it in if nothing kicked off. Well what about before, did you have a part-time job leaving enough time to work on your music? or was you backed up by your family? & if you did have a job, did you find it hard to find time or commit to making music in your time off? Im coming up to 20, a part of me just despises the thought of putting time and effort into something that music related. Ive survived on £30 college allowance for 3 years just simply because i much rather put my time into music, w all my school friends are still working at some telesales company blowing every penny on a car etc, What was/are your views on this?

Thanks alot man :D.


Cheers man, glad you've enjoyed the read!

Well it's not my place to tell anyone how to live their life, but I do believe that people should follow their passions and dreams to the best of their ability.

It took a few savage breakups and the passing of a few friends for me to realise that life is incredibly fragile and short, and there's no point wasting any time. It was definitely the kick up the ass which got me focussed on the tunes so much, as I adopted the 'what if you died tomorrow, would you be happy with the way you've spent today' kinda outlook on life.

In terms of work, I guess that's down to the individual really. I was working 16 hours a week as a youth worker on minimum wage in order to have the free time to write music. This was good for creativity, but there was a definite downside which was the general skintness. This meant I couldn't really go out in Bristol, and subsequently I don't really get any support from the local scene here as I haven't really made the effort to go and schmoooze.

I would say, spending most of my 20s as essentially a hobo with a laptop and speakers did add a lot of stress to life in general, so I'd say try and balance your responsibilities with your creative urges.


JannikR wrote:Hey there fella! (har har)
Like everybody else on here I have to say big up for doing this - it's really great to see that there are still big ones out there with their feet on the ground. I'm quite sure a lot of people (me included) see you as some kind of musical role model thanks to that.
Anyways, I've got a couple of questions that I'll try to keep as short as possible;

1. You said something about having a plate reverb set that you use as send on every instrument - is this the first thing you do, or is it the last?

2. Can we expect some kind of Phaeleh masterclass in the future? That's something I'd love to see, and I think a lot of people would agree.

3. You said that the turning point in your career was when regular Joes started telling you they enjoy your music - was that something slow and gradual, or did you come to a point where someone said "holy shit, this needs to go out on my label pronto"?

4. Last one is about your record label, Urban Scrumping Records. How did you chose your released artists? Were they people who sent in their tracks, or were they people who you accidentally happened to hear a track from when roaming the net?

Thanks again for taking your time to do this. I wish you the best luck, and hope to catch one of your shows sometime when I visit the UK, or even better, if you decide to bless Sweden with your appearance!
//Jannik


Hehe cheers man, I'm not sure I'm quite at the level of the top dogs, but appreciate you saying it.

1 - Well it really depends on the sound. Generally as my sends are setup as part of the default project it's the quickest and easiest way to add some ambience to a sound. But i would program/sequence/record the part first generally before adding the sends, but saying that, other times i'll crack all the sends up before writing anything. So again, there's probably no set way I go about it.

2 - I've just agreed to do a digital music seminar in Bristol later this year, which I know they film and put online, so it might be possible. If you've got any suggestions for topics to cover feel free to mention them here and I'll see if it's possible to include.

3 - It was definitely gradual. I set up Scrumping as a way of getting my music out there initially, and I think word of mouth meant there was a steady increase in the following, but definitely didn't come up with a 'hit' which pushed me to the top of the game or anything. I think the 2nd Electronic Explorations mix and the Afterglo mix I did for Chemical Records were the key parts for getting me out to a wider audience, and because I'd been working solidly for the years before, it meant there was a large amount of music out there for people to discover after hearing those mixes.

4 - Well it's all quite random. I'd set up the accounts with a few shops, and realised I might as well release some tunes by people I knew or were rating at the time. There are a couple of artists I don't chat to too much these days, but there's a few I speak to most days just to chat shit and give each other some abuse. I've definitely never released anything off the back of a demo though. I wish I could be more proactive with it, but it's definitely something I view as a hobby rather than something as important as my own production. Though saying that, if i believe in a release I'll work my hardest to push them to DJs and Blogs etc to help get an artists name out there.

Hopefully get a booking in Sweden at some point soon! :)


abakus wrote:Phaeleh, I'm a big fan, I remember the moment when I discovered your track 'numb' for the first time, I almost queefed.

I always find when I'm making a tune that i get to the end of the drop and I don't really know what to do next without the track starting to sound boring and repetitive, what suggestions do you have for spicing up the tunes a bit?

Also are you planning on playing outlook next year, I didn't have the cash this year and me and me mates are all set for that next year, would love to see you play! (Also do a set in Nottingham sometime this year, yeah?!)

Cheers mate


Tricky one mate, I'd normally say pull some of the main sounds/hooks out after 16, and put some new sounds on top. I always write thinking in terms of the pop/band formula of verse/chorus/verse etc. So try and make one section more anthemic and another more subdued. Pulling parts of the drums/rhythm out and switching up with different grooves is a good way of doing this. I'll often kill hats after 16, and introduce some rides, then for the next 16 bring the hats back but chuck some percussion in there too.

If you're really struggling I'd suggest picking 1 or 2 of your favourite tunes and getting really analytical about what they're doing to keep it interesting. Loop 32 bars and see what they're doing differently, in terms of the bass, the drums, the textures, the vocals etc. Something like this could be a great way of understanding what's going on, just gotta keep focussed on listening and avoid getting lost in the bass face!

Pretty sure I'll get asked back to Outlook given the reception the beach set got this year, but guess I'll know more when I actually speak to them about it.

Played a sick gig in Notts earlier this year, proper rammed sweatpit, but hopefully get another booking up that way soon!

legend4ry wrote:Errr - a screenshot of any project file would be good!


Here you go mate, though realised you won't be able to see much of the drum programming as I bounce it all down through my compressor to audio, but you can get an idea of the arrangement of sounds hopefully!

In The Twilight: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/In-The-Twilight-Full.JPG

Should Be True: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Should-Be-True-Full.JPG

Lounge: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Lounge-Full.JPG

smess wrote:Great read Phaelah! Cheers for taking the time out! Got into your music after seeing you a couple of months back at the Soltek night near Old Street in Ldn, really enjoyed your set that night! Couple of questions...

Did you get into djing as a result of producing your own tunes obviously to promote yourself and your music? Or did you dj anyway before producing your own material, therefore it not really being a big deal playing out.

If you did start djing post production did you teach yourself or learn from friends or whoever? Also what was/is your preferred format vinyl/cd/digital? Would you ever (do you) use a digital programme like Serato or Traktor?

Cheers!


Nice one mate, again that night was proper roasting, probably lost a few stone in sweat.

Well my background was producing, though I got into live performance of electronica. I used to perform using a custom made sequencer I made in Pure Data (Like Max/MSP for PC but free), which was connected to a synth and a couple of drum machines. I also did sets just using a couple of korg electribes and an MS2000.

I got a copy of the first version of ableton a few years later when it was still relatively unknown, and started putting sets together in that borrowing a friends laptop, just making lots of loops and jamming out arrangements and fx live. I think at the time myself and Elemental were the only people I knew using it in clubs.

This was how i was performing for the first few years with the phaeleh stuff too, but over time I was getting bored of just playing the same tunes and the hassle of bouncing down tracks and spending days having to prepare for each set, so i decided to switch to djing.

My housemate at the time collected vinyl, had decks, but literally couldn't mix at all. I knew the principle behind it, but had never tried, so learnt how to mix as a result of teaching him how to do it. I still borrow all his kit to play out now tbf, so not looking forward to him moving out lol!

I started on Serato, as I had a laptop but was never in the position to buy vinyl as I never had any spare cash.

I loved having all the tunes there, and the ease of digging out tunes, but after a few nightmare gigs involving dodgy decks and dealing with arsehole diva djs getting shitty about setting up serato I decided to switch to CDJs (big ups madd and riskotheque for the suggestion). The lack of stress involved with CDJs is amazing. If something doesn't work, it's the clubs fault and no longer mine, which means I can just enjoy turning up and playing.

In an ideal world I'd use serato with cds, but unfortunately melted a few components of my laptops motherboard when I was doing the mixdowns for The Cold In You EP, so no longer have the means to use it. I think if I'm in the position to buy a laptop again I'd probably start using serato again with CD control, and just take a cd wallet of tunes in case it's not possible to set up serato!
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Postby legend4ry » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:19 pm

phaeleh wrote:
legend4ry wrote:Errr - a screenshot of any project file would be good!


Here you go mate, though realised you won't be able to see much of the drum programming as I bounce it all down through my compressor to audio, but you can get an idea of the arrangement of sounds hopefully!

In The Twilight: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/In-The-Twilight-Full.JPG

Should Be True: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Should-Be-True-Full.JPG

Lounge: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Lounge-Full.JPG


I love the way literally everything is on its own sequencer lane, thats what I truely miss about Cubase; its so messy but so sufficient!
Its also quite interesting to see you using Vengeance sounds; I am a sucker for their clarity and character myself.

We seem to lay out tracks the same in terms of going down. Drums > Bass > Melody > Pads > atmosphere/fx's, so you win!

Totally random question but why are you using 16bit for recording?
Soulstep wrote: My point is i just wanna hear more vibes


https://soundcloud.com/legend4ry/passover
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Postby brettheaslewood » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:23 pm

was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that
kruptah wrote:I play the technics.
My english teacher gave me a weird look when I mentioned that as the musical instrument I played. Like the wtf stare. I had to give her the 'wiki wiki' dj motion to confirm what i meant.

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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:54 pm

legend4ry wrote:
phaeleh wrote:
legend4ry wrote:Errr - a screenshot of any project file would be good!


Here you go mate, though realised you won't be able to see much of the drum programming as I bounce it all down through my compressor to audio, but you can get an idea of the arrangement of sounds hopefully!

In The Twilight: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/In-The-Twilight-Full.JPG

Should Be True: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Should-Be-True-Full.JPG

Lounge: http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Lounge-Full.JPG


I love the way literally everything is on its own sequencer lane, thats what I truely miss about Cubase; its so messy but so sufficient!
Its also quite interesting to see you using Vengeance sounds; I am a sucker for their clarity and character myself.

We seem to lay out tracks the same in terms of going down. Drums > Bass > Melody > Pads > atmosphere/fx's, so you win!

Totally random question but why are you using 16bit for recording?



Yeah man, I can write in all other software (except logic, which is the work of satan), but always just got on best with cubase!

I'm a sucker for some of the vengeance fx and trancey bass kicks which my mates rip me for, definitely have used in a few tunes tho normally just make fx off the nord or one of the drum synths.

Always arranged tunes in that order, no idea why really, guess it kinda reflects the order I mix stuff down or something, but seems to work so haven't ever changed it :)

Just always used 16bit back in the day due to hard drive space, and guess that's why. I should really do 32bit as I use cubase, but most mastering engineers i've given 32bit files to end up taking down to 24bit before working on them anyway.

In my opinion most electronic stuff doesn't have the dynamic range to warrant the project working at 24 bit, but i might not know what i'm talking tbf lol. If I was recording a string section or something i'd definitely work at 24/96 or something, but just never got out of the habit of 16bit projects. Probably should do at some point, tho all my cables are unbalanced and my room has the acoustics of the grand canyon, so never really got the urge to go more pro with it. :4:

brettheaslewood wrote:was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that


No worries man! :)

Oh and that Brighton date is at the Tube, I'm sure I could stick you on the list if you're still skint...
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Postby brettheaslewood » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:13 pm

phaeleh wrote:
brettheaslewood wrote:was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that


No worries man! :)

Oh and that Brighton date is at the Tube, I'm sure I could stick you on the list if you're still skint...


that'd be really great of you as think im gonna be able to afford travel and maybe a pint haha!
PM if you need deets, but you can guess my name from the screen name haha

big up boyo!
kruptah wrote:I play the technics.
My english teacher gave me a weird look when I mentioned that as the musical instrument I played. Like the wtf stare. I had to give her the 'wiki wiki' dj motion to confirm what i meant.

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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:55 pm

brettheaslewood wrote:
phaeleh wrote:
brettheaslewood wrote:was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that


No worries man! :)

Oh and that Brighton date is at the Tube, I'm sure I could stick you on the list if you're still skint...


that'd be really great of you as think im gonna be able to afford travel and maybe a pint haha!
PM if you need deets, but you can guess my name from the screen name haha

big up boyo!


Will email the name over now mate, sure it'll be cool...
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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:07 pm

brettheaslewood wrote:
phaeleh wrote:
brettheaslewood wrote:was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that


No worries man! :)

Oh and that Brighton date is at the Tube, I'm sure I could stick you on the list if you're still skint...


that'd be really great of you as think im gonna be able to afford travel and maybe a pint haha!
PM if you need deets, but you can guess my name from the screen name haha

big up boyo!


Yeah all good man, on the list :W:
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Postby brettheaslewood » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:13 pm

phaeleh wrote:
brettheaslewood wrote:
phaeleh wrote:
brettheaslewood wrote:was nice to be able to listen and look at the project, cheers for that


No worries man! :)

Oh and that Brighton date is at the Tube, I'm sure I could stick you on the list if you're still skint...


that'd be really great of you as think im gonna be able to afford travel and maybe a pint haha!
PM if you need deets, but you can guess my name from the screen name haha

big up boyo!


Yeah all good man, on the list :W:


thanks mate, i'll grab you a pint for your deed :)
kruptah wrote:I play the technics.
My english teacher gave me a weird look when I mentioned that as the musical instrument I played. Like the wtf stare. I had to give her the 'wiki wiki' dj motion to confirm what i meant.

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Postby TimmyTrash » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:47 pm


Cheers man, glad you've enjoyed the read!

Well it's not my place to tell anyone how to live their life, but I do believe that people should follow their passions and dreams to the best of their ability.

It took a few savage breakups and the passing of a few friends for me to realise that life is incredibly fragile and short, and there's no point wasting any time. It was definitely the kick up the ass which got me focussed on the tunes so much, as I adopted the 'what if you died tomorrow, would you be happy with the way you've spent today' kinda outlook on life.

In terms of work, I guess that's down to the individual really. I was working 16 hours a week as a youth worker on minimum wage in order to have the free time to write music. This was good for creativity, but there was a definite downside which was the general skintness. This meant I couldn't really go out in Bristol, and subsequently I don't really get any support from the local scene here as I haven't really made the effort to go and schmoooze.

I would say, spending most of my 20s as essentially a hobo with a laptop and speakers did add a lot of stress to life in general, so I'd say try and balance your responsibilities with your creative urges.



Thanks for the reply, i appreciate it.. I just like to get opinions from people who have a bit more experience. I re-read my question & realised what a dull question it was too, lol. So, yeah.. Good luck in the future anyway. keep it up. :)
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Postby Sifty » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:06 am

phaeleh wrote:
Sifty wrote:Sup Phaeleh, love the tunes.

What is your favourite song to play on the guitar?


Cheers mate! That's a tricky one tbf, haven't played properly in about 10 years in terms of other peoples stuff, just tend to improvise or jam over the top of other stuff.

Guess I used to love playing lots of rock/grunge/metal stuff, but at the same time would bust out some jazz standards or some classical lute suites if i was trying to impress a girl or something. ;)

All good. I like how you like tool as well, one of my favourite bands.
Would you be able to show a close up of some of your drum arrangements on a track?
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Postby zillion » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:30 pm

Hey phaeleh....

I was just wondering if you have ever consider or tried getting your music in to media work like film scores, adverts and such??

If you have how did you go about it??
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Postby phaeleh » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:26 pm

brettheaslewood wrote:
thanks mate, i'll grab you a pint for your deed :)


No worries mate, sort yourself out if you're skint, i'm sure the promoter will have it covered!

TimmyTrash wrote:
Thanks for the reply, i appreciate it.. I just like to get opinions from people who have a bit more experience. I re-read my question & realised what a dull question it was too, lol. So, yeah.. Good luck in the future anyway. keep it up. :)


Nah it's all good mate, sensible to consider this kinda stuff! :)

Sifty wrote:
All good. I like how you like tool as well, one of my favourite bands.
Would you be able to show a close up of some of your drum arrangements on a track?


Tool are AMAZING. 'Like' isn't the word for it :a:

Here's a close up of the beats from Lounge, as there's not a lot of channels thought it would be a good one. Again, due to bouncing stuff down through the compressor it's a bit harder to see where stuff is placed!

http://www.phaeleh.co.uk/Lounge-Beats.jpg

zillion wrote:Hey phaeleh....

I was just wondering if you have ever consider or tried getting your music in to media work like film scores, adverts and such??

If you have how did you go about it??


I've never tried that actively, but did end up with a tune in the american version of skins and something on the redbull website, which were both off the back of the publisher who did fallen light.

Afterglo, the label who did 'Fallen Light' and 'The Cold In You' are looking into a specific sync agent to handle that side of things, so fingers crossed would get some more in the future!

I think it's mostly done that way in the industry, but can occasionaly happen if you know the right people!
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Postby Jedeye » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:58 pm

Hi mate, do you think monitors are an important part of your production set up and how did you go about choosing the the ones you currently use? Also what spec pc/mac are you running?
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Postby phaeleh » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:46 pm

Jedeye wrote:Hi mate, do you think monitors are an important part of your production set up and how did you go about choosing the the ones you currently use? Also what spec pc/mac are you running?

Easy mate,

I think after your ears, the monitors are the most important part of the production set up. Doesn't matter what kit you're using if you're not hearing what it actually sounds like.

I use Event TR8 XLs, which aren't in production anymore, but are rather sexy: Image

I was recommended them by a speaker specialist who used to work in speaker sales but now runs a massive rig in the south west. He listed a lot of producers I rated who used the earlier version of them.

I didn't just go on this advice however, I arranged for a local music store to get them in and I compared directly alongside Adams, KRK, Mackies, and Genelecs amongst some others. I took along a lot of my productions I'd made on my previous set of monitors (Alesis M1 Mk2s) alongside some albums I knew inside out and rated the production of. The Events just felt like the natural progression from my Alesis monitors, as my tunes sounded as I'd written them, but had a more open sound and let me hear where things could be improved. I liked elements of the other speakers (except the Mackies, really dislike them), but either the high end or low end just didn't sit right with me. The Events seemed honest, they didn't make the music sound too shit, and they didn't over polish the sound to make them sound too good. I spent about 90 minutes cross-referencing between different speakers before I made the final choice. It's all personal preference though, so I'd always use your own ears to make such an important decision, rather than the word of others.
I'm pretty sure I got the last pair in the country too, as they only cost me £300 for the pair. Cashback :partridge: (sorry, had to get alan in somewhere).

Saying that though, the key thing is just knowing your speakers well. I know a very popular producer who writes on PC Speakers, and he's written some proper fat tunes, but he generally fires tunes to other producers to check the bass for him.

Spec wise I think my phone is probably more powerful, but is as follows I think:

PC running Win XP
Pentium Dual Core 3.2 Ghz
4Gb Ram
3TB Harddrive (Across 3 Harddrives)
Presonus Firebox Soundcard

:4:
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