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How To Make Your Music Your Own While Still Using Presets and Samples

I got an email from Graham Cochrane the other day(if you don’t subscribe to his email list you probably should).

He was talking about his experience with NAMM and how he heard Tony Maserati say he uses presets all the time!

But the thing is, he goes through the preset banks, finds something that’s close to what he’s looking for, tweaks to done and moves on.

Simple, fast and effective.

And that’s exactly what producer Carmen Rizzo (Seal, Coldplay, Alanis Morissette, Tiesto) said as well.

It’s very easy to sound like everyone else. You don’t want to release a record that comes on the radio and everyone can tell you used “preset 23” on the synth sound. You want to make it sound your own.

But starting with the generic presets is a great way to go. Using sound design and manipulation on generic loops and presets is how you make the music your own. 

Being different with your sounds is what makes your music stand out.

  • Your Sounds – Make sure you really change those presets. EQ can go a long way towards making an instrument sound different. A side-chained compressor can make a synth pulse in time with the track, making it sound completely changed from where the preset started.
  • Your Depth – If you’re trying to make your mix sound exactly like another mix, don’t go overboard in trying to copy it. Still try to make your mix your own. If you think something sounds cool that’s not on your reference mix, stand by it and make it your thing.
  • Your Space – If you don’t want to screw with the EQ on a synth for example, try changing the reverb sounds. Or even just EQ’ing the reverb itself will change the sound.

To quote one of the flashiest man in music:

Steal from the best and make it your own -Prince

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“I really recommend this to engineers who are having problems mixing. We all know that mixing takes time and everyone will mix different, but there are specific information that mixing strategy give like EQing that’s very important and how to use reverb and delay. I find your book very useful and it did help me on my mixes. ” -Theodore Radcliffe


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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