How To Optimize Your Music Production Environment - DJ TechTools


How To Optimize Your Music Production Environment When sitting down to work on a DJ mix, a new track, or any task that you might need to spend time in your studio with, it’s all too easy to get distracted and develop bad habits. In today’s article, guest contributor Sam Malta shares his tips for optimizing your music production environment and getting the most out of every session in your home studio. When you first get into making music, everything just works. Not from a quality standpoint (your music sounds terrible that early on), but you have no troubles sitting down and working on a project. As time passes and you learn more about production, you start to pick up bad habits. These habits always seem trivial at first. You might be working on a difficult section of a track and decide to quickly check Facebook to “refresh your mind.” Then you do it during your next production session, and the next. The enemy of efficient producers everywhere Bad habits like these cause us to work slowly and ineffectively, if at all. They’re the reason why so many producers mistakenly think they have writer’s block, or some unique condition that disables them from making music. Want to ditch bad habits, or optimize for efficiency before they happen? This post is for you. The advice shared in this article is custom-tailored to each person. I urge you to experiment, don’t dismiss ideas simply because you feel they won’t work for you. Try them out for a few weeks and see if they work. With that said, some of the advice in this post is universally correct. I’ve never met anyone who thinks that distractions aid creativity, for instance. Optimize Your Physical Music Production Environment Though the mental aspect of creative work is more important than the physical environment you do that work in, your physical environment still has bearing on how well you do your work. For instance, if you have a games console on your desk that’s linked up to your main display, at some point during the creative process (normally when it starts getting difficult) you’ll be tempted to use it. If your games console is in another room, you’ll be less tempted. Make sense? Here are some more tips: Keep it clean There’s a cliché quote, “if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk a sign of?” I think there are a select few people that can work just fine with a cluttered workspace, but they’re part of the 1%. By keeping your workspace clean: You’ll feel better about working in it You won’t feel self-conscious when you invite your buddy around for a collab You’ll experience fewer distractions So, take those week-old coffee mugs to your kitchen and wash them. Don’t be afraid to spend money on a good chair “You spent $1000 on a chair?!” I asked my friend as I sat down in his studio. He responded calmly by saying that $1000 was a trivial investment considering he spent 8+ hours per day sitting in it. My next gear purchase? A decent chair. If you want to feel comfortable while producing and protect your back, then you need a decent chair. You don’t need to spend $1000, just don’t shoot for low quality. Bonus Tips: Any popular office chair will do the trick. If you’re a full-time producer, or you do other work from home (at the same desk you make music) then this applies especially to you Alternatively, get a standing desk. They allow you to dance while producing and they also apparently have health benefits, but the former is more important. Two screens are great – but is it always the right choice? One or two displays? A lot of people automatically assume that using two computer screens for production is more efficient and allows you to work faster. This isn’t always the case. Sure, there are benefits to using two screens: you can have your mixer open on one screen while arranging in another, use a screen as a dedicated spectrum analyzer, and do many other things. However, an extra screen can also slow down workflow as it can prohibit you from focusing on one aspect of production. Take the mixer/arrangement two-screen setup – if you’re trying to arrange your track, you don’t want to incur the cost of task-switching by popping over to the screen your mixer is on and adding compression and fancy effects that detract from your main focus: arrangement. With one screen, it’s easier to focus on the task at hand. Using two screens is not objectively better than using one, and vice versa. There are benefits to both, and the only way to find out which is better for you is to experiment. Minimize potential distractions You might not have many distraction-inducing items in your workspace (having cleaned and organized it – you did take away those coffee mugs, right?) but it’s likely that you’ll still encounter distractions when making music – including: Wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend Kids/parents Roommates Dogs, cats, and spiders YOUR PHONE If you have roommates, or a highly cons…

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