[beta > last change @ 10 january 2005 > add your comments and additional tips in this forumthread]
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You want to make phat drum beats?|Loops, Loops, Loops!|Create a couple different loops, leaving out the essentials that would normally make that type of beat (kick, snare), and layer them over other beats of the same kind. Add your basic kick & snare and you have some crazy beats!
Synchronize a loop to its regular BPM but instead of the normal length, make the length double the original length (for example, if your normal length is 8 beats, then make it 16-beats). What you get is a really cool slowed down breaky thing. This works well with Drum ‘n Bass, Hiphop, Breakbeat, etc. Add a tiny bit of reverb on the slowed down loops to give them more volume too.
Double-click in the space above a track to select the entire track in one go.
Press [Shift-Tab] after creating a new track to go straight to that track.
Right-click on the cursor bar to get the Command Effects menu.
Double-click (or middle-click) in the oscillator window to solo a track or to unsolo all tracks.
Press [Enter] or [F12] to ensure the focus is on the pattern editor. Sometimes your cursor may be in an text field (song title for instance) and thus prevents you from entering notes in the pattern.
Deep bass are best centered (and in phase) since it's the best distribution of energy, and the human hearing can't localize low frequencies anyway. If you plan to cut a vinyl, this is a requirement.
Out of phase signals are coming from the rear speakers on Dolby© Prologic® systems. You achive this effect by setting the Pan slider to [P] (left end). Though keep in mind that speakers aren't made for deep bass reproduction, unless you have a Prologic II® system. Even on regular stereo systems, the out of phase effect results in sounds hard to localize.
When sampling, always turn off CRT television sets nearby! The flyback transformer might disturb your sampling hardware resulting in a 15.6 kHz whistle.
Always edit samples at a zero crossing (so the point where the horizontal axis is cut by the waveform) to avoid clicks! Forward loops should have the start and end sample at a similar value to ensure a smooth continuation.
Effect processors (not limited to those in MadTracker) can produce strong DC offsets and subsonic rumble. Therefore a subsonic filter can save energy and you can get a bargain of several dB of usable dynamics. Phase free high pass filters with a narrow shelf at around 15 - 40 Hz usually work well.
"<i>Don't join the loudness race which has no winners!</i>" (Bob Katz)|In general, don't overcompress!|Rock/Pop/Techno/Hip-Hop/etc. should be mastered at -14 dBFS RMS.|Classic/Jazz/Spoken text/etc. should be mastered at -20 dBFS RMS.|Of course, those are rough guidlines, and your material may require different leveling.
Did you know that pink underwears fits amazingly well with green socks?
When singing, avoid blowing into the mic! In case your recording can't be redone for some reason, you can try removing the rumble with a high pass filter at around 100 - 300 Hz depending on the voice.
In case you got hiss noises on the "s" in your recording, you can reduce this noise with a band limiter in a range approximately at 3000 - 10000 Hz. Though be careful, hence too much compression rips off the life of your voice. If you can afford it, also try a better microphone!
To save some CPU time, you can switch off the effects of some tracks temporary in parts where they aren't needed.
Name your samples with its tone in the end of the name (such as “Piano_C4.wav”), and MadTracker will set the tune automatically based on the note in the name.
The [Cleanup] feature removes all unnecessary material in your song. This can dramatically decrease filesize, which is very handy for for distribution of your track.
1337 5P34cH 15 n0 l4nGu4g3, 'coz ye can't sing it! Ergo: there's no doubt, your local tongue is much more valuable.
A perfectly clear recorded instrument or voice usually sounds boring. Therefore, try a slight subtle reverb on it for a natural acoustic sound!
If you plan to do your music unplugged, MadTracker is not your weapon of choice since unplugging your computer wouldn't do any good, apparently. Of course, you might do something in MadTracker which sounds like it were unplugged.
For recording any instrument, *build a booth* even if you need to drape sheets over something. Anything is worth the effort to buffer excess noise. Also, when recording anything it is best to use a stand to get the best positioning available (aside from holding the mic yourself [yes, even for vocals] it also reduces the bumping noises you get from the mic moving).
The human perception barely can recognize loudness changes less then 3 dB, but EQ'ing a band about 1 dB can make much of a difference. Make sure your system has a response as linear as possible before EQ'ing anything!
When comparing a hardlimited signal to its source, always compare it at the same loudness, i.e. don't limit and boost at the same time!
There are plenty of free quality VST instruments and effects around on the Internet. A good start is the plugin archive at the MadTracker.org forum.
Hard panned instruments without a reverb, stereo delay or some binaural processing sound awful through headphones. Those effects can make your pan happy song sound much more natural, as long as you don't overuse them.
When you’re trying to achieve a certain genre it's best to study that certain genre from different established producers and get a feel for how that genre is made. Furthermore, you must practise in order to get good at any genre. Also don’t get the idea that you’re going to copy anybody or that studying from established artists is uncreative! Your style will come through once you get the feel of it down.
*Practise* and *don't get discouraged*! Music is a discovery of yourself in all terms. You must keep at it in order to let your style start to show.
Give your ears a break, dont work too much on high volumes as this could damage your ears.
If mastering, rather leave it to the next day, so your ears will be fresh!
Before you label your track as "finished", take a weeks break from listening to it, then come back and listen again. If it still sounds good, go for the release, if not, start changing.
Use only one sample per channel. This way it will be easier to mix/EQ later on, or export to separate tracks if needed. With 64+8 channels in MadTracker, you shouldn't run out of tracks immediately.
The second you put a sample or FX on a track, label the track to something descriptive. The second you remove a sample from a track and you are certain no other samples/notes are on that track, remove the label. That way you will always know which tracks are empty and which not.
Route your track FX whenever possible, because it will save processor power. If you have a lot of tracks that use the same FX, put the FX on a empty track and route to that one.
Group your instruments from the start. For example, keep the 16 first tracks reserved for rhythm and bass, then start adding other stuff after track 16. That way you always know where to find the drums, the leads etc.
In the [Status] window of the IRC client, you will find the field [#Perform]. In this field you can type various things that will be performed automatically when you connect to MadTracker's IRC room. Example: [/me says hello to everyone] results in an automatic greeting to all chatroom visitors.
When sitting down to write a song with no ideas or directions where to go, just place one note of something you like, then another, keep doing it and soon you will have a song.
Don't forget to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. Your keyboard and you will remain best friends that way.
Don't be afraid to learn MadTracker keyboard shortcuts. Write them down and put them somewhere easily seen, because they can save you from some extra work.
Using [TAB] and [Shift+TAB] makes moving around the tracks easy and quick.
Making tracks while drinking alcohol can heavily effect your sense of what is bad or good, but can for sure give quite funny results when you listen to it the day after.
In the IRC window, [Shift+Left Mouse Click] on a Private message tab to close it.
Place your mouse cursor above the number behind [BPM] to get the exact BPM value. This is essential to use exported songs or tracks in mixing programs for exact beatsynchronizing.
To reset a volume fader in the mixer panel, click on it to select it and then press home (when it's below the middle), or end (when it's above the middle). You can also use [PageUp] and [PageDown] for fixed movement of the faders.
In addition to routing your tracks to share your FX, you can also route your tracks to share EQ. This is best for instruments that are spread out onto more then one track, though not suggested for percussion instruments.
Invest in some good headphones. It will enhance your listening experience, and enable you to actually hear how the whole arrangement sounds. It helps you to change the bad parts that you weren’t aware of before, such as poor or detuned samples, clicks, pops, panning problems etc.
Listen to your mix and master on several sound systems to get a good idea of what is optimal for as many systems as possible. Do not only rely on your own speakers, because others will hear your song on their speakers.
If you want to have only the wet reverb-sound, then subtract the dry sound from it. You can do this by playing one sound with the reverb, and the same sound in another track without reverb but using the effect command [08 0300] to invert the stereo channels. Using this method on the analog-filter-effect will create a high-pass filter instead of a low-pass filter. Other combinations are possible, too.
The good oldschool MadTrackerrule: don’t release your first three songs done with MadTracker. They will be the embarrassment of your life if you hear them a year later.
*Save often*. It will make your life as a producer more enjoyable.
Don't be afraid to do thing you don't normally do. Music is art, so try not to conform to conventions.
Don't hesitate to use the MadTracker.org forum (www.madtracker.org/forum) or the IRC client (via the built-in Chat client) if you have a question or a problem with Madtracker. The Madtracker community is well-known to be friendly, fast and helpful. You can also check out the FAQ (http://www.madtracker.org/faq.php) to see if your problem is already listed.