As pandemic lockdowns sweep the globe, producers find themselves with plenty of studio time on their hands. But not all studio time is created equal – and in the course of our daily lives, what precious studio time we can find is often devoted directly to music-making.
Now faced with unexpectedly expansive horizons of unstructured time, inspiration can’t quite be counted on to strike continuously. So how else can we make use of this newfound downtime – and help ensure when inspiration does strike again, we can take full advantage?
Tired of rummaging through your cable box to find your only ¼” TRS to stereo RCA mid-session, only to have forgotten what you wanted to record by the time you find it? Now’s the time to manage your cables for easy access – and dispose of those that no longer work properly (or, re-solder them if you’re the type).
Want to experiment with a more ergonomic set-up for your instruments and controllers? Now’s a perfect time to rearrange. You could even try to tune your room for better acoustics with the help of apps such as SonarWorks or more conventional techniques.
If you’re working strictly inside your DAW, now’s a great time to finally organize your favorite plug-ins in Logic Pro X or coordinate your Browser Collections in Live 10. Build a default template, or refine the one you have. Organize your sample library to refresh your palette and finally retire overused sounds in the process.
Whatever your priorities might be, for best results, decide your ultimate goal in advance and devise a strategy to get there before diving in blind. Though it may seem a bit of a chore at first, in the end this sort of legwork is sure to accelerate your workflow when the time arrives to forge new tunes again.
If your studio is feeling organized and you’re still not in the mood to make music, this is a perfect time to apply the more technical side of the audio arts to develop your bespoke arsenal of sounds, loops, and presets.
Sitting on some unprocessed field recordings? Start chopping, normalizing, prepping, and filing. Or, why not record, slice, and dice those rare breaks from your turntable that you’ve been telling yourself you’d get around to eventually?
Build Sampler configurations. Construct synth presets. Build Drum, Instrument, Effect, and MIDI Effect Racks in Live. Create new track configurations. Patch Reaktor Block ensembles for future use.
Whichever tools you choose to develop, it’s essential to save and name them within the organizing principles you’ve established for easy future use. Investing time to create these unique sounds and tools is an important step toward developing your distinctive sound as a producer.
What better time to finally, as they say, RTFM? Got some plug-ins you’ve never fully grasped but always wanted to master? Dig in, work through the documentation, and finally bend them to your will.
If you’re anything like me, your browser’s Reading List contains a litany of lamentably unread tutorial articles – what better time to work your way through them? Of course, Ask.Audio has plenty.
For those looking to bolster historical knowledge of various electronic genres, here’s a great compendium of electronic music documentaries on YouTube.
But most of all: wash your hands, stay indoors, keep safe, and be well!