Check the settings

In the beginning it can be very difficult to flow with your creativity in the studio. We get hung up on all of the technical details involved in “driving” our gear.

Something that I’ve learned over the years is just how important it is to develop speed and proficiency with our tools. Think of your DAW like an instrument. If you have to stop and figure out each chord or melodic phrase on your instrument it becomes very difficult to improvise or just jam.

The same applies to your studio workflow. If you are constantly having to stop the creative flow in order to make an adjustment you will probably wind up frustrated and accomplish very little.

In todays quick tip I’ll explain just one thing that has dramatically increased my speed and efficiency thus allowing me to get to the fun part quicker!

 Improve Your Workflow

Transcript »

Hello again! Dezz Asante here from the TechMuzeAcademy with another video quick tip. This one comes from a member from the Gear Slutz forums who goes by the name  Tabulator.  And Tabulator asked,

“Hi all!  I’m in need of help in deciding what to spend my money on so as to improve my workflow and increase the longevity of my gear.”

So, this is a good question actually and some of you know who  followed me for a while that I’m a big fan of improving your workflow, being able to get your creative ideas expressed quicker and more efficiently. And I’ll give amongst a whole bunch of possible suggestions. I’ll give you what I think has helped me the most in the last few years as far as workflow is concerned, that is. And that is my control surface. I a few years ago bought a Macky Control Universal, the first generation product from Macky that has…it’s like a…it’s like for those of you who don’t know. It’s like a console type of thing. It looks like a little mixer but ofcourse it’s not a mixer at all. It’s simply a controller for my DAW which is in my case Cuebase. Its got 8 motorized faders, its got a jog wheel, its got transport controls, pan pots, a number of different dedicated buttons as well as some programable buttons that I can configure and assign whaterver macros or shortcuts that I use most frequently.

Now, there’s some obvious benefits to that. I mean being able to have dedicated controls allows you to develop this sort of kinestetic memory. When I need to save a project my hand instantly reaches for the save button and it’s saved. When I need to navigate through my arrangements I have dedicated buttons that won’t move me from one marker to another. And I have jog wheel that would allow me to scroll back and forth through the mix… through the arrangement rather at whatever pace I need to.

I’ve also in my case, I’ve assigned dedicated zoom controls so there are certain views that I use most frequently. For example, if I need to see full screen, the particular audio event that I want to be editing at the moment. I have a button that will zoom full screen to whatever I’ve selected. I have a button that will zoom full projects so I can see all of my tracks and the entire lenght of the arrangments.

So, these ways of navigating around my session, moving from track to track, changing my views, and zooms and perspectives on what I’m working on, switching very quickly from my mix console view to my arrange window. These type of things have dramatically increase the speed that which I’m able to move around my session so that I don’t get hung up on those…those technical details, the ergonomics of things for lack of a better way of putting it. That is definitely help.

There’s one other thing, a benefit, major benefit that I’ve gotten from my control surface that I never would have thought of prior to getting to using it and that is the fact that I had no idea in the past how much I relied upon my eyes, my visual senses when I’m working through my mixes.

I discovered after getting use to working with my control surface that I’m able to make more, more potent and powerful mix decisions because when I’m looking down at my console with very limited visual feedback and I’m relying more on a tactile feedback and auditory feedback, I’m listening. I’m paying more attention to listening as opposed to splitting my attention between the sound which is of course what I’m there to work on and the…what I’m looking at, my eyeballs following my mouse around the screen. It seems like such an insignificant little thing. but the human mind can only focus on one thing at a time. It’s very good at switching very rapidly between points of focus but ultimately you can only be focused on one thing at a time.

And so, if I’m trying listen to a sound that I’m following my mouse cursor around the screen and I’m looking at the meters and I’m looking at this and I’m looking at that, I’m actually taking some of my concentration away from what I’m actually there to accomplish which is to manipulate the audio to suit the mix the best…to get the best presentation out of the arrangement that I’m working on.

So, that’s a little food for thought and my opinion on one fantastic way to improve your workflow and to help you make more powerful audio mixing decisions as you create your music. So, hopefully you find that helpful. Once again, before I leave I just want to remind you that if you haven’t already taken my free mini-course entitled “3 Simple Steps to Amazing Home Recordings” head on over to right now. Throw your email in the box that you’ll find there and I will send those. I send those via email. There is no charge, no cost to it whatsoever. It’s valuable information that many people have found extremely helpful and hopefully you do to and I’ll see you on the next quick tip.

Share This Post!