new to psytrance

Anym

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so I am a hardstyle producer, but for my music academy I need to know 3 different genres. since of my favorites is Psytrances, I wanted to get into it more. but I have no clue where to start, since psytrance is not really like your average EDM. not a distinct verse, build-up, drop, chorus, melody etc. ususally I would start with making a buildup, then melody, and then bass, but it seems that won't work for psytrance. any advice?
 

pobudka

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There is no one right workflow to making psytrance, or any other music for that matter.

Personally, I start with crafting a kick+bass combo and then start designing leads & playing with melodies (I do mostly melodic full-on/prog). After I have some ideas in my DAW, I start working on the song structure: order of the parts, intro, outro, buildups, breakdowns, finally I add effects, samples etc. My goal is to make the song interesting enough with minimal percussion/FX/swooshes - adding them too early in the process makes me believe the song is exciting when it's really not.

Switching from hardstyle will probably be difficult in terms of the mix and making all of the sounds work together. In hardstyle there's one big kick and often one big lead that take most of the frequency spectrum, while in psytrance it's usually a lot of sounds working together.
Some time ago I tried switching the other way round (psytrance->hardstyle), but I totally failed trying to make a good hardstyle kick ;D Good luck!
 

Anym

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There is no one right workflow to making psytrance, or any other music for that matter.

Personally, I start with crafting a kick+bass combo and then start designing leads & playing with melodies (I do mostly melodic full-on/prog). After I have some ideas in my DAW, I start working on the song structure: order of the parts, intro, outro, buildups, breakdowns, finally I add effects, samples etc. My goal is to make the song interesting enough with minimal percussion/FX/swooshes - adding them too early in the process makes me believe the song is exciting when it's really not.

Switching from hardstyle will probably be difficult in terms of the mix and making all of the sounds work together. In hardstyle there's one big kick and often one big lead that take most of the frequency spectrum, while in psytrance it's usually a lot of sounds working together.
Some time ago I tried switching the other way round (psytrance->hardstyle), but I totally failed trying to make a good hardstyle kick ;D Good luck!

I still have to learn how to make a proper hardstyle kick hahaha. got lucky and found a good kick pack lol. oh btw, some say it's bad, but can I use synths as the bass? cause I have heard some saying that it isn't consistent enough
 

voidstar

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Yes you can use synths for your bass, just make sure you set the waveform oscillator to re-trigger with each note so the waveform starts with the same phase each time. Also adjust the oscillator starting phase to effect the transient of the sound, this is pretty important for getting a nice click to help the bass cut through.

I don't know which synth you're using but in Xfer Serum for example you would turn the oscillator 'Rand' parameter all the way down to get the oscillator to re-trigger the same each time, then adjust the oscillator 'Phase' parameter until you have a transient you are happy with.

Later on when you are happy with your bass and you are ready to commit it, it's beneficial to render out a few bass notes, pick the best one, then use that in a sampler or as a raw wav to replace the bass synth. The reasons for this are:
  • It ensures each bass note is consistent.
  • You can trim the silence caused by latency off the front of the bass note to make sure your timing is spot on.
  • You have absolute control over the length of each bass note by trimming off the ends so you can ensure bass notes don't overlap and you can introduce groove by playing with bass note length.
  • It's easier to see the phase relationship between the kick and bass by comparing their waveforms which can help you fix phase cancellation issues.
  • You can render bass notes at different pitches separately and EQ them independantly which can be useful for basslines that jump up and down an octave.
 

Anym

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Yes you can use synths for your bass, just make sure you set the waveform oscillator to re-trigger with each note so the waveform starts with the same phase each time. Also adjust the oscillator starting phase to effect the transient of the sound, this is pretty important for getting a nice click to help the bass cut through.

I don't know which synth you're using but in Xfer Serum for example you would turn the oscillator 'Rand' parameter all the way down to get the oscillator to re-trigger the same each time, then adjust the oscillator 'Phase' parameter until you have a transient you are happy with.

Later on when you are happy with your bass and you are ready to commit it, it's beneficial to render out a few bass notes, pick the best one, then use that in a sampler or as a raw wav to replace the bass synth. The reasons for this are:
  • It ensures each bass note is consistent.
  • You can trim the silence caused by latency off the front of the bass note to make sure your timing is spot on.
  • You have absolute control over the length of each bass note by trimming off the ends so you can ensure bass notes don't overlap and you can introduce groove by playing with bass note length.
  • It's easier to see the phase relationship between the kick and bass by comparing their waveforms which can help you fix phase cancellation issues.
  • You can render bass notes at different pitches separately and EQ them independantly which can be useful for basslines that jump up and down an octave.

I use Sylenth1 as my synth. but it basically works the same with re-trigger. also something I have, is that I just can't stand 1 bass all the way through. I just have to change it up in producing. so f.e. from a C# to an A
 
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xizco

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I still have to learn how to make a proper hardstyle kick hahaha. got lucky and found a good kick pack lol. oh btw, some say it's bad, but can I use synths as the bass? cause I have heard some saying that it isn't consistent enough

Took me a few years to learn, and i still don't think it sounds super close to, lets say noisecontrollers kicks.
Ofc you could use a synth as a bass, but the signal will never fully stay consistent.
Work you're way through the creation of making a bass that you like, then work some more, make sure to save more notes/keys then just the one your using as the bass note.
Getting a groovy bassline could really push the song from sounding to repetitive.
 

Candiety

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I still have to learn how to make a proper hardstyle kick hahaha. got lucky and found a good kick pack lol. oh btw, some say it's bad, but can I use synths as the bass? cause I have heard some saying that it isn't consistent enough

I find it very easy to make hardtrance/hardstyle/gabba/etc esque kicks using Sonic Foundry Kick 2.
 

psyberscenic

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so I am a hardstyle producer, but for my music academy I need to know 3 different genres. since of my favorites is Psytrances, I wanted to get into it more. but I have no clue where to start, since psytrance is not really like your average EDM. not a distinct verse, build-up, drop, chorus, melody etc. ususally I would start with making a buildup, then melody, and then bass, but it seems that won't work for psytrance. any advice?

One of the best ways I've found to get started with a psy track is to get a really, good, comfortable kick and bass going. (I think somebody else mentioned that). There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) It's kind of the heart and soul of any psy track. The upper levels of the track would not stick together or have anywhere near the same level of impact if you were working with a mediocre kick and bass; (2) Another benefit of starting tracks this way is that that is the piece of the track that you will be listening to the longest throughout production--you made it first, you hear it the longest. The benefit to this is that, in general, the longer you can listen to a kick and bass and not get bored of it, the better. So, for us producers, if we can still jam on a kick and bass we made two weeks ago and have heard every day, that's generally a pretty good sign--it's like a built in check-up tool for producers on the k/b. So that's a good place to start.

Another good place to start, if you're kind of just feeling creative and not really wanting to work so much on getting the technical aspects of a region down, would be to get a kind of "ok" k/b going, just for the sake of priming your creative juices, and make patches. So lay down some k/b, some simple perc, and just go to town creatively on the higher level of the track. This is a lot of fun but let me give you some advice before you get into this so that your fun factor will triple...(1) if you can, record yourself while you're working on patches and come back to the recording a week or so later. It may sound narcissistic but the idea behind it is that you literally gain access to a third person view of what you were making and wrestling with and this can significantly help you figure out what you really liked and didn't like about what you were making; (2) if you can, enable the clock in your daw and, depending upon how much freestyling you're doing, either save your patches (no matter what) every 10 minutes or so (it can be longer or shorter according to your liking) and your actual project files as well--if you're messing around with some composition. I thought I had one more good piece of advice but it appears to have slipped my mind lol. Onward!

If you're already pretty proficient with hardstyle, you'll probably have a pretty good background for percussion production and workflow--if you're able to tie it in nicely to the above mentioned pieces of advice, you shouldn't have that much of a problem in generating some good percussion. A bit of a warning though: hardstyle tends to have broader sounds in all directions but specifically when it comes to your kick and your snares--and sometimes your hihats. A trick for kind of translating them over to psy is just to really refine the shit out of them. Eq them down, layer properly, compress well, etc--it's kind of all about refinement in this area and, especially if you're used to sample-driven production, this will help you a lot in getting your kick and percussion slightly adjusted to the psy way of doing things.

I can't think of anything else off of the top of my head in terms of just getting started and translating over from hardstyle but hopefully this helps!

Let me know if you run into anything else! I'd be happy to talk with you about it :Smile3:.

Take it easy.
 

Anym

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One of the best ways I've found to get started with a psy track is to get a really, good, comfortable kick and bass going. (I think somebody else mentioned that). There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) It's kind of the heart and soul of any psy track. The upper levels of the track would not stick together or have anywhere near the same level of impact if you were working with a mediocre kick and bass; (2) Another benefit of starting tracks this way is that that is the piece of the track that you will be listening to the longest throughout production--you made it first, you hear it the longest. The benefit to this is that, in general, the longer you can listen to a kick and bass and not get bored of it, the better. So, for us producers, if we can still jam on a kick and bass we made two weeks ago and have heard every day, that's generally a pretty good sign--it's like a built in check-up tool for producers on the k/b. So that's a good place to start.

Another good place to start, if you're kind of just feeling creative and not really wanting to work so much on getting the technical aspects of a region down, would be to get a kind of "ok" k/b going, just for the sake of priming your creative juices, and make patches. So lay down some k/b, some simple perc, and just go to town creatively on the higher level of the track. This is a lot of fun but let me give you some advice before you get into this so that your fun factor will triple...(1) if you can, record yourself while you're working on patches and come back to the recording a week or so later. It may sound narcissistic but the idea behind it is that you literally gain access to a third person view of what you were making and wrestling with and this can significantly help you figure out what you really liked and didn't like about what you were making; (2) if you can, enable the clock in your daw and, depending upon how much freestyling you're doing, either save your patches (no matter what) every 10 minutes or so (it can be longer or shorter according to your liking) and your actual project files as well--if you're messing around with some composition. I thought I had one more good piece of advice but it appears to have slipped my mind lol. Onward!

If you're already pretty proficient with hardstyle, you'll probably have a pretty good background for percussion production and workflow--if you're able to tie it in nicely to the above mentioned pieces of advice, you shouldn't have that much of a problem in generating some good percussion. A bit of a warning though: hardstyle tends to have broader sounds in all directions but specifically when it comes to your kick and your snares--and sometimes your hihats. A trick for kind of translating them over to psy is just to really refine the shit out of them. Eq them down, layer properly, compress well, etc--it's kind of all about refinement in this area and, especially if you're used to sample-driven production, this will help you a lot in getting your kick and percussion slightly adjusted to the psy way of doing things.

I can't think of anything else off of the top of my head in terms of just getting started and translating over from hardstyle but hopefully this helps!

Let me know if you run into anything else! I'd be happy to talk with you about it :Smile3:.

Take it easy.

so I now have this begin part, https://clyp.it/p5qwem4q but not quite sure how to go on next. maybe you could help? it isn't EQ'd just yet, but just a raw example
 

psyberscenic

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Lol. I think you're a little used to making trance :Wink3:.

Psytrance very, very, very, if ever, makes those super obvious chord changes that you hear a lot in regular trance music. It's generally frowned upon, personally by me, because it's very detrimental to the continuity of the Trance state--go figure. Same thing with the bassline. Psytrance basses are more rolling, repetitive, and droney than other styles. This is why it can take a lot of people a long time to craft their first, good, psytrance bassline. It has to play for a while so it has to also remain interesting for a while. Here is a link to some of the "core" psytrance basslines that you can mess with:


It sounded cool for the first like 10s or so. I thought you were going to do some like spacey, orchestral intro or something, but then it kinda just went on imo.

The psy sounds you made could use a bit of work too. They're not too bad from a beginner's standpoint but they could definitely use some more character. You might consider saving that preset and coming back to it later.

The bpm needs to be picked up a bit--or the speed of the k/b engineered differently.

Your kick, I think it is, is doing a kind of "flick-thump" thing at the end of each hit--so I'd look into that if you wanted to keep going with this project file.

If you're trying to make more traditional psy, I would just start a new project file and start work from the ground up. Maybe forget about the leads for a little while and throw some percussion in there. It'll be easier to say how you're doing with psy if you have all your elements present rather than just the k/b and some leads.

So ye, compositionally, it doesn't fit with psy very well, and sound engineering-wise, it doesn't fit with psy very well. I'd just start a new project and work on the k/b, a bit of percussion, and your leads.

The intro was nice though :Smile3:.

Keep at it. Feel free to drop me a link or question with anything you might have.

:Heart:
 

Anym

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Lol. I think you're a little used to making trance :Wink3:.

Psytrance very, very, very, if ever, makes those super obvious chord changes that you hear a lot in regular trance music. It's generally frowned upon, personally by me, because it's very detrimental to the continuity of the Trance state--go figure. Same thing with the bassline. Psytrance basses are more rolling, repetitive, and droney than other styles. This is why it can take a lot of people a long time to craft their first, good, psytrance bassline. It has to play for a while so it has to also remain interesting for a while. Here is a link to some of the "core" psytrance basslines that you can mess with:


It sounded cool for the first like 10s or so. I thought you were going to do some like spacey, orchestral intro or something, but then it kinda just went on imo.

The psy sounds you made could use a bit of work too. They're not too bad from a beginner's standpoint but they could definitely use some more character. You might consider saving that preset and coming back to it later.

The bpm needs to be picked up a bit--or the speed of the k/b engineered differently.

Your kick, I think it is, is doing a kind of "flick-thump" thing at the end of each hit--so I'd look into that if you wanted to keep going with this project file.

If you're trying to make more traditional psy, I would just start a new project file and start work from the ground up. Maybe forget about the leads for a little while and throw some percussion in there. It'll be easier to say how you're doing with psy if you have all your elements present rather than just the k/b and some leads.

So ye, compositionally, it doesn't fit with psy very well, and sound engineering-wise, it doesn't fit with psy very well. I'd just start a new project and work on the k/b, a bit of percussion, and your leads.

The intro was nice though :Smile3:.

Keep at it. Feel free to drop me a link or question with anything you might have.

:Heart:

yeah I wanted to do something orchestral, but I didn't know how to continue it hahaha. I try to go for the bit more simplistic clean style that Graviity uses. like this track for example. though I do notice it's rare to have sudden changes like this.
 

SIn

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I would advice you to change up things in the song every 16th beat to keep things intressting. And dont get stuck to much on the kick and bass. the song is more then that. also making the leads and intressting stuff has to do alot with automations when you doing psytrance. like changing the cutoff/detune/pitch/delay/reverb/distortion on the leads to keep them intressting. a very important lesson i learned is to allways think before i do my processing on the sounds i use is to take a step backwards and listen if this sounds/lead/fx really works to the track. then if its okey i use it in the track i wish you all the luck in the future!
 
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Dr. Acinonyx

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I produce some hardcore (pretty amateuristic, those damn kicks!), but mostly Dark Psytrance and lately some Psycore with FL Studio. If you need 3 different styles, maybe Darkpsy or Psycore is more your kind of interest? It's faster, harder en comes closer to Hardstyle/hardcore in my opinion.
Most things I've learned by watching tutorials, and for the song structure, I think the following video is quite handy:

By the way, I'm not the guy making the vid's :Grin:

Good luck!
 
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