MY 5 (KINDA) SECRET WEAPONS TO SUPERCHARGE MY STUDIO WORKFLOW
I'm always looking to become more efficient in the studio. Not rushed, but efficient.
I think of workflow like a chain, with each action you have to take to complete a task as a link in that chain.
My aim is to complete the task in the minimum amount of necessary moves. My aim is to make the chain as short as possible.
When you think about it, why would we want to do anything else? The shorter chain, the more we can preserve the purity of our ideas, spend less time doing more, finish more music, ultimately, creating more art.
With that in mind, here are some of my favourite tools for maximising my workflow. Some of them are very well known, but can be used in clever and even sneaky ways to supercharge your studio routines and rituals...
This is a real favourite recent discovery. Unfortunately it's Mac only, but other than that, it's practically a faultless tool for producers and DJs alike.
It's everything you'd ever want the Finder to do with audio and more.
It auto plays on selecting files. It has a great waveform display.
You can select sections of a waveform, drag and drop into Finder windows to create new files, perfect for sampling. It can add fade ins and outs, it can even normalise, and create MP3 versions of files with a single click.
It 'snaps' to the bottom of your Finder window, and has absolutely been the single biggest leap in productivity for me in the studio in years.
If you're a Logic Pro X, Ableton Live or FL Studio User, and you're not using Splice, then you really need to start.
Imagine Dropbox but with specific features for Music Producers.
Splice has full Project backup and Version Control (every time you hit save you update to the next version number), meaning even if you screw up the latest save of your project you can always go back.
Splice allows easy collaboration with other Splice users, meaning you'll never save over your partner's hard work ever again.
Timed Comments, the ability to Star versions and the ability to upload previews to project versions and finished stems for remixing / mix down, means Splice has almost every eventuality covered.
Throw in the fact it's free of charge, and they also offer innovative solutions such as 'rent to buy' plugins and a subscription sample pack service, then it's an absolute no brainer.
This is an obvious one - the king of cloud back up and syncing needs no introduction. However, there's a couple of workflow tips I'd like to share with you especially if you're a Logic or Ableton user. However, these tips could be applied across the board, especially if you upgrade to the Dropbox Pro account, which gives you 1TB of space for a very reasonable £7.99 per month.
Tip 1: Sync Your Custom Ableton Libraries to Dropbox:
This has been immensely helpful for me as I've been on my travels around the globe, and because I have an iMac and a MacBook Pro for production computers.
Saving a custom folder with all of my most used sounds, Instrument, Drum, Audio and MIDI FX Racks into the Ableton Browser was enough of a workflow supercharge. When I then synced that folder to my Dropbox, it meant I could make new sounds on one computer whilst automatically updating the other, and could create other custom sound libraries to
Tip 2: Save Your Splice Folder into Your Dropbox for Double Back Up
Simple but effective and a good security measure, simply set up your Splice Folder to be in your dropbox, meaning that your Splice Projects will automatically be saved to multiple clouds, creating a two stage backup strategy without even thinking about it.
Combine this one with regular, bootable backups using Carbon Copy Cloner, and you'll have the best strategy to protect against data loss possible with the minimum of effort.
Tip 3: Save Your Logic Pro Key Commands to Dropbox so they're always with you.
Another simple one. If you're working in another studio and you're a Logic user, it can be a pain as Logic's approach to Key Commands is much more open than say Ableton or Pro Tools. No two computers running Logic may have the same set of shortcuts.
However if you save your own custom Logic Pro X key Commands to your Dropbox, you'll be able to import them into the computer you're working on elsewhere.
All you need do is go to Logic Pro X > Key Commands > Edit, or hit Opt + k to get to the Key Commands Menu
Then Go to Options > Export Key Commands, and select your relevant location within your Dropbox folder.
This one is a veritable Swiss Army Knife for recording from various sources. Need to record audio from any other application? No problem.
Got to have that sample for your production? Done.
Got to capture that Skype call for your podcast? Easy
I love to use this app for recording in the background whilst I design sounds in applications like Reaktor, or if I'm wildly experimenting in my DAW of choice. It means I can freely create knowing everything is being captured in the background, and I can go back and fish out the best bits with Snapper (see what I did there!) and then build Racks out of them in Ableton or Sampler Instruments in Kontakt.
Not a studio tool as such, but it will keep you from procrastinating in the studio when you should be working! it completely removes your Facebook newsfeed, leaving you only with the ability to see your messages, notifications and friend requests...plus you get timely reminders from various philosophers and thinkers about how you need to get back to work!
This is how my Facebook currently looks as I'm typing this post...