Have you ever considered the possibility that a computer might like certain types of music more than others? Artificial intelligence is growing fast - while it might not be the hit masterpiece you'd expect, the first robots have already written songs. As AI starts making its way into the music industry with intuitive, predictive capabilities, we're faced with the question: What kind of music does my computer enjoy?
Now you might think right off that bat that a robot likes electronic music right? Makes sense.
The synthesized percussion and pads, the programmed grooves, intricacies that no human could possibly play on their own...
But judging by the amount of processing power and RAM I've crammed into my computer over the past decade, I think they'd prefer something much different.
Robots Like Organic Material
They probably wouldn't be much into analog music (after all, if it's not 1s and 0s, they can't consume it). But I think the style that we associate with analog music would be right up their alley. Jazz, acoustic, maybe some soul. Honestly, they're probably really digging whatever is playing on the radio at Starbucks right now.
I could be way off base here, but I'm trusting my DAW to tell me all of this.
Let's think about the sessions that run best on your rig at home:
· Low track counts
· Low sample rate
· Low bit depth
· Lots of headroom (They despise digital clipping as much as we do)
· Lightweight processing
Wouldn't it make sense that a robot would look for these same qualities when they're trying to enjoy some music themselves?
Doing Your Part
No matter what genres you work with, there are steps you can take to future-proof your music for sentient and non-sentient beings. After all, there's no reason a musically complex arrangement can't be enjoyed by all with a bit of forward thinking.
Start By Consolidating Your Tracks
Doing some session cleanup can go a long way to save your workflow and your computer's processing. Once you've edited your tracks, tuned your vocals & pocketed your drums, COMMIT.
Consolidating your tracks and printing down your effects will free up processing for other tasks. In dense sessions with large track counts, you can easily crash a session if you're not committing as you go along. Save yourself time and the hassle, by printing as you go.
Use Lightweight Plugins
This one can be hard to identify because it relies so heavily on what’s “under the hood” of your favorite plugins.
As a plugin developer, I can tell you that optimizing plugins to be fast and lightweight is no easy task. We send our plugins through rigorous testing to make sure that every plugin runs at its peak performance, regardless of your DAW.
Don’t subject your computer to poorly developed freeware that might work great one day but crashes your session the next time you open it. The same goes for cracked plugins. Support is readily available with most developers, and we’re here to make sure your computer will like the plugins you’re using as much as you do.
I’ve always been one to over-explain my issues to Technical Support, but it usually gets a faster (and better) solution. By including things like Computer Model, Operating System, Hardware Specs & DAW of choice, you give support teams an almost unique look at your machine to best assist.
Bringing It Home With Digital Touch
Just like a song can bring a person back to a particular memory, I like to think robots would like to hear something familiar in their music too.
Whether that something is a basic software synthesizer that reminds them of “the early days”, or the sound of dial-up connecting just before a breakdown – it’s always good to throw in some digital sweeteners for the mechanical music lovers.
RELATED: How To Get Started With Sound Design
There are plenty of little tricks out there that can tie the computer side of what we do to the beauty of well-performed music. Just check out how Fluff uses Pixelator to add some degradation to a pristine female vocal in this unique fade-out:
What Digital Tricks Are Up Your Sleeve?
Do you do any of your own in-the-mix tricks to get your track to sit just right? Better yet, what are you doing to keep your sessions running efficiently when dealing with larger track counts?
Come share your experiences with us in the Joey Sturgis Tones Forum and learn what others are doing to keep their recording rigs at 100%.