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This is my review of “Pop Production“, a seven part training video series with Kris Crunk. Sold through “The Mix Coach”, Kevin Ward.
“Pop Production” comes as a seven video series download. You actually get Over 3 hours of Kris Crunk working, and you looking over his shoulder the whole time! Awesome! Kris demonstrates how he produces pop songs for others to sing over. Sound familiar? It sounds familiar to me because that is exactly what I have done in the past. I, however, was not very successful at finding a singer, but it was a load of fun.
Kris Crunk gives us so much more in “Pop Production“, which is awesome. Get ready for a lesson in the layering of samples and using virtual instruments. The list of virtual instruments that Kris uses in this video series is long, and it contains these popular Virtual Instruments…. Omnisphere, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0, Nexus, Real Guitar, Battery, Expand 2, Stylus RMX, and Kontakt, along with others.
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“The Pro Mixers Playbook“
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OK, back to the “Pop Production“, review ……
Video 1, of “Pop Production“, opens with a rough stereo track, that might have been sent to any producer, as an idea for a complete production. It is now up to Kris Crunk to come up with the sounds, the samples, and the tracks that will make up the entire song. We are building a song for a pop singer, live performer, karaoke singer, or maybe a live performance of some sort. This is right what I would love to be doing.
Kris Crunk takes us from song idea to complete song, step by step. Each step is well explained too. Kris starts at the very beginning. He takes the stereo track and makes it fit to tempo, and to a grid. This is a must, and the starting point for all that will follow.
Kris Crunk explains how he likes to write using midi and virtual instruments. He details which virtual instruments he like to use, and why he likes to use them. I love the way that he works, talks, and shares so many cool tips and time saving ideas with the viewer.
When I mention the tips found within the “Pop Production” video series, I mean lots and lots of tips. There are a lot of insider tips sprinkled throughout the video series. It seems like each step of the process has some great tips, and Kris Crunk likes to share them with the viewer.
Video 2, of “Pop Production“, continues where video 1 left off. We continue building on this pop song, track by track. Together, Kris Crunk and the viewer (you) track midi guitar parts. Kris Crunk spends time explaining how virtual instruments that he likes to use work, and how he writes midi with them. If you are a “tech geek nerd” like myself you will appreciate this stuff. If you are wanting to be a producer then this stuff is like gold.
I like the fact that Kris writes midi like I do. For example, if a person (human being) can’t possible play the part, then he will not write it as midi. He also likes to separate the two hands (think piano here) worth of midi onto separate tracks. This just makes copy and paste tasks easier.
The great insider tips continue, and the tips seem to get better and better as the series continues. Without giving all of the content away, some of these tips have to do with saving and labeling tracks for the future of the song. Some singers will want keys changed, or some related task. Setting these options up, right from the start, is a great production tip.
Video 3, of “Pop Production“, is filled with cool working producer goodies. Kris Crunk shows us how he likes to select various samples for both; certain parts of a song, and for layering samples on top of one another. Kris Crunk walks us through how he likes to make the drums for a pop song, sample by sample. This is very interesting, and it (now) makes a lot of sense. After watching this my producing has been changed forever, and for the better. I knew how to do some of this stuff in mixing, but the idea of doing this in production escaped me. Time has been saved!
Kris Crunk keeps the momentum going as he works away at writing midi drums for our song. We are also getting songwriting and production lessons along the way. Kris Crunk details how songs are written and how to keep them interesting along the way. I am eating up each and every word Kris Crunk says. I wish I had watched “Pop Production” years and years ago.
Video 4, contains a lot of midi work. Kris Crunk adds kicks, snares, hi hats, and tambourines to our tracks. More tips and tricks get wedged in, and the learning goes on and on.
Video 5, of “Pop Production” continues with some great midi work, including more layering. This layering allows things to “punch through” later in the mixing process. You would not know any of this stuff unless you know production and mixing, and Kris Krunk does know this stuff. These tips are well worth the price of admission here, as learning the right way, from the start, is the only way to learn production. This is a professional producer here, and he shows all of what he knows on “Pop Production“.
We add synth sounds and bass among other tracks. We get to hear Kris pick virtual instruments and effects as he works. I love hearing what he wants and watching him find it. This is very productive and very helpful. Kris guides us through synths, orchestral hits, the bass line, and then its on to the cool syncopated instrument part. Gosh, and do not forget the cool little tricks that keep coming. Kris seems to have a wish to unload all of his long help tips on us, the viewers, and that is so cool all by itself!
I think this is all very important as pop music is littered with all of these very elements. I am really enjoying Kris work. I actually feel like I can now do write pop music, and do it so much better then I ever could before. This is because I took the time to check out “Pop Production” from Kris Crunk and The Mix Coach, Kevin Ward.
Video 6, of “Pop Production“, is just like the five that I watched before it. Packed with information! Kris Crunk shows us how he builds a synth patch for the song he is “lifting”. He finds a close patch, and then uses the right mix of effects that make it sound just like the original sound that he needed to copy. This is gold, guys, because we will also be doing this stuff a lot. Knowing how to pull this stuff off is an asset to have. Plus, this can be a lot of fun, and a cool challenge!
The song gets a cool guitar chunky part added to it, and a little more creative midi writing.
Video 7, of “Pop Production“, is where Kris finishes up the track. Here is the part of the series where Kris puts the magic on the track. He also demonstrates how to adjust the latency of your virtual instruments, once they have printed. He simply tightens up the samples and then moves on to the next step.
The next step is find, write, and then track a lead synth line. This comes with another great midi writing tip, of course, like so much of this tutorial has. It is all about layering interesting sounds and samples at this point, to keep the listeners interest up. Again, the level of insight into todays pop production is way more then I expected. I am so glad that I decided to watch “Pop Production” the series.
I have often wondered how to “subliminally add suspense to a track”, to perk the ears of a listener, without slapping them with a crazy sample. Kris shows us how to accomplish this task, and you wont believe how easy it can be! These are the tricks that take years and years of working to figure out. Kris simply gives us everything he does as a producer, and I am better at production for watching “Pop Production“.
Kris wraps up the song with adding some cool sweeps. You know, the sounds that build up and swell in volume as time passes. These are used to separate the parts of a song. These are actually reversed samples, and Kris shows us his favorite ways to make these sweeps. Very cool indeed. The video series ends with Kris detailing how he likes to automate some cool EQ sweeps. These are very cool things to learn also, as todays music is loaded with sweeps of all types. You will need to learn how to reproduce and them automate these sweeps if you wish to be a producer.
In closing, Kris throws adds a little mixing information in. He does not go into any great detail here, but he sheds some light on what he likes to do in a few instances. Instances like what he does for where the track is going. We may not need to mix out productions, as they may go on to another mix engineer, or, well, gosh only knows. So he shows us some simple EQ’ing and limiting ideas for our mixes. Again, not any great detail, but rather a fast “heads up”. Awesome!
So, to wrap up what I think about “Pop Production“, with Kris Crunk, via The Mix Coach, Kevin Ward. Well if you are into production like I am, then this is an amazing video series. I love training videos anyway, and this one is unlike any that I have ever watched. Kris Crunk shows us what lies behind the “magic curtain of todays song production”. So many of us long to break into the business of song writing and song production and “Pop Production” shows us how to actually get our chops in order. I loved the video series, and highly recommend it to all of you! “Pop Production” showed me that I can do this, and it also gave me a lot of cool tips and insights that I was not expecting. Thanks for checking out my review!