Use different Monitoring Systems
No Sound System is perfect. Regardless if you are sitting in a multi-million dollar studio or in your granma`s basement, your monitoring is not 100% accurate. Even with advanced software-based room correction solutions or any other digital wizardry
And this does not cost you your last underpants. A good pair of Studio Headphones can be a reasonable start to upgrade your monitoring. An even better option would be to buy a second pair of speakers. This comes down not only to how much cash you have ready to spend. If you decide on the second pair of speakers, keep in mind that they have to fit in your work environment.
It is also a good practice to check your mix on even more end consumer devices such as laptops, cell phones, and TVs. This way you can get an idea of how your mix or master would sound to the average consumer.
Try to work more with your hands (use hardware)
In our digital time, we often get lost on endless screens. This is one of the many reasons I still am in love with actual hardware synths and controllers. In both categories, there are plenty of worthwhile synths to spend your time with.
Again, this doe not have to mean that you have to sell your car. There are some excellent Midi Masterkeybords such as the Nektar Panorama P6 or the Native Instruments KOMPLETE KONTROL S88 MK2 to control not only your DAW but also tons and tons of VST Synthesizers. When buying a Masterkeybord you should check for which DAWs the thing is designed for.
If you have the craving for something more substantial, like a Virtual Analog or Analog Synthesizer the choice is basically endless. Choosing a Synth comes down to personal taste and also the Genre of Music you are aiming to produce. If you buy a synth today, do not forget that there are tons of amazing Synthesizers that are 10, 15 years old, or older. So as said, the catalog is basically endless.
In music, movement is of utmost importance. Of course, you can create movement through modulation, but this will most likely not lead to what I call the “human touch”. Imagine Jimmy Hendrix only working with a mouse and keyboard. It wouldn`t be the same.
Here are some of my favorite synthesizers:
And here are some nice Midi Keyboards:
Nektar Panorama P6
M-Audio Hammer 88 (Fully weighted keys)
Less is more
This concept applies in so many ways when it comes to the creation of music. First of all: You do not need every VST Plugin ever created by humankind. It is worth much more to know a handful of tools inside out than using thousands of them and knowing none by heart.
The same thing goes for Hardware Synths, Modulars, or anything else. Get to know the things you have by heart before jumping out to the next one. I know more than one music producer that is constantly buying new things for their studios but they are also the ones that barely produce anything. It is more a matter of satisfying your Hunter Gatherer Syndrome than actually producing something that matters.
Imagine yourself on the dancefloor
This is one of the most effective tricks to writing good dance music in my opinion. Regardless of the genre of dance music you are creating. Just mentally place yourself on your favorite dancefloor and imagine what you would want to experience.
Never forget the purpose of what you are doing. A track that is designed for the dancefloor is different from a track designed for the living room. Understanding this fact will help you write better music. This method helped me to write some of my best music. It is easy and effective. Especial so, if you actually have an exciting gig lined up in the near future.
Use your Ears not your Eyes
Human hearing is incredibly efficient and detailed. Unfortunately, though, modern music production setups are very visual. There are tons of meters, numbers, faders, analyzers, and more that can detract us from what is really the most important thing when producing and mixing music: The sound. One way of circumventing this is using hardware instead of exclusively depending on DAWs.
Do not make decisions about your mix because you saw something that bothers you in the analyzer. Also do not rely on fixed numbers. The mix is right when it sounds right and not when it looks right. It`s as simple as that.