Finishing EDM Production: How to Know When Your Track is Finished

In the second article of this series we discussed ways in which you can finish more EDM tracks. However, knowing when your finishing your EDM production is a bit of a different topic. 

I’ve produced far too many tracks that went on for weeks, even months. All because I didn’t think the track was finished. The reality was, the track had been finished far earlier than I expected.

I want to teach you ways to tell that your track is certifiably finished!

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Reference Your Finishing EDM Production

If you are not currently using a reference track in your sessions, then you’re missing out! Reference tracks are there to help you know when you’re finally finishing your EDM production. Use them to your advantage!

Find a track similar to yours, stylistically similar is what you’re going for. Same genre, BPM, and sound selection. It shouldn’t be identical, just similar.

Once you’ve hit your mixing stage, you should be ready to throw your reference track in your project. Use this time to listen to the mix of your reference track. Find the areas that you would like your track to sound similar, and start making mixing decisions.

A reference track is similar to a road map. It helps to lead you in the direction you need to go to reach your destination.

You may find that your reference track has certain elements that seem to be missing from your own project. This is how you can tell how far along you are with your songwriting. After comparing your track to the reference track, you may need to go back into your session and add or take elements away.

If you’re sure that your production and songwriting is done, then there’s no need to go back. Be sure to have a cut off point, otherwise you’ll always be in the songwriting phase.

Now work on the mix.

Compare, mix, compare, mix.

Listen to your track on different audio sources (monitors, car stereo, headphones, airpods), as well as your reference track. This will help you hear things within each mix that you might not hear otherwise. This helps you make conscious decisions about exactly what needs to be done, and what is finished.

Step Away for a Couple Days

One of the best tools that was taught to me was to step away from a track. Take a break from your track if you feel that it is nearly finished. I tend to do this when I finish the 2nd mix.

I will consciously stop working on the track and won’t listen to it for at least 2 days. This allows your brain to process all of the work you’ve put into the track. It’s taken off your mind, and you can focus on the other tasks you have.

After a couple of days, I’ll come back and listen to the track either in my car, or on some earbuds. This also forces me to step away from “work mode.”

Listening in your studio or workstation will just put you right back into the work mode of your track. This starts the endless loop of working for hours, being unsure if it’s finished, taking a break, then working some more.

You want to be in a fresh mind, fresh state, without being able to immediately work on the track.

Now you can make decisive decisions. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can tell where you’re having issues, and which sections are the best.

Don’t be afraid to take notes at this point. Joint down timestamps, and what you feel is the issue in that section. Maybe it’s a mix issue, maybe an element needs to be added or removed. Once you’re back in the studio, then start working on the track.

Make your adjustments, and do the same thing. I usually do this for 3 rounds.

That gives me a whole week to work out any kinks in a track, and get it right where I want it.

At this point, you’ll typically know that your EDM track almost finished

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Feedback: A Quick Way of Knowing Your Finishing EDM Production

It’s extremely rare when you’ll find me talking in absolutes. I really don’t believe that any one thing has to be done in a specific way. Creativity would be pointless otherwise.

However, as a producer you MUST be getting feedback on your tracks. This is one absolute I can stand behind.

Without proper constructive feedback, you won’t go anywhere. It’s the quickest and easiest way to learn from someone who already has the experience. They can show you where your faults are, and teach you what you need to learn to move up the ladder.

Feedback is one of the strongest tools in your arsenal to decide if you’re finished. If someone gives you a laundry list of things that need to be fixed, you know you’re not done. If they struggle to give you any notes, you’re probably done.

I will say that it’s easy to get wrapped up in people’s opinion. With that being said, you have to decide if what you’re receiving is constructive criticism, or if it’s mostly opinion based. Once you’ve decided, then you can move forward in how you would like to start finishing up your track.

Conclusion

Reference, reference, reference! Always have a reference track ready for you to compare to your track. It’s how you can determine if you need to work more on production, mixing, or even mastering.

Take a break. Step away for a couple of days and then listen to your track on an audio source that is not directly in your work space. This will help you make decisions based on fresh new ears.

Feedback. Receive as much feedback as you can with your tracks. This will help you determine how much more work that needs to be done.

Try these tips and I’m sure you’ll start recognizing when your EDM track is finished.

Now if you’re struggling to finish more tracks, go check out the blog that I made just on this topic!

5 of The Best Tips to Finishing EDM Tracks