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How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

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How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby 77 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:57 pm

Hi everyone!
Just joined here.

The reason I want to limit screen time is because my eye doctor advised me to. I asked about the pros and cons of a Dawless setup a little while ago but I was told that going 100% dawless only brings limitations and makes it much harder to make good music. But producing electronic music is my biggest passion so I don't want to give it up.

The genres I want to produce are progressive house (songs like Other Side by Blasterjaxx) and deep house mainly. So what are the ways to minimize screen time as much as possible when making music? One approach I saw was to make a track using hardware and using FL Studio 20 for just arranging and exporting the track. Is this good for making professional-level music?

Now the thing is, you can use this approach of using hardware to make a track and then arranging and exporting it with a Daw, but what if the hardware instruments (drum machines, synths, mixers, etc) have screens or bright lights themselves? So do you have any hardware instrument setups that dont have screens or bright lights which can also be used to make professional-quality music and then be arranged and exported with a Daw?

Sorry if I was rambling a bit.

Thanks for any help.
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby The Korff » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:59 pm

77 wrote:but what if the hardware instruments (drum machines, synths, mixers, etc) have screens or bright lights themselves?

I'm not an optometrist, but I'd reckon the damage is done by focusing your eyes the same distance all the time (as you do when using a screen). If you're looking at a sequencer's lights over here, a synth screen over there, a drum machine's controls over to the left, another synth on the right, etc etc, you'll probably be doing a lot less damage to your eyes in the long term.

MIDI controllers may well help — although when doing EDM of any kind, much of the work involves sequencing in your piano-roll view rather than tweaking filters and so on, so they may not be a panacea.

Many moons ago, Martin Walker (of this parish) wrote something about creating a Windows keyboard shortcut that either turns your screen off, or engages your screensaver. When you're producing stuff from scratch, you quite often jump back to the beginning (or just back 8 or 16 bars) to listen back to what you've done. If you can turn the screen off while you're doing those 'listen backs', you may end up cutting your screen time down significantly — while also letting you concentrate on what you're hearing, rather than what you're expecting to hear given the visual information in front of you.

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:13 am

I am sitting in our post-production room with two high quality calibrated screens and I stare at these suckers for hours. My nearly 70-year-old eyes are in perfect working order.

1. Get the best screens you can afford. You only get one set of eyeballs! Look after them!

2. I have six synths in this room, all between 40 and 20 years old. Screens are therefore not really a problem.

3. I have yet to find a modern synth that does all the things these old beasts can do. If I did find one that did something really genuinely different, I would be the first to rush out and buy the damn thing, but all that has happened since 1999 is that the technology has been made smaller and gets repacked into different boxes and in different variations.

4. eBay is full of old digital synths at knock-down prices. But try before you buy!
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:25 am

The reason I want to limit screen time is because my eye doctor advised me to

Can you tell us a bit more about this? Why? How long you spend looking at screens etc? I'm sure a lot of forumites spend endless hours gazing lovingly at their DAWs so it would be interesting to hear why your man considers it a danger?
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:55 pm

Hi 77, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

The Korff wrote:Many moons ago, Martin Walker (of this parish) wrote something about creating a Windows keyboard shortcut that either turns your screen off, or engages your screensaver. When you're producing stuff from scratch, you quite often jump back to the beginning (or just back 8 or 16 bars) to listen back to what you've done. If you can turn the screen off while you're doing those 'listen backs', you may end up cutting your screen time down significantly — while also letting you concentrate on what you're hearing, rather than what you're expecting to hear given the visual information in front of you.

You know I still use this technique, largely because the human brain reacts differently to sound alone than to visuals related to sound. Even yesterday I visited a musical friend to listen to the latest version of our mixes, and as always, concentrating on the sounds alone produced a different and sometimes more illuminating (pun intended!) experience! ;)


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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby MOF » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:13 pm

You know I still use this technique, largely because the human brain reacts differently to sound alone than to visuals related to sound.
It’s like seeing edits, virtual or old fashioned tape editing, if you see them you hear them too.
Also looking at waveforms you can convince yourself that a track needs pushing or pulling in time when it really doesn’t and compressor gain reduction meters might appear to be working too hard until you just use your ears.
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:08 pm

You know I still use this technique, largely because the human brain reacts differently to sound alone than to visuals related to sound

Totally agree. More and more, I find myself just looking down at nothing in particular whenever I want to listen to something at all critically. A new take or a mix or whatever. I didn't realise I was doing it until fairly recently but it makes a huge difference. To me at least.
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:01 pm

Have another chat with your eye doctor. He MAY be giving serious advice about limiting an actual problem with your eyesight. I suspect he's just saying 'Your eyes feel tired? Rest them, then!'

Also, if you use spectacles. make sure you have a pair optimised for driving, a pair optimised for reading and a pair optimised for screen distance. (Though only the lack of the first will actually be dangerous - and illegal!)
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont bore us with beefing about it. Go fishing instead.

Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby The Bunk » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:20 pm

A possibly interesting (or at least I think it is... :geek: ) angle on this...I've just downloaded the latest Reaper version (6) and am still "evaluating" which basically means I haven't got round to paying for it yet. So I now get a pop-up window that says I've been using Reaper for something like 2,500 days, and approx 3,600 hours. That averages at approx 1.5 hours a day. I suspect that's very low compared to many here. As for the eyes, well we're all different but I stop when my eyes get obviously tired and to be honest that's usually after my ears have had enough.

At work I have to do display screen equipment (DSE) risk assessments; the principle is that DSE users should be "looked after", quite rightly. But the definition of a "user" is, loosely, someone who really is sat looking at their computer all day; in the real world this means people such as Air Traffic Controllers, Telesales people etc. and no-one at our place is anywhere close to that. But one factor that does get focused on (sorry!!) is the body position as well. So as well as your eyes needing to be looked after, if you really are spending that much time on the computer, consider your neck, back etc.
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby N i g e l » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:02 pm

The Bunk wrote:At work I have to do display screen equipment (DSE) risk assessments;

Definitely important.

I tend to notice monitor problems in my shoulders and neck first if the seating/monitor/kb arrangement is not correct. {loads of computer position advice available online}.

Eyes can dry out due to staring/lack of blinking, especially with a dry air-conned environment.

My computer glasses have an anti-blue coating which is supposed to help with late night screen use.
I notice that windows has a sunrise/sunset colour change option to achieve the same effect.
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Re: How To Limit Screen Time When Producing Electronic Music? Screenless Equipment Ideas?

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:31 pm

N i g e l wrote:I notice that windows has a sunrise/sunset colour change option to achieve the same effect.

I use the freeware f.lux utility to the same end - you enter your approximate location, age and distance from the screen and then it automatically alters the screen brightness/contrast/colour to suit the time of day. I've been using it for several years now, and it definitely make later night viewing more restful.

https://justgetflux.com/

You can try its effects on this page:

https://fluxometer.com/rainbow/#!id=iPa ... iPad%20Pro


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