The guide on giving/recieving feedback

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The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby the4thImpulse » 18 Dec 2012 13:00

(I am posting this in the music section as I believe it will be most helpful here, I would be ideal to have this stickied at the top)


After reading Navrons “How many of you are actually dedicated to music?” thread it seems to me some people are a little uncomfortable with giving people feedback for numerous reasons. I want to show you that it doesn’t take much to give worthwhile feedback, and in doing so I hope you are more encouraged to give feedback to your fellow musicians.



First off I will give my definition of ‘worthwhile/constructive feedback. Feedback is criticism, there needs to be some meat in your response that is helpful for the producer. Just saying “nice track, you’re cool” and leaving it there is not at all helpful for the artist looking to get better, yes it’s encouraging and it’s a good thing to say but it’s not helpful feedback. Proper feedback should be, more or less, a list of the parts of the track that, to your ears, did not sound right/good. Again it’s not simply “your bass sucks”, it needs to contain your reasoning so the producer knows you’re not just trolling around. Write as much as you can, no short answers, put time into it and you both will benefit.

In short, feedback needs substance and it needs to be helpful.

To be clear if you are in the position where you cannot find anything wrong with the track to your ears, then be sure to write exactly that, example: “Awesome track, love the melody! I have nothing in the way of criticism/tips to offer because it’s so good!”. That shows you really listened well and could not find flaws worth noting which is far better than leaving it at “cool track”.




Now what does it take to give constructive feedback? Well sure, having the ability to tear apart someone’s mix and give a full report on everything that works and doesn’t work takes a long time to master and a good set of trained ears. But I don’t believe you need any of that to be simply helpful! To start all you need to do is listen, really listen to the track and try to pinpoint all the different frequencies and instruments (or various synths). If you don’t like the way something sounds try to examine why that may be, it’s hard at first but just keep listening and listening. If you can get this far (finding something that doesn’t sound right) then that’s what you should write to be helpful for the producer. Even “the bass does not sound quite right when the lead synth plays” is far better than nothing. Just saying what you didn’t like or what you thought sounded ‘off’ is good feedback and you just need to listen and use your ears to do it.


Other kinds of good feedback: telling the produce what you would do/change in the track. Give them some ideas to work with, If you like one part but not another tell them how you might make it better or if you might remove it. Don’t be mean obviously, putting it in words like “I like the lead synth but it’s a little bland, maybe try adding some sparkly reverb” is helpful and doesn’t (usually) come across as mean spirited.




Examples of bad/not helpful feedback: (these are real quotes from various forums)
- “The main groove like before the breakdown is super hot. That clap is bad ass. Where'd you get it?”
- “Unreal sound. Does not feel 7mins long. In a good way! Keep up the work”
- “I like this” (yes, that’s all they wrote…)

Examples of good/helpful feedback: (again taken from various forums)
- “I think the synth before the reverb kicks in sounds like the birthday song, so might want tot do something about that. For the second drop, I do like the little laser-like stab that comes in but its a little rough, it cuts in a lot. Try to filter/EQ it a bit to have it fit in better.”
- “I agree, the drums bang but somethings off with the melody, I think a couple elements are out of key or something, also I think the track could be mixed better, keep working at it bro practice makes perfect.”
- “Interesting track!, Your drums are very prominent. Mixing seems good except a couple spots could use some volume reductions as I hear some crushing. specifically around 1:11 ish.
All in all dope track man! Keep up the good work!”

- “Hey, this is a pretty good EP. I'm not even a huge metalcore fan, but it's great to hear good music from new artists. I don't really know what kind of critique I could give here, just keep up the good work!”
- “Wow. This is fantastic and everything is near perfect. But the one thing I have to complain about is those buildups. One quiet as hell upriser and then out of nowhere a sample. The buildup needs some drum rolls, white noise, extra synth, just something to make them more epic. That's really about it though. Oh yeah, and don't forget that downlifter at the drop to make it sound bigger.”



A common trait between the two is their length; learn to write a short paragraph per track you’re providing feedback for. Do your best to use proper English skills, its only helpful but I understand if it’s hard for various reasons (I personally have problems with language skills so I am very understanding but some people are not).




Finally on receiving feedback, be sure to say at the very least “thank you for the feedback”. If you do not reply after people have given you feedback then please don’t post more songs asking for more, it personally makes me sad, and it shows me you have no respect towards the community here/anywhere.

More importantly no one is trying to intentionally offend you, and in the rare chance they are they will be very obvious about it. If someone says “its needs a lot more work in the mix down, the synths don’t complement each other, needs more work before you should release it” to the track you’ve worked on for countless hours over the last two months, than please don’t respond with any hatred towards the poster. They are only trying to help. Realize that everyone hears things differently and some people may hear what to them are ‘problems’ but to you how it’s supposed to sound’. If that’s the case and you can’t find it in yourself to work with the person providing feedback than just say and go on with your life, no need to start arguments over such petty issues.

Some people will have ‘trained/experienced’ ears and will be able to show you flaws you may not even notice at first, if that’s the case than please first try to see what they are trying to show you. Try to listen for what they are pointing out and if you still can’t hear, again, don’t make a big deal about it, say “I can’t hear what your hearing, could you be more specific?”. Let them explain as clearly as they can before you ignore/hate them for their pinion on your track.

There are a few of us here that can and will completely rip apart your track and create extensive lists of everything you can do better. We, of all people, are trying to help, we want to show you exactly what you should focus your ears on so you can learn and grow as a musician. We aren’t saying your music sucks because we list these ‘flaws’ we are showing where you can do better. If you don’t know where to improve your music then how can you become a better musician?


The most common users here (at the time of this writing) that often provide accurate details like this are Lavender, Navron, Kyoga, and myself. When we post none of us are hating on you or your music, we just want you to be the best you can.




These are only guidelines, I’m sure some of you will disagree with some of what I wrote, and I had no intention of offending anyone with this thread. This is not directed at any one person either, just something to help those of you that may struggle with giving constructive feedback.
Last edited by the4thImpulse on 11 Jan 2013 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby randomblockfilms » 18 Dec 2012 13:42

i agree with this a LOTS! llike 111% :D

here is how i see it. If you ever watch and episode of Cupcake wars, you see that the judges analyze the shit out of those cupcakes "The frosting was too sweet. The bread was a bit dry. I dont see these chocolate chips being properly utilized with the carrot cake icing. "

that is how i basically what i do wif songs. break it down n make sure you have some sort of reasoning of why you say that. its almost like a puzzle. or maybe even a crime case? like you gotta analyze the evidence and explain why you feel that this is good and bad. i dunno i might be getting a bit crazy with these analogies.

and as a bonus for giving feedback, i think it makes you a better musician cause then you think, "so that one guy had too much bass in his kick. im gonna make sure that doesn't happen to me. And also that other guy had some sort of pad in the backgrounded that sounded really cool. i wanna make that in my track" you see? like you are getting better at making music without even opening up your DAW! :D its MAGICAL!!! but realy isnt magical because its just constructive feedback!! everybody wins! yayyyyY!
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Decmaster IX » 19 Dec 2012 00:07

Oh my god yes this right here. It's not as bad here as it is other places, but that doesn't mean it is non-existant. This really should be stickied.

Also, SoundCloud needs this SO BAD. "c00l trackk brooo check my dubs stuff if you have the time," is everywhere these days. Do these people really think that the likes of Knife Party or Porter Robinson is going to listen to their music?

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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby NickelDare » 19 Dec 2012 07:51

A Subforum for Posting tracks where Musicians would want Feedback from would be good aswell..
I usualy send mine to friends because I never found a real place for them to get posted on this Forum.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby the4thImpulse » 19 Dec 2012 18:00

Kyoga wrote:But your advice sounds like the birthday song, so might want tot do something about that.

I really have no idea what you mean by this, like no idea whatsoever, and I really hope you come back and explain how this guide sounds like 'happy birthday' of all things. But anyway, thanks! I hope this helps.

NickelDare wrote:A Subforum for Posting tracks where Musicians would want Feedback from would be good aswell..
I usualy send mine to friends because I never found a real place for them to get posted on this Forum.

That is more or less then intention of this subforum, most artists say whether of not they are wanting detailed feedback.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby randomblockfilms » 19 Dec 2012 18:22

yayy! this got stickied! ! SUCCESS!
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby ph00tbag » 20 Dec 2012 01:58

I've always felt like posting on this subforum should be an invitation to have one's work evaluated, simply as a matter of course. If you just want your stuff promoted, then submit it to EQD or something. This subforum is for people who want to improve and want to help others improve.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Freewave » 20 Dec 2012 09:53

ph00tbag wrote:I've always felt like posting on this subforum should be an invitation to have one's work evaluated, simply as a matter of course. If you just want your stuff promoted, then submit it to EQD or something. This subforum is for people who want to improve and want to help others improve.


^ absolutely, that's what this subforum IS for.

As 4th stated it's important critique be positive critique. Point out what works, point out what doesn't, but try to keep the tone helpful and specific.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby GumsOfGabby » 22 Dec 2012 07:21

Also something to add...

If someone gives you feedback, try and return the favour!
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby bigBerd » 23 Dec 2012 12:30

I'm glad you made this thread, 'cause I've been thinking about it myself. I for one don't always make the heftiest of posts in the music section.

If I hear something I like, I let the person know by posting in the thread. If they ask for feedback, I tap into what I know about their type of music (this can be very little, as my field of musical knowledge is often drastically different from whatever I am viewing), and I tell them what I can. Sometimes, due my personal lexicon, I feel like some of what I say can be seen as ignorant or even douchey. (ex. cuss a lot... I can't help it, I'm a rapper :lol: ) I think one of those quotes for "bad feedback" is actually mine. If not, it sounds like something I'd say.

I make it a point to leave some sort of comment if I download anything from the user. Whether it be here or on whatever site it's hosted on, I feel like it's only right to give them some indication that I like their stuff enough to put it on my hard drive.

Anyway, I think the real question is: how do I improve my feedback?
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Stu Beef » 23 Dec 2012 16:53

I try to be candid and give responses based on how I personally feel about a track, as well as any outside impressions I might predict (based on how well I know a particular style and its community). As far as improving one's own feedback, I think GETTING more is just as helpful as giving more.

Even if 5 people tell you the exact same thing, it could be useful to you if they all say it in a different way. Different perspectives, different ways of thinking about a single subject just broadens your own view which I find is really helpful. It just makes it easier to put yourself in someone else's position so that, when it comes time to convey your own understanding of a subject, you can better relate it to the person you are offering feedback to.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Sonarch » 23 Dec 2012 20:02

So basically,
-don't be a dick
-say what was good and point out what could be improved
-if you can, explain how they might go about improving their track
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Sonarch » 23 Dec 2012 20:03

the4thImpulse wrote:
Kyoga wrote:But your advice sounds like the birthday song, so might want tot do something about that.

I really have no idea what you mean by this, like no idea whatsoever, and I really hope you come back and explain how this guide sounds like 'happy birthday' of all things. But anyway, thanks! I hope this helps.

I think he was referencing this
the4thImpulse wrote:Examples of good/helpful feedback: (again taken from various forums)
-“I think the synth before the reverb kicks in sounds like the birthday song, so might want to do something about that."
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Rainbow_Rage » 31 Dec 2012 06:15

One thing that is really important in giving feedback that was not explicitly stated here (unless I missed it): always compliment the producer on their track. It's good to start an end on a positive note.

If there is something specific that really wows you about it, point that out.

If the track is god awful and everything is wrong, try to find at least 2 specific things about it that do work, and point those out.

If the track is good with only a couple things that could be better, saying "nice track, I really like it" is sufficient


On another note, start with big problems first, common errors amongst newbies are some of the first things you should tackle. Highly specific advice is not useful when there are big problems in the song. For example, if the song sounds like the producer was out to lunch while mixing, saying "put a 3db reduction in the bass at 80hz" is not the most useful piece of advice, even if that would bring an improvement to a piece.
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Re: A guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Mr. Bigglesworth » 07 Jan 2013 03:57

This. Just..this. I get "too much/too little [thing]" so much, but what I can -reeeally- use is some direction on how to fix it, even just a vague little "do this, do that." kind of thing would be nice.
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Re: The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby GumsOfGabby » 23 Feb 2013 22:52

Due to unexpectedly high amounts of AIDS in the R&R chat, I have come here to add some shit to this thread regardless of whether it's been posted or not.

If you're going to ask for feedback, please be polite. Don't force it on anyone and don't post your shitty WIP 2, 3, OR MORE times! People see links. They're big, long, blue lines of text which do an amazing job of standing out on a white background! If people don't reply, guess what? No one wants/has the time to give you feedback. Lick your wounds and move on please...or find somewhere else to ask for feedback. Try here, here, or here and if you're really desperate, HERE

If you find yourself in the position where your work has been critiqued by an infinitely generous being, the absolute least you could do is say "thank you". The second least you could do is ask them if they have a track they'd like some feedback on, because believe it or not, you're not any more special than anyone else that is making music. You're not the only one that is struggling. Other people are the same as you. They also need/may want feedback. So be a polite fucker and ask.

If you forget to ask (I'm sure we all have at some stage) and the person who has critiqued your work posts a link to one of their tracks, you'd better make damned sure that you get your ass over to that link and give some feedback! Or you'll be getting a visit from me (yes, you'd better be scared).

"But Gums...", you say, "didn't you just say..."

If people don't reply...No one wants/has the time to give you feedback


Well yes I did say that. But if someone goes out of their way to give you some feedback, then you're obligated to do the same. This is called common courtesy. And if you can't find the time to do it immediately, tell them you'll do it when you do have time. Also, if you find that there are no obvious flaws that you could pick up on because their work is just so brilliant and you don't feel that you could possibly nitpick their track any more, tell them! Don't pretend you've gone on holiday despite the fact that you'd just said "thank you" for a lovely bit of critique not half an hour ago.

It is common courtesy, not a super, secret rule for music makers "in the know" to abide by. If someone scratches your back, you scratch theirs.

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Re: The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Covide » 10 Mar 2013 14:57

I have a song that I had been working on for a while, but I don't know, something just seems "off" about it. advice would be awesome :)

Link deleted due to size.

Mod: If you need feedback on a WiP or completed song, please make a separate topic in the music section. Do not reply here.
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Re: The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby HMage » 14 Jul 2013 11:21

Whenever someone asks my opinion on their music, I just say "Needs more saxophone". Always works.
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Re: The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Mr. Bigglesworth » 16 Jul 2013 19:09

Because Saxophones are damn sexy.
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Re: The guide on giving/recieving feedback

Postby Sonarch » 17 Jul 2013 19:35

Mr. Bigglesworth wrote:Because Saxophones are damn sexy.

Can't argue with that
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