8 Max Production

This is a concept I have developed to challenge myself.

I mean, in this era of music production where it is easy to add element after element, channel after channel and just go super crazy with everything, it is easy to get lost in all the possibilities that we have.

Those who walked this earth before us did not have the same opportunity we do, in fact, it is not until around the start of the year 2000 where music gear became so cheap that we started to talk about the concept of home studios.

So, in order to go back to the roots I wanted to challenge my creativity and use only 8 tracks for my productions. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not use this concept in all my productions, and as of yet I have not released any of the productions just yet (written in November 2021), but it is a rewarding challenge in music creation. (For me anyway…)

There are a two variations of the 8 max production rules that I have created.

  • 8 max production
  • 8 max production strict
  • 8 max production super strict

The 8 max production is the more forgiving one where you can have 8 tracks (or channels), mono or stereo, and have FX-sends on every track with what ever effect(s) you wish.

The 8 max production strict is a little harder to produce within, it is 8 tracks (or channels), mono only, should you want to use a stereo track you are welcome to use two tracks as a stereo, but will only have 6 tracks available for the rest of your production. Here you also can have FX-sends on every track with what ever effect(s) you wish.

The last one 8 max production super strict is the least forgiving and the hardest to use. 8 tracks, all mono. An FX-send means that you will need to route back the FX-signal on one of the 8 tracks.

The purpose of these rules are only to spark creativity with needing to think new within given limitations.

Should you produce a song with one of the above limitations and you want to brag about it, please do! 

I would be happy if you linked back to this page or used the logo in your artwork for you song! 🙂

Expanding the 8 Max standard.

  • Double 8 Max (or 2x8Max)
  • Tripple 8 Max (or 3x8Max)
  • Quadruple 8 Max (or 4x8Max)

To do a Double, you need to have an 8 Max production, then taking it up one notch with meeting one of below Expansion criteria, for Tripple, you need to meet two of the criterias, and for a Quadruple you need to meet all three.

Expansion 1.

When creating music electronically, most DAW work with “blocks” of some kind. Each of the blocks created can repeat unaltered a maximum of 8 times.

Expansion 2.

At any given time in the song, the maximum number of notes played is limited to 8.

Expansion 3.

This one is tricky. When creating blocks in your DAW, the maximum amount of blocks is limited to 8.

An example of a song that is 4x8Max (not strict or super strict) is the Muddhedd song “Nocturne” from “The Album“.

Each block is color coded in the picture below. Produced in Reason.

As you can see above, there are six channels. Each color represents a variation of some sort, and as you can see, 8 different blocks (Expansion 3). Each color is repeated a maximum of 8 times (Expansion 1).

On the first channel you have two variations of the same sound, four blocks followed by five blocks. The first (orange) being two notes simultaneously, and the second (purple) being the same two notes, but with tiny additions. Giving 3 notes simultaneously, since the tiny is added upon the long ones.

The next three channels are just playing one note in each block. Repeated only 8 times (as per Expansion 1) and adding the number of notes (so far) playing simultaneously, we are adding up to 6 simultaneously played notes.

The two last channels, an orange playing a melody and a blue playing a kind of bassline, with a variation in the last block. Both the melody block and the bassline blocks are playing one note at the time, adding up to a total of 8 simultaneously played notes through out the song (meeting Expansion 2).

Tricky and challenging. Let’s see what you think! 🙂