I agree with a lot of things in the past few posts. It's definitely a good thing to experiment with things to see how they work. Throughout however long this thread has been going on, I have noticed my workflow having a different process to it, and my music has started to sound better to me.
For all I know, it was fine before, and I'm just being too nitpicky about it right now. But you need to have a certain standard that you yourself live up to, and I am getting closer to my personal standard.
I may be a moderate beginner (well, more advanced now) but I have some tips of my own for any real beginner who is reading this:
1. Experiment with everything you have. Spend at least an hour a day just doing random things, like making an effect chain or making a patch on your synth.
2. Put some effort into it. Don't be that 15 year old kid in high school who came up to me one day and goes "You like ambient, right?", hands me a cd with a 30 minute track on it with some ridiculous over the top title, and it was just him holding down 2 chords for 30 minutes using a preset from his no doubt illegally downloaded synth from NI. Don't record yourself tuning your guitar and call it ambient; case in point
(somewhere, someone made a demo that sounded like this)
3. You don't need a lot of gear. I have a laptop, midi keyboard, Ableton Live, and Absynth 4. That's it. I get by fine using just these things because I know how to use them to their full ability. It's like what Lustmord says on his forum over and over again to people asking about big expensive pieces of gear, "It's not about what tools you have, it's how you use them."
4. If something doesn't work, and you spend a lot of time trying to make it work, then it's never going to work. I did this last night; had a 2 year old song that I never really liked because of one particular sound, so I replaced it with another sound, and it sounded completely different and a million times better and I wished I had done it sooner instead of trying to make it work for 2 years.
Alright, I hope that helps some people who are just starting out. I would like to thank everybody in this thread for helping me out; this thread has been invaluable for me the past few weeks. If anyone would like to share another cool trick, please, by all means, do so.