September 2010

BPM, Birmingham NEC 2 – 4 Oct 2010

BPM hits Birmingham’s NEC this weekend and FunkNaughty will be there to check out all the latest software and hardware that will be coming to a DJ store near you soon.

BPM is Europe’s biggest event dedicated to DJing, electronic music production and club culture. It is attended by DJs, producers, performers, promoters, venue owners/managers, equipment retailers/installers, record label representatives, students and many others who simply have an interest in DJing or dance music.

Here at FN we’re be taking particular interest in the DJ mag Tech Awards, hosted by Mark Wilson. Mark’s panelists this year are all top djs in their relevant scenes. D&B badboy DJ Friction, Hard Dance guru Eddie Halliwell and Prog House masters Omid 16b and Demi from SOS will be providing their views and testing manufactures about their products listed in this years poll.

Other things to check out:

The Learning Zone will feature twelve Apple iMac electronic production workstations running Logic Studio with Novation Controllers as well as four stand-alone digital DJing stations running Ableton Live coupled with the Vestax VCM600. Combine all this gear with the SAE Institute tutors and your hard drive, and you have a recipe for some slick tune making!

Seminars – there is a  whole host of seminars being held covering a diverse range of topics, from scratching and beat juggling tricks through to remixing master classes.

The BPM seminar programme is the ideal way to learn from and be inspired by a range of speakers each with a unique insight into their chosen field. Each seminar appeals to a specific group of BPM visitors, but all will seek to be inspiring and promote creativity and innovation.

This years BPM is lining to be a good one. We’ll see you there and if not, keep an eye out for the review of the conference next week.

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The Best On-line Djing & Music Production Tutorial sites

The Best On-line Djing & Music Production Tutorial sites

As digital djing and computer based music production becomes ever more popular, so the number of on-line course providers has rocketed.  You can now find numerous websites offering courses on the majority of djing software and the biggest DAW’s (Ableton, Logic, Reason etc).

Here at it seems like we can’t go a day without reading an advert for another on-line course provider, which got us to think about what they’re all offering, how much they cost, what college courses are available and who is the best.

However, before you read on, please note that do not currently hold any affiliations with any on-line course providers and we do not subscribe to any of their services.  The information presented below is based on freely available information from the provider’s websites.

Provider Cost Format Courses provided Overall Mark out of 10 £149 for either Ableton 1 or 2 or £225 for both. Videos 15-20 minute videos which are only available on- line for 6 months but this can be extended, probably for an additional fee. Just Ableton (Beginner & Advanced). 5/10.Expensive, Ableton’s own tutorial videos should get you started with the basics and they’re free. £315 4 week course with an expectation that students spend 10 hours a week studying. Course delivered using videos and live chat to answer questions. Various music courses for Ableton, Cubase & Reason, no dj software courses. 4/10.Very expensive and one comment from a tutor reads that Ableton is a simple tool, when clearly we all know it’s not.  Do offer live chat interaction. Annual £99.99 or Quarterly £29.99 10 part videos to be accessed at anytime over your subscription. Over 500+ videos on most DAW’s, Djing software (Traktor & Serato) and how to sound like guides. 8/10.Good value for the amount of content and easy to use website. DVD’s/Video’s Range between €25 for an 2 hour Ableton course to €200 for a 4 part, 12 hour Cubase course Various book & video resources to purchase/ download. Numerous courses for the main DAW’s, no dj software courses. 5/10Good for buying DVDs to keep but not a tutorial website. Over $1,000 for a 12 week Ableton course. Various course types and lengths but a very well established and professional online college. Benchmark for all on-line colleges to achieve Various music courses, from theory to recording to all the main DAW’s and instruments. No dj software courses. 7/10.Expensive but probably worth it. Website based in US, so consider the time difference for support but well on-line videos and support provided.

Our favourite on-line course provider is Sonic Academy, not only is the website easy to use, with plenty of courses but they also offer the ‘how to sound like’ course, which at the end of the day is what it’s all about.

Before you sign up for an on-line course, consider the following tips.

  • Do your research – Try all the available free courses from all the on-line providers, to see which one suits you best and check out your local college to see what courses they offer.
  • You tube – Check out the multitude of Youtube videos, there’s a lot of information available for free, here’s a link to one our favourites.
  • Forum’s – Check out the Forum’s and websites of the software application providers that you’re interested in, as   you’ll no doubt find a whole host of information to get you started.  Ableton, for example, have a huge range of free videos to get you better acquainted with the software.
  • – Check out our website for helpful free tutorial videos.
  • Available Time – Think honestly about how much time you’ve available to complete your course, there’s no point in signing up to an intensive course if you don’t have the time to get the most from it.
  • Share a log-in – If possible share a log-in with a mate and share the cost.
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Ableton – What’s it all about?

Free Demo Version

If you’re interested in music production, then one piece of software you’ll likely to have heard of is Ableton Live.  Now on to the 8th version and having been in existence for the last decade, you know the software comes with a good pedigree.

Just check out the Ableton artist’s comments page to see who’s using it and what they’re saying.

My personal favourite is Deadmau5 as his comments really embraces what Ableton is all about.

“Ableton is special to me because it’s one of the only sequencers I can use both in the studio and live on the stage”

Ableton is essentially a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and Music Sequencer that has been designed for live performance.  There are plenty of other DAW’s available, two of the biggest being Cubase & Logic Pro but these do not have the live performance capabilities of Ableton.

A DAW is a system designed to play, record and edit digital audio.  A Music Sequencer provides a framework from which audio and MIDI files can be combined, recorded, manipulated and played back in a specific order.  This gives you the ability to create your own music.

The Ableton Live software has really shaken up the way DJ’s perform.  One such DJ who has been using Ableton since 2005 is Sasha.  He uses a customised MIDI controller when performing and is able to compose, rearrange and edit audio live; giving audiences unique DJ mix sets every time he performs.

In Ableton there are two views, the Arrangement view and the Session view and it’s this feature that makes Ableton unique.

Below are screen shots of both the Session and Arrangement views.

The Session View

The session view is the part of the system that lends itself to more creative, spontaneous, live performance.

Ableton have created their own terminology for describing different elements of the Session view.  If you place an Audio file or record a MIDI file in to the session view, these become know as clips.

An audio clip could be an entire track imported from iTunes or it could be the individual components of a track such as the bass, kick, percussion, lead or pads etc.

A MIDI file could have been created from playing any one of Ableton’s instruments.  To play an Ableton instrument you’ll need a keyboard, such as M-AUDIO’s Oxygen 8, pictured below.  This is a really good, cheap and small keyboard that will keep you entertained for hours.

M-Audio’s Oxygen 8 MIDI keyboard

Clips can be organised in horizontal rows, known as a scene, giving you the ability to either launch one clip at a time or a scene of clips.  This feature means you can now slice a track in to its main components, giving you the opportunity to rearrange and remix a track, live!  When you begin to utilise the effects within Ableton, you quickly realise how powerful the programme is and that the possibilities for live performance are endless.

The Arrangement View

The arrangement view has the look and feel of a traditional software sequencer.   Those who’ve used a DAW before will be familiar with the linear left to right work flow and it’s in this view that you’ll most likely be doing the majority of your composing, arranging and remixing studio work.

If you are interested in digital DJing and making music but are on a budget, then it’s worth considering Ableton Live, as you can DJ and compose on one piece of software, whilst utilising one MIDI controller.

One downside of Ableton that you need to be aware of is that it comes with a very steep learning curve.  Many of the function in Ableton are unique, so even if you’re familiar with other DAW’s there will still be a lot to learn.  However, don’t give up as the effort of learning the system is well rewarded.

Below I have summarised the main attributes of this marvellous product.

Ableton’s key features

  • Multitrack recording up to 32-bit/192 kHz
  • Nondestructive editing with unlimited undo
  • Powerful MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
  • Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
  • Library with over 1600 expressive sounds, each with versatile control options
  • A comprehensive selection of built-in audio and MIDI effects
  • A wide range of software instruments
  • Instrument Racks for simple management of complex instrument setups
  • Drum Racks for intuitive and responsive beat-making
  • Effect Racks for professional-grade mastering, mixing and creative sound processing
  • New groove engine; apply and extract grooves in real time
  • Construction kits containing loops and phrases in a number of styles
  • Sound Objects Lite, from SonArte: a toolkit of real world object recordings
  • 440 MB of abstract, experimental loops from renowned music software pioneers Cycling ’74
  • Over 400 loops and samples from Zero-G
  • 1000s of single-device presets: simple components for making new sounds and exploring synthesis
  • Song templates with pre-configured tracks and routing
  • Supports AIFF, WAV, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files
  • VST and AU support; automatic plug-in delay compensation
  • REX file support plus built-in audio to MIDI slicing
  • Video import and export for scoring, video warping
  • Simple MIDI mapping plus instant mapping for selected hardware
  • Full ReWire support; runs as Slave or Master
  • Multicore and multiprocessor support
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Welcome Note

Hello and welcome to, your digital generalist.

FunkNaughty are Phil Robinson & Adam Laurie, two London DJ’s and aspiring producers, who have recently collaborated with Danny Rampling to update the digital djing section of his successful ebook, ‘Everything You Need to Know About Djing & Success’, which is due for hardcover release in November.

The aim of is to become the online focal point for digital dj’s and computer based music producers, providing you with the latest news, reviews, tips and tricks, appealing to anyone looking to get into or develop their knowledge of digital music technology.

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FunkNaughty @ Europa, Brussels Fri 24th September

FunkNaughty hit Europa, Brussels this Friday for another big night of quality house and techno sounds. We are being supported by Brussels legend Francis Lorenzo so expect the night to go off with a bang!

You’ll be able to check out the photos of the nights events from next week. So watch this space.

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Deadmau5 Announces UK Winter Tour

Deadmau5 return’s to British shores this winter for another spectactular live tour.

A massive line up of top djs will be supporting Deadmau5, from the likes of Calvin Harris, Stanton Warriors, Magnetic Man, Kim Fai and Zane Lowe. The tour kicks off in Bournmouth on the 8th December and will head around the country to Leeds, Manchester, Coventry, Glasgow and finally ending in spectacular fashion at London’s Earls Court on the 18th December.

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University of Ableton: get free online training when you buy Live

Ableton has partnered with leading online education providers to offer free Ableton Live training when you buy Live 8, Suite 8 or Live Intro between September 1 and October 31, 2010.

Whether you’re an experienced studio veteran, a DJ who wants more creative possibilities, or someone just getting started with music production, there’s Ableton Live training for you.

You’ll be able to get free training from all of the following education providers:

- Sonic Academy
- DVD Lernkurs (German)
- microFusa (Spanish)
- Elephorm (French)

That’s equal to two full weeks of lessons plus more than 40 hours of video tutorials.

To get your free training now visit:

All the best from Berlin,

The Ableton team

Terms and conditions:
- Valid for purchases of Live 8, Suite 8, Live Intro or upgrades, including educational purchases
- Purchase must be made between September 1 and October 31, 2010 from the Ableton web shop or any dealer worldwide
- One coupon for free online training per purchase (you can use the coupon at all available education providers simultaneously)
- The coupon is valid until February 28, 2011

We want your feedback! If you have any questions or comments, please write to:

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Great Deals on Music Production Magazines

As you’ll no doubt be aware, we love a great deal here at and we’ve certainly got a couple for you.

If you’re interested in computer based music production then you really need to get yourself a subscription to either musictech magazine or computer music magazine. Both are currently offering really good deals if you sign up for a monthly subscription, check out the links below for more information.

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