Tutorials

How To Produce D&B Neurofunk Basslines

noisia

Sounds2Sample serve up a nice new tutorial for you to get your teeth into. Using Native Instruments ‘Massive’ see how artists such as Noisia, Teebee and Spor make phat twisted D&B ‘neurofunk’ bass lines.

Shout out if you wanna ‘Reeeeewinnnnd’


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ABLETON: Free Retro Synths!

 

There’s a free Ableton update available on their website for all Live 8 users.  Basically, they’re offering a free download of Retro Synths by Puremagnetik, which is very nice of them indeed, you can download your free copy here, just make sure it’s before 31st October.

According to the Ableton website, Retro Synths represents the best of Puremagnetik’s meticulously multi-sampled vintage synthesizer packs, including samples from classics such as the Korg MS-20 and Roland D-50 and with intelligently selected macros, Retro Synths is immediately playable in Live, enjoy!

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Producer Sessions Live and Reason 6!

Interested in music production?  Then get yourself along to the second Producer Sessions event, to be held at SAE in London on 3rd-4th September.

The event sold out last year so make sure you get your tickets now.

The event brings together intimate tutorial sessions from some of the biggest names in music production alongside the chance to get hands-on with the latest hi-tech recording gear within a studio environment.

I can reveal as well that Propellerhead will also be exhibiting at the event with the first UK preview of Reason 6 and Balance!

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If you’re serious about music production, make sure you’re there.

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The Importance of Setting Up Templates Within Your DAW

Parts 1 & 2 of a 3 part article courtesy of Loopmasters Blog.

Hey Producers,

This week we are going to look at the importance of setting up templates within your chosen DAW and how this will save you valuable time on your individual projects.

It will help to get your creative juices flowing much quicker by having all the tools you need ready at hand.

What is a DAW Template?

So what is a DAW  Template? Put simply most DAW’s will allow you to save a default project that contains your presets and chosen settings as a “template file”.  When you start a new project you can simply select a session that has been previously set up in your DAW and saved as your default autoload (or “template”) and it will load up everything according to your preferences. Many DAW’s such as Logic do come with different project templates, but I feel these probably won’t be very useful for your tailored needs.

Why Do We Need Templates?

I think the reason we should all use templates is quite simple really.  Think of it this way -  if we were all still purely in the analogue world would we want to have to set up the studio from scratch every time we wanted to start a new project?  What would be the point of that?

Most of us make music in the digital would now using a DAW to record, produce or both. So taking a bit of time to set up your DAW to suit your needs is a time-saver and allows you to get into making music more quickly.  Use this to your advantage!

Even if you still use all out board gear but record using a DAW, you should still set up a template so that your mixing desk correlates to the correct channels of your sound card inputs  – which in turn correlates with the correct input channels of your DAW. This example is a very simple template.  Why would you want the chore of setting this up every time?

In part 2 of this series, we will look at an example of a typical template I would use to create a electronic composition in Logic Pro 9.  Bear in mind that all of this tutorial will translate into other DAW’s and also any style of music you are composing or recording.

My personal typical template will include the following

• 10 midi channels with EQ and commonly used instruments
• 5 audio channels with EQ
• 8 buss channels with EQ with various effects
• Side-chain trigger set up -  either 1 audio channel or one midi channel with a kick drum that is set to pre-fader and sent to a buss channel with the output  turned off so it’s ready to trigger the side-chain of a compressor.
• Low Pass, High Pass filter, EQ and Limiter on the master channel.


Part 2.

Creating A Template From Scratch – MIDI / Audio Set Up

The first thing to do is open up a new project and start with a blank canvas.

As a starting block it is useful to start by creating  at least 5 audio tracks, 10  or so MIDI tracks and around 6 – 8 bus channels.

Once these are loaded into the project, the first thing to think about is what you you will generally always use in your productions.

One thing is for sure -  you will want to be able to EQ every channel. You can do this by inserting an EQ on all the channels, but many people prefer to set up busses for various frequency ranges and send channels to these busses.

How you choose to do this will depend on your prefrence, but also on your processing power – sending multiple tracks out to a few busses with various EQ settings on them means you won’t have to use as many instances of your EQs and will save on processing power. This also helps in giving your tracks some coherence as multiple tracks are set up with very similar EQ settings.

For beginners or those not as experienced with EQ this is probably easier to manage than having a separate EQ for each channel – and it can also be easier to find problem areas if  you are only having to tweak 4 or 5 EQs on busses to find the issue. However, this is a matter of preference – the main point is to ensure that whatever way you choose to go you spend a bit of time setting up default settings for you EQs – such as rolling of below 50Hz for example, to save time in future projects.

Audio Channels

As previously mentioned, your template should include a nice selection of audio channels, set up to work with your soundcard’s input and outputs.  I generally only use audio channels for effect sweeps and occasionally loops, so a few audio channels suits my needs. However, if you typically use use more audio than MIDI you will want to add more to your template to suit your general needs.

MIDI Channels

When setting up MIDI channels, a good next step is to think about is which instruments you generally use for your key elements -  beats and bass.

For example I generally always use Logic’s EXS sampler instrument for all my beats and percussion. So, I would load 8 out of the 10  or so MIDI  channels I create with EXS instruments and name them as follows.

  • Kick
  • Snare / Clap
  • Closed Hats
  • Open Hats
  • Perc 1
  • Perc 2
  • Perc 3
  • Side-chain trigger (kick from EXS instrument)

I would then also load up my “go-to”  Bass instrument that I generally use (in my case Arturia’s Minimoog).

Side-chain Set up

Now that you have your beats and bass channels set up, it’s useful to set up a side chain trigger.

To set up a side-chain trigger to create the ducking effect on chosen compressors, I use an EXS instrument that is loaded with a kick, draw in a 4/4 beat and loop this throughout the whole project. I then change the channel output from post-fader to pre-fader, send the signal to Bus1 and turn the gain on the EXS24 instrument all the way down.

I always use bus 1 for my sidechain trigger, so I name that bus channel “Side-chain”.  Once you’ve created your side-chain bus, change the output of the “Side-chain” bus to no output (so it is not audible.)

Now, if you want to side-chain any instrument to your beat, just add a compressor with side-chain capabilities to that instrument and and select bus 1 (now named “Side-chain”) for the side-chain trigger. You can change the compressor settings like attack, releases and ratio to suit your taste.

After you’ve done all this, you should have a few MIDI channels that are blank, allowing you to add whatever instruments you want to them during your session, as you see fit.

The Importance of Setting up Templates Within Your DAW.
The Importance of Setting up Templates Within Your DAW.

Master Channel Set Up

I add EQ to the master channel plus 2 different filters (1 low pass and one high pass).  I have the filters turned off, so I  can turn either of the filters on if I want to filter my track for extra effect -  such as the end of the break. It is also a good idea to add a limiter on the master and set this to output 0db (or just below) just so no clipping occurs in the process of making a track.  This can be taken off when you come to mix down stage, bringing your levels down ready for mastering.

Working Backwards

Working backwards is also a great way of setting up a template.

If you have already done a track with most of the previous examples already set up, such as sampler instruments, audio channels and buss’s then save that project as a different name such as “template” and delete all the parts that are not needed for your standard template. This can sometimes be quicker that having to start from scratch.

In part 3 we are going to look at the other buss channels and how to set these up for common tasks. More to follow.

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Making of “The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up” in Ableton by Jim Pavloff

Regardless of whether the Prodigy is your type of music or not, if you’re in to Ableton and making music, then watch this video.

Not only does is deconstruct “smack my bitch up” but shows you how you to use Ableton’s effects to create some professional sounds.

Over a million views on YouTube says it all, check it out here:


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Article: Minimal House and Techno Production Tips

Article courtesy of Sounds to Sample

Minimal house and techno production tips

A choice selection of bite-sized tips for deep, pared down minimal productions

All in the groove

It is vital that every rhythmic element has a place in the groove. Be critical when adding elements and choose samples carefully. Start with the kick and bassline and bring in other elements around them. One good technique is to imagine the elements in the groove having a discussion with each other. Introduce one sound and then counter it with another a few beats later.

Kick & Snare

Generally the key with Minimal House beats is to keep the kick nice and deep without too much mid or high-end energy so the high frequency elements can ‘breathe’ and inject life into the groove. Choosing drum sounds that fit each other well is also extremely important – if the kick is heavy the snare should feel light and toppy. For this reason 808 and 909 sounds can work particularly well.

Mono vs Stereo

It is always advisable to keep the kick (and other bass elements) in mono as these backbone elements of the track are often the most prominent and many club systems are still wired in mono. Having a stereo spread on hi-hats and other percussive elements helps keep the beat interesting and merges the rhythm nicely with synth loops or fx patterns.

Evolving effects

Keep effects changing constantly by automating them, especially reverbs and delays. Turn up reverb sends occasionally on percussion tracks to give your track big reverb splashes at key points. Automate the reverb size too. Put a short slapback delay on the melodic hook and automate the feedback slider and delay times.

Ride the 808

You can make deep minimal basslines by using nothing but an 808 kick sample with a long decay. Tune the kick so that it combines well with your main kick drum and add a volume envelope with the attack turned slightly up, so you keep the boom and not the snap of the kick. Adjust the decay to get the right length. Add a little pitch envelope to the sample with pitch shifting either slightly up or down. This kind of wobbly sound is heard in many minimal productions today.

Odd bars

Try looping percussive sequences at odd numbered bars, like the third or seventh bar, instead of at the regular 4/4 marker for interesting, ever-evolving percussive lines. To build towards a drop insert a ping-pong delay for an instant building carpet of sound.

Stabs

When choosing a sample as a raw sound, look for complexity; something which is rich in harmonics and overtones – an obscure jazzy chord is the classic example. Vocals and organic sounds also work well. Try running your sound through a bit-crusher to add some dirt, then apply a low pass filter controlled by an envelope to give the sound some shape. Saturation and compression will really start to bring the sound alive and give it the classic punchy-techy sound.

Assign tone-shaping parameters to various controls to get as much variability in the sound as possible – the velocity mapped to the volume, cutoff and decay for example, and the mod wheel to a pitch LFO and reverb send. Some 3/16th delay will help give a strong rhythmic emphasis to the stabs.

White hats

Make a free-flowing techno hat pattern by using a white noise oscillator playing a shuffling pattern (short 16th notes with some triplets thrown in) with the volume envelope decay/release controls constantly changing using automation.

Less is more

Your track is destined to be rocking a big club system. If you cram in every idea and then some more, the track will soon sound messy on a big rig. At some point you should sit back and selectively delete parts that don’t add much to keep everything simple. This is minimal dance music: having a few choice elements that work well together is your ultimate aim.

Infinite pads

Soundscapes and pads give depth to a mix and play an essential part in intros, outros and breakdowns. To make extending pad sounds insert your chosen pad sample, then insert the same loop again after the first and reverse it. Join the two together using your sequencer’s crossfade function. Instant ever-changing pad variations!

Wobbly synths

To create the classic ‘moving tuning’ synth line, pull up a sawtooth wave on your preferred synth and automate the tuning knob so that it moves slowly up and/or down. Another way to do this is to assign an LFO to the tuning of the oscillators. This kind of technique is also often heard used on other elements such as percussion and even basslines.

Tidy percussion

Keep percussion hits neat and tidy by adjusting the decay of the samples according to the groove of your track. In general the percussion hits in minimal techno are short. Also remember to check the decay of your kick drum sample. Too long a decay and the kick will interfere with the bassline and too short a decay will not yield enough punch.

The mighty whoosh

Plain white noise hits and sweeps are common in minimal techno. Slap a compressor over a white noise effect with your kick drum feeding the sidechain input for some solid pumping action. Remember to cut out low frequencies using a hi-pass filter on the white noise sound to keep your mix clean.

Complex rhythmical textures

Take a vocal sound, set it looping but with a relatively short loop size. Now, map the loop start position to a rhythmical step sequencer. This means the start point of the loop will jump around in sync with the steps in the sequencer, by however much you set on each step. Immediately you will notice your sound has transformed from a stuttering sound, to something much more complex.

Try sending the cutoff to the step sequencer also, and maybe the sample rate too – you’ll quickly start to see how incredibly rich complex sounds can spring out of nowhere.

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Video: How To Produce Alex Metric and Steve Angello’s Open Your Eyes

Article courtesy of Sounds to Sample

How To Produce Alex Metric and Steve Angello's Open Your Eyes

Discover the synthesis techniques which make Alex Metric & Steve Angello’s relatively simple chord and pad sequence pump, shine and cut through the mix.

Goal: Synthesise the mainroom progressive lead chord and pad patterns in Alex Metric & Steve Angello’s ‘Open Your Eyes’.

You will need: A polyphonic synth with at least 3 oscillators (we’re using FXpansion’s Strobe) plus reverb, compressor, EQ and stereo spread plug-ins.

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Ableton – ReWire to Reason & Recording Audio

Following on from our recent article regarding recording Midi in to Ableton’s session view.

http://www.funknaughty.com/2010/11/ableton-recording-midi-in-session-view/

This next article, will show you how to ReWire with another of FunkNaughty’s favourite piece’s of software, Reason and how to record Audio.

In the recording Midi article, we used Ableton’s built in library of sounds, with our Oxygen 8 keyboard to start making our own sounds, rifts and chords.  Well essentially, ReWiring allows us to do exactly the same, only this time we’ll be using Reason’s library of sounds.

First up, you need to open Ableton, then Reason. It has to be in that order as the ReWiring is going from Ableton to Reason.

Next up, arm your Ableton Midi track, by pressing the button at the bottom of the Midi channel, so that it goes red.

Then go to Reason and select the Thor Synth.

Now back in Ableton, you can send Midi to Reason by selecting Reason in the Midi To section and by selecting Thor from the next drop down.

Next you need to be able to hear the instrument you’re playing, in Reason, back in Ableton.

To do this, you need to ensure that the Audio From drop down, is set to Reason and click on IN within the monitor section.

Now to record from Reason, you’ll need to arm your Ableton Audio track, you do this by selecting the record button at the bottom of the channel, so that it turns red, then click on the circle within one of the audio clips.

This will then create an audio file of the sounds you have been playing in Reason.

You could then drop this Audio file in to Sampler or Simpler, in Ableton, to manipulate the sound further, a topic we’ll be covering later on at FunkNaughty.com.

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