• How to Make Sub-Kicks

    How to Make Sub-Kicks

    If the kick sample you’re using isn’t beefy enough, layer it with a low-pitched synthesized sub-kick. The sub-kick adds bass without overly changing the tonal character of the kick.

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  • Extreme Sample Stretching

    Extreme Sample Stretching

    Stretching out audio can do magical things to it: hidden melodies appear, transients crumble into blurs, and tiny blips of sound turn into rich soundscapes.

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  • Tune Synths to A432 in Ableton

    Tune Synths to A432 in Ableton

    The idea that the note A3 should correspond to the frequency 440 Hz is a fairly recent one; although A440?s been in use since the 19th century, it’s only since the 1950s that it’s been accepted as the standard tuning.

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  • Using the Ableton Scale Plug-In

    Using the Ableton Scale Plug-In

    A musical key defines the relationship of the notes in a song. Without going into too much music theory, keeping the different elements of a track in the same key is essential to making them fit together musically.

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  • Smoother Chord Progressions

    Smoother Chord Progressions

    When a group of instruments — like a string section — plays together, each instrument starts and stops each note at a slightly different time. Digitally programmed instruments, on the other hand, will start and stop exactly where they’re told to.

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  • How to Make a House Beat

    How to Make a House Beat

    Open Drum Rack on a MIDI track, then set the global BPM to about 125. Load up a kick, snare, hi-hat, shaker, crash cymbal and ride cymbal. Turn all of the samples’ velocity controls up. Create a new MIDI clip, then put a kick on 1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4. Put the snare sample on 1.2 and 1.4. Program the hi-hat on 1.1.3, 1.2.3, 1.3.3 and 1.4.3. Add a shaker on every sixteenth note.

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  • Make a Track from Found Sounds

    Make a Track from Found Sounds

    Prepackaged sample packs are great tools, but unless you alter the samples extensively, they can make your tracks sound cookie-cutter and samey. Recording your own sample packs gives your production a unique sound;

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  • Arranging Dance Music

    Arranging Dance Music

    A dance track usually has a looser structure than a hip-hop or pop song — but it does have a structure. Following a structure when you’re arranging your track makes it more DJ-friendly — and therefore more likely to get played out in a club.

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  • How to Synthesize Drums

    How to Synthesize Drums

    Samples make creating beats quick and easy, but knowing how to synthesize your own kicks, snares and hi-hats will give you a better understanding of how drum sounds work. Start up Ableton’s Operator synth, then create a new MIDI clip. Add a note on each quarter beat. It doesn’t matter which note you use: you’ll be setting the pitch using the synthesizer itself.

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  • Using the Ableton Chord Plug-in

    Using the Ableton Chord Plug-in

    Ableton’s Chord MIDI effect automatically creates a chord from a single MIDI note. The Chord plug-in is really only useful in conjunction with the Scale plug-in, so start by dropping a Scale effect before the synth.

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