• 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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  • 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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  • Track Maps

    One of the best ways to learn about arranging tracks is to analyze other artists’. Pick one of your favourite tracks, then listen closely to it, noting how and when each element enters and leaves the arrangement.

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  • Audio Effects 101: Time-based FX

    Time-altering audio effects like reverbs, delays and choruses all function in essentially the same way: they capture a portion of an input sound, delay it slightly, then play it back.

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  • How to Create a Multi-Sample in Ableton Sampler

    Ableton’s Sampler plug-in is a powerful audio manipulation tool that lets you transform raw audio samples into a playable instrument.

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  • Reverse Snares

    Load a snare sample into Drum Rack. Load another copy of the same sample onto an empty audio channel. Double-click the sample on the audio channel, then click the “Rev.” button. Ableton will reverse the sample. The reversed sample is an irregular length, which is going to make it hard to use in a MIDI loop. To fix this, click the “Warp” button to warp the clip, then drag the trim…

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  • Return Track Tips & Tricks

    Ableton’s Drum Rack instrument has its own integrated send/return section, which allows you to add return effects to individual drum samples.

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  • Make a Formant Filter

    Formant filters (loosely) simulate the characteristics of the human voice. When a formant filter is set to the letter “E,” for example, it emphasizes the frequencies contained in the “E” sound...

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