• Snare Rolls

    Snare Rolls

    It’s been around forever, but the snare roll is still a dancefloor-devastating way to lead out of the breakdown and back into the beat. If your snare roll sounds too robotic and programmed, use MIDI velocity control to make it sound more natural. Program in a basic snare roll (four eighth notes, followed by four sixteenth notes, then eight 32nd notes).

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  • Reverse Snares

    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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  • Track Maps

    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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  • Doubling Vocals

    Doubling Vocals

    Doubling vocals makes them sound bigger and fuller in the mix. A vocal doubler plug-in creates two (or more) copies of the vocal, pans them to the left and right, then adds a slightly different delay...

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  • Vinyl-ize Your Track

    Vinyl-ize Your Track

    Incorporating the crackles and hiss from a vinyl record into your digital production adds a subtle layer of dusty soul to your track.

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  • Using Drum Loops

    Using Drum Loops

    Adding a drum loop on top of a programmed MIDI beat is a quick way to give it a more fluid, natural sound. Think of the MIDI clip as the base of the beat, and the loop as the ornamentation. Unfortunately, Drum Rack and Impulse can’t warp samples, so unless the loop that you’re using was recorded at the same tempo as the track you’re making (and is perfectly in time), you’ll need to add it to a separate audio track.

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  • 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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  • Using Triplets in Beats

    Using Triplets in Beats

    The elements of electronic music are generally divisible by four: four kicks per bar, eight bars per loop, sixteen notes in a melody. To add interest to your beats, break up the 4/4 using triplet drums. A triplet jams three notes into a space that should only be occupied by two.

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  • Snare Rolls

    Snare Rolls

    It’s been around forever, but the snare roll is still a dancefloor-devastating way to lead out of the breakdown and back into the beat. If your snare roll sounds too robotic and programmed, use MIDI velocity control to make it sound more natural. Program in a basic snare roll (four eighth notes, followed by four sixteenth notes, then eight 32nd notes).

    Read More