• 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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  • Return Track Tips & Tricks

    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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  • 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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  • Audio Effects 101: Time-based FX

    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 Synthesize Risers

    How to Synthesize Risers

    Whooshing risers act as punctuation within a track, signifying the end of one section and the beginning of the next. The simplest kind of riser is just a white-noise generator run through an automated filter.

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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).

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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