• 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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  • Frequency Splitting with Effects

    Frequency splitting divides a sound’s frequency spectrum into sections, allowing you to alter one section of the spectrum without changing the rest.

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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 3-D Mixing

    To prevent sonic conflict, each element in your track needs its own space in the mix. To help you put each element in its own space, think of the mix as if it were filling a room...

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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 Make a Trance Gate Effect

    Add the sound that you want to gate (either a piece of recorded audio or a synth plug-in) to a new channel in Ableton. Create a new MIDI channel, then add the Impulse drum machine to this new channel....

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  • Using Pitch Bend

    Pitch bending smoothly lowers or raises the pitch of a note according to a defined envelope. You can quickly access a MIDI clip’s pitch bend envelope in Ableton...

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