• Build a Bass Mono/Stereo Rack in Ableton

    Generally speaking, the bass channel in a track should be in mono: most subwoofers (not to mention club soundsystems) play a mono signal much better than a stereo one.

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  • Mixing the Bass and Kick

    Because the bassline and the kick drum are the two lowest-frequency elements of your track, they’ll often end up occupying the same space...

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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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  • Make a Drum & Bass Beat

    Set Ableton’s tempo to around 175 bpm. Open Drum Rack and load up a kick and snare. Create a new MIDI clip, then put the kick on 1 and 1.3.3. Put a snare on 1.2 and 1.4. This rhythm is the basis of the drum ‘n’ bass beat. Load up three hi-hat samples: one short closed hi-hat and two longer open hi-hats.

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  • Tips for Using Reverb

    A reverb effect creates a complex series of echoes from a source sound. Reverb usually simulates a certain listening environment like a jazz club or a concert hall; used heavily and creatively, it can also warp a source sound until it’s unrecognizable.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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