• Adding Movement to Pads

    Pads are simple, drawn-out synths that sit in the background of a track. Because they’re background instruments, pads are usually fairly uncomplicated, so as not to distract from the rest of the track.

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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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  • 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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  • Make a Track from Found Sounds

    Prepackaged sample packs are great tools, but unless you alter the samples extensively, they can make your tracks sound cookie-cutter and samey. Recording your own sample packs gives your production a unique sound;

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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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  • 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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  • Using the Ableton Chord Plug-in

    Ableton’s Chord MIDI effect automatically creates a chord from a single MIDI note. The Chord plug-in is really only useful in conjunction with the Scale plug-in, so start by dropping a Scale effect before the synth.

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  • Synchronize a Sidechained Compressor to the Beat

    Sidechained compression is an ubiquitous sound in dance music. Its pumping sound brings a shot of energy to basslines, pads, lead synths, vocals: nearly any element of an EDM track.

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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…

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More