• 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Using Keytracking

    Keytracking changes a synthesizer’s parameters depending on which note the synth is playing. When positive keytracking is enabled for a parameter, the parameter increases for high notes and decreases for low notes

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  • 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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