• 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Doubling Vocals

    Doubling vocals makes them sound bigger and fuller in the mix. A vocal doubler plug-in creates two (or more) copies of the vocal, pans them to the left and right, then adds a slightly different delay...

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  • Make a Formant Filter

    Formant filters (loosely) simulate the characteristics of the human voice. When a formant filter is set to the letter “E,” for example, it emphasizes the frequencies contained in the “E” sound...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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