• The Best Drum Sample Packs for EDM (Part 1)

    There are probably millions if not billions of drum samples that you can download and drop into your DAW’s drum machine. The depth and availability of these sounds is amazing, but it makes sorting through the billions of samples to find the best ones a bit tough. Here are, in our opinion, five of the best drum sample packs for producing house, drum ‘n’ bass, electrohouse, hip-hop, and trance.

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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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  • 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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  • Doubling Drums

    Using two copies of the same drum sample in a beat makes the drums sound bigger and fuller. Load up a kick, snare and hi-hat into Ableton’s Drum Rack, then open the Rack’s “Chains” section. Right-click the snare drum in the list of chains and select “Duplicate.” Do the same for the hi-hat.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Doubling Drums

    Using two copies of the same drum sample in a beat makes the drums sound bigger and fuller. Load up a kick, snare and hi-hat into Ableton’s Drum Rack, then open the Rack’s “Chains” section. Right-click the snare drum in the list of chains and select “Duplicate.” Do the same for the hi-hat.

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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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