Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Dance Music Production’

My first tune to incorporate my modular synth!! And yes, it is House, not Drum & Bass. I fancied a bit of a change, and to be honest, the modular does lend itself to House & Techno styles, and I just found it great fun to do!!

For the synth heads out there (if not your thing, skip this bit), the modular sound (the bouncy sound at the beginning of the tune) is produced using 2 No. Tiptop Z3000’s Oscillators going through a Tiptop Z2040 Low Pass filter, which is heavily modulated via some LFO’s, synched via a 4MS QCD and Audio Damage Sequencer 1. This is then further processed within the DAW with a delay, another filter (cutoff tempo synched), a bit of distortion, compression, EQ & finally some soft clipping. The sound is duplicated onto another track, with different processing to provide the mid and low frequencies. This was a real pain to get right, as I wanted some depth a points, but also I did not want the sound to get too muddy.

Anyway, onto other aspects of the production!!

This track totally veered off from my original vision. I wanted the result to be much harder, but I played around with some chords, that ended up becoming the main arpeggiated lead, that I could not resist to use. This resulted in a much more laid back and chilled track. With this basis, I then used the same root note and chords for the violins.

I have used “Cytomic – The Glue” a fair bit on this tune, which has to be honest become my “go to” compressor. I just love the SSL sound, and I have got used to the way it works on the transients, and like how the attack & decay work. I have used “The Glue” on quite of few individual channels, from Violins to tame down some of the high frequencies, to the arpeggiated chords. I love this compressor on the 2-bus it’s just got this lovely “sheen” to it.

The mix down was a long drawn out process, but to be honest, there was some learning on the way that slowed things down, I’m sure a pro could have mixed this in a 10th of the time I have. I used a few new tools this time, mainly “KRK KNS-8400” Headphones that helped me shape the bottom end and Kick (Even with extensive treatment, I cannot trust my room 100%), and they also are a good second reference. I also used the Elysia Museq EQ. Wow, is all I can say about this plugin. It is so transparent, and you can really push some gain without it sounding harsh. I would not use it for clinical chopping, it’s not for that, but to just bring them violins out a bit, and to do wonders on the Master Buss it’s great.

Another new first, was using soft clipping techniques, to clip the transients on the snare and on the Master Buss (amongst others). This allowed me to bring the overall volume of the track up in a more transparent way, than say a compressor, prior to some final limiting.

Samplemagic AB was another great plug-in I have started to rely on, so that I can easily compare my track to commercial releases. I’m still working on getting them to sound as good as the commercial releases though ;-p

Anyway, now this tune is finished I can go back to my modular for further inspiration. Mmmm damn, that means more nights lost in the deep deep hole of the modular world 🙂

Due to the complex nature of the bass lines I write,  I often use soft synths such as Native Instruments Massive. The soft synth realm allows you to modulate and twist up sounds to your hearts content, with DAW’s such as Ableton Live providing ultra flexibility. So I surprised myself, just over a year ago when I bought my first hardware synth, the Moog Slim Phatty.

I was in my local synth store (Production Room, Leeds) and one of the guys said “Hey Keith, check this out, you will love it”, and there it was, a Moog Slim Phatty. I must admit at first I was thinking “Are these guys nuts, it’s a Moog, it’s just for prog rock guys, have you forgot that I do dnb?”. Once I played it though, and the speaker cones started shaking, I was like “Wow I need one of these!!!”.

So now back to the current time line, I want to share with you my experience with this synth for Modern Electronic Dance Music production.  (more…)