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Recently I have been putting together quite a few downtempo, trip hop style beats for various projects and I thought it might be useful for me to share the basic process I use to get things started. Be aware this is just the foundation for a beat and only one way of doing it, styles and technique will vary massively from project to project ... but I figured some of you may find the techniques used here useful. I have used Cubase with stock plug-ins and instruments here but the techniques could easily be ported to any other DAW. Step 1 Load a Groove Agent One and Create a Basic Pattern Ok,... more



Reaper 5 brought us a bunch of new tools, including the long-awaited VCA faders. Mike Senior touched on these when he outlined a cool relative-trim automation technique back in SOS May 2016., but I’ve noticed more than a few users who remain confused about how VCAs fit into Reaper’s existing schemes for grouping and summing tracks. So this month, I’ll take you through Reaper’s various means of summing and controlling groups of tracks, and explain how VCA faders fit into that broader picture. Busses, subgroups, auxiliary channels, sub-masters... They go by many names and are set up in... more



Welcome back to another article about Propellerhead Reason. In this article, I want to mainly focus on elements that are the so-called lo-fi sounds, how to create low fidelity or artifacts you can create inside Propellerhead Reason itself. While since Reason 9.5 we have access to VST plugins, there are some plugins that mainly focus on to getting that specific feeling. In terms of default Rack devices, it just comes down to understanding what Lo-Fi is. How it got there in the first place. So we are able to mimic its behaviors. However, there are some default Rack Extensions in Reason (like... more


Psychoacoustics adjective A branch of science dealing with the perception of hearing and sensations produced by sound. As a composer, whenever I create royalty free meditation music or hypnosis music I always take the principles of psychoacoustics into account. Essentially, psychoacoustics is the study of the perception of sound, and the ways in which it affects you mentally, emotionally and even physically. You could think of it as a form of music psychology. The fundamental reason why we enjoy listening to music is because it is mood altering. Music can stimulate or sooth you. It can... more



This basically falls under the heading of psychoacoustics, and with knowledge of a few psychoacoustic principles, there are ways that you can essentially ‘hack’ the hearing system of your listeners to bring them a more powerful, clear and ‘larger than life’ exciting experience of your music. Knowing how the hearing system interprets the sounds we make, we can creatively hijack that system by artifically recreating certain responses it has to particular audio phenomena. Here you’ll also gain some extra insights into how and why certain types of audio processing and effects are so useful,... more



When it comes to a genre like ambient in Propellerhead Reason, we always need to take good of them inside our track. A lot of times ambient tracks are pretty much 'empty' as a whole. In comparison to, lets say, EDM tracks there is much more going on. Ambient tracks are usually about drones and soundscapes. While in a lot of times the bass line can be used as a syncopation for the track itself. They can also be used in different ways to drive the listener nuts at some point, not really realizing what is going on with the track. This is also on of the reasons why an Ambient Bass is pretty... more



Why compress during mastering? Is every compressor a mastering compressor? When is it best to cascade your compressors? Get tips on these questions and more. Like equalization and limiting, compression is an important part of mastering. It’s a great way to add punch to your mix as well as a sense of overall control. Used correctly, compression can make your recordings sound richer and more energetic, plus it can help ensure that the various sections of your song flow well into one another. Perhaps most importantly, compression can act as the “glue” that ties all the sonic elements... more



It's very important to understand what mixing actually is. At the very core, it can be boiled down to a simple concept making your song sound good... However, this basic and simple explanation is easily confused with the practice of mastering - a very different topic covered in the next article in this series. To expand on this rudimentary definition of mixing, we can break the topic into five categories Chapter 1 Organization of a mix session Chapter 2 Solo processing of individual channels in your mix Chapter 3 Creative processing of your mix elements Chapter 4 Group processing of... more



You know the feeling when you listen to a well-produced electronic track Everything about it seems to burst with energy, each of the elements twist and wrap organically around each another, giving the impression that the whole track is one big living and evolving 'thing'. But when you're getting into producing electronic -- that is, loop or grid-based music -- it can be really difficult figuring out how to inject your own tracks with this sort of excitement and life-like energy. It seems on the surface like it's just a matter of flicking from one repeated looped section to another but when... more



Once you’ve been making music for a few years, you’ll more than likely begin to notice your production process falling into some of the same patterns and procedures. Favourite plugins and effects chains will emerge, as well as particular chords that you like the feel of, and that thing you do with layering a bass on top of a sub will start to sound a bit less fresh than it did the first time you tried it out. If you make music in a style that is very repetitive also, like House or Techno, you’ll find your beat programming probably started to standardise even more quickly, both in terms of... more


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