Loops.Directory

Unique and creative underground electronic music loops and samples for modern producers.

Loopcloud x Point Blank Remix Competition: Win Over £2000 in Prizes

If you’re a music producer at any level and you use a DAW, chances are you’ve come across Loopmasters and Plugin Boutique, two of the world’s biggest sellers of sample packs and plugins respectively. Well, to celebrate the launch of their free cloud-based platform Loopcloud 2.0, we’ve teamed up with both companies to bring you this outstanding producers remix competition. All you need to do is download Loopcloud and, using any of the 1GB of free sounds you gain access to on downloading, make a ‘remix’ track and submit it via Plugged In. The winner will receive prizes from an array of developers, as well as any of our ‘Complete’ range of online courses.

HOW TO ENTER

Step One: Download Loopcloud and make your track.

  • Use this link to download the programme, giving you access to 1GB of free sounds. Users who download will also get 500 free shop credits and 150 new free samples each week.
  • Make a track in any style or genre – whatever takes your fancy. The only requirement is that you use at least one of the free sounds from Loopcloud
  • Upload your remix to SoundCloud
  • Name the remix “Point Blank x Loopcloud Producer Competition: Your Artist Name ‘Your Track Name’ “

Step Two: Share your remix on Plugged In

  • Note that you will need to be registered in order to submit your track. For those not already registered, you can do so via this page
  • Once you’ve recorded your track and are ready to share it from SoundCloud, head to the Tracks page of Plugged In, then select Add Track to get started
  • On the Add Track page, simply paste the URL of your mix into the ‘track URL’ field, and name the track accordingly. You must also select ‘Competition’ under the ‘select category’ field for your entry to be eligible (see below)
  • Once you submit your track, it will now be visible when you filter in our ‘competition’ category within the Tracks channel. You’re all set!

JUDGING

All entries will be listened to and judged by the Loopcloud and Point Blank listening panel. Entrants are encouraged to promote through their social media channels to maximise the chances of them proceeding to the shortlist stage. Our panel will then judge the shortlisted remixes based on:

  • Votes and listens on Plugged In
  • Originality
  • Songwriting
  • Arrangement
  • Mixdown quality

The deadline for entries is 10th June 2018, and we will announce the winners shortly after. If you’re new to Loopcloud, watch the short video below to learn more and head to this page to see the full list of prizes on offer. Happy producing and good luck!

Want to study at Point Blank? At our London campus, we have a whole studio connected with the Loopcloud library, which you can access as part of your study experience. Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, on which you can also learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing and mastering, composition and music business. We also offer additional degrees in Music Production and DJ Practice as well as Music Industry Management, all fully validated and accredited by Middlesex University. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Our London facility features a studio fully kitted out with Loopcloud licenses

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Loopcloud x Point Blank Remix Competition: Win Over £2000 in Prizes appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Progressing in the Music Industry with Nick Halkes, Co-Founder of XL Recordings (Pt.2)

Following on from our first video a few weeks back, we return to the guest music industry masterclass given by Nick Halkes. Nick is currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, DnB dons Bad Company UK, Ministry of Sound-signed One Bit and more. He is also a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer. Furthermore, since we shared the first part of this video, his ‘Trailblazers’ podcast with Eddie Temple Morris has launched, which aims to explore the lives of electronic music pioneers. At the time of writing, they have covered Gary Numan, Mary Anne Hobbes and Fatboy Slim, and the programme is the number 2 music podcast on iTunes. We’re big fans already and, if you have any interest in electronic music, we recommend you subscribe right away. Don’t forget we offer a range of music industry courses here at Point Blank, including our new BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management, starting in September.

For the second part of his masterclass with us, we pick up where we left off last time, with Nick in NYC…

As Nick brings us along on his journey from WBLS back to university, Easy Street Records to City Beat, Club Promo to A&R and finally to the formation of XL Recordings and the discovery of Liam Howlett and the Prodigy. Much like the first instalment, the story is full of golden anecdotes. These include getting calls from the likes of Pete Tong to his shared phone in student accommodation and hearing ‘Numero Uno’ by Starlight at a party and encountering the familiar hostility of some DJs to track hunters. Plus the fact that Nick designed the XL label himself, despite having no graphic design tuition.

Perhaps more importantly, the video is packed with invaluable wisdom, foremost of which is to be true to your own vision when starting a label or brand. The thing for Nick, it seems, was the desire to pour his energy into something that would look exactly how he wanted and, for him to achieve this, starting his own thing was the most surefire route. Not only that but, as with The Prodigy, it is equally vital to respect the vision that the artists you work with might have, as demonstrated by the Prodigy’s initial reluctance to appear on Top of the Pops, and their subsequent long career stacked with several number 1 releases.

You can follow Nick on social media:

https://twitter.com/nickhalkes

https://www.instagram.com/nickhalkes/

https://www.facebook.com/nick.halkes

Guest masterclasses like this one are something we strive to bring students of all of our classes and recent examples include Shan McGinley visiting our radio students. Check out our courses in these subjects and beyond at each of our schools in LondonMumbaiLos AngelesIbiza and online. If you have any questions, please call a course advisor on +44 20 7729 4884.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Progressing in the Music Industry with Nick Halkes, Co-Founder of XL Recordings (Pt.2) appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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PB Recommends #50: Sharda, Venetian Snares, Hodge & more

Here we are, a half-century into our monthly whip-round of the tracks being played and obeyed by the Point Blank office crew. Once again it’s been a great month for releases, with new bits on some of our favourite labels like Livity Sound, ILIAN Tape, Lobster Theremin and Tectonic. There’s also new music from Wych aka K-Lone, who returns to the formative pastures of dubstep and grime; a syncopated beast from the one and only Venetian Snares; a joyous slice of breaks from Physical Therapy and one of the most infectious tracks we’ve heard in a long time (and current frontrunner for banger of the year) in ‘Chin Up’ by Sharda, the bassline moniker adopted by Manchester’s Murlo. Here’s to another 50 PB Recommends…

For more music, tutorials and class insights head to the Point Blank YouTube channel. We hope these sounds inspire you to take the next step in your music making, and whatever that means to you, we can provide the guidance you need at Point Blank. Our comprehensive BA (Hons) in Music Production & Sound Engineering is a great place to start looking, while we’ve also added two new degree courses ready for next semester: the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice and the BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management. If you’re looking for something shorter, have a look at our radio and DJ. If you’d like to know more, you can find all the ways to contact us here.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post PB Recommends #50: Sharda, Venetian Snares, Hodge & more appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Reason 10.1 is here

Reason 10.1 is here!

We’re very happy to announce that Reason 10.1 is now available! This free update to Reason 10, Reason 10 Intro and Reason 10 Lite includes some exciting news that I think you’ll really like.

We’re introducing a new version of our Rack Extension SDK, featuring Player devices, improved sample loading with sample zones and pattern automation support. As you read this, a bunch of new Rack Extension Players are now available in the shop—including our own Drum Sequencer. The Drum Sequencer is freely available to all Reason 10 users for the month of May so don’t forget to download it.  Want to see the Drum Player in action? Check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr_XQ4qmaPA

We have also added a pretty powerful update to Reason’s flagship synth Europa. You can now load your own samples and wavetables and use as oscillators in the engine. Not only that, you can also use the sample in the Spectral Filter which will then act as the spectral multiplier—a fancy way of saying we create filter curves based on your sample. It’s a really cool feature that we hope will result in a lot of great, new sounds.

“So, what about performance?” I hear you ask. We are aware of some performance issues with VSTs, and trust me, we’re working hard to adress them. Good news is it’s going really well! But it’s a complex project that requires lots of time for testing.  I can’t give you a date at the moment, but this performance optimization will be available as a free update for all Reason 10 owners later this year. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy everything that Reason 10.1 has to offer!

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that based on your feedback, we have decided there will not be any paid upgrades to Reason this year. So there’s absolutely no need to worry about missing out on new features later this year if you’re thinking about upgrading to Reason 10 now.
 

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

 

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Learn seven ways to get better bass

The bassline is often the most important part of a track although it rarely gets the recognition it deserves. A great bassline either holds the music together, combines with a kick to provide the backbone of the track, or even comes screaming out of your speakers to take the lead. But with such varied uses, bass can be a difficult beast to tame… unless you follow these tips to get better bass. Want more? Check out our music production degrees for the most in-depth tuition we offer.

1. EQ is everything

EQ is the obvious way to bolster a bass, but don’t just assume that randomly boosting your bottom end at all points will do the trick – a good bass sound covers a lot more of the frequencies than you might believe, and is not just about the lows. First, enter the region of approximately 60-100Hz and boost by 6dB and listen to how that sounds. It should add more width or ‘girth’ to your bass sound, but be careful as excessive boosting here can also quickly muddy the low end. If you want more definition then you’ll want to be looking more at the mid-frequency range, and boosting by 6 to 8dB between 500Hz and 1kHz should really make your bass sound stand up and be counted. To increase punch, you sharpen the attack of the sound which you can either do by decreasing its envelope attack time or, within your EQ, by nudging things up around 3kHz (although this will very much depend on your sound and could go up to around 6kHz). Experiment with the bass solo’d and then within your whole mix and you’ll soon hear the drama that happens within each part of its frequency range.

2. Compress to impress

Compression is cool because it helps with two bass-heavy tasks: smoothing out the volume of an uneven bassline and helping add some punch to your sound. A compressor basically controls volume but it’s how it does it that is key and that is all down to the compressor’s settings. To create a more even bass track, you set a threshold to stop the volume of the bass going above a certain level – say -6dB – and a ratio to determine how much it reduces the volume if it goes above that threshold. Two other settings – attack and release – determine how quickly the volume is reduced and then increased after the signal drops below the threshold. A medium attack time will let some of the bass transients through and so give you more punch while a faster attack time and slower release will help smooth over an uneven bass. The actual settings on your compressor really depend on the type of bass sound you are using, but try these settings for punch: a ratio of 4: or 5:1 and attack and release times of between 50 and 100ms. Be careful not to go too fast on either of these as you might introduce some distortion. To smooth out an uneven bassline increase the ration to 6:1, the release time to 250-400ms and lower the attack time to as little as 5ms. At the end of the process, you might want to nudge the gain up as you’ll have reduced it in places. Again, use these settings as a starting point because experimentation is key!

3. Lay your bass on me

Creating the perfect single bass sound with EQ and compression is the ideal scenario but if you’re feeling lazy, don’t be afraid to layer different bass sounds together to toughen your lows up. In the same way as you can layer kicks of different types together – say a boomy sub kick and something a little more clicky – to create one almighty kick drum sound, so you can double up with basses. Just make sure that each one you layer doesn’t clash with the other and that each assumes a different role in the overall sound – one might be responsible for the attack part of the sound, for example. And, if necessary, be prepared to surgically EQ them away from each other so that their frequencies don’t clash.

4. And talking of kicks…

Your kick and bass will be the backbone of your track, but because they have a similar dynamic their relationship can be complex because there will be some crossover in terms of frequency and their pan positions (as both should be placed centrally in your stereo mix). So unless you are aiming to layer the kick and bass tightly together, almost creating a single sound – perhaps using a sine wave type sub-bass sound as part of your kick drone – you will need to make sure they sit apart in your mix so they don’t clash. This could be as simple as not playing a bass note at the same time as the kick but this obviously limits your arrangement options. The best idea is to take some of the EQ ideas from the first tip above. Use a spectrum analyser to examine both the kick and bass sound visually so you can see with surgical precision where each sound clashes so can either ‘lift’ the bass away from the kick or vice versa (lift the kick or lower the bass).

5. Programming your bass

You might want a bassline to stay static and unnoticed and that’s fine. If its job is just to bind your track together or to act as its backbone then a solid bass sequence doesn’t have to do much at all – just keep it punchy and not too overpowering in terms of girth (see tip 1). But if you want more interest you can easily get more dynamics with some simple programming tricks. A lot of synth bass sounds alter with velocity – the harder you press a note, the higher the resonance, for example – so at the very least introduce velocity changes as your bassline progresses. Adding legato – where notes almost sweep and slide into each other – is also a great option to introduce a more dynamic feel to a bassline, and even simply taking a note or two within a sequence up an octave will also make a bassline stand out and bounce along.

6. The many uses of the filter

Early dance music introduced the idea of subtle – actually not that subtle – filtering of basslines. Those early acid squeals were all about resonating and raising filter cutoff frequencies of the TB-303 bassline synth, and while that sound endures to this day, the filter has become an important tool for other bass programming tasks. You can use high or low pass filtering to keep sounds away from one another in the mix – as described above with EQ – or use a high pass filter to remove unwanted low end rumble frequencies (sub 30Hz) in either a kick or bass sound. Another tried and tested filter idea is to introduce movement to a bassline via an LFO. Apply this to your filter cutoff frequency for all sorts of effects – from acid screaming to dubstep wobble – or at a much lower rate for really subtle changes in the sound as it progresses through a sequence.

7. Effects? Not really…

Finally, as a general rule, ease off the effects with basslines because they can quickly be overpowered and muddied. Delays, in particular, can sound great in isolation but can quickly get out of control in a mix and reverbs and choruses can start spreading your bass love across the soundstage – not a great idea as you should keep it central. Distortion and overdrive effects can work on a bass sound if it’s quite a simple sub or synth sound to start with, but try not to go overboard.

So there you have it – seven easy-to-follow tips for getting the most from your bass. We offer tuition in music production at all of our school in London, Los Angeles, Ibiza, Mumbai and online, so if you want to get into more detail – you know what to do. To find out more, give us a call or drop us an email, finding our contact details here.

 

The post Learn seven ways to get better bass appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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