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

Native Instruments Form (Komplete 11): Key Features Tutorial

Last year Native Instruments announced the long-awaited Reaktor 6. Now within their latest release of Komplete 11, they have introduced Form, a new hybrid sample-based synth that they’ve created as an ensemble in Reaktor 6. In our new online Native Instruments Komplete course we examine all aspects of Reaktor 6, including creating synths from scratch in the intuitive software.

In the video above, instructor Dan Herbert gives you the full lowdown on the key features of Form, covering its extensive effects capabilities as well as the innovative Motion control. Watch above and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tutorials and live events.

daniel_herbert_640Point Blank instructor Dan Herbert shows you how to build subtractive and FM synthesizers using Blocks in this course excerpt video

If you want to learn more about Reaktor, Blocks, Massive, FM8 and all of the Komplete range, our new online NI Komplete course looks at all this and more in detail. Not only will you learn the fundamentals of synthesis, you’ll master NI’s ground-breaking plugins Absynth, Massive and of course Reaktor. Find out more about the course 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 Native Instruments Form (Komplete 11): Key Features Tutorial appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

10 DJ Tips From Industry Pros

As DJ technology continues to evolve, we continue to learn new ways to perform. We reached out to our talented instructors and other industry professionals to ask them what makes a great DJ?

DJ Tips

DJ Shiftee

A valuable DJ tip is knowing how to organize your music before a gig. Here is how I like to organize my music in Traktor.

1. Make a playlist folder for the gig, and make a single playlist in the folder called ALL. For Serato users (I’m a Traktor man), just make one gig crate and then the equivalent substrates.

2. Make a single playlist of all the songs you might want to play. Scour your other playlists and past sets to make a single, all-powerful gig playlist. Make sure you have enough tracks, but also that everything is really something you want to play. For an hour set, I typically have 100-150 songs in the list.

3. Make playlists (substrates) in your gig folder of all the different types of songs in the ALL Playlist. That is, what are all the different types of tracks that you’d like in your set? Create playlists based on feeling, energy, genre, etc.

4. Sort the songs from your ALL playlist, and only your ALL playlist, into your new folder playlist. Feel free to place a single song in more than one playlist. I love this method because it focuses not only the songs you want to play but also gives you easy access to finding the right song for the right moment. Maybe I’m just a big moron, but in the past, I’d have gig playlists and then huge genre playlists. The result was inefficiency in finding the right song to match the idea in my head. In short, you are doing normal music organization on a micro level with only the tracks you know you want to play.

Justin James

Preparation, to me, is the most integral aspect of DJing. This preparation I require comes in two parts; music preparation and technology preparation.

Knowing the music and having a rough idea of what tunes you plan to play will allow you to stay focused on the crowd and be comfortable behind the decks.

Having an elaborate setup is a blessing and a curse for me. It allows me to have a great deal of control over what is heard but also takes a fair amount of time to set up. Taking the time to prepare in soundcheck or setup on a second mixer (if the booth permits) is ideal to take away the stress of changeover right before your set.

For the list part, I’m a fairly spontaneous person. However, as a professional I feel is important to be somewhat proactive as a DJ to reward you listeners and yourself with the best set you can provide through some simple preparation.

Justin James

Mike Huckaby

Study the crowd like never before. At every gig you play, there are usually 1-3 people in the crowd or on the dancefloor that you need to pay attention to. These are the key individuals who set the tone of the night. They are usually the ones that set it off for everyone else. Everyone else is paying attention to them, but they would never admit it. These key people usually set the comfort zone and allow others to express themselves in ways that they would never do otherwise. They are also the first ones to dance, set the pace, and the tone of the night. If you study these key individuals during your set and push their buttons, it will have a positive effect on you, others, and the whole night. It works every time.

DJ Endo

Use Traktor’s Sample Decks to create loops of the best parts of your tracks. Before sampling the track, make sure that the track is perfectly beat gridded to a metronome, and use the Sample Decks to create loops that you would want to use in a live performance. To do this, create a loop in a Track Deck, then click and drag from the deck header to a Sample Deck slot. To save the sample you will need to un-mute the sample slot and either let the sample play all the way through three times, or you can just turn the sample slots play button on and off three times really fast. The loop will then be saved under Track Collection – All Samples. Once you have a bunch of loops saved, you can additionally rename the loops by clicking on the track name in the browser. I also like to keep my loops named under 15 characters long.

DJ Endo

Adam Freeland

Turn your volume down. Most sound systems have a compressor on the front of the house anyway, so cranking it louder and into the red on the mixer isn’t going to do anything but make everything sound worse. Louder does not necessarily equal better. Keep your volume at a reasonable level and give the front of house sound guy some headroom and he’ll make sure you sound good. Give him a distorted signal and there’s nothing he can do except turn you down.

Alex Burkat

Exercise your patience as DJ and the audience will follow. Don’t mix too fast unless the crowd demands it. If it’s a packed room and they’re ready, go all in, but if they’re still warming up, build their anticipation for the rest of the night – you want them to be there all night, right?

alex burkat

JP Solis

Learn to pace yourself; magic happens when it’s not forced. Try playing three of your favorite records in a row before you “go in” on the bangers. You will know when you’ve locked into a groove. It’s a feeling you’re after. Everything around you will blur, and it’s just you and the tunes. At that point, let the music tell you where to go, what to play next, how long to play it, how fast or slow it should be, how loud it should be, which FX to use, and how it should be EQ’d.

JP Solis

Matt Cellitti

Learn to produce. Unless you have some exemplary skill you can showcase such as DMC-style scratching, controllerism tricks, or amazing audio/visual presentation, then producing your own music in conjunction with DJing is the best way to make a name for yourself.

Matt Cellitti

DJ Kiva

Don’t let your computer go to sleep while DJing. If your computer puts the display or hard drive to sleep during the middle of a performance, it will make the audio stutter, drop out, or freeze. Before you perform, you can change your system preferences to make sure this won’t happen. On a Mac, Open ‘System Preferences’ and go to the ‘Energy Saver’ settings. Set ‘Computer Sleep’ and ‘Display Sleep’ to ‘Never.’ Also, uncheck the box by the option to ‘Put the hard disk to sleep when possible.’ After the show, you can change the energy settings back to its original settings to preserve your computer’s lifespan during day to day use.

Martín Perna

I use iTunes extensively to edit tags and find ways to classify the music through creating different additional categories and also to make sure my genre/sub-genre listings are all uniform and together. In iTunes also I worked out a more detailed system of playlists starting with larger general ones, then working with that list to create more specific sub-folders. For instance, a folder called Latin America, then subfolders based on countries: Puerto Rico, Cuba, NYC, DR, Colombia, etc. In addition, I’ll organize that list by genres and artists. This helps me create mixes that have more common narratives, and when I want to find something I have it at my fingertips along with other songs that share some common characteristic or criteria. This process of filing and categorization has helped me also become better at keeping my vinyl shelves organized and has given me new ways of thinking about the music and what goes together. All of this has taken a lot of time. I’ve been using iTunes for over eight years and am just getting around to making sense of it. It didn’t happen overnight, but it’s an ongoing process and a rewarding one.

Martín Perna


DJing with Traktor Program

The definition of DJing has changed dramatically in the last decade. Laptops, controllers, and software have emerged alongside traditional turntables and CDJs, smashing the barrier to entry. In today’s digital age, anyone can become a DJ. To reflect this renaissance, Dubspot has created the DJing with Traktor Program. In both our physical and online schools, students will learn how to DJ entirely with Traktor’s cutting-edge technology. An emphasis will be placed on the concepts of DJing rather than simply learning how to use the software.

About This Program

Starting with a historical overview, students will learn the fundamental concepts of DJing via Traktor’s intuitive interface. They will then delve into the vast array of possibilities offered by this groundbreaking software, presenting their work along the way. Students will leave with finished DJ mixes, a thorough understanding of DJing with Traktor, and a solid skill set ready for further development.

What’s Included

  • DJing with Traktor Level 1: Introduction to DJing
  • DJing with Traktor Level 2: Phrase Mixing
  • DJing with Traktor Level 3: Beyond The Beatmatch

Additional Information

Visit the DJing with Traktor course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


The post 10 DJ Tips From Industry Pros appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

Read more here

Richy Ahmed


Ahead of his appearance at Social Festival this weekend, Richy Ahmed takes on our quick-fire Q&A.

Why music?

Because it’s my biggest passion and what makes me happy.

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?

I’d be a positive life coach.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t try to be cool, just try to be good!

What inspires you?

Kind, positive and giving people.

What’s the next big thing?

Everything 4ThirtyTwo.

Best club experience?

DC10 2004 closing party.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Scraping rust off TVs for about £1.50 an hour when I was just finishing college.

How do you know when a track’s finished?

I don’t think you ever know when a track’s finished – if you really wanna drag it out you can, but when it gives you that head-nod on the dancefloor, for me that’s when it works and sounds good.

What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up?

Last day job I had was as an account manager for a big IT company, and I realised I could give it up when I came back from Ibiza and they were shutting my office and wanting me to move to London or they were giving us three months’ severance, so I took the money and ran straight back to Ibiza!

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Michael Jackson – ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)’.

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

Have mates that are DJs, lol.

What or who is underrated?

Craig Richards is underrated.

What are you addicted to?

I am definitely addicted to music and having a good time.

What do you lust over?

Pie and mash.

What is your greatest regret?

I don’t have any regrets – I don’t think you should have them.

What one thing would most improve your life?

To be more organised.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

A mad bar in Sheffield years and years ago where someone came up to us and asked if I had “anything good”!

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

Rich creative experience for sure.

How do you relax?

I meditate a lot and watch documentaries about all sorts.

What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?

Moog Voyager – because it sounds mega and it doesn’t matter what you do with it, you don’t have to tweak it or play with it – it just sounds analogue, warm and ready to go.

Art or money?


What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?

Chin strokers.

What’s your favourite label? Why?

There are too many to mention. Running Back is just one of my favourites. I like how they put out everything from electro to disco to techno effortlessly and it’s always classic-sounding.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

Repetitive loop syndrome – when you listen to your track all the time and by the time you finish you can’t stand it!

What’s your motto?

“At the end of the day it will be sound.” Or “fuck it”.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

The most important thing is to make sure the bass and kick drums sit right. If you can get these to gel, everything else falls into place!


Richy Ahmed plays Social Festival at The Kent County Showground in Maidstone, Kent this Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th of September. Find him on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Read more here

Pete Tong, Eli & Fur, CAA & Listen Up! Industry Panel @ IMS College Malta 2016

There are many aspects of the music industry to consider. Even if you’ve mastered production, composition and mixing, getting yourself out there, heard on national radio and booked at gigs is a whole other art form. At Point Blank, our courses aim to give you all the ammo you need to not only get to grips with music-making, but to understand how the wider music industry works. One of the ways we do it is to give our students the chance to speak to those at the very top of their game, and when we teamed up with International Music Summit for their first IMS College, that’s exactly what we did.


No one can doubt Pete Tong’s legacy as one of the most influential figures in modern music history. His role as a broadcaster, in breaking new records, signing the latest talent, developing big name artists and DJing in clubs all over the world, he’s the perfect person to advise the next generation. Joined on stage by producer duo Eli & Fur, Laura Newton from CAA and Listen Up!’s Lucy Allen, we talked about all angles of the industry, from the early mistakes the panelists made to promoting yourself and artist development. Watch the video above and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more live events.

At our schools in London and LA, we regularly have guest artists and speakers come in to pass on their invaluable knowledge about the industry, production, promotion, performance and more. Our Music Industry module – part of our Music Production and Sound Engineering Master Diploma – is just one of the ways you can learn about the ins and outs of the industry. Find out more 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 Pete Tong, Eli & Fur, CAA & Listen Up! Industry Panel @ IMS College Malta 2016 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Basic Guide to Understanding Audio Equalizers

This guide aims to give you a better understanding of the different types and uses of equalizers used in music production as well as offers some basic EQing tips to maximize your music.


During the course of a project, mixing and equalization are often one of the most important processes that can ultimately make or break your tune. Proper EQing is essential to add clarity and depth to your music, balance elements in a mix, and enhance sounds. Equalization is commonly used in music production to boost or cut specific frequency ranges to create depth and space in a mix, improve or emphasize the sound of particular elements, isolate or remove specific frequencies, and fix sounds with competing frequency ranges to achieve clarity. Equalization is critical for creating a polished track and a professional sound.

Equalizers Explained

There are multiple types of equalizers, but the most common equalizers in music production are parametric, graphic, and shelving equalizers.

Shelving Equalizer


This type of equalizer is the most basic out of the three types and is commonly found in nearly all sound mixers and amplifiers. Shelving equalizers allow for cutting or boosting of the signal at fixed frequency ranges and often have predetermined filter curves. There are two different varieties: high-pass and low-pass. Low-pass shelving filters attenuate all frequencies above a specified cutoff frequency while retaining all the frequencies below the cutoff frequency. A high-pass filter does the opposite, by allowing all frequencies above the specified cutoff frequency to pass while attenuating everything below. The fixed frequency ranges for the low-shelf filter may begin to roll off around 150 Hz and below, while the high-shelf filter may begin to roll off around 10,000 Hz and above. Typically, shelving equalizers have ‘Low’ and ‘High’ knobs, and sometimes a ‘Mid’ knob for adjusting the midpoint frequencies. Analog shelving equalizers are great for adding color to your sounds in a musical way that enhances a sound. This is sometimes referred to as ‘sweetening.’

Graphic Equalizer


Graphic equalizers give you the ability to adjust a range of frequencies using a bank of slider controls that are evenly spaced to boost or attenuate the signal through the audio spectrum from around 20 Hz up to 20,000 kHz. Basic graphic equalizers will have two or three bands, while more advanced graphic equalizers can have up to 30 or more bands. Graphic equalizers with narrower bandwidths have greater precision and are generally used to fine-tune the overall mix. They are not as effective when mixing because there is no control over the filter shape, steepness of the filter shape, and bandwidth of each individual band. Yes, more sliders provide more accuracy, but for optimum control, a parametric equalizer is recommended. When working with a graphic equalizer, it’s better to make small, incremental adjustments over a wider spectrum to round out your final mix rather than making drastic adjustments to any particular frequency bands.

Parametric Equalizer


Parametric Equalizer

Parametric equalizers are the most common and flexible form of equalization. This multiband equalizer has fully configurable and adjustable frequency bands that can be individually enabled or disabled to cut, boost, and filter individual frequency ranges with the highest precision. Parametric equalizers are typically digital and offer the highest possible sound quality. This type of equalizer is often used to shape a sound precisely at each defined frequency and is recommended for doing any surgical work like cutting harsh or unpleasant frequencies.

Common parameters found on a parametric equalizer include:

  • Frequency: Adjusts the frequency range for each selected band.
  • Gain: Sets the level of the selected band. This parameter is often deactivated when the low-pass or high-pass filter shape is selected.
  • Resonance or ‘Q’: Controls the bandwidth by allowing you to widen or narrow the selected frequency band.
  • Filter Slope: Sets the steepness of the filter when either the low-pass or high-pass filter is selected.
  • Filter Type: Allows you to choose the filter shape for the selected frequency band.

Common Filter Types

Understanding the different filter types and knowing how they change the signal is also key knowledge when treating sounds. Below are some common filter types used to shape your sounds.

Low-pass: Removes frequencies above the selected frequency cutoff and passes everything below.


Low Shelf: Passes all frequencies, but attenuates or boosts frequencies below the shelf frequency band by specified amount.


Bell Curve: Attenuates or boosts frequencies over a determined range. Bell curves can be wide or narrow.


Notch: Attenuates frequencies over a determined range allowing low and high frequencies to pass on either side of the cutoff. Also referred to as a band-rejection filter.


Band-pass: Passes frequencies within a certain range and removes frequencies outside that range.


High Shelf: Passes all frequencies, but attenuates or boosts frequencies above the shelf frequency band by specified amount.


High-pass: Removes frequencies below the selected frequency cutoff and passes everything above.


General EQ Tips and Techniques

To further explain equalization, we will use Ableton Live’s ‘EQ Eight’ device to show some basic EQing techniques and explore some common features found on most EQ plugins. These tips apply to any DAW program or parametric equalizer.

The goal when using an equalizer is to either boost, cut or attenuate certain audio frequencies of sounds to give them depth and space in a mix, emphasize certain characteristics of sounds so they cut through the mix better, isolate or remove specific frequencies, and reduce muddiness with competing frequency ranges to achieve clarity.

Cut Unwanted Frequencies

A great way to begin EQing sounds, so they sit better in the mix is to first remove any unnecessary frequencies using either a low-pass or high-pass filter. For example, high-hats usually sit higher in the frequency spectrum but may produce unnecessary low frequencies that can be removed using a high-pass filter. This approach will clean up the sound and help the high-hats cut through the mix better. Using a similar technique, you could use a low-pass filter to remove any unnecessary high frequencies from your bass, which will open up space and allow a lead sound that has higher frequency content to cut through the mix better.


Subtractive EQ

Subtractive EQing is an equalization technique where you reduce frequencies instead of boosting them to allow a sound stand out better in the mix. Give subtractive EQing a try and you may find out that less is more. Often, many of us want to boost frequencies to emphasize certain characteristics of sounds so they cut through the mix. This is fine, but sometimes reducing frequencies is better than adding them. For example, say you have a high lead synth and a low lead synth playing together, and at the moment it’s hard to distinguish them apart. One option could be to boost the high frequencies of the high lead synth to make it stand out more. This would work, but there is also another option. Try instead adding a high-shelf filter to the low lead synth to cut away some high frequencies, which will make the high frequencies of the high lead synth seem brighter. The high lead synth will also retain a more natural and realistic sound compared to boosting it.


In addition, if you tend to boost a lot of frequencies then the end result will leave you with a lot of competing frequencies, which will ultimately muddy up the mix or create a more sharp and thinner sound. Avoid the temptation to boost the same frequencies on every instrument or track as well because those frequencies will collectively overwhelm the mix and once again muddy things up. Using subtractive EQing will help give your mix added clarity and separation, allowing individual sounds to be heard clearly. This technique may be a bit more tedious, but the end result will leave you with a warmer, more natural mix.

Mixing in Context

A common mistake that can be hard to break, and what I still do at times, is to EQ instruments or tracks separately in isolation to make them sound as awesome as possible. Although this might make an instrument sound great while soloed, it may sound like rubbish once the other elements of the mix are brought into play. It’s recommended to make EQ moves in context of a mix because that’s where things need to sound good, right? It’s important to use the solo button sparingly and make your EQ adjustments while all your tracks are playing at the same time to get your sounds sitting in the mix properly.

Up Front or Back Seat

Equalization is also great for achieving depth. For example, boosting high frequencies bring sounds forward in the mix and makes them sound more present. Reducing high frequencies has the opposite effect and makes sounds seem further back in the mix and more distant. Boosting low frequencies has a different effect and can make sounds warmer or more full while reducing too many low frequencies can make a sound thin, shrill or less powerful.


Sound Separation

When writing a tune, try to remember to give everything it’s own place in the mix. Try EQing every instrument with slightly different frequency ranges to give them separation so that they won’t clash with each other. As a whole, this will help your mix have clarity and sound full across the frequency spectrum.

However, giving instruments their own space in the mix can be accomplished with little or no EQing. Try instead, panning instruments to improve clarity. Having too many instruments in the same panning location can create conflicting frequencies as well. In addition, try using a plugin such as Ableton Live’s Utility device to widen or narrow the stereo width of an instrument to give the sound it’s own place in the mix.


Fixing Unpleasant Frequencies

At times you may hear a sound with some unpleasant frequencies that you’re not sure how to eliminate. Well, one easy method to fix problem frequencies is to find the parts of a sound that need to be removed by using a parametric EQ. Try boosting the gain way up on one band with a narrow ‘Q’ and then using the frequency knob to ‘sweep’ across the frequency spectrum until the problem sound becomes prominent. The unpleasant elements should really stand out because the gain is so high. When you find the frequency where the problem is at it’s worst, reduce the gain to cut that frequency and adjust the ‘Q’ until you have happily removed the problem.


Boost Wide and Cut Narrow

When EQing it’s more often better to make subtle moves to avoid diminishing a sound. When cutting frequencies, try to make narrow cuts by increasing the ‘Q’ instead of having wide cuts. Wider cuts will remove too many frequencies and ultimately make a sound dull or weak. When boosting frequencies, try using a wider ‘Q’ while increasing the ‘Gain’ slightly to achieve more natural results. Narrow boosts sound more harsh and unnatural. Also, you could run into problems with high spikes in the overall mix signal.


It is also ok to use several equalizers in a chain to reach your desired results. In addition, using multiple equalizers will spread out the workload. You could even use different types of equalizers that each color the sound differently to achieve a more enhanced sound.


Lend an Ear

Lend a helping ear to your buddy. Getting a second opinion on your mixing and EQing from someone that isn’t too close to the project helps tremendously.


Applying this basic knowledge to proper EQing is important for today’s music production process. It can be used to correct problems, improve sounds, allow elements to have their own space in the mix, or in a more creative manner, allow you to shape sounds in a less natural, but in a musically creative way. Use these tips as needed, but whatever you do, try not to get into the habit of thinking that radical amounts of EQing will help fix an imperfect sound during the mixing stage.

EQ Frequency Chart

Future Music has created a useful EQ frequency chart which should give you a rough idea about the frequency ranges for different sounds. Keep in mind that EQ moves will vary depending on the sounds you’re using and most importantly your ears!

Future Music


Mixing and Mastering Program

Transform rough ideas and basic compositions into dance floor bangers and sonically pleasing commercial quality masters. Learn the well-kept industry secrets of EQ, compression, panning, level balancing, reverb and special effects.

Mixing and MasteringAbout This Program

This program gives you everything you need to refine tracks into a clear commercial quality release, including special mixing and mastering techniques for dubstep, techno, house, trance, downtempo, hip-hop, and the gamut of electronically-produced music.

You will learn to mix and master your tracks using the same plugins that top industry engineers use every day, including plugins by Izotope, Soundtoys, Sonnox, Altiverb, and more.

What’s Included

  • Mixing & Mastering Level 1: Mix
  • Mixing & Mastering Level 2: Modify
  • Mixing & Mastering Level 3: Master

Additional Information

Visit the Mixing and Mastering course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


The post Basic Guide to Understanding Audio Equalizers appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

Read more here