Loops.Directory

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

The Point Blank Guide to Found Sounds

Samples are a key ingredient in electronic music but, as in cooking, it’s sometimes tempting to reach for the ready-made stuff. Listen to aspiring connoisseurs on the other hand, and they will say it’s all about working from scratch, preferably using the best analogue produce. Then there’s the diehards who say the only way to get results is to go out and forage in the wild.

Found sounds are samples taken not of recorded drums or retro synths but of, well, anything else. The found sound community can be niche with forums on the web devoted to explorers who methodically record trains, echoes under bridges, folk singing, chanting, breathing, birds and trips to the dry cleaners. But this kind of creative sampling, particularly when treated with effects, can add an element of originality to your tunes.

Mistabishi’s hit ‘Printer Jam’ – made almost entirely of samples from an old printer

Now, a true found sound pioneer will tell you the whole point is going out and grabbing samples on your own – lo-fi recordings on phones and background hiss only add to the authenticity. But, as a starting point on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of found sound sites and forums below. Best of all? The very nature of found sounds means these are all free.

The Forums

FreeSound

Found Sounds

Our favourite site and the most truly leftfield. If you’ve ever thought of it, it’s probably here. Indian construction workers doing a railroad song? Check. Lebanese music in a Berlin restaurant with German conversations over the top? Check. The nature of these free sites means the interfaces often feel old fashioned but FreeSound’s waveform displays and easy-to-navigate categories make it relatively painless to get digging.

Sample Swap

Picture1

Possibly the original free sample site with as much emphasis on conventional samples and royalty free tracks as found sounds. A bit more convoluted than the above but definitely worthy of a bookmark.

Bundles

Picture1

We get it. You’re intrigued, but you’re impatient and don’t want to spend your precious evening production time listening to endless two-second clips. Well, you’re in luck – Music Radar‘s Sample Radar has a massive collection of completely free samples, available to download in bundle form, many of which are found sounds including old cinema rips and weird FX. The whole lot is here and a more streamlined found sounds list is here.

General Sites – Our Favourites

The above bundles and forums are great launchpads, but if you’re really keen to dig deep there’s plenty out there to keep you occupied. These are the ones we keep returning to:

NASA

Interestingly, only some of NASA’s collection of audio recordings are available for download, but those that are include the Voyager Golden Record. This was the series of music, images and messages NASA recorded onto disc in the ’70s, intended to educate alien races about culture and life on earth. Eat your heart out Damian Lazarus, you don’t get much more cosmic disco than that.

TFL Recordings

1408_AOTU_Underline_MattRogers_GIF.02_frames_reduced.02-794x462Sample Set Graphic Score, Matt Rogers, 2015

Composer Matt Rogers was commissioned by TFL to explore the various environments of the Victoria line, from the platforms to operation rooms. Breaking his recordings down into a collection of discreet noises, percussive passages and ambient sound, Victoria Line Sample Set offers an intriguing sonic portrait of something many Londoners don’t think twice about. Even better, the entire collection is free for anyone to download and use in their own compositions.

ILAM – International Library of African Music

ILAM

Rhodes University recently published their extensive collection of sub-Saharan African chanting, monologues and tribal songs which have been making their way into a string of producers’ arsenals – not least Rudimental…

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Actually, Googling anything weird and audio related – supposedly ‘ghostly’ echoes, voices in empty castles, examples of so-called electronic voice phenomena – will likely take you to a Wikipedia page and a downloadable audio file. There’s some pant-ruiningly odd ghost recordings, but our favourites are the collections of Cold War Russian military broadcast stations. They play strange coded audio loops, and to this day many are still running. File under ‘gloomy apocalyptic techno’. The black t-shirt crowd will love it.

Erm… YouTube

Many producers we’ve spoken to have admitted to ripping samples off YouTube routinely. That obscure funk record, a lesser-known 1930s jazz solo. Why not? On the found sounds front the platform gets even better. Pretty much every famous film quote, kooky 1980s documentary, machine test and animal noise is on there. Change those DAW recording settings to ‘internal’ and crack on!

Found sounds can add an edge unbeatable originality to your tracks. They’re free, and figuring out how to chop them, adapt them, add the right effects and fit them to your track will also bring you on leaps and bounds as a producer. Appropriately seduced? Go out and record some yourself! If you want to learn more sound design, production, mixing, mastering and composition tips, our Online Master Diploma course is perfect for you. Taken from anywhere in the world for up to 64 weeks, it’s one of our most comprehensive courses and has been taken by the likes of Claude Von Stroke, Plastician and Jon Rundell. 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 The Point Blank Guide to Found Sounds appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Key Detection Lab Report: Mixed In Key vs. Beatport

Mike Henderson aka ENDO, a veteran DJ, Co-Founder of AGNT and MIDI Monsters, TRAKTOR specialist for Native Instruments, and Instructor at Dubspot compares the key detection accuracy between Mixed In Key and Beatport.

Mixed In Key

Overview

Harmonic mixing is becoming an industry standard for professional DJs all over the world. It is an innovative way to mix tracks together that are in the same or related keys, resulting in better sounding DJ sets. Mixing harmonically compatible tracks makes it easier and more pleasing to perform long blends and mash-ups. The goal is to eliminate key clashes.

Mixed In Key

Harmonic mixing consists of two elements: knowing the key of every song that you play and knowing which keys are compatible. You can find the keys of your songs with a piano, a good ear, and a background in music theory. To save time, you can also use professional DJ software such as Mixed In Key. Mixed In Key is an innovative tool used to scan your MP3 and WAV files to show you the key of every song. The idea behind Mixed In Key is that it analyzes the harmonies and melodies of your music and then adds ID3 metadata to every track such as the musical key, bpm, track title, artist, and more. This information helps you choose tracks that are harmonically compatible with each other quickly, resulting in super-fluid mixing.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Many of the world’s top DJs use Mixed In Key. It works with Traktor, Serato, Pioneer CDJs, Virtual DJ, Ableton Live, and various other DJ apps. Check out my article on Harmonic Mixing to learn more about Mixed In Key and the concept of mixing harmonically here.

Beatport Key Detection

Beatport has become a widely used platform for downloading and listening to new and exclusive electronic dance music. The Beatport Pro online music store uses internal software to determine the key and bpm of tracks. You can also filter tracks, genres, and artist releases by musical key, allowing you to make purchase decisions based on your harmonic mixing needs.

Beatport

Mixed In Key vs. Beatport

Both Mixed In Key and Beatport offer worthy harmonic key detection algorithms, but which one is better? I thought it would be a good time to do another harmonic mixing lab report DJ Endo style to see who has the best key detection algorithm on the market. You can see my previous lab report here.

In this comparison, I’ve taken 100 songs purchased from Beatport and manually found the key of each track using a piano. I then analyzed all the tracks with Mixed In Key and compared the results with Beatport’s key detection.

Just a little background on me: I’m classically trained and have been keying songs with a piano for several years. I’ve also been a hardcore beta tester for Mixed In Key since the beginning and have sent them thousands of tracks that I’ve keyed on the piano to help with their algorithm. The chart below displays the results for every track I keyed with the piano. The tracks that were incorrectly analyzed are highlighted in bold letters.

Mixed In Key Results

Mixed In Key = 81% Accurate

Out of 100 songs analyzed in Mixed In Key, 81 were correctly analyzed. Out of the songs that were incorrectly analyzed, 10 of them were listed either a fifth below or above the correct key. When looking at the Mixed In Key Camelot Wheel, a fifth is only one step away. For example, a track that should be 8A was analyzed in Mixed In Key as 9A. Note, tracks that are a fifth apart are harmonically compatible as well. In addition, most of these tracks were tech house, deep house, and techno, so many of them didn’t have strong harmonic content.

mixed in key

Beatport Results

Beatport = 68% Accurate

Out of the 100 songs that I looked up on Beatport, only 68 of them displayed the correct key. Of the 32 tracks that were analyzed incorrectly, 8 of those tracks displayed the correct root note of the scale, but wrong major or minor key. For example, a track in A Minor displayed as A Major. Also, 8 of the tracks that were incorrectly analyzed were analyzed a fifth off. The rest of the tracks were completely off.

Final Results

As a conclusion, I have to say Mixed In Key is AMAZING and has come a long way with its key detection! I was completely blown away by its accuracy. Any track with some kind of recognizable melody was analyzed correctly majority of the time. I highly recommend Mixed In Key to any DJ ready to step up their mixing game. The software is under $60 and will completely change your DJ life forever!

Mixed In Key

Beatport, on the other hand, still needs some improvements with their key detection. Nevertheless, the new Beatport website is still great and completely designed for DJs. I have been spent many all-nighters digging through thousands of tracks on their website.

Congratulations to Beatport for the release of their new website, and congratulations to Mixed In Key for taking their software to the next level! However, in the key detection battle, Mixed In Key wins this round!

 


DJ Extensive Program

Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing: from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch Pro.

Click here to view the embedded video.

About This Program

At Dubspot you’ll be working at personal student workstations equipped with industry standard and cutting-edge technology: Technics SL-1200 / 1210 series turntables, Pioneer CDJs, Pioneer DJM or Rane TTM mixers, Apple iMacs and MacBook Pros, Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch Pro, Serato Scratch Live, vinyl, CDs, timecode, and MIDI controllers.

Our instructors teach you the necessary techniques and draw on their vast collective experience to give you insight into the mindset, workflow, and art of DJing. Graduates of the DJ Extensive Program will have an opportunity to perform at an event in a New York City venue, organized and promoted by Dubspot together with you and your fellow students. At Dubspot, we want you to do more than just learn. We want you to be great at doing what you love. Let us help you get there!

What’s Included

  • DJ Level 1: Rookie Sessions | Essentials I
  • DJ Level 2: Phrase Mixing | Essentials II
  • DJ Level 3: Beyond The Blend | Intermediate Skills
  • DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
  • DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
  • DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II

Additional Information

Visit the DJ course page for detailed information on this program here.

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

/files/2016/07/Key-Detection-Thumb.jpg

The post Key Detection Lab Report: Mixed In Key vs. Beatport appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

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Plugin of the Week: AudioThing VF-1 Valve Filter

As part of our new series of Facebook Live streams, we’re taking a quick look at some of the best plugins on the market to keep your inspiration flowing. Last week it was the turn of JC Concato and AudioThing’s Valve Filter VF-1 – a simple, affordable and affective filter plugin from the creative company. With minimal controls, it can deliver a thick, rich sound – check the video above and keep your eye on our Facebook page for more live broadcasts.

Plugin of the Week is broadcast from our new second facility in London. Live from the Hub – the central part of our ten-studio facility – it’s where our students relax, collaborate, exchange ideas and leads off into our flagship studio where students learn on the industry standard SSL Duality Delta console. If you fancy visiting the school for yourself, we host guided tours on Wednesdays at 5:30pm  and Saturdays at 12:30pm. Book your place on one of our tours now.

shermanFilters can be simple or complex, delivering flexible and unique sounds

At our London facility, you can learn all aspects of music making, from mixing and mastering to composition, DJing and even the business side of the industry. With state-of-the-art facilities including Ableton Push 2, Maschine Studio, Komplete Kontrol keyboards, SSL Duality Delta and Audient 48-channel consoles and the latest Pioneer DJ equipment, it’s unrivalled for both kit and quality. Our Music Production and Sound Engineering Master Diploma course covers all this and more – find out more about it 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!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Plugin of the Week: AudioThing VF-1 Valve Filter appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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10 Tips to Better Drums in your Tracks

Your drum sound can make or break your track. Get them wrong and the rest of your song will suffer. Get them right and they can be the catalyst to a fantastic mix. With so many tones, textures and types, ranging in pitch, sound and size, there are thousands of variables – and decisions – that go into choosing, recording, sampling and mixing your drums.

In electronic music, the right drum sounds can drive a track alone, making them one of the most important considerations when mixing for the dancefloor. Our courses cover a huge range of concepts for powerful, dominating drums and we thought we’d cherry-pick ten of our faves to get you started towards better drums. When you’re ready for the next step, find out more about our online Diploma course here.

recording-live-drum-loops-and-samplesThere are thousands of variables when it comes to achieving your own drum sound

Live Drums – use an unusual mic

When mic’ing a drum kit, you’ll find plenty of advice about which microphones work particularly well on individual drums. It’s also important that you try out alternatives whenever possible, as this will help you impose ‘your own sound’ on the kit, rather than a by-the-book approach. One thing which will guarantee a unique sound, is to incorporate an ‘unexpected’ microphone source in your recording chain. Try a cheap podcasting microphone, or record to your phone through its headphone mic. You could even try a contact mic strapped to the side of a drum, or one of the drum stands. Blending this deliberately low-quality signal in alongside your ‘regular’ spot microphone choices will provide edge and individuality. Just watch for an phase issues.

Parallel compression and distortion busses

If you’ve ever wondered why your programmed drum parts lack the power and punch of those heard on commercial records, there’s a decent chance that at least part of this will come down to the use of parallel mix channels. Most mix engineers layer drum sounds by sending their dry original sounds to auxiliary busses set up with distortion and extreme compression plug-in settings. Hard compression channels can add weight to transients and/or extra energy to the decay stage of a sound, while parallel distortion channels add grit, weight and drive. These extra channels are then added to the mix under the original samples.

Doubling drums for extra power

Another effective way to add power and individuality to your beats is to layer two or more drums of the same type. Layering the ‘click’ portion of an aggressive kick drum with something deep and subby can be particularly effective, for instance, and there are equivalents for snares, claps and other drums too. The best place to start is to import two or more drum sounds into your DAW and either set them on separate audio tracks with separate fade in/out data, or the same track, with crossfades controlling the transition between sounds. Treat each source to the effects and off-line edits of your choice before rendering the resulting sound as a new audio file to be imported to your sampler.

9.3Drum sounds are mono so the stereo field created around them can define how ‘big’ they sound

Ambience Stereo Pairs

If you’ve ever worked with a professionally-recorded multi-track drum session, you’ll be aware of just how significant a role stereo pairs of ‘ambience’ microphones play in the overall sound. Whereas the spot microphones on each drum provide definition, the stereo pairs are often a huge part of the power in the sound, either captured via the overhead microphones, or from other microphones in the recording room at assorted distances. Remember this whenever you’re making live drum recordings, making sure you take the placement of stereo pairs away from the kit as much as a priority as the close, spot microphones.

Vary Velocity Routing

Ask most programmers what parameter velocity controls and they’ll say ‘volume’. In fairness, this is almost always true – velocity usually does control the loudness of the virtual instruments we play. However, as you probably know, velocity is simply a controller message, capable of being routed to a number of different parameters. Why not send velocity in the direction of pitch and/or filter cutoff too? You can always keep the amount of these routings relatively small, to prevent the results sounding too extreme or novelty, but some subtle variation to parameters beyond output volume can often give your beats a different edge.

Lo-Fi Timestretching Is Your Friend

When we reach for time-stretching tools, more often than not, we’re looking for a ‘clean’ result, without the glitching and aliasing synonymous with digital shortening or elongation of files. Sometimes, however, drum samples can benefit from exactly the opposite – sounds which are obviously time-stretched. If you’re looking for one way to create variation in a clap or snare part, create multiple versions of the same sample and stretch each one by a varied amount using the lowest quality digital processing available. Suddenly, some sounds will appear buzzy, or with a digital pitched whine, or even stuttered and broken. Every once in a while, throw one of these replacement samples in as an alternative to your ‘regular’ snare or clap. Check out Jon Hopkins’ ‘Open Eye Signal’ as a great example of how effective this can be on snare sounds.

daft-punk-get-luckyBass and drums are often one and the same when it comes to ‘rhythm’. Make sure your bass notes and drum hits don’t clash

Rhythm Sections: Better Together

It might seem old-fashioned or irrelevant to talk about the grand old days of rock ‘n’ roll but there are always lessons to be learned from the golden ages of recording and there’s certainly a pertinent point here. The drummer and bass player of a rock ‘n’ roll band is collectively referred to as the ‘rhythm section’. This is because both parts – together – provide the foundation of a track. When basslines and drum parts fight, with clashing notes, different quantise values, or wildly different patterns, energy is always lost. When you’re programming, ensure that you’re building a relationship between bass and drums which locks your groove together.

Re-amp programmed beats

One popular technique favoured by guitarists who have DI’d their guitar performances is to re-amp them, whereby those recordings are passed through an amp at the mix stage and re-recorded, as if played live. Why not try this approach with your programmed or recorded drum parts? As we’ve already discussed, adding parallel distortion channels almost always adds something crunchy and worthwhile and it therefore stands to reason that blending dry drum sources with re-amped versions will add something unique.

reamping_snare_8Re-amping your drum sounds can give them grit, power and clarity

Trigger Other Sounds With Gates

Adding crackle, hiss and other extraneous sounds to pristine samples can often make them sound warmer, richer and less ‘digital’. Another approach is to add textural sonic layers to audio tracks and trigger these from your beats. Go out and make field recordings of environmental sounds, or set up a mic in your studio and record anything you like as a sustained layer. Then, set up a gate on these audio tracks and feed your programmed beats into these sounds via the side-chain input of your beats. Every time a drum hit happens, the gate will open and you’ll hear a snapshot of the sound. When the gate closes, the audio file will be silenced by the gate. It’s a great way to keep your beat parts evolving and changing.

Grouping and Separating

Think carefully when treating your drum parts at the mix stage. It’s highly likely that you’ll want to apply different compression, EQ and reverb treatments to different drum sources, so triggering kicks, snares, claps, hats and cymbals from the same instrument isn’t a good start. Separate these instruments to allow each to be treated individually. However, make sure you’ve also got auxiliary channels set up which can add different amounts of the same effect – reverb, parallel compression and distortion – to a number of sources. Lastly, make sure you’ve got a drum group fader so that if you decide that your entire drum treatment is the wrong volume, you can adjust every source at once. Different producers have different ways of handling these demands but with some careful thought, you can make your drum mix streamlined.

If you want to learn more sound design, production, mixing, mastering and composition tips, our Online Master Diploma course is perfect for you. Taken from anywhere in the world for up to 64 weeks, it’s one of our most comprehensive courses and has been taken by the likes of Claude Von Stroke, Plastician and Jon Rundell. 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 10 Tips to Better Drums in your Tracks appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Dubspot Radio Podcast: OP! (I Love Vinyl Mix)

This episode of Dubspot Radio Podcast revisits a soulful uptempo track selection mixed up and served by OP! from NYC’s ‘I Love Vinyl’ Collective.

OP_Podcast_Artwork_640

Known in NYC and around the globe as a purveyor of all things soulful, OP! is a talented DJ and tastemaker who can hang on just about any dancefloor. From hip hop, house, and classics to future soul, UK funky, and South African house, OP! can finesse them all, adopting musical diversity and directing it into a beautifully cohesive vibe. OP! has been instrumental in shining a light on underground and global soul, and continues to champion its relevance on the world stage. Catch more from OP! in our exclusive interview here.

 

Tracklist

1. In The Now – Olivier Daysoul (Oddisee Original)
2. In The Now – Olivier Daysoul (Duke Hugh Remix)
3. Show Some Appreciation – Zed Bias feat. Jenna G
4. Party Hard – Donae’o
5. Webaba – Culoe De Song feat. Busi Mhlongo (Black Coffee Remix)
6. Special – Maddslinky feat. Omar (At Jazz Remix)
7. I Need It – Roska ft. Anesha
8. Heartbeat – T. Williams feat. Terri Walker (Mosca Remix)
9. Truth – mdcl feat. Sy Smith (Seiji Vox Twist)
10. Weedkiller – Seiji
11. Mugwanti – DJ Mujava
12. Heart Is Breaking – TY (Diverse Concepts x Chesus Vocal Mix)

 


About OP!

The Definitive Sound is a specialty music company that provides various services, ranging from sound curation, production, and education to event planning and marketing. The Definitive Sound has provided music based services for record labels, entertainment and event companies, music education organizations, and aspiring and established artists, and, music enthusiasts. Based on a love of music and an understanding of different sonic disciplines, The Definitive Sound is a trusted authority unique and authentic musical experiences.

The Definitive Sound was founded by OP!, an experienced music industry insider, talented DJ, and tastemaker that has developed his expertise through previous works with high profile music industry organizations (Dubspot, Decon, Cornerstone Agency, Studio Distribution) and music curation/DJ services for lifestyle companies and brands (Giant Step, Hand Made Events, Acura, Fader, WITNESS, Red Bull, Heineken).

OP! is a founding member of the heralded I Love Vinyl party (at Output) and co-partner in the long established Afrokinetic party (Le Bain at The Standard Hotel & C’Mon Everybody) in New York City. As well, OP! is a resident DJ at the award winning speakeasy Bathtub Gin and the hip Royal Palm Shuffle Club, both based in NYC.

As a purveyor of all things soulful, OP! sound ranges from hip hop, r&b, reggae, pop, rock, and classics to house, future soul, and various electronic genres from the UK and musical flavors from Africa. OP! has been instrumental in shining a light on various sounds of underground, popular, and global vibes, championing good music on the world stage from South Africa, Puerto Rico, Canada, and points around the United States.

Connect with OP! on Facebook | Twitter | Website

 


DJ Extensive Program

Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing: from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch Pro.

Click here to view the embedded video.

About This Program

At Dubspot you’ll be working at personal student workstations equipped with industry standard and cutting-edge technology: Technics SL-1200 / 1210 series turntables, Pioneer CDJs, Pioneer DJM or Rane TTM mixers, Apple iMacs and MacBook Pros, Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch Pro, Serato Scratch Live, vinyl, CDs, timecode, and MIDI controllers.

Our instructors teach you the necessary techniques and draw on their vast collective experience to give you insight into the mindset, workflow, and art of DJing. Graduates of the DJ Extensive Program will have an opportunity to perform at an event in a New York City venue, organized and promoted by Dubspot together with you and your fellow students. At Dubspot, we want you to do more than just learn. We want you to be great at doing what you love. Let us help you get there!

What’s Included

  • DJ Level 1: Rookie Sessions | Essentials I
  • DJ Level 2: Phrase Mixing | Essentials II
  • DJ Level 3: Beyond The Blend | Intermediate Skills
  • DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
  • DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
  • DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II

Additional Information

Visit the DJ course page for detailed information on this program here.

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

/files/2014/09/OP_Podcast_Thumb.jpg

The post Dubspot Radio Podcast: OP! (I Love Vinyl Mix) appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

Read more here

Noisia: Producing, Programming and Plugins

Noisia’s unique sound blends classic drum and bass  and breakbeat rhythms with exquisite modern sound design. Since they formed in 2003 they’ve released on Skrillex’s OWSLA, deadmau5’s Mau5trap and Jay-Z’s Rocnation as well as soundtracking and producing across many other projects. Known for their attention to detail, their sound is a unique combination of detailed programming and layering, centred around powerful drums and drops.

noisia-invites-amsterdamNoisia combine their huge and powerful sound with an impressive live show

With a new album on the way, we thought we’d catch up with them to find out more about their production process. If you’re a fan of the Noisia sound and want to go in-depth with your own sound design, our online Diploma course covers the topic in-depth, as well as modules on mixing, producing, mastering and more. Find out more about our Diploma course hereNoisia play Bristol’s Sequences festival on Sat 23rd July – ‘Outer Edges’ is out Sept 16th.

Outer Edges is your first album in six years – why did you spend so long working on this album?

Martijn van Sonderen: “We didn’t! We’ve released a collaborative album with Foreign Beggars as I Am Legion in 2013, an eight-track EP called ‘Purpose EP’ in 2014 and another collab EP called ‘Dead Limit’, with New Zealand’s The Upbeats last year. Among other singles and EP’s. After all of these we thought the time was right to do another multi genre Noisia studio album.”

How did the album process work between the three of you? Do you have defined roles when producing?

“Not really, all three of us started tunes that made it onto the album. We kept a Google Doc containing notes on progress and comments to one another. After the initial idea stage was over and we got to the real decision making part, we tried to be in the same room working on all the tracks.”

As you upgraded your studio over the six years, were there any new software or hardware bits that ended up making a big impact on the record?

“Compared to what we used on ‘Split the Atom’, there were quite a few new things that made an impact. The biggest change being the ridiculously more professional rooms we call our studios. Also, the fact that they were built with the ATC 110 speakers in mind, which makes the monitoring very accurate. Besides that, we love Steve Duda’s Serum VST, the Melda and Valhalla plug-ins and all the upgrades that were done to all the plugs we were already familiar with like NI Komplete, everything iZotope and everything Fabfilter.”

10296558_10152447864730859_7540686615827322111_nOne of three of Noisia’s custom built studio in Groningen, The Netherlands

Your known for creating a ‘wall of sound’ in your productions. What’s your advice for creating a huge sound both for individual elements and for the mix as a whole?

“The most important thing is to pick your elements. There’s no point just randomly throwing all kinds of sounds together and then trying to blow everything up. You have to deal with the limitations you have within the spectrum and stereo field. For individual elements it’s good to check what frequencies are not necessary for this particular sound to work in your mix, so you can EQ them out. Another important factor is something people don’t always consider: arrangement, both on a micro and macro level.

“Besides having a loud mix, the way your track is structured can suggest it’s louder or quieter too. For example, if you have a lot of bass right towards the end of your build-up, the drop isn’t going to sound as bass-heavy as it would when you’d have none or a little low end right before it. But then you also should consider the fact that some frequencies are perceived louder, so you don’t want to just have loud mid and high frequencies in your build, ’cause the overall impact of the drop will be less. Everything relies on context. Also, we use a limiter on our master buss from the get-go on almost all tracks. This is a tool to keep your mix in control during the process of writing the tune.”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned when it comes to sound design?

“This ties in nicely with the previous question. Sometimes sounds can sound very cool and smooth in a mix as part of a track, but sound pretty bad on their own and vice versa. There are no tricks to make every sound work or sound cool in any track.”

How do you separate the scientific processes around frequencies, phase issues, EQ settings etc, with the more creative and compositional side of music making?

“It really depends on what the idea behind a track is. Sometimes we start a tune from some kind of technical angle, where we want to get sounds to play their part perfectly before we think of the vibe of the track. Other times we start with a sample, or an intro for example. Then we generally need to work on the mix and technical elements a little further down the road.”

izotope-trash2-other-highlights-fulliZotope’s Trash is one of Noisia’s go-to plugins for distortion

What are your go-to distortion plugins / hardware and techniques?

“I mostly use iZotope’s Trash 2 for distortion, as it’s versatile, multiband and I like the interface. Some other plug-ins we use are Fabfilter Saturn, NI Guitar Rig and Melda’s Waveshaper.”

How did the the new record differ in terms of your approach to production?

“We haven’t really paid a lot of attention to how playable the tracks have to be in a DJ context. So, we focused primarily on how we wanted them to develop and sound. This is something that we generally consider more when releasing singles or EPs.”

What would be your advice to any bedroom producer looking to achieve a huge sound in clubs?

“Getting a bunch of reference tracks that you think sound good in club settings is always a good idea. A bunch because every sound system sounds different, so there’s no track that will have the same impact everywhere purely in terms of sound.”

Noisia play Bristol’s Sequences festival on Sat 23rd July.

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 Noisia: Producing, Programming and Plugins appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Music Tech News: Emerging Technologies and Announcements

This music tech news roundup features the latest announcements and emerging technologies from Behringer, ZONT, Faderfox, KORG, Moog, Steinberg, Onde Magnétique, Ableton, Eric Prydz, and Peter Zinovieff.

Music Tech News

Ableton Live 9.7 Coming Soon

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ableton announces Live 9.7 will be released later this year. Currently in beta, the free update to Live 9 will bring big improvements for Push beatmakers. New features include new slicing options, new drum layout with 16 set velocity levels for playing and programming more dynamic beats, hands-on audio routing improvements, visual feedback for tighter recordings, color customization, better playability, and more.

Read more at Ableton

Behringer Polyphonic Synth

Click here to view the embedded video.

In this third teaser from Behringer, we learn that their new synthesizer is analog, polyphonic, and offers lots of hands-on control. The synth looks and sounds a bit Juno-ish to us so far. Behringer initially announced plans to build a budget polyphonic analog synth back in November 2014, but has only recently released three teaser videos. Rumors have surfaced that the synth emulates the classic ARP Odyssey synth from the ‘80s. The rumors are not yet clear, but since the announcement, Korg has released their own version of the ARP Odyssey, as well as an affordable polyphonic synth called the Minilogue.

Read more on Behringer’s Facebook

Zont Digital Pocket Synth

ZONT

ZONT rolled out the announcement of a ground-breaking pocket-sized digital synthesizer for creating rhythms, sequences, and melodies. About the size and shape of a smartphone, ZONT’s beautiful design looks to be inspired by Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator synths but with a few more bells and whistles. From what we know so far is that the synth features interchangeable sound cartridges called ZONT modules which are digital sound engines that can be swapped out. The design also sports soft-to-touch materials, LED-backlit buttons, universal inputs, Bluetooth connection and Wi-Fi cloud sync, USB-C, an iOS and Android app, and a built-in rechargeable battery. The company also announced collaborations with big producers and DJs on some of the presets. Unfortunately, the official website says it won’t be available until the fall of 2017.

Read more at ZONT

Faderfox UC44 Controller

UC44

The UC44 is a compact universal controller that sports eight push-encoders each with a 2-digit-display, 16 faders, 35 buttons, and heap of midi commands all housed in a robust metal carrying case for some serious action. The encoders are switchable to 32 groups meaning you can control a total amount of 512 control parameters. This fully programmable controller is ready for controlling music and video software products out of the box. Also included is a custom control surface script for Ableton Live that provides all necessary mappings to control 16 tracks simultaneously.

Read more at Faderfox

Kamata Wavetable Synth

Click here to view the embedded video.

Developed as a KORG Gadget mobile music production app, Kamata is a synthesizer that lets you play the classic video game sounds of the past. Kamata is a collaboration between KORG and the sound team of the game development company BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc. The sound engine reconstructs the C30 custom sound engine that swept the world in the 1980s. With a 4-bit 32-sample waveform table, detune capability, and full editing of carefully selected parameters, you can design sounds that are both nostalgic and new.

Read more at KORG

Minimoog Model D Returns

Moog

For the first time since 1981, Moog Music has officially resumed production of the Minimoog Model D. The Minimoog Model D was the world’s first portable synthesizer and served as the archetype for all electronic keyboards that followed. First released in the early 1970’s, the instrument gained worldwide acclaim for combining the colossal sound of Moog’s large-format modular synthesizers with the accessibility of pre-wired modules. This 3-oscillator, monophonic, analog synthesizer is securely housed in a locally-sourced Appalachian hardwood enclosure and hand-finished aluminum chassis. The circuit boards retain the exact component placement and through-hole design of a beloved 1970’s era Minimoog Model D. Though no changes have been made to the original sound engine or audio signal path, the Minimoog Model D now includes a series of popular functional modifications that expand this legendary instrument’s sonic capabilities.

Read more at Moog Music

Free iOS Metronome App from Steinberg

Steinberg

Steinberg rolls out a free iOS metronome app called Smart Click that runs on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Smart Click’s easy-to-use interface lets you focus on practicing effectively and improving your ability to play in time. In addition, this metronome app allows you to choose different time signatures and four types of accents for each beat, including the well-known Cubase click sound. Key features include an accurate metronome engine, easy-to-use interface, visual assistant, various metronome modes, and multiple ways to enter your tempo.

Read more at Steinberg

OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer

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Onde Magnétique reveals the OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer, an analog musical instrument that uses a standard cassette tape as its audio source. Inspired by instruments like the Mellotron and Ondes Martenot, the OM-1 is built around the concept that when a continuous tone/note is recorded to tape, its pitch will change as the tape’s playback speed is increased or decreased. Individual notes are playable with the eight buttons, which are also pressure sensitive to control note volumes. The notes can then be pitched with the eight tuning knobs. The OM-1 also features a three-position switch to control attack and release response, CV/Gate inputs to control the cassette’s pitch and volume from a linear voltage sequencer, and powered LED’s.

Read more at Onde Magnétique

Ableton Loop Summit 2016

Ableton Loop

Loop is a three-day summit for music makers that features discussions, performances, presentations, studio sessions, and interactive workshops aimed at exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of music, technology, and creative practice. The event brings together artists, technologists, educators, and other creative thinkers to collaborate on new ideas, share new techniques, and make new connections. Loop is a collective exploration of what it is to make music today and what it could be tomorrow. Tickets are now available.

Read more at Loop Ableton

Eric Prydz Brings EPIC 4.0 to America

Click here to view the embedded video.

The global multi-platform media and entertainment company Mashable gives us an exclusive look behind the scenes at Eric Prydz’s impressive America EPIC 4.0 live show which is arguably the most ambitious and visually pleasing live music show in the world. Eric gives us a look at his preparation, his team’s preparation, the thought behind his music tracks, and the life that he lives as one of the biggest, most respected DJs in the world.

Peter Zinovieff on the EMS Synthi

Click here to view the embedded video.

Peter Zinovieff, a British engineer and electronic music pioneer most notable for his EMS company (Electronic Music Studios), which made the famous VCS3 synthesizer in the late 1960s talks about his legendary Synthi instrument in this exclusive video interview.

 


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.

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New Order – Blue Monday Ableton Live Deconstruction @ SONAR+D 2016

Blue Monday is one of the most iconic songs of all times. Bridging the disco era with what became a house and techno explosion in the UK, New Order created a timeless classic that’s still referenced today as one of the most influential tracks of all time. Last month New Order headlined SONAR festival in Barcelona and when we were asked to take part in SONAR+D – the educational arm of the famous festival – it was a no-brainer to take on the New Order classic in one of our world-famous deconstructions.

We enlisted the help of deconstruction maestro and PB instructor Ski Oakenfull – watch the video above and download the project used by Ski here.

p02w93jgNew Order’s Blue Monday was a landmark track when it was released in 1983 and remains highly influential 33 years later

If you want to learn more sound design, production, mixing, mastering and composition tips, our Online Master Diploma course is perfect for you. Taken from anywhere in the world for up to 64 weeks, it’s one of our most comprehensive courses and has been taken by the likes of Claude Von Stroke, Plastician and Jon Rundell. 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!

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Music Theory Tutorial: Tips for Better Chord Progressions

Learn the theory behind writing better chord progressions in this guideline that explores basic concepts and advice to help you make creative decisions when building chord phrases.

Chord Progressions

Students often ask how they can write better chord progressions. This simple guideline aims to help you write better chord progressions by introducing general theory and offering some basic advice to get you started down the right path.

Start with Triad Chords

In music theory, a major or minor triad chord is a chord having a root, a minor third, and a perfect fifth. At first, try keeping things simple by creating a chord progression using triad chords in whatever key you are working in. For example, C major has the notes C, E, G. The C minor chord has the notes C, Eb, G. This limitation will help you quickly make decisions about what kind of chords to use in a progression. The trick is to limit yourself which will help you make decisions easier.

C Major Chord

chord progressions

C Minor Chord

chord progressions

Begin and End with the Same Chord or Key

The key identifies the tonic note or chord and is described as a group of notes in which a scale is based on. A scale is an ordered set of notes typically used in a key. Often, popular music of the 20th century will begin and end in the same key because the notes and chords work together to create a sense of completeness when the tonic note or chord returns to resolve the progression. Using other notes and chords outside the key you’re working in creates varying degrees of tension that may sound incomplete or awkward. Resolving progressions using the same chord or key you started with will likely sound more pleasing and will transition better when looping chord progressions. However, this rule is not set in stone so feel free to experiment.

Chord Progression

Move Freely Among Diatonic Chords

Every major and minor scale has seven individual chords called diatonic triads. Diatonic chords are the chords that are derived from only the notes of a key. Each key contains seven different notes. You can think of diatonic chords as a family of chords that are all related by the notes of a key. In addition, they all harmonically work together like one big happy family.

chord progressions

Let’s explore this further using the key of A minor as an example. A natural A minor scale has the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The tonic note is the root note of the scale which is A. Now that we know the key and all the notes in the scale, we can begin building the seven corresponding diatonic chords. Below are all seven diatonic triads in the key of A minor:

  • Am – A, C, E
  • Bdim – B, D, F
  • C – C, E, G
  • Dm – D, F, A
  • Em – E, G, B
  • F – F, A, C
  • G – G, B, D

Tip: You can move freely around diatonic chords in your progressions. They are harmonically compatible. You just have to find the progression that works best for the track.

Using Non-Diatonic Chords To Spice Up Your Progressions

Let’s make things interesting and break the rules a bit by using a chord outside of the diatonic triads. Is that allowed? Yes. Will it sound good? Well, that’s up to you. There is a another category of chords called non-diatonic chords. These are major or minor chords that do not have notes belonging to the specific scale you are working in. Simply put, you can start from a diatonic major chord and move to any other major chord to add some dissonant variety. Just because a note isn’t in a part of a specific scale doesn’t mean that you can’t play it. Many famous jazz solos are great examples. Improvisers frequently relied on outside harmonies to add color to their solos. However, this technique works best when used seldom. In addition, it’s important to end the series of chords on one of the diatonic chords so that the chord progression resolves smoothly. For example, if you start with diatonic major you could move to any other major chord. Any major chord could potentially sound good. The trick is to end the series of major chords on one of the three a diatonic major chords. The same goes for minor chords. Make sure to end on one of three diatonic minor chords. Below is an example of an A minor chord progression with non-diatonic chords.

A Min | F Maj | D Min | Bb Min (Non-Diatonic) | Eb Min (Non-Diatonic) | D Min (Diatonic) 

chord progressions

Cadence Chords

We know that chord progressions resolve best when the last chord is the same as the first chord, but what about the second to last chord? This chord is very important because it helps the music lead into the last chord and signify the end of the progression is coming. This is called a cadence. What’s the difference between a progression and a cadence? Well, progressions happen when one chord changes to another chord, and cadences are a type of progression used to signify that a section or phrase is coming to an end. Cadencing chords are also essential for releasing musical tension. In music, cadences are divided into four types according to their harmonic progression: authentic, plagal, half, and deceptive.

  • Authentic Cadence: This is the most common and basic type of cadence. An authentic cadence comes in two varieties: a Perfect Authentic Cadence (PAC) and an Imperfect Authentic Cadence (IAC). An authentic cadence is one that moves from a dominant chord to the tonic chord.
  • Plagal Cadence: This is often called an “Amen” cadence because it’s commonly used to end many traditional hymns. It is described as being generally weaker than an authentic cadence. There is less tension and more of a feeling of relaxation.
  • Half Cadence: This cadence is described as giving a feeling of pause and rest. There is also a feeling of incompleteness. The half cadence suggests that more needs to be said, either as a continuation or an answering phrase.
  • Deceptive Cadence: This is considered a weak cadence because of the hanging or suspended feel it invokes. The effect of the deceptive cadence can be quite dramatic depending on what chord you actually land on. A tamer deceptive cadence will move to a chord that is still closely related to the tonic. A more dramatic shift will come from moving to a more distantly related chord.

Below is an example of an authentic cadence in C major.

  • Cadence 1 progresses from a D minor to G major chord (IAC).
  • Cadence 2 progresses from a G major to C major chord (PAC).

Cadence 1

chord progressions

Cadence 2

chord progressions

Test Drive the Root Notes of Your Progressions

One way to feel out the vibe of your progressions is by taking the root notes of all of the chords and playing them like a singable melody. If they sound good, then you probably have a great chord progression on your hands. Many people often like to start with this step to build a pattern and then go back and build up the chords.

A Min | E Min | D Min | C Maj | Eb Maj | G Maj | D Min | G Min | D Min | E Min | A Min

Chord Progressions

Conclusion

These basic guidelines are tried-and-true approaches for writing great chord progressions you can you as the main feature in a song or as the underlying force for all of the other melodic tracks. The next step is to learn how to bend them and discover new possibilities that will help define your own sound – that’s the fun part!

 


EDU Summer Sessions

Music Foundations Program

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the roots and lineage of a variety of electronic and dance music genres, strengthen their keyboard skills, and learn valuable music theory, deepening their creative practice and facilitating effective collaborations with musical partners.

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About This Program

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Most pioneering early electronic musicians had years of conservatory training in theory and performance but had access to very limited technologies. In today’s musical world, it’s the opposite: we have a powerful and versatile array of electronic music making tools at our fingertips, but often fall short in our theoretical understanding of how electronic music works.

Our Music Foundations program is designed to fill this gap and provide training in fundamental skills and concepts with the electronic musician, DJ, and producer in mind. In this course, you’ll build your chops and learn the basics of musical language and theory so that you can make and play the music you want. You will also develop a deeper understanding of the roots and lineage of a variety of electronic and dance music genres, and explore compositional techniques and song structure. The weekly homework lessons for all three courses have been designed using Ableton Live, and along the way you’ll also learn the basics of Ableton and how to use it as a powerful tool to improve your musicianship in a variety of ways.

What’s Included

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Critical Listening

Additional Information

Visit the Music Foundations course page for detailed information on this program here.

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

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