Browsing Tag

Tutorials

Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 2

Welcome back to another series of compositional tips and tricks using instruments by Spitfire Audio, this time ‘Chamber Strings’. We’ve previously looked at the Orchestral Swarm instrument pack, notably used by Hanz Zimmer for the Blue Planet 2 score, as well as the Chamber Evolutions pack, created with famed Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds. Now, our resident compositional wizard Kevin Kerrigan turns his attention to ‘Chamber Strings’. The focus this time is more immediately concerned with teaching ways of composing with tools such as this, as opposed to a tour of a new instrument. Music composition forms an integral part of our music production courses, including our flagship BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, quality assured by Middlesex University.

In the second part of the series, Kevin turns his attention to adding inversions to a chord sequence. To demonstrate this he invites us to observe a mystery score he’s been working on, built with a large reliance on minor chords. As he’s stressed before, playing these chords in their root forms sounds slightly stunted, so open voicings, adding different mics and adding inverted harmonies are all drawn upon to widen the scope of what’s made here.

As well as the aforementioned degree course in music production and sound engineering, we have also developed a new BA in Music Production and DJ Practice, again quality-assured by Middlesex University, which launches its first term next September. If you’d like to examine some shorter courses in London you can find the full list here. Or, if you’re not based in the UK, why not check out our production courses in Los Angeles or onlineGet in touch if you have any more questions.

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 Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 2 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Drew Morisey x DJ Ravine: Three Essential Social Media Tips for Artists

In today’s world, social media is absolutely vital to the career of any artist in any discipline. With music it is especially so because, let’s face it, most young people want to be musicians, creating even more of a challenge to stand out. To do this you need to be making music that is fresh and interesting, but that alone isn’t enough – chances are when you’re starting out you don’t have a marketing team behind you, so you need to get yourself out there. Grab a few key tips to get yourself started below and for comprehensive tuition on navigating the music business, check out our Music Industry courses.

For our latest video, we had two people that know a thing or two about social media sit down and discuss tactics. Our own DJ Ravine has built his YouTube following to just under half a million subscribers and his guest, Drew Morisey, has developed his How To Rap Brand to reach over 150k. Between them, you can be sure that by following their advice will certainly give your social media clout a boost.

The main points of discussion in the video are consistency, keywords and engaging fans or followers. Consistency is key so that people begin to expect activity at certain times and your presence becomes a constant feature of their social media browsing. Keywords and trends are a great way of expanding your reach into new areas and gaining followers. Engaging fans is perhaps the most useful when you’re starting out, as it not only keeps you in the minds of your connections but it does wonders for how you pop up within social media websites’ algorithms.

As well as our music industry-specific courses, these lessons form a big part of many of our music courses. For instance, in our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree, as well as our new BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice, you will find modules focused on building your brand and getting what you want from the industry. If the music industry aspect is your biggest passion we have also developed a BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management, launching next year. All of our degrees are quality-assured by Middlesex University. For more info get in touch.

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 Drew Morisey x DJ Ravine: Three Essential Social Media Tips for Artists appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

How to Make a Drum n Bass Track in Reason

Drum ‘N’ Bass is a dance music subgenres that evolved from the tangled web of the UK’s underground rave scene in the 1980s and ‘90s, with roots in the broader genre of Breakbeat. Drum & Bass combines heavy synthesized bass lines with vocal samples from soul and reggae records to create an bold, energetic, and supremely danceable wall of sound. In this article and accompanying video, artist and producer Protostar will show you how to record a DnB track in Reason 10.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXHmuEEd8ZU

The defining element of Drum & Bass is its signature rhythm: it starts with the kick drum on beat 1, a snare hit on beat 2, a syncopated kick just after beat 3 on the “and,” and a final snare on beat 4. This core one-two-and-four pattern forms the heart of the groove and is almost never deviated from. Finally, it needs to be fast—tempos usually range between 160 and 180 BPM.

Load a drum loop into Dr. Octo Rex (anything with “DnB” in the name should suffice) and use the beatmaking tools in Reason 10 to make it your own. Hit the “Copy Loop to Track” button to create a MIDI track from your loop, or create your own pattern in Drum Sequencer—and use it to trigger dance sounds from Umpf Club Drums, one-shot samples from ReDrum, synthesized and acoustic drums from Kong, or all of the above. Attack and decay controls come in handy for fine-tuning stacked kicks and snares: try using just the attack from one sound, the body of another, and the decay tail of a third. Then sprinkle in a variety of loops, extra hits, and dub-like reverb and delay to keep the rhythm interesting.

The addition of a pounding synth bass serves a melodic role, and is what sets DnB apart from other dance genres. Sine and Triangle waves are great for a nice round bottom, squares and saw waves add edgy harmonics, and the right wavetable or granular patch can really get things sounding nasty. All of this is possible with Europa and Thor’s multiple oscillators, but stacking several synths in a Combinator will create a thick, complex sound. Flip the rack around and experiment with patching various filters and envelopes to the Synchronous Effects Modulator and Pulsar Dual LFO devices to give the bass some movement.

Now it’s time to add some extra flavor with samples. Samples are a staple of DnB (typically vocal phrases lifted from old soul and reggae records), and serve to break up the monotony of a constantly pounding beat. Load samples into Dr. Octo Rex or record your own, then slice them up or stretch the possibilities with the Grain Sample Manipulator. Almost any other sound can be added to the mix to give it character—soft dreamy pads, sampled keyboards, erratic zaps and sweeps, or just plain old noise.

Now that you’ve learned how to make a Drum & Bass track in Reason 10, it’s time to “break” it down for yourself!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Follow Protostar on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Soundcloud.

Read more here

Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 1

Welcome back to another series of compositional tips and tricks using instruments by Spitfire Audio, this time ‘Chamber Strings’. We’ve previously looked at the Orchestral Swarm instrument pack, notably used by Hanz Zimmer for the Blue Planet 2 score, as well as the Chamber Evolutions pack, created with famed Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds. Now, our resident compositional wizard Kevin Kerrigan turns his attention to ‘Chamber Strings’. The focus this time is more immediately concerned with teaching ways of composing with tools such as this, as opposed to a tour of a new instrument. Music composition forms an integral part of our music production courses, including our flagship BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, quality assured by Middlesex University.

For part 1 of this new series, Kevin is interested in getting us started as quickly as possible and so runs through a number of ways he likes to get started on projects. This leads on to the main focus of the video, which are the ways you can choose articulations and vary the voicing of chords to enhance a project’s musicality. We love a lot of what Spitfire Audio have to offer and Chamber Strings is no different. Try following some of these suggestions made in the video and you should hopefully add another couple of strings to your bow (ahem) as composers. Don’t forget to check back for part 2 next week.

As well as the aforementioned degree course in music production and sound engineering, we have also developed a new BA in Music Production and DJ Practice, again quality-assured by Middlesex University, which launches its first term next September. If you’d like to examine some shorter courses in London you can find the full list here. Or, if you’re not based in the UK, why not check out our production courses in Los Angeles or online. Get in touch if you have any more questions.

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 Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 1 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

How to Make Lofi Hip-Hop Beats in Reason 10

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

Over the last decade, the popularity of “lofi” hip-hop has exploded thanks to producers like Nujabes and J Dilla. Lofi hip-hop is all about soft, introspective instrumentals—and Reason 10 has everything you need to lay down the perfect vibe. In this tutorial, producer MG the Future will show you how to make lofi hip hop beats in Reason 10.

Lofi hip-hop revolves around a chill, relaxed beat with a loose swing—often sampled from vintage funk and soul recordings to retain the human element of the performance. Reason 10 is packed with classic hip-hop and vintage break beat loops to get you started. Just select your favorite sample from the Browser and drag it into the Sequencer window. Adjust the BPM using the tempo controller to dial in the perfect downtempo pace, and use Reason’s built-in time stretching and compression capabilities to sync your sample to a loopable 4 or 8-bar clip.

Chop and screw samples using Dr. Octo Rex to create unique grooves by altering individual beat, or play a fresh new beat by triggering sample slices using Reason’s iconic Kong drum machine. Connect Kong to the built-in Pattern Sequencer or new Drum Sequencer Rack Extension and select from dozens of preset drum patterns for instant inspiration, or create your own patterns using advanced 16-step sequencers.

Reason 10 has a near-limitless supply of sampled keyboards and synthesizers to create rich chords and unique lofi textures. Lay down smooth bass lines, soft synth pads, and simple leads with sampled instruments using ID8 or NN-XT. Experiment with colorful keys in Radical Piano, gentle bells in Klang, or the worldly sounds of Pangea for the perfect multi-cultural aesthetic. Build beautiful, lush chords in seconds by pairing any instrument with Reason’s Scales & Chords—simply select the key of your song and play a single note on your keyboard to create rich, full chords perfect for lofi hip-hop.

It’s not called lofi for nothing, and Reason 10 is loaded with the perfect processors for adding vintage vibe. Use Audiomatic Retro Transformer to instantly add grainy goodness to your tracks. With options like radio, VHS, vinyl and more, Retro Transformer is perfect for adding an instant lofi effect. Top it all off with Scream 4 to add harmonic saturation modeled after tubes, tape and analog circuitry, and you’ve got yourself a certified head-bobber.

Now that you know the basics of how to make lofi beats in Reason 10, it’s time to make the boomin’ and bappin’ happen!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Read more here

Tutorial video: Creative Extensions tips and tricks

Creative Extensions is the new addition to Live 10 Suite with eight tools suited for experimental sound processing and generative composition. With five new audio effects, two revamped synthesizers and a slick melodic sequencer, the Max for Live collection offers much to explore and combine. And in the tutorial video…

Read more here

Download Andrew Huang's FREE patches for Europa by Reason

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF1spPcahSg

Andrew Huang is a Toronto-based music and video producer with a penchant for working within absurd, self-imposed limitations. 

A versatile and prolific musician, he has released over 2,000 songs in a massive range of genres. He is perhaps best known for the strange feats of musicianship which have earned him over 1.3 million subscribers and 170 million views on his YouTube channel: He has rapped 300 words in a minute, and maybe you know him from his Glorious MIDI unicorn video?

In this video, Andrew tries our latest creation Europa by Reason (VST / AU plugin available for any DAW) and boldly sets out to “turn any sound into a WAY COOLER SOUND”. Watch the video to learn more about our new wavetable synthesizer’s powerful sonic possibilites and maybe learn a new trick or two?

Andrew also created 20 custom patches for Europa which you can download from the link below and load up in Europa (the patches are already included in the VST / AU version).
 

Download
   Download Andrew Huang’s Europa patches!

 

Learn more about Europa by Reason and try it out directly in your browser!

Try Reason 10 free for 30 days!

Read more here

Watch Part 3 of our Miniseries: Ableton Live 10 In Depth – Mixing w/ Push 2

In a new series, we take a look at Ableton Live 10 in depth with Thomas Glendenning, one of many of our expert instructors in London and one of just 200 (give or take) certified Ableton trainers in the world. For the second video, the focus is on using Ableton’s amazingly intuitive Push 2 controller which is frankly the best and easiest controller to use with Ableton Live 10, due to the level of integration. Thomas teaches Introduction to Music Production (Ableton) with us here in London which, as well as acting as a standalone course, is an integral part of our degree and diploma programmes, both in London and online.

Watch the video below to watch Thomas create a mix with his demo track. Learn about panning, volume levels, compression and EQ, as well as some tips and tricks to help make the mix as clean as possible.

Want to learn how to use Ableton from expert instructors like Thomas? As well as the ITP course, we offer much longer and comprehensive courses, foremost among them our new BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice, and BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering. You can also take the latter as an online degree from anywhere in the world. We offer courses covering production techniques like these at all of our schools, which are completed by Los AngelesIbiza and Mumbai. Any questions? Please get in touch.

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 Watch Part 3 of our Miniseries: Ableton Live 10 In Depth – Mixing w/ Push 2 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Garageband Tutorial: How to Make a Basic Track

If you follow us here at Point Blank, you’ll know the main DAWs we teach with are Ableton Live and Logic Pro. Both are incredibly powerful tools with limitless potential for you to make whatever kind of music you wish. The learning curve can be a little steep, however (which is why our Introduction to Music Production courses in both Logic Pro and Ableton Live are so popular in London and online), so what about the programmes designed for those at an entry level?

The most famous of these is probably GarageBand, a DAW developed by Apple that comes pre-loaded with most variations of Mac computers and MacBooks. Despite its simple facade and ease of use, it’s actually capable of much more than you might think and is essentially a streamlined version of Logic Pro; you can even load GarageBand projects in Logic Pro when you make the step up. In recognition of this fantastic programme, we thought we would make a GarageBand tutorial video to get the beginners out there started.

For this demonstration, we called on John Davies, a composition and mixing instructor here at Point Blank, to take us through the fundamentals of GarageBand. Despite being just 30 minutes long, John gets through a large amount of functionality in the video, including programming using instruments or pre-recorded loops, arrangement, effects and automation – proof that, in no time, you can make well-rounded and interesting tracks in GarageBand with very little prior knowledge.

Building a track based on the jazzy chord progression he has been discussing recently in his composition classes, John also reveals several tricks to make your track sound more accomplished. These include quantising, keyboard shortcuts, low- and high-cut filters, sound levels, arpeggiators, tempo and much more.

All of these techniques are covered in much more detail in the aforementioned Intro to Music Production modules we teach here at Point Blank, which, along with the Composition and Mixing Modules taught by John (and much more), are integral parts of our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering and BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice. Both of these degrees can be taken as fast-tracked 2-year degree programmes, and the former is available to study online. Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the number +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 Garageband Tutorial: How to Make a Basic Track appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Learn Seven Ways to Make Better Masters

Mastering is often perceived as the murkiest and most impenetrable stage of the music production process. But our with these tips and techniques to make better masters, hopefully we can get you off on the right track. Mastering forms an integral part of our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree, with a dedicated module and more tips and instruction as part of our Art of Mixing and Advanced Mixing modules too. For a taster of what there is to learn, we bring you seven helpful tips to get you on the way to making better masters for your tracks.

  1. Quality in, quality out

The first step on the road to a great master is a great mix, so if you approach the mixdown half-heartedly, thinking you can make up for it at the mastering stage, you’re coming at the whole thing from entirely the wrong direction. The mix should sound essentially ‘finished’ before you render it as a stereo audio file for mastering, with all the dynamics wrangling, EQ shaping and stereo spatialising of every track and bus done and dusted. And when it is time to hit the Export button, remember to remove any mix bus limiting and leave yourself around 6dB of headroom (ie, have the master output peaking at -6dBFS), to give your mastering plugins room for digital manoeuvre.

  1. Reference, reference, reference!

The importance of A/Bing your in-progress project with carefully chosen reference tracks when mastering simply can’t be overstated. You might think your ears are as golden as they come, but even the most experienced mastering engineers will constantly compare the mix they’re working on to other tracks in the same genre, ensuring consistency with proven artistic and commercial standards. It’s good practise to maintain an up-to-date (ie, refreshed over time as the sound of your genre of choice evolves) collection of reference tracks that you both love and know inside out, sonically speaking; and plugins like Sample Magic’s Magic AB and Mastering The Mix’s Reference can make the process of comparing them to your own masters effortless.

Magic AB from Sample Magic will dramtically help you reference tracks

  1. Welcome to the future

There are some incredible mastering-orientated software processors on the market these days, some of them using artificial intelligence and other such sorcery to actively assist you in your engineering. iZotope’s industry-leading Ozone 8 mastering suite, for example, introduced the Mastering Assistant feature, employing machine learning to apply automated EQ and dynamics sculpting to your master, based on genre-specific profiles or an imported reference track. Then there are various ‘matching EQ’ plugins, including IK Multimedia’s Master Match (available singly or as part of the superb T-RackS 5), FabFilter Pro-Q 2 and the one built into Ozone 8. These extract a representative frequency curve from one or more reference tracks, then impose it on your master using spectral processing and EQ. As long as these powerful tools are used as guides rather than definitive ‘set and forget’ solutions, the results they deliver can be truly spectacular.

iZotope Ozone 8’s Mastering Assistant feature uses machine learning to apply automated effects

  1. Don’t overdo it

The most frequently made mistake on the part of the novice mastering engineer is the over-application of compression; the second most frequent is the over-application of EQ. Mastering is mostly about these two particular processes, of course, and approaching either of them without knowing what you’re doing is more likely to damage your mixes than improve them. We can’t teach you everything you need to know here, but if you find yourself cranking the ratio control on your mastering compressor higher than 2:1, you’re probably going too far – head back to the mix and sort whatever dynamic issues you think you’re hearing there instead. Similarly, the need for EQ boosts of more than about 1dB anywhere in the frequency spectrum imply that the mix is unbalanced, so load up that DAW project and take another pass.

  1. Analogue or digital?

Whether to build your mastering chain using analogue-style plugins (or hardware) or the super-transparent processors that only software makes possible will depend on the colouration of the source mix, the amount of corrective compression and/or EQ it needs, and, of course, the kind of sound you’re looking to achieve at the end of the road. For example, if the track has been recorded and mixed using analogue gear or tube-emulating plugins, you might want to keep your mastering effects as unobtrusive as possible, in which case, transparency is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with a sterile, fully in-the-box production, the warmth added by a real or virtual analogue chain can prove transformative. You can, of course, combine the two as well: follow your flawlessy transparent linear phase EQ cuts with an analogue-style limiter, say.

T-RackS Vintage Compressor is one of hundreds of analogue-emulating VSTs that can give you that warm glow

  1. Mastering reverb – handle with care

If you’re really confident in your aural judgment and a particular track feels like it might significantly benefit from it, a very light touch of reverb at the mastering stage can add effective depth, space and air. Obviously, you’ll want to use the highest quality reverb unit or plugin you can get your hands on for this, and extreme caution must be taken in terms of setting the length, dynamics and frequency shaping of the tail. If at any point you get even a fleeting sense that your reverb is incongruous or just too much, dial it back or take it out altogether, and consider going back to the mix instead. And to be absolutely clear, reverb at the mastering stage should only be used to work in a little bit of ambience, never as a frequency or level balancing tool.

  1. You don’t have to do it yourself

Mastering is an art unto itself, requiring not only in-depth technical knowledge of the gear and specific engineering techniques involved, but also – ideally – years of experience. Although mastering suites like Ozone and T-RackS put the tools required to produce amazing masters in the hands of anyone with a few hundred quid to spare, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hiring an expert to do it for you, especially if the project is important and/or potentially money-making. Online mastering services from big-name studios such as Metropolis, Abbey Road and Real World are affordable, convenient and guaranteed to yield top notch results – and most even let you discuss the mastering process with your assigned engineer via Skype or phone, adding an invaluable educational element into the deal. Certainly worth considering while you’re learning the mastering ropes for yourself.

We hope you find this list helpful, but no article can compare to the proper instruction you will receive when studying the craft. As well as the aforementioned degree programmes (also available online), we teach two shorter courses that cover mastering in London, the Mixing and Mastering award, and Audio Mastering. If you have any questions about any of these courses, or would like to book in for a studio tour, please contact us 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!

The post Learn Seven Ways to Make Better Masters appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here