DJL Ultrapad Custom Ableton Instrument Rack Free Download
Yesterday, head Vocal Booth Weekender impressario Andy Ward (@handyward) encouraged me to follow Danny J Lewis on Twitter, since Lewis makes very helpful house music tutorial videos for the likes of Music Tech Mag. Well, today, I spotted a tweet by @Traxsource that speaks of a free 4-layered Ableton Live synth rack available to anyone that purchases Danny’s new ”Bump Tha Bounce” promo on Traxsource this week. While the synth is not quite “free”, the track itself is quite sweet, as is the synth, so if you’re an Ableton producer that also happens to like DJL’s song(s), a song + bonus synth is a really nice deal for a few bucks. By the way, Danny has 42 video tutorials on a variety of production topics, so subscribe to his Youtube channel.
The tune is expected to drop on Friday, so keep your eyes peeled.
Parallel Compression: A Lethal Secret Weapon
This is one of the sweetest production techniques out there. First, here’s some background: according to The Producer’s Manual, parallel, “in terms of signal flow, means connecting two or more circuits together so that their inputs are fed from a common source and their outputs are then mixed together.” Compression is “signal process[ing] designed to reduce the dynamic range of audio signals. The usual mode of operation is that signals exceeding [a] threshold set by the user are reduced in level.” Together, you get parallel compression: a technique that, when used with restraint, can really amp up your mixes.
Mixing a song with small amounts of a heavily compressed (or even distorted) version of itself can make the original one sound larger than life, punchier, denser, or clearer. It’s a bit counterintuitive: by itself, the heavily compressed version sounds like crap, but when you add a small amount of it back into the original, the two combine very nicely to yield a superior mix. This technique can be applied to a whole song or to each instrument in it. Pages 173-177 of The Producer’s Manual are devoted to this.
Very important topic: sidechaining. Here’s a decent video explaining one way to sidechain the bassline to the drum kick—which is a total must to clear up clashing low-end frequencies and give your mix more headroom (loudness) in the mix for mastering. Depending on your taste, it also sounds pretty cool. Keep in mind that the effect can be be very pronounced/obvious (as in this video and in styles like Electro, French, and Tech House), or more subtle—but the end result is a brighter, cleaner, more thumping mix.
White noise is sometimes overused in modern House Music, but it does have its uses. Sometimes you need a little “extra something”, an added layer to add dimension to a stripped-down mix. At other times, you want to tell a story that calls for build-ups or downshifts. Or the style of House that you make—if you’re a Tribal, Tech, or Minimal House producer especially—might just demand heavy use of white noise.
For those cases, try using the EXS 24 in Logic Pro to create interesting white noise effects. By automating things like panning, various LFOs (oscillators), and especially the Filter Cutoff in the EXS 24, you can make white noise work for you in a variety of situations. Check out this video for a tutorial.