Tuning Getting samples in tune can be a tricky task, especially when it comes to non melodic samples such as drum hits or sound effects. If you find it difficult to hear the key pick a direction to transpose, and move in increments of one semitone at a time. Eventually you will land on a key that works. You can also use a frequency analyser and use one of the lower harmonics as a guide: take a note of the frequency and see which note it corresponds to. Some EQ’s such as FabFilter Pro Q has an inbuilt…

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Creating sample variations

Creating sample variations Create better grooves by creating new versions of your key samples for some variation. A great example of this is in Dub where the snare will never quite hit the same: sometimes with reverb and other times dry with a short decay for example.  You can do this by tweaking volume envelopes, pitch and sample start for examples. Sometimes I’ll even modulate effects such as distortion to get some movement.  You can also program a repeated pattern of the sample, place an extreme effect on it and export as audio. With this audio you can…

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MIDI Velocity programming

MIDI Velocity Programming Instead of just placing MIDI notes to create melody or groove you can also use velocity to further add expression. By default MIDI velocity normally controls volume but you can get creative and take your programming up a level by getting velocity to control elements such as filters, envelopes or even effects for example. This is just one of many ways to add expression. My personal favourite is to assign velocity to filter cutoff, decay and drive so the harder a note is pressed the more aggressive and open the tone feels. 

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Fast work flow

Fast work flow One of my top tips for a fast work flow is to map out the arrangement early on. Build your key section, such as the groove (normally 8, 16 or 32 bars), and then map out your entire track. Working from left to right can be time consuming having to restart the track every time to hear if things work. By doing the arrangement early on you can focus on creativity, and work down instead, building lots of layers and having fun with sounds. After this stage it's fairly straight forward to palce the newly…

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