Archive Monthly Archives: May 2017

Mastering Shoot Out - Landr Versus a Human

In this video I do a shoot out between Landr and Russel Edwards of Warm Audio Mastering.  Russel and I recently connected on Facebook and I just got back fresh master from his studio.

Who will win the human or the algorithm?

I think you may know but watch and listen to this blind playback and decide for yourself.

The truth of the matter is that I think Landr is a great production tool to use while your tracks are "works in progress."  A Landr master is fine for sending demos to labels, but when it comes to the final master, you probably want to hire a pro.  This is what I do as I think it's pretty much foolish to try it on my own. I get nowhere close to what the pros can do.

If you like the track in the video it's available as a learning tool in my course.  Includes are all stems, so students can practice arranging, mixing and remixing.

Check out the course here.

And what did you think of the shoot out? Let me know your thoughts & which version you liked in the comments

Meet Nicola Baldacci

Nicola Baldacci is from Perugia, Italy and has quickly built up thousands of fans and followers with his skills behind the decks and the production desk.

From Nicola's biography, "2014 was undoubtedly a great year for Nicola Baldacci, and his talent was further recognized when he was supported by Umek with "That's Right". The ever-growing demand for Nicola Baldacci’s deck skills saw him play in many countries around the world, including Czech Republic, Mexico, Perù, and of course Italy.

As the audience suggested during the year, Nicola Baldacci was definitely the one to watch in 2014, as his huge singles and collaborations further raised his profile with support from Prock&Fitch, David Vendetta, Phunk Investigation, Cole Jonson, Jay C, Agent Orange, Vlada Asanin, Mike Vale, Ivan Pica, My Digital Enemy and many more.

The ever-growing popularity, is the mark of a DJ whose reputation as one of the rising stars of the scene is increasing all the time.

As a producer, Nicola has already built a reputation for creating outstanding releases, consistently topping the Beatport charts. But, the exciting thing is that there’s so much more to come!"

Nicola had a few words to share with us about his upcoming release on Nervous Records, his successes and tips for DJs and producers.  Keep in mind English is not Nicola's first language so props to him for putting himself out there.

Let's talk about your upcoming release on Nervous Records called "Corruption."  I'm loving what you've done, when can we hear it?

The track will be released in June 12/6/2017 Will come out first on beatport and traxsource, For the moment only the promo was sent, I have received many positive feedback from: Mike Vale,Todd Terry,Simon Doty,Federico Scavo,Groovebox,Rivaz And More….This is my third exit on nervous And I'm very happy.

Corruption has a more sinister, but still jacking sound which is different than what you've done in the past, what inspired this track?

Corruption is totally different from other tracks THE ONE / UP / I've been trying to make a more lively track for the summer, It is much faster and With a much straighter bass. I often use the same sounds but with the totally different base, My kind is always evolving!!!

Can you tell us about your decision to release this on Nervous?

I found a family in Nervous, I'm growing up with them and I like how they work. For the moment is my reference label, And I'm really happy to print my music on a label that made music history NYC.

Can we expect more tunes like this one?

Surely I have other songs already ready to send to Nervous and my second family Adunanza Records. It will be a summer full of exits.

Let's back up to 2014, you describe this as you break out year, what happened exactly?

I can say that in 2014 I started as Dj Produce Remixer, My track BRAIN was remixed by Federico Scavo, Was played 6 times by Mark knight on Toolroom Knight Party, Space Ibiza,Eden Ibiza,Marque Las Vegas and The Artist Club in Moscow. Was one of the most important goals for me, I created my radio show MagneticMix Radio Show on air: Fg Mexico,Fg Usa,Insomnia Fm,Fg Radio, I made my first remix for Davide Svezza & Sando Bani And so many other things you will find in my profile

What were you doing before 2014?

My project started in 2012, I first made the dj resident in my zone Perugia Etoile54 Club / La Villa Discoteca / La Vispa Teresa / Baia Imperiale / Pascià Club, Then I started with the first productions on Natura Viva Rec. Area94Rec Label By Federico Scavo and Zero Urban Records Label By Vlada Asanin, And the first dates arrived abroad.My first tour was in Czech Republic and then Cancun Mexico, Then it was a climbing one after the other until it came to today.

Tell us about your set up, what software and hardware are you using?

In my live I have always played with three cdj pioneer 2000 And djm mixer, I never played with PCs even though I was considering the thing as the technology evolves. Would be a totally different live, we will see what will happen in the future, For the moment I remain faithful to the real live set with cdj and usb.

Can you share some tips for readers on getting tracks signed?

Always search for a sample of a sound, a voice, a piano tour, whatever it is of a song 80's 90’s, With a nice rhythm and a nice base, A good track will come out And mastering is the finish without that it will be hard to sign out on big labels Nervous Toolroom 1605 and more…

Also congrats on the big support you've gotten to date, do you rely on labels to send promos to the bigger DJs or do you have your own promo list?

To date I have a great support by Umek,Federico Scavo,Mark Knight,Groovebox.Gregor Salto and more… Work with my promotion agency Hyperactive UK Mark Bowden is my personal agent promo He takes care of sending my tracks to international DJs and radio stations, Then I also have my personal contacts that are not lacking. Is a 360 degree work.

Any other things you'd like to share with readers?

Thanks for the support look out for my single on Nervous Records June 12, 2017.

Support By:
Mike Vale - Sounds good buddy
Rivaz - Super Tnx
Dj Mag Es - Cool!
Groovebox - Yesss!
Simon Doty - Tnx
M-Nus - Download !!!!
Bruno Kauffmann - Good Track!
Simone Vitullo - Tnx Nicola !!!!
Vlada Asanin - Great!!!
Todd Terry - Tnx Send Promo..
Federico Scavo - Tnx!

Listen and follow Nicola Here:

weekly wrap up

My new set up is complete.  I'm a fan of standing desks and was previously using a bar height table from CB2 that needed to be used as a real table in the kitchen.  I also wanted something more stable.  Was gonna go the DIY route using plumber pipe but I'm someone who likes the idea of DIY projects but has no time, patience, or tools to get them done.

Enter the Gladiator Work Bench.  Mine is 6 feet, adjusts to 42 inches high, but doesn't have the maple top as I didn't feel that was worth the extra cash.  I did get sturdy as the table has a 3,000 lb weight capacity.  I also got for for $319 shipped to my local Home Depot.  This thing is a beast and you'll need to people to move the box and stand it up right. Home Depot staff helped me get it in the car, I luckily got it our of the car and into my garage and had to take it piece by piece to my room.  Also had to grab my neighbor to help me flip it up right after putting the legs on.

The riser that shelves my computer and speakers is an Ikea hack and the wood happened to match nearly identically.  Here's where I got the idea for the riser.   Loving the riser so far it's great having the screen at eye level.  This was a great move and the parts cost a little under $50 with shipping and tax.  If you click the link to the riser, Ikea has smaller shelves that will work.  This shelf for the riser is 4 feet wide and 11 inches deep.  I thought I'd be cutting it but it worked as is.  If you need smaller check the Ikea site for a smaller shelf.

A little late on the weekly wrap up because I was out late at Output in Brooklyn seeing Adam Beyer.  It was my first time and Adam was great, though a friend who was there said it wasn't quite as good as a show he did several years ago. See Drum Code Radio Episode 191.

At Ouptut I ran into local producer Aurelio Mendoza.  Aurelio has a solid EP out on Connor Skidmore's new label SoulStorm that got support from Italian Techno DJ Sasha Carassi.

Aurelio thought my gain staging article was a huge tip, so if you haven't given that a look, check it out here.


I just got a tune back from mastering, and it's once again amazing how much better a professional human mastering engineer is than Landr and how a pro is far better than anything I can come up with.  I just used Russel at Warm Audio Mastering and he did a great job!

The single is called "Waiting for You" existing Underground Elite™ students will be getting a killer bonus that will help you fully understand the 4 stages of production as I'm going to share EVERYTHING I have regarding this single.  The 8 bar loops and short ideas, the arrangement, the final mixed stems, unmixed stems, the final mix before I sent it to mastering and the final mastered version.

Students will be able to practice each part of the production process - for example students can practice mixing using my arranged by un-mixed stems.  Want to remix this?  Grab all the parts and do it.

Want to practice balancing and setting audio levels?  You'll have access to all stems to do so.

A "template" of this nature usually sells for $20-$30 so it will be added to my course which is still $49 and with this added material and some other stuff it will soon be $99.


Some of you have expressed interest in Maschine Jam and Univeral Audio Plugins.  Now is a good time to buy both. Don't be Gear Slutz but if you've been considering this stuff for a while now is the time.  Look for sales and promos.

For example UAD Accelerator Cards are $300-$500 off. This is a pretty good deal, last seen during Christmas.


Native Instruments also has a promo on Jam where you get 7 expansion packs with purchase, that's a pretty damn good deal.

Weekly Wrap Up

Keep your eyes and ears open for competitions.  I wrote this a while ago, give it a look.  Francesca Rose, a DJ right near me, who also won Decoded Mag's Mix of The Month, just won a trip to Croatia for Defected in the House.  I think it was this competition by Point Blank.  Also pretty sure she took a class there.

Don't take expensive classes just to have a "shot" at winning a contest.

On that note, Dubspot closes it's doors because it had become a pyramid scheme.  Owner was a psycho who blew money from students on stupid things, didn't pay teachers, classes were cancelled.  I saw this coming a while ago because teachers were leaving very very poor reviews on Glassdoor and employee review site.

These high end schools are not worth it, there's very little ROI in it for the student.

This week Thump.Vice ran an article about Dubspot's death and then the other music sites hopped on the band wagon.  Monkey See Monkey Do Journalism. The whole thing is kinda lame.

New York's Boris Delivers a KICK ASS EP on Carl Cox's Intec.  You may have heard of Boris from Transmit Recordings, his label.  Enrico Sanguiliano had a break out remix of Boris track that was huge a couple years ago.  There's also the Transmissions Podcast.


I also loved Dustin Zahn's guest mix on Tronic - this is worth a listen as is Dustin's Trainwrecks Podcast.

5 Questions with (Dj) Agent Orange from New York City

Big thanks to (DJ) Agent Orange for dropping by to discuss his influences, workflow, and his new "Overshadow" EP out May 22nd on Bitten.  Ara (aka Agent Orange) and I have been connected on Facebook for a little while now.  We're both Maschine users and he supported my track "Friction" that was released late last year, dropping it during an after hours set on New Year's Day.

Agent Orange has an impressive resume and long history behind the decks.  From his bio, "He has had over 40 releases and tracks land the Beatport Techno Top100 – two of which rose to #1 – for labels such as Tronic, Toolroom, Bitten, Nervous, Deeperfect, and Terminal M."

Since NYC is close to home and near and dear to my heart, feel free to explain how the scene influenced your work over the years

I was born in NYC and grew up here. In the 80’s it was a really exciting time for the new music genres of House, Rap and Latin Freestyle. They all really struck a chord with me as a kid as far back as I can remember, from around ’84-’88. I really fell in love with this music. Then in ’89 at 12 years old I started to collect records and practice as a DJ. I started to play parties all over Queens and then eventually Manhattan. Over the next few years I got to experience many clubs, crowds and venues in the city. Also as a clubber, I was lucky enough to catch the early 90’s era of clubbing and raving, which was probably the greatest dance music moment this city had to offer, only second to the previous Studio 54, Paradise Garage days of Disco. In New York we were exposed to a lot of great music so basically I would go play raves on Fridays, go to underground house clubs on Saturday and Body & Soul on Sundays. I did this for many years. All these influences and amazing DJs like Louie Vega, Todd Terry, Roger S, Joey Beltram, countless Rave DJs, Francois K and co., taught me a lot about both the music and DJing.

You have a massive catalog on Beatport, but the volume really ramped up in the past couple years, while moving away from house/tech house. What do you attribute that to?

Since I began to make my own music in the mid 90s, I was always making Tech-House, House and Techno. Things started picking up with my Tech-House productions around 2013 when I got signed to UMEK’s 1605 label. It really opened a lot of doors for me. I continued with that sound for a while until I got kinda bored with it, as a lot of stuff started to sound very similar because of lazy producers that were over using loop packs. I found darker sounds more interesting again and decided to mix a more groovy sound into darker Techno and that seemed to gain a lot of fans and labels that liked that sound.

What advice do you have for people who are not beginners, but don’t have any releases out but want to - aside from the handling the basic do’s and don’ts, what’s the best approach for newer producers - send demos?  Network?  Make connections?

All of the above! You have to do a bit of everything in the business. Def do what you are best at and enjoy, the most. There are some things that should take priority, like focus on things that are part of the global scene, releasing music, trying to meet bigger artists and labels, even if you don’t have music ready to shop around. The DJing part is fun but in reality if spending all of your time working on getting small gig it won’t give you so much exposure, so go for things that make a big impact and also get some gigs here and there to stay relevant in you local scene. Travel around as much as you can too. The main thing about this business/lifestyle is the way it can bring so many awesome people together.

What was your approach to this EP and what inspired it?

I’m feeling really dark grooves with some tribal/latin influences and some nice vocals here and there, at the moment. I just love the way those elements come together on a big sound system in a nice dark room. So I start with putting a good groove together and take it from there.

Joey Beltram on the remix? That’s huge, how’d that happen? Once I finished the track I sent it to Sandy Huner at Bitten records and he felt Joey would like it being that he charted my previous release on Bitten and since we came from the same scene in NYC absorbing the same influences.

Listen to the full EP Here



How to Make Sure Your Track Fills Out The Full Frequency Range

Can you see what's wrong with this picture?  The image above is a spectrum analysis of one of my (work in progress) tracks.

I sent it off to Björgvin over at for a review and loved his feedback even though he doesn't really work at all in dance music. 

I had asked him to review what's done well, and what red flags does he see or hear.  His concern is my track is quite bottom heavy and lacking in mid-range.

This sent me back to the drawing board.

First thing I did was find a tune that I think sounds good, so I popped one of Harvey McKay's tracks into Ableton with Voxengo Span on the master fader. Span is a free spectrum analysis.

No surprise that Harvey's tune looks and sounds lovely.

I took a screen shot of Harvey's track to get a snapshot of what the spectrum looked like.

I then played my own track and too a snapshot and looked at them both side by side to see what was missing.

I was missing content from about 250Hz to 1500kHz.  So I played Harvey's tune and discovered that his chord riff is a big part of how he fills out that range of sounds in his tune.

So my tune needed a similar riff or hook which I added and you can hear in the video.

Very worthwhile exercise of getting feedback from another expert and implementing something new.

The little chord sequence I added definitely gives the tune a need boost of sonic character.