Almost Free Ableton Session and Audio Files

Rather than piece meal tips and tricks I go over all the ingredients of production and how the different things came together for this track.The music, drums and what not were done in Maschine.

I brought everything in to Ableton to finesse the arrangement and mix. Think about how Ableton is advertised and sold - it's nearly always shown in a small studio set up w like guitars, synths, drum machines and what not. Ableton is great for capturing ideas, but I"m not a "Live Geek" doing fancy things.

Tip 1 (2 minutes). Bus or group your bass and kick drum to process them together. (EQ, Side Chain Compression etc)

Tip 2 (4:30) I bounced my hi hat and snare to 1 stereo track as the mix on them was OK in Maschine. Typically it's better to keep them separate but I was going for speed and simplicity. I use some heavy NYC compression on this track. Watch and Listen to hear my EQ and compression settings.

Tip 3 (7 min) All drums flow into a "Drum Bus" track or group so that all the drums are process.(8 min )Mixing the keys and pad sounds - only required a dash of compression and EQ

Tip 4 (8:30) Gain staging and freeing up headroom on your master fader. Here's a refresher on this concept in a post I did last year. https://itsthedj.com/if-youve-ever-us...Basically you don't want tracks coming in too hot and then going too hot into your plugins. Yes this matters in a DAW, despite "32bit floating point headroom" In the link above a professional mastering engineer debunks this.

Tip 5 10 Minutes - Track Structure/Arrangement. A lot of new producers cram too much into a track so elements become repetitive and boring. The most basic way to think of track structure is like going to dinner. Appetizer/Main Course/Dessert. What this means in the real world is that you want your main elements to make their appearance at about 2 minutes into the track. They can be teased and hinted at prior to this, and this is certainly not a hard and fast rule but it is a good frame work for approaching track structure. For example the keys in this tune start at Bar 65. Watch out for overusing elements in your track. Look at and study what other people have done for where to place things in your arrangement.

Tip 6 (13:30) . Use delay to spice things up. See how I automated the send button on the vocal to the delay return track. I also automated the level of feedback on the delay track to 100% to push the sound into a near constant feedback loop. Delay is a nice way to add some ear candy to your music.

Tip 7. (14:40) See where the vocal part fits into the mix sonically. It fill s a gap where I didn't have sonic content. The vocal part was helpful in the 300-800Hz area.

Tip 8. Don't Master Your Own Tracks. don't burden myself with anything to do w/ Mastering. I use Landr for rough masters so I can check my stuff in the car, and Landr has been fine for sending demos and getting tracks signed. For final masters that will be sold in stores like Beatport, I do hire professional, human engineers. I do have a couple things on my master channel which you can watch and listen to. Typically I use the UAD Fatso Sr. Plugin on very gentle settings for mix bus compression. Quick shoot out of the UAD Fatso versus Ableton's Glue Compressor.

Want access to this Ableton Project?

You can get it for almost free. Only $2 or Pay What You Like using the Green Button Below.  

Or I added this to my flagship course "Underground Elite" in the "bonus" section so that students can experiment, dissect, and learn from it.

Sign up for my course here.

Free Stuff – Snow day Tech House

Love days like this when the weather is foul and I'm stuck in side for most of the day.  Also got me a new sampler which makes it even better.  Enjoy these free loops! Download using the link below.  It's an Ableton session, if you don't have that just open and grab the raw audio files.  

Let me know what you think in the comments. 

advice to newer producers

This video is kind of a track review but also advice to newer producers. Anyone in a new endeavor who's willing to work has the opportunity to make big gains during the early phases.

Gains take longer as you get to intermediate and more advanced stages.

I don't run much but if I work at it I can run a mile in 8 minutes. It's quite easy for me to run for a couple weeks and move my time down from 9 minutes towards 8. But going to 7:30 - that's not as easy.

If you lift it's pretty easy to lift your body weight. Lifting 1.5X your body weight is harder, and people with advanced levels of strength can do things like squat 2x their body weight.

It's similar to production.

Those newer to production have the opportunity to make a lot of gains in their first 6-12 months. That is if they are willing to work on the right things and not get distracted by all the noise and fluff.

This new student wrote in with a question about an idea - mainly if the levels of his kick and bass are OK.

I love the low end action in this track, the level of the bass is a bit too loud but nothing a little movement of the fader can't work out.

Sure some compression and enhancements can be done but it's too early for that.

For now, my advice to Conor and others at this stage is to work on structure as much as they work on making ideas.

Better to be able to make a decent full track using mainly samples and a little of your own programming/synth work than to make loops that sound great but never get finished.

He has a rather long nearly 6 minute idea, there's no breaks and it's all rather similar in energy levels.

Some ride/cymbal patters are introduced which is good...and do roll off low end that's not needed for tracks like rides as well as supporting percussion, but no when to use these parts in your track.

Typically rides are used to increase energy signaling a decrease in energy so it's typical for rides to start and be followed by a decrease in energy. Study up on other producer's tracks to get a better handle on this.

Learn when and where you should place cymbals and percussion, then go back and add riffs/catchy melodic elements where it makes sense.

All these tracks have 3 main components. A beginning, middle, and ending section.

Appetizer, main course, dessert.

Use the first 2 minutes to build things up, have a short break, begin middle section, break, ending section. At a macro level this is the gist of a track. Sure there are other more micro moments and little details, but it's better to nail the big picture before getting into the weeds.


Get the details on my course here - 20 videos over 4 sections, 5 hours of content, lots of cool bonuses.

free arrangement template – architectural 7.2

Here's another one for the "Finish Faster" series. If you're struggling to take your music beyond 8 or 16 bars give this a look.

It's totally OK to borrow track structures or arrangements from the works of known producers.  It's like sampling how a song ebbs and flows. 

What I do is take detailed notes for each section of a tune and then make a mock arrangement in Ableton Live using silent clips. 

I've taken it further this time by including some inspired samples. In the latest template I'm using the tune "7.2" by Architectural. 


NY Muscle production templates and samples

2 Templates in this package I've named "NY Muscle" which also includes a smattering of samples influenced by records I bought in New York City.

These are 2 chugging subterranean cuts ready to rumble a warehouse.

All that's required is Ableton Live 9.7.  These were made to be low on CPU and friendly on your bank account as no purchase of 3rd party plugins or VSTs are required.

Listen to the tracks and get more info here. 

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