[TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

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[TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Wed May 14, 2008 9:04 pm

Today I will discuss the most complicated aspect of making music on the electribes. Making clean, thick, rich sound. Although the only way to learn this area is through practice, there are many different things that you can do right off to help in this area even if you are a complete beginner.


Lets begin.

First I will mention that the most significant damage to the audio range is the fact that just about ALL of the sounds that come out of the electribe will hit just about ALL of the audible range. Which means without proper approach, all the sounds will effectively cancel each other out and make everything sound muddy.

The first tip I will say is GET NEW TUBES. They don't only change the tone and make electribes sound more smooth and organic, but they also give you a lot more leniency in leveling , filtering and mastering.

On the electribes there is one particular feature which I have found to cause a lot of problems. The accent feature was designed to add a slight volume boost to certain parts of the electribe. Now I do believe that just about none of you have ever used this feature because it appears to be useless.

The problem: By default the accent parts are turned on for ALL parts ot the emx and the esx effectively bringing the volume of ALL parts up. Naturally when creating patterns you will turn up everything making it as loud and clear as possible. This effectively causes digital clipping, and unnatural overdrive. Basically all your parts become too loud for the machine to be able to produce those peaks and it cuts all of them off so even tho it's all louder. It is muddy and distorted.

The solution: Turn off the accent part. The fastest way to do it i s to hit the accent buttons (both on the emx and just the one on the esx) and turning the level knob ALL the way down.

Now this probably does not sound like a big deal, but it really is. A lot of the electribe effects will screw up with sounds that are clipped. For example the reverb will pop and sound ugly and digital. The talk filter also has a lot of ugly artifacts like uncontrollable volume fluctuations where once in a while you will hear a huge spike in its sound which seems to happen almost on random. All the other effects with the accent part turned off simply sound better.

Next step: the drums(and one shot samples).

Drums and one shots are a core to your productions, they guide how everything else in the track happens and define the rhythm and flow of the tune as well as the people who are listening to it.

The problem: Drums use a lot of the audible range. First of all, the kicks can easily overpower the bass line, the snares can muffle synths, the hats can click everything out of the audible range placing it in the background.

The solution: Well there are several parts to this. first of all if you leave drums the way they are and just sequence there's almost no way to find a proper balance of synths and drums because one or the other will almost ALWAYS overpower the other one. The first thing that will help a million is cutting of the length of the drums. with amp eg set to one hit(peak and decay) cut the drum. The best way to do this is to cut the kick just to the point where you still have the bass but not the tail. Same goes for the snare: the long tails will take over all your sound. Same goes for the hats: short clicks sound better.

Another thing to be weary of on the electribes is the ugly compressor. It is a VERY noisy and has a lot of ugly digital artifacts. I would rather recommend compressing ALL of your gear as the last piece of your chain (before it goes to the amp). Apply a very small amount of compression, barely enough to be able to hear it.

Delays are nice on drums sometimes, but can cause a lot of extra noise. First of all if you're going to use it on kicks or snares, do not use mod delay, use bpm sync delay. And if you are only use a TINY amount of depth. Remember every extra delay is another chunk taken out of all the other parts. Another thing is to keep the hats so they hit and overlap each other rather then adding extra hits between... keep them flowing with the beat rather then throwing them off beat to try to add new rhythm(use the drums to create the rhythm, not the delays from drums)

The same effect applies to chorus and especially reverb. Be careful with reverb on drums, it is very noisy.

One extra step on the esx is to try to filter as much of the frequencies that you can not hear and do not relate to the drum as you can... for example cutting the bass frequencies out of snares and highs out of kicks... mids out of hats.

Tip: Keep as few elements as you can. One less drum goes a long way on clarity of all other parts... And try to keep away from long noisy parts... if you have to use one, filter out everything but the most significant sound(works best on the esx)

Here's an example where I have normal drums, cut them a little bit and add a bpm sync delay. In the end it's a crisp and clear drum rhythm.
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_so ... ID=6536459

Next step: Synths
Lets start with the bass line. Creating "phat" bass lines has side effects... if you got a loud bass line it will take over the song. The first thing you want to do is to filter out a little bit more then you like to. Remember you can always go back and adjust it later but let me tell you, filter it just a little bit more then you want to now, and you'll later discover the song sounding just that much clearer. Another thing about bass lines, if you simply turn up the volume knob, it gets louder.... but if you actually use the overdrive knob, it can sound louder and more clear but you can then turn down the volume knob effectively clearing up some audible area. The thing is, when you properly filter and then overdrive a bassline, it ends up being very clean and powerful sounding, while keeping the other frequencies wide open.

Another thing about basslines is that sometimes you want less to be heard like for example when a significant sample plays or when a certain drum hits. This is where normally side chaining would come in but here we are on the electribes so we gotta do it manually via motion sequencing... practice grooving the filter knob with the mix... develop a way of "dancing" and "breathing" the bassline with the whole track. Give it a flow, and capture it with a motion sequence. Now even tho you have places where it is potentially louder, vise versa you open up areas where there is more room for other synths to fill in... so for example, if you have a low cut section in the bass line riff, stick a synth note there, or even record a motion sequence on the other synth parts to reflect the opposite of what the bass line is doing.

example: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_so ... ID=6536494
(notice how the synth cuts in as the bass cuts out).

On the emx, try to keep the overdrive knob turned up about 1/3 of the way up... if you have nice smooth tubes on your machine, you can go higher, but 1/3 is sort of a point on the tribes where the overdriven sound starts to lose definition and power and starts to create too much distortion which kicks it into other undesired frequencies for bass.

Synth parts:
Always filter out anything you don't want heard. This might be a bold statement but it is very useful to cut just about any other synth part then the bassline with the bpf filter effectively to keep the extra ugly artifacts at bay. The more minimalistic each sound is, the more clear the overall sound is. Also the more detail you put into motion sequences, the more your mix will breather and be organic and dynamic, and when all parts are minimal and clear, those little details all can be heard.

Here's an example of one of my songs... begining is dull and static, then I start turning on motion sequences, bringing in other parts, and turning o n their motion sequences.
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_so ... ID=6536524


Things to watch out for: Like in drums, be careful with effects. A lot of times an overdriven part will glitch out when using reverb... to avoid it try removing the overdrive and increasing the volume, if tha'ts not enough, set modulation destination to amp, depth up all the way and speed up all the way. Remember if you want to modulate the filter, you can always motion sequence it. The same concept goes for the talk filter.

I can't make it clear how important motion sequences are. It is the most important and useful feature of the electribes and I'm sad to see so little people using it. Why modulate a filter with the modulation section and look for something that somewhat fits your beat when you can literally dance or grove with the filter where the part becomes one with the beat.

Why keep a bass line a static saw wave when you can morph it into a saw wave when the beat hits or whenever you want to?

If you don't use motion sequences, now is a good time to start. You won't regret it.



That's all folks, thanks for reading. I hope to produce more tips and tricks as well as other tutorials for the electribes. Hope someone finds it useful ;)

Happy tribing.
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby Sven Der on Tue May 27, 2008 7:28 am

thank you very much :D

im waiting for more tips to come...
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby MrSidMan on Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:45 am

WORD.

I just got my electribe about a month ago. LOVE IT!

Thanks for the quick crash course Ruso really helps!
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:53 pm

No problem, glad people are still reading it :)
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby Aciphecs on Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:15 pm

Any tips on how to "overdrive" a bassline on the ESX? I know it doesn't have the option as the EMX does, but thought maybe there was an in-box way around.
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby Dr Feelgood on Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:42 pm

Aciphecs wrote:Any tips on how to "overdrive" a bassline on the ESX? I know it doesn't have the option as the EMX does, but thought maybe there was an in-box way around.



I like to use the Distortion gain (left knob in the editing matrix) effect for boosting and 'overdriving' stuff like basslines. Works like a charm and sounds great usually. Either I'll use the Distortion effect in real time in a pattern sequence or I'll just run a few single cycle samples through the effect and resample them.
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby Aciphecs on Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:07 pm

Dr Feelgood wrote:
Aciphecs wrote:Any tips on how to "overdrive" a bassline on the ESX? I know it doesn't have the option as the EMX does, but thought maybe there was an in-box way around.



I like to use the Distortion gain (left knob in the editing matrix) effect for boosting and 'overdriving' stuff like basslines. Works like a charm and sounds great usually. Either I'll use the Distortion effect in real time in a pattern sequence or I'll just run a few single cycle samples through the effect and resample them.


Thanks Feelgood I'll have to try that. I usually stay away from the distortion as it makes a lot of the samples sound, well distorted :lol:

Definitely gonna give it a go when I get out of work. Thanks again.
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:56 pm

Here's what I did....

I replaced my tubes on my emx with the ones from Eurotubes that have the longer plates (there's a tutorial on tubes on here... I think).... anyway I put the EC803S model into the EMX for smoother sound... sounds great with the overdrive on synth parts.

What I did since the ESX doesn't have it was put in the EC83S model which are the same tube, only shorter plates... it has sharper more defined distortion... crank up the tube distortion knob just a tad.
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby Aciphecs on Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:07 am

Ruso wrote:Here's what I did....

I replaced my tubes on my emx with the ones from Eurotubes that have the longer plates (there's a tutorial on tubes on here... I think).... anyway I put the EC803S model into the EMX for smoother sound... sounds great with the overdrive on synth parts.

What I did since the ESX doesn't have it was put in the EC83S model which are the same tube, only shorter plates... it has sharper more defined distortion... crank up the tube distortion knob just a tad.


Yea I have replaced my tubes already and have noticed a great difference. I tried the distortion this weekend on some of my tracks and WOW definitely adds some punch!

Thanks for the tips!
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Re: [TIPS AND TRICKS] Clean and powerful music on the electribes

Postby hseiken on Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:55 pm

To get good sounds on the ESX, I generally resample a bit if I'm intending on using JUST the ESX for a track. Something that's common for me to do is to use EQ on the EFFECTS section and BP+ combined together. What this essentially does is create a 3 band parametric EQ with a high shelf, low shelf and adjustable middle peak with the BP+. The BP+ acts as a frequency 'booster' of sorts. Adjust the cutoff knob to adjust the frequency you wish to boost (it's permanantly set how muc his boosted...I believe the way the filter works is it has one 'clean' version of the audio and one bandpass version of the audio and layers them together so that it sounds like there's a part of the audio spectrum that's literally 'boosted') and the resonance knob adjusts the width of that peak. This can be used to good effect via resampling to so you can have the eq'd audio and still have the filters available for use in-song.

Another thing I like to do on my drums (which I seem to not play with filters on so much) is to use the BP+ on the kick and snare along with the LFO section on the filter and set the LFO to envelope. By adjusting the envelope, resonance, cutoff all together, you can really beef up the kick and snare sounds to be pretty deep (and you can definitely OVER do it...the resonance will eventually start self oscillating and when used with the envelope, you can actually layer a simple sine kick sound like a 909 via the filter alone with the original drum sound buried beneath...it can get ugly fast so beware).

If you want I can try to make a short video showing these techniques and how I use them. Again, these tips are if you plan on using JUST the ESX itself for the entire song in a 'live' situation (i.e. not layered on itself). Lately, I've been taking advantage of all 3 effects chained and playing a single section with all effects (including the tube drive knob) in multitrack recordings to get more full sound. However, by doing this, I essentially eliminate any possibility of recreating the track exactly as the recording via playing the song live. It's a tradeoff for quality of sound versus versitility of playing it I suppose.

I hope this stuff kinda made sense. I think with drums, you get more control over the sound on the ESX simply due to resampling. If I recall, I heard the filters aren't available for the drum parts on the EMX, which is a shame because the drums are always the driving force of dance music and to not be able to control their frequency focus really can hurt a tune some times.
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