So how do we make a cool techno beat using the various VST plugins?
Making your own techno beat is not really that hard. Some people state that you need drum machine programming, or you need specialised equipment. Well this is not technically true. To make your own beat you need a few following things:
1. some cool sounds- easily a great factor in any beat, a great sound can spark a multitude of ideas.
2. the basics- as stated before in the beat tutorial, once the basics have been grasped, a simple sequencer can make your beat for you.
3. having the right beat to the right song. Even a light, skippy beat can be used in a soft/ atmospheric song. Using a distorted kick drum doesn't really give the same results of being soft and warm.
4. a drum loop is more exciting and "listen-worthy" if it contains effects (ranging from shouts, and hits, to distortion and reverb).
5. the main leading drum loop that you want never exists. Layered drum loops are the way. It preserves originality- no-one else will have your techno loop.
In my opinion these are the mini fundamentals to making your own techno beat. As you go along building up drum loops you will see other factors that can be added.
In this guide I will show you how to make a techno beat like The Prodigy and Pendulum with no expensive kit, all free.
So what do we need to make our own Prodigy drum loop? Well, first off we need:
1. Madtracker (MT2) to sequence the loop (click here to see the guide),
2. Drumatic 3 VST drum software (free with MT2),
3. Frohmage distorter VST plugin (again free with MT2), and
4. the free VST effects bundle from mda-vst (found under the AU & VST Effects).
5. A loop that we will use if from my store of free loops. To get them "right-click" and then "save target as" on this link. The samples are in an .EXE file. So double click on the .EXE once downloaded, and direct the software to where you want the samples placed. The loop is called samplebeat2 and is an MP3 loop, so you will need to convert it into .wav by using the free sampler software Audacity- very easy and powerful. Load in, and then "export as wav".
If you haven't got a clue what I am talking about with VSTs, click here to read my easy VST guide and to download the ones mentioned.
Right on with building our techno beat. It will be a small loop, 16 lines worth (00-15), a sixteenth.
When you load up basic techno loop sample into MT2 into sample space 1, you need to find the right speed for it. Now I have thought that for our beat, the key A3 seems to be right. If you press space, the record button highlights (you can now add text and notes to the sequencer) and then insert C4 into line 00 in channel 00 (by pressing Q), and insert "D" into line 15 to loop back to the start.
Press space to cancel the record, and press play. It should all look a bit like this:
Now if you listen carefully you can just about hear the kick and snare within the techno beat. Now the Prodigy broaden this sound by adding a kick and snare ontop and in the right places.
Now to load up the Drumatic 3 VST into MT2. By pressing F2 and playing with the keys q to p and 1 to + you can hear the drum sounds. If you can't go back to the sample screen and click on the drumatic 3 icon (tells MT2 that you are now using the drum machine instead of the loop). The drum sounds we are going to use are from the Brutal kit. Also make sure that Drumatic 3 is set up to track 1.
Now we are going to insert the drum sounds into the second channel (track 01 technically), so press space to record and by using C2 (by pressing Q) for the kick respectively into the following spaces: Kick = 00, 04, 08, and 12. It should look like this:
Now play. Now the techno beat is starting to take shape.
All we need to do now is add some FX to the kick to make them more dynamic. Click on FX.
Go to track 1,
add stero delay (sounds wierd but hold on)
drop the depth down to 10,
and delay to 2.
This now sounds better, and will be even better when we add the VSTs to the techno beat. Click for part 2.