Breaks production basics

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Dex
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Breaks production basics

Post by Dex » Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:49 am

I've been kinda making dnb for a few years now, haven't really finished any decent tunes but have learnt a lot about the software etc.

Anyway, I don't have the love for dnb that I used to, I probably listen to breaks more these days and it interests a lot more so I think i'm gonna have a bash at a few breaks tracks for a change. Anyone got any tips on how breaks production might differ?

With dnb I layer a lot of breaks to give it those hectic drum patterns but breaks beats sound a lot more sparse, how do you get a simple kick snare pattern sounding so phat? And any tips on making those big, squelchy, analogue sounds like the finger lickin stuff? Any recommendations with soft synths for this or programming tips?

Sorry, all a bit vague really but basically I'm not a total n00b to production but I am to breaks production so any tips in general will be greatly received, cheers
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Post by Walter Odington » Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:58 am

sample the plumps ;) :lol:



The drums take up more space in the mix, both in terms of the initial sound (ie more full spectrum ie bass) and effects (I think there is more room for reverb compared to current DnB trends - not compared to the older stuff like sadowboxing etc).

There is more time for the drum noises to happen
"Once it has penetrated, a paralyzing saliva subdues the prey and the snail feeds at leisure, often beginning with the softest parts such as the gonads and gut."
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Re: Breaks production basics

Post by mambo dave » Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:59 am

Dex wrote:Anyway, I don't have the love for dnb that I used to
My feelings exactly although I have moved back a little bit now and then.

As far as phat drums go, I pretty much always layer programmed beats and then stick a nice 909 kit underneath or any kit I have that has a good bass element in it. Most drum machines are great for this although I have found a few breaks like this that I've cut up.
Dex wrote:And any tips on making those big, squelchy, analogue sounds like the finger lickin stuff?
get a big, squelchy, analogue synth i guess. In my experience even my novation a-station kicks the crap out of any of my soft synths as far as bass goes ( although it could be the analogue eq on my desk .) Even so I haven't found a nice sounding sawtooth oscillator on a soft synth as of yet and thats where i get most of my squelch. Have a go at sawtooths and glide and just program away, maybe mapping velocity to your filter so you can make it all acidy.

Anyway good luck, post up some of your stuff when you get a chance,

dave
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Post by thief » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:04 pm

Walter Odington wrote:sample the plumps ;) :lol:
:lol: that's the way.

or check out the 'where's that snare from?' thread in here somewhere.

Tips from lots of people, including andy plump.

that's snares sorted...
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Re: Breaks production basics

Post by Dex » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:20 pm

dangerous dave wrote:
Dex wrote:Anyway, I don't have the love for dnb that I used to
My feelings exactly although I have moved back a little bit now and then.
I'm still totally involved in it really as I promote a dnb night and can get dnb sets most weekends where as breaks sets come along every couple of months! I still like a lot of dnb but i've heard it all before, breaks just interests me a lot more, reckon i'll be able to make it a lot better as it's got to the point where i'm making dnb for the sake of it which is never a good reason to make music!

Cheers for the tips people, keep em coming and i'll have a good search about. Think I do need to experiment with reverb etc to fill out the sound, something i would of done just by layering more ghost hits in the past
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Post by Walter Odington » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:27 pm

ghosts still as important as ever, just that the main beat get the royal treatment (often a la 808 or 909 as Dangerous mentioned)
"Once it has penetrated, a paralyzing saliva subdues the prey and the snail feeds at leisure, often beginning with the softest parts such as the gonads and gut."
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Post by TT_ » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:00 am

So my (essay of) tips for breaks production are:

Get urself a copy of recycle

collect shit loads of classic funk/rock/dub/whatever drum breaks

do it the hard way - buy wierd bits of vinyl and record loops into your computer for chopping in recycle.

learn to use the DR - REX in reason

Get hold of an extensive set of roland 808 + 909 samples.

combine dr rex drum breaks and 808, 909 samples to get that stupidly fat kik drum sound you're after.

the 808 and 909 if you dont kno are classic analog drum machines that make very satisfying THUMPS (909) and BOOOOOOMS (808) also a few other fucken great noises.

Listen to plenty of classic hip hop, rock, old hardcore, dub and above all FUNK like say james brown. Then nick all your favourite bits.

Spend some time learning about basic drumming patterns

Ultimately its all about deciding how your kick and bass sound should work together frequency wise. In D+B the bass is often very subby and the kik is quite light so it floats over the bass.

In breaks its often the other way round. The Kik is the lowest thing in the track and there is no real subbass. Then the bass floats over the kik.

Depends on the type of breaks. Bassline and tearout stuff is balanced more like D+B with trouser flapping bass and punchy, even clicky kik sounds

These are two extremes but its a way of looking at it that i find helps a lot.

To seperate the sounds use filters or eq. be careful tho.

Basically you can look at mixing a dance track as primarily a
"Bass management" job

an interesting approach is to use full lo end kiks AND full subbass but write a pattern where they never happen at the same time. does that make sense? It means you can have biggass kiks and subbass AT THE SAME TIME! Isnt life beautiful?

There are other more advanced ways of seperating out kik and bass sounds but its good to learn how to seperate stuff using eq and filters before you get into all that.

Also bear in mind that if your speakers are horrible then it will be very hard to hear the real bottom end. Unless you can afford good speakers (like at least £1000 for the pair) your only options are EXPENSIVE headphones (like £200+) and even then heaphones are a bit wierd.

In this situation (when your speakers are gash) the best way to tell is to constantly A / B listen to your track and something proper like the Plumps, Stantons, Meat Katie, Christian J and pay attention to how loud you can turn up your speakers before they sound horrible. Also watch the speaker cones for excessive movement. You can even do this on really shit computer speakers.

You will probably find that you can play the plump djs etc at twice the volume that you can play your own track. life is hard eh?

This means that there is too much bass overall in your mix, somewhere most likely in the kik and the bass.

Start by putting a hi pass filter on both the kik and the bass and setting it to a very steep filter. Then sweep it between 30 and about 200-300 Hz and see what effect this has on the A/B comparison. Also compress both.

You need to be able to play it loud AND for the kik and bass to sound focused and FAT.

So once you've done all that then you're gonna need to learn synthesis....

but thats a whole other kettle of fish.
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Post by Dex » Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:34 am

tamprecision wrote:So my (essay of) tips for breaks production are:

Get urself a copy of recycle

collect shit loads of classic funk/rock/dub/whatever drum breaks

do it the hard way - buy wierd bits of vinyl and record loops into your computer for chopping in recycle.

learn to use the DR - REX in reason

Get hold of an extensive set of roland 808 + 909 samples.

combine dr rex drum breaks and 808, 909 samples to get that stupidly fat kik drum sound you're after.

the 808 and 909 if you dont kno are classic analog drum machines that make very satisfying THUMPS (909) and BOOOOOOMS (808) also a few other fucken great noises.

Listen to plenty of classic hip hop, rock, old hardcore, dub and above all FUNK like say james brown. Then nick all your favourite bits.

Spend some time learning about basic drumming patterns

Ultimately its all about deciding how your kick and bass sound should work together frequency wise. In D+B the bass is often very subby and the kik is quite light so it floats over the bass.

In breaks its often the other way round. The Kik is the lowest thing in the track and there is no real subbass. Then the bass floats over the kik.

Depends on the type of breaks. Bassline and tearout stuff is balanced more like D+B with trouser flapping bass and punchy, even clicky kik sounds

These are two extremes but its a way of looking at it that i find helps a lot.

To seperate the sounds use filters or eq. be careful tho.

Basically you can look at mixing a dance track as primarily a
"Bass management" job

an interesting approach is to use full lo end kiks AND full subbass but write a pattern where they never happen at the same time. does that make sense? It means you can have biggass kiks and subbass AT THE SAME TIME! Isnt life beautiful?

There are other more advanced ways of seperating out kik and bass sounds but its good to learn how to seperate stuff using eq and filters before you get into all that.

Also bear in mind that if your speakers are horrible then it will be very hard to hear the real bottom end. Unless you can afford good speakers (like at least £1000 for the pair) your only options are EXPENSIVE headphones (like £200+) and even then heaphones are a bit wierd.

In this situation (when your speakers are gash) the best way to tell is to constantly A / B listen to your track and something proper like the Plumps, Stantons, Meat Katie, Christian J and pay attention to how loud you can turn up your speakers before they sound horrible. Also watch the speaker cones for excessive movement. You can even do this on really shit computer speakers.

You will probably find that you can play the plump djs etc at twice the volume that you can play your own track. life is hard eh?

This means that there is too much bass overall in your mix, somewhere most likely in the kik and the bass.

Start by putting a hi pass filter on both the kik and the bass and setting it to a very steep filter. Then sweep it between 30 and about 200-300 Hz and see what effect this has on the A/B comparison. Also compress both.

You need to be able to play it loud AND for the kik and bass to sound focused and FAT.

So once you've done all that then you're gonna need to learn synthesis....

but thats a whole other kettle of fish.
Excellent post, cheers mate! Already got 1000's of drum loops rexed up, gone off reason tho, tend to use them in Halion these days but very wise words regarding subs & kiks, didn't think about it being the other way round
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Post by mambo dave » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:12 am

tamprecision wrote:Ultimately its all about deciding how your kick and bass sound should work together frequency wise. In D+B the bass is often very subby and the kik is quite light so it floats over the bass.

In breaks its often the other way round. The Kik is the lowest thing in the track and there is no real subbass. Then the bass floats over the kik.
tamprecision wrote: You will probably find that you can play the plump djs etc at twice the volume that you can play your own track. life is hard eh?

This means that there is too much bass overall in your mix, somewhere most likely in the kik and the bass.
damn that was a good post. knew those two bits but didnt realise it if you know what i mean :?

cant wait to get home and piss of my neighbours :lol:
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Post by Fedol » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:33 am

tamprecision wrote:
Ultimately its all about deciding how your kick and bass sound should work together frequency wise. In D+B the bass is often very subby and the kik is quite light so it floats over the bass.

In breaks its often the other way round. The Kik is the lowest thing in the track and there is no real subbass. Then the bass floats over the kik.
____________________________________________________________
I generally think it's not clever to follow the pack, and rather to try new things, BUT ultimately you have to understand the basics of whats being done right now to progress...

This bit of advice is absolutely superb! Nice one tamprecision. :D

I might pull a sickie today and go home to play!!!
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Post by mambo dave » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:42 am

gypsee wrote:I generally think it's not clever to follow the pack, and rather to try new things
true but if you want your tracks to be played amongst others of a similar style, then surely they need to have some of the same basic production 'rules'

i think for breaks, the kick being the lowest element sounds pretty solid
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Post by J3 » Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:10 pm

I suggest following the production rules of these people..

--> http://music.download.com/2001-8371_32- ... g=nav_dir&

Now try explaining rules to these people, down the bottom of the page.

Mind your speakers, and try not to take in any of the messages they may hide in the tunes!!!
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Post by alex_virr » Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:24 pm

Dex wrote:
Excellent post, cheers mate! Already got 1000's of drum loops rexed up, gone off reason tho, tend to use them in Halion these days but very wise words regarding subs & kiks, didn't think about it being the other way round
get Native Instruments' Battery and Kontakt and I swear you'll never use the Halion again. Battery is the don for layering drums in your sequencer.
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Post by Joebot » Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:35 pm

good thread this :D
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Post by Dex » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:00 pm

youthful_implants wrote:
Dex wrote:
Excellent post, cheers mate! Already got 1000's of drum loops rexed up, gone off reason tho, tend to use them in Halion these days but very wise words regarding subs & kiks, didn't think about it being the other way round
get Native Instruments' Battery and Kontakt and I swear you'll never use the Halion again. Battery is the don for layering drums in your sequencer.
Got Kontakt, very good for layering sounds but for drums i prefer halion, guess i'm used to working with rex files, if you import rex into kontakt you have to slice them again
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Post by alex_virr » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:03 pm

Dex wrote:
youthful_implants wrote:
Dex wrote:
Excellent post, cheers mate! Already got 1000's of drum loops rexed up, gone off reason tho, tend to use them in Halion these days but very wise words regarding subs & kiks, didn't think about it being the other way round
get Native Instruments' Battery and Kontakt and I swear you'll never use the Halion again. Battery is the don for layering drums in your sequencer.
Got Kontakt, very good for layering sounds but for drums i prefer halion, guess i'm used to working with rex files, if you import rex into kontakt you have to slice them again
but for individual hits and whole kits battery is the way forward. the controls on it are sick for beefing thigs up
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Post by J3 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:07 am

I mainly use halion to layer my snares/kicks and hats up.

Not sure about battery but in halion, if you set up a program with around 50 snares on various keys.

Pick one which has good high (Bit of reverb maybe)
Pick one with a snappy mid
and finally pic one which has a nice medium low freq to give it some butt.

Then layer them up as you see fit.... Remember they dont all have to be the same length, you can use a 32 or a 16 (Length) on the mid range and a 4 on the other two. Makes it snappy and sharp at the beggining and a bit more treble towards the end...

Experiment with this till you get the sound you want, chage their volumes, pitches etc. What ever it takes..

Use your release wisely for some cool sudden jerky drums..

Oh and dont forget your swingbeats (out of time beats??! I dunno someone else best explain what they are!)!! try a 25% swing on a 16 with your ghost snares (lowered velocity snares). for some cool loop potential to put behind your main beat.

Sometimes best to use swing beats at a low tempo 90-110, gives you a good old skool hip hop sort of feel.

If you need help setting up a swingbeat in cubase SX give me a message, im at home now not the studio and i really really!!! cant remember how to do it!

If you feel your snares are to rigid and sound to clinical i recommend a bit of swing quatizing on some of them to give it a more "Real" Feel....

Just one more thing: A good VST distortion plugin was given away on future music mag around 2 months ago, its free so some of you out there wont even need to find a crack for it!!! i recommend trying to track it down, sounds great on softish sounding basslines (Watch your ears though!!)

I think i have given enough away now!!!!

i cant even make music.... Its all a lie.... Ignore all the above! :shock:
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Post by J3 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:15 am

as this is suppose to be for newbies 2 production here is a simple drum pattern for you to try;

BD [x---.----.x-x-.----]
SN1 [----.x---.----.x---]
HH1 [--x-.--x-.--x-.--x-]
HH2 [--x-.----.--x-.----]
GSN [----.---x.-x--.----].........[----.---x.--x-.--x-]

BD = Bass Drum
SN1 = Main Snare
HH1 = Off hat (Go for a clicky style)
HH2 = Hihat (Go for off hat style from house or hardcore quite a harsh sound)
GSn = Ghost Snare, lowered velocity snare, could be the same snare as the main one but it tastes nicer if you try a different one.

ENOUGH...
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Post by superthugg » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:56 am

Sweet Mary! This is a fantastic post....
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Post by Llupa » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:05 pm

^^^ damn right! really like the "crank it up until it sounds shit while A/Bing it with a similar mastered track" - gonna try that ASAP!!

Thanks guys! keep 'em coming!

:D
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