Issuu on Google+

Issue 244 | October 2011 | UK Edition

DVD INSIDE

Learn Logic, Live & Cubase with our DVD!

1568 NEW SAMPLES

Trance and Bassline samples UK Street R'n'B AND MORE

IN THE STUDIO

Steve Mac

How to make a dancefl dancefloor-ready oor-ready track Full video and audio parts on DVD!

Issue 244

Making the future since 1992

Elektron Octatrack | Steve Mac | Mat Playford | Cakewalk Z3TA+2 | Synth Bass | Logic, Live and Cubase tutorials | Allen & Heath Xone DB:4 | Behringer B1031A | AND MORE

Technique and technology for making music SYNTH BASS!

CUTTING

EDGE!

Bigger sounds! Better lines!

WE SHOW YOU HOW INSIDE!

WORLD EXCLUSIVE REVIEW

Elektron Octatrack

Slice 'n' dice your music with the next-level of sampling!

REVIEWED INSIDE

Ibiza 2011 Goes Hi-Tech

The technique and technology behind this year's freshest sets

Featuring…

Mat Playford PLUS

Funkagenda & Alex Niggemann

Cakewalk Z3TA+2 Rupert Neve 5017 Steinberg HALion 4 Korg Wavedrum Mini Allen & Heath Xone DB:4 Behringer B1031A monitors Eventide Space AND MORE FM244 October 2011

£5.99


Future Publishing Ltd. Beauford Court, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW Tel: 01225 442244 Fax: 01225 822793 Email: futuremusic@futurenet.co.uk EDITORIAL

Editor Daniel Griffiths, daniel.griffiths@futurenet.com Deputy Editor Chris Barker, chris.barker@futurenet.com Art Editor Phil Cheesbrough, phil.cheesbrough@futurenet.com DVD Editor Will Seelig, will.seelig@futurenet.com Production Editor Declan McGlynn, declan.mcglynn@futurenet.com BIG THANKS TO… Jono Buchanan, Danny Scott, Dan ‘JD73’ Goldman, Marcus Campbell, Greg Scarth, Robbie Stamp, Bruce Aisher, Ian Shepherd, Roy Spencer, Martin Delaney, Tom Jones, Joe Branston, Dave Caudrey, Joe Branston, Andy Short, Oli Bell, Doug Kraul Group Senior Editor: Julie Tolley Group Art Editor: Rodney Dive Creative Director: Robin Abbott Editorial Director: Jim Douglas ADVERTISING Senior Advertising Sales Manager: Matt King, mking@futurenet.co.uk Advertising Sales Manager: Lara Jaggon, ljaggon@futurenet.co.uk Account Manager: James L’Esteve, jlesteve@futurenet.co.uk Sales Executive: Leon Stephens, lstephens@futurenet.co.uk Advertising Sales Director: Claire Dove, cdove@futurenet.co.uk MARKETING Campaign Marketing Manager: Madeleine Umpleby, mumpleby@futurenet.co.uk Brand Manager: Jennifer Wagner, jwagner@futurenet.co.uk CIRCULATION Trade Marketing Manager: Verity Travers, vtravers@futurenet.co.uk Trade Marketing Director: Rachael Cock, rcock@futurenet.co.uk PRINT & PRODUCTION Production Co-ordinator: Ian Wardle, iwardle@futurenet.co.uk Production Manager: Rose Griffiths, rgriffiths@futurenet.co.uk LICENSING International Licensing Director: Tim Hudson, thudson@futurenet.co.uk Tel: + 44 (0)1225 442244 Fax: + 44 (0)1225 732275 FUTURE PUBLISHING LIMITED Publisher: Rob Last, rlast@futurenet.co.uk Publishing Director: Mia Walter, mwalter@futurenet.co.uk Chief Executive: Mark Wood SUBSCRIPTIONS Phone our UK hotline on: 0844 848 2852 Subscribe online at: myfavouritemagazines.com NEXT ISSUE ON SALE… Thursday, 29th September 2011 Printed in the UK by William Gibbons on behalf of Future. Distributed in the UK by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel: 0207 429 4000

Welcome New Arrivals

We love it when a new truly innovative product comes along. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for the next super-synth packed with ‘hit making’ presets as much as the next producer in a hurry, but when something appears that genuinely stirs the imagination it makes us truly glad to be making Future Music. The Elektron Octatrack is such a product. Trust us. Until you’ve seen and heard what it can do – and do on-the-fly with a few simple controls – then you’re missing out. Thankfully our massive review on page 80 and audio examples on the disc will get you most of the way there. Don’t miss them. Our Pro Producer’s Guide To Synth Bass on page 34 is an exhaustive guide to making and taming the big bass that today’s tracks demand. And with 39 audio examples of the techniques in action waiting for you on the disc, we’re certain that you’ll be making better music because of it. Likewise, our regular Logic, Live and Cubase sections, Knowledge Base regulars and unique Get That Sound feature. No other mag gives you more tutorials and ammo on DVD, all ready for making great music. There’s just space to thank Steve Mac for a brilliant session on the disc (and see his amazing studio on page 44). And respect to Mat Playford who’s state-of-the art DJ rig (on page 60) is certain to inspire and excite. Cheers!

A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations

Daniel Griffiths, Editor daniel.griffiths@futurenet.com © Future Publishing Limited 2009. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. The registered office of Future Publishing Limited is at Beauford Court, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

expert contributors this month…

Greg Scarth music scientist

Dan ‘JD73’ Goldman musician, producer

Roy Spencer DJ, writer

Greg won the battle to review the Elektron Octatrack this month. His chopped up, reversed and warbled reworking of his entire back catalogue is scheduled for release in 2014.

The Jazz Doctor (he really is a Dr – of Jazz) can produce frequencies other less-qualified musicians can only dream about. He’s the brains and ears behind our superb Synth Bass feature on page 34.

As the regular pen behind our Classic Album feature (page 16) Roy is our go-to guy for anecdotes and tall tales. And as alter ego DJ Moneyshot, he’s also the ideal candidate to pour praise on Allen & Heath’s superb Xone DB:4 on page 86.

3


Contents Issue 244 | October 2011 | UK Edition

ON THE DVD

Steve Mac

44

The producer, remixer, DJ and gear collector gives us an extended tour of his incredible studio and talks about his varied career so far

Packed DVD p6 Steve Mac talks you through a brand new track and gives you the stems to check out, exclusively on our DVD!

Feature From p34 Tackle that bottom end as we explain how to get the most from your synth bass programming

Artists From p60 We head to Ibiza to meet Mat Playford, Funkagenda and Alex Niggemann

4

Reviews From p79 We exclusively test Elekton’s anticipated Octatrack performance sampler


DV D CO

NT

Reviews

EN

TS

ON THE DVDl

Elektron Octatrack

80

A completely original take on performance sampling.

Allen & Heath Xone DB:4

86

A cutting-edge, DSP-packed DJ mixer with plenty to offer.

ON THE DVDl

Cakewalk Z3TA+ 2

88

A soft synth classic comes of age with lots of new features.

p94 XILS-labs Synthix

ON THE DVDl

RND Portico 5017

90

A mic pre from the labs at Rupert Neve.

p90 Rupert Neve Designs Portico

p102 Behringer Truth B1031A

Korg Wavedrum Mini

92

Compact beats and a portable piezo mic trigger too. Korg’s latest gets a bashing. ON THE DVDl

XILS-labs Synthix

94

A virtual multi-layered polyphonic synthesizer.

ON THE DVDl

Eventide Space

96

A stomp box containing some extraordinary reverbs.

ON THE DVDl

Alesis Performance Pad Pro

98

A must-have for the studio and stage? We find out…

ON THE DVDl

Vengeance Mastering Suite Stereo Bundle

100

A bundle of impressive tools to tweak your mix.

Behringer Truth B1031A

102

Mellow yellows or bargain boomer? You want the Truth? You can’t handle the Truth! ON THE DVDl

Steinberg HALion 4

105

The issue… Filter

Komplete 8

10

An enormous package of producer goods gets unveiled. One of which comes on its own HDD.

Focusrite Control 2808

12

Analogue summing mixer meets ethernet-equipped DAW controller and software bundle.

Producer Sessions Live

14

See the line up for our amazing production weekender at SAE London!

Classic Album

16

An updated mega sampler from Steinberg. But does it offer enough for the money?

CJ Bolland discusses the journey that resulted in his classic album, The Analogue Theatre.

ON THE DVDl

Studiofile

Spitfire Audio Albion

106

Finally, a professional string library for a sensible price?

20

The excellent 80 Hertz Studios – a brand new Mancunian facility – opens its doors to the Future Music team.

Technique ON THE DVDl

Features ON THE DVDl

Cubase Tips

Synth Bass

Knowledge Base: Pitch Correction

Steve Mac

52 54

We jack into Cubase as we explore VST Amp Rack.

We talk you through the history of pitch correction.

ON THE DVDl

Logic Tips

68

Move beyond the presets with some simple tricks.

ON THE DVDl

Knowledge Base: Roland RE-201

72

The legendary Tape Echo gets its story told.

ON THE DVDl

Ableton Live Tips

74

Creating beats using MIDI and audio in Ableton Live.

34

Program and understand the fundamentals for pro bass.

ON THE DVDl

44

He’s remixed over 300 tracks and has the studio most of us dream about. We meet the former Rhythm Master and House legend. ON THE DVDl

Get That Sound

58

How to recreate the sound of Daft Punk’s Robot Rock.

ON THE DVDl

We Love… Synths

60

We meet Mat Playford and his amazing DIY live rig.

REGULARS

108 Mini Reviews 110 Q&As 5


Filter | Classic Album

THE

CLASSIC

ALBUM

CJ Bolland The Analogue Theatre

FFRR, 1996 Take your seats as Roy Spencer raises the curtain on a Belgian Techno master’s hugely successful take on Breaks

F

ans of CJ Bolland probably spat out their popcorn when they heard The Analogue Theatre. Most of it was Breakbeat. The militant four-four thud of his previous output on the Techno label, R&S, were notably absent on the album’s biggest single, Sugar is Sweeter. In fact there was singing on it. It was a Pop song. It was clearly

16

influenced by The Chemical Brothers. It was catchy as hell. It soared up international charts. Along with talking in the audience, smoking, and using mobile phones, surely this was all frowned upon in a Techno producer’s theatre? “I’d just left R&S Records,” says Bolland, “and it was my first album signed to a major label, FFRR,

through Universal. I was heavily influenced with what was coming out of the UK, what with The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, the whole Breaks thing. I wanted to experiment more with that.” Around the time he bumped into an old friend, Kris Vanderheyden – known as Insider, back in the day – and the pair realised they were both into these new sounds coming out of our fair isle, and sat down to bounce some ideas around in the studio. They worked with Pop song structures, moved away generally from that four-to-the-floor big room sound, and experimented with Breaks. The very first result was Sugar is Sweeter. “It set the tone for the album,” says Bolland. “It felt good. I wasn’t too sure what the record company would make of it, as I was known for Techno and now I was doing this new stuff called Breaks. This was before Prodigy’s big success. They were a big band, but this was before Breaks had almost become an mainstream thing and accepted. But the label heard what we were doing and basically said ‘give us some more of this’, so we knew that we were on the right track.” In a bid to show his heritage and not betray his roots, Bolland worked a few Techno monsters in his Analogue Theatre. The Prophet is as epic as the dialogue it samples from the film, The Last Temptation of Christ. While Counterpoint provides just that from all those Breaks. The album dropped and it made Bolland a top biller. He says sales bobbed between 2-300,000. The singles selling more. Sugar is Sweeter sales were ridiculous,” he says. The Prophet sold like 400,000, and that was 12” singles! It might not have sold as much as Metallica, but for us that was big figures. Big, big figures.” It wasn’t his goal to find mainstream success. He just wanted to experiment. “With Techno, it was all centred around the 909 beat, and the four-four beat, and it was all straight for the clubs,” he says. “I was coming from five or six years from what we called ‘the underground’. All of a sudden radio and music TV were getting interested. All of a sudden it didn’t all have to be about purist underground Techno. I could try stuff with vocals and normal song structures. It was a fun, but scary experience. The scariest part was when Universal said ‘do that again’.

I was like ‘do what? We just sat down and had a laugh’. How do you sit down and write a Pop album? God knows, but it was fun.”

Track by track with CJ Bolland Obsidion

“I love big theme tunes from movies. I also really love the band, Art of Noise. So I took some sounds from some old Art of Noise records that I had, and generated the beats from that. I basically wanted to do something with big strings, almost movie-like, and add fat drums to it. “The drums were more Breakbeat than the usual four-four I’d been known for, so this was a good track to open with to show the new direction. This was the start of me being more than just a Dance producer. I had the freedom to write whatever came into my head, and not have to constantly think, ‘will they Dance to this?’ I didn’t have to worry about it. “It was all about a huge pair of speakers and tweaking the knobs. If the sound we were making glued us against the opposite wall we knew we were doing it right.”

Pesticide

“This is a little more banging and darker. It’s a product of growing up in the eighties and having the Soviet Union threat hanging over us. “Musically, I was really influenced by people like Aphex Twin and stuff like that. I really gravitated towards his dark edge. I also grew up with Electronic Body Music and New Wave and Cold Wave… These dark Electronic styles. It seemed that you could do that again, but with a slightly more danceable feel to it. “The pad sounds were probably from Korg’s WaveStation. Not the presets. I could never sleep if I ended up using presets [laughs]. I’d spend ages tinkering to get the right sounds. It always starts that way in those sample-based synths, like the WaveStation or Kurzweil. You might start with a preset, nearest to where you wanna go, then you tweak it until it sounds just right.”

The Analogue Theatre

“‘The Analogue Theatre’ name is really silly. It comes from this live gig I did before we released the album. We had this old pair of stage curtains


Classic Album | Filter

LIKE IT? TRY THESE…

The Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust

The Brothers work it out on their classic debut. A huge influence on CJ Bolland, and the benchmark for Breaks. ADD THESE TO YOUR PLAYLIST: Leave Home; Chemical Beats

In The Studio With… CJ Bolland

“The album was made in The Bedside Lab. It was pretty much where it says it was, in my bedroom. I was still living with my Mam and Dad. I had a pretty substantial amount of gear. If I wanted to record vocals or whatever, I had to use Kris Vanderheyden’s studio in Brussels. “My setup included a SoundTracs Solitaire 32-channel mixing desk, my

E-mu Emulator III, two Emulator IV samplers, a Kurzweil K2500, rack version. I also had a Memorymoog, a Polymoog, a Minimoog and a whole bunch of Junos, like the 106, a 60… What else? Oh yeah, two Roland TB303s, a TR-909, a 606, a 626, a 727 and 707… The whole catalogue [laughs]. I also had an SH-101. Pretty much the whole Roland series.

I also had a modular setup with the Korg MS series, too. Besides that I built bits and bobs, and had old guitar peddles and stuff. Software-wise, it was Cubase. “The most important thing for me was my samplers and the Emulators, especially the Emulator III. It had the proper analogue filters on it. It just has this sound. I’d always used it, even at R&S, Everyone

else seemed to be using an Akai S-1000, which was a great machine, but they didn’t have these beautiful little filters on like the E-mu. “I used to love sampling things from movies, like big chord sections off the soundtrack and sticking them through the filters until they were unrecognisable. Then it just created this really different sound.”

Aphex Twin Ventolin E.P

Distorted drums from the Cornish beat warper. The Kung Kung Ka’s expertly crafted on here made an impact in The Analogue Theatre. ADD THESE TO YOUR PLAYLIST: Ventolin (Salbutamol Mix); Ventolin (Plain-An-Gwarry Mix)

Front 242 No Comment

Superb Belgian Electronic Body Music, a genre that defined a generation, and seeped into Bolland’s work. ADD THESE TO YOUR PLAYLIST: Commando Mix; Special Forces

The Prodigy Music for the Jilted Generation Liam Howlett’s Industrial Breakbeat can be heard echoing through The Analogue Theatre. Bolland definitely went full throttle after hearing this. ADD THESE TO YOUR PLAYLIST: Voodoo People; Full Throttle

CJ Bolland Classics ‘89-’94

Get the skinny on the Techno pioneer’s early career in this handy, pocket-sized CD! The perfect intro before going into The Analogue Theatre. ADD THESE TO YOUR PLAYLIST: Neural Paradox; Horsepower

and we thought it would look cool if we set up all this old modular gear behind the curtains, so when we opened them to play it would look like this crazy theatre piece. We said it was like this analogue theatre, and then the name stuck. “We thought we were cool [laughs]. Most of it was fake. It was literally built in the studio by us to fatten up the scenery on stage. I remember Speedy J, an old pal from

stuff for women it gets a bit sloppy, so has a bit of a melancholic feel to it. “I think this came quite early on in the recording sessions. When I write stuff like that it normally comes at the start when I haven’t really thought too much about what I’m going to do in an album. When I just kinda let myself go I end up making really melancholic, downy stuff. “My working regime was never nine-to-five. I normally start work

Techno track. I found that sound pretty early on. I just played this little melody over a four-four kick drum. “As soon as I had that little hook I knew it sounded good, but it wasn’t funky enough, so I underscored it with another sound that bounced off it. Now it was melodic and Funky. Then it was a matter of making it sound big by adding some hi-hats, snares and crashes, and more of that famous Willem Defoe dialogue sample from the movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. It was a pretty straightforward job… I wish more were.” [laughs]

That track was, very honestly, inspired by The Chemical Brothers. I’d just bought their album Holland, came up to me and said ‘Wow, what is this machine? I’ve never seen it before. I must have it’. I had to say ‘Dude, it’s fake. Look, there’s a piece hanging out the back there that is from an old kettle!”

On Line

“This was actually named after my girlfriend. Her name was spelt L-I-N-E, like Lynne. It was a little bit of a pun, because it tied in with the start of the Internet era. When I write

about two or three in the afternoon. If I’m vibing, it can go onto six or seven the next morning. Inevitably it would go on way into the night.”

The Prophet

“This was the very last track we made. I had a little panic moment after I’d finished the album and I realised that it was nearly all Breakbeat [laughs]. There was no link to where I’d come from to where I am now, so I wanted to do one phat

People of the Universe

“That was, very honestly, inspired by The Chemical Brothers. I’d just bought their album, Exit Planet Dust, and I was blown away by it. We didn’t steal anything from it, we just vibed off it. It was a case of going ‘Wow, I want to make something that sounds like this too’. It was a case of gimme one of those beats, put an Acid line on it, distort the fuck out of it and just tweak it as we go along. This was one of those tracks where we didn’t

17


Filter | Classic Album

even program an arrangement on it. It was just played in live to a tape recording we did for about half an hour and then edited it down. “It was one, which you didn’t think about too much. You just recorded it, with fingers on mute muttons and effects and auxiliaries on the mixing desk, tweaking as we went along, then edit at the end.”

Here and Now with CJ Bolland “A few months back I just finished production and programming on the new album from the Belgian Rock band, dEUS. They’ll be touring shortly, and the new album is coming out in

September. I also do another project with the singer/ songwriter from dEUS, Tom Barman, called Magus. We have a new album coming up, which is 80% done. We’ve been working with a lot of

international guests. The lead single features Tom Smith from Editors, but I’m not going to spill any more beans, as it’s not coming out till early next year. In the meantime I’ve just started a project with

There Can Be Only One

“This was a weird one, because it was based on a remix I did of the Utah Saints when I was on R&S. Usually when I do remixes for someone I find at least one or two elements that I use that inspire me to do my own version. I found it hard to find any bits that I could use to turn it into a Techno tune, so I ended up writing a completely new piece of music. Then FFRR hesitated to put it out. I think they only put it out on a White Label. “Funnily enough, when I signed to them six months later, they said ‘we’ve still got this tune of yours, so you want to put it out?’ I agreed, only if I could tweak it a bit more and do a newer version, based on my original.”

Kung Kung Ka

“There was a track on Richard James’ Aphex Twin album called Ventolin that I loved. I used to sing it all the time, but if you wanted to sing it you had to mimic the distorted drums on it, as that was the closest thing it had

reference to all Breakbeat music. If it had caught on it could have become a whole new style. We’d talk to each other saying, ‘You hear the new track by so-and-so?’ and they’d go, ‘No. What is it Techno or Kung Kung Ka?’

Counterpoint

“That was just back on the big Techno tip, with that classic off time

tickle in my stomach when I hear those melodies. I’ve never really learnt music. I still can’t read it. I just trust my ears. I know my way round my synths and samplers and stuff. Things like compression, I never really used. First off, they were really expensive then. For the same money I would go and buy another big fat synthesizer. It wasn’t until a lot later on that I started realising how useful they were.”

Sugar is Sweeter went to number one in the US. Six in the UK. It didn’t even chart in Belgium to a hook, and they went ‘kung kung ka’. We used to just walk around all day going ‘kung kung ka’, which was great. Then I made this tune that had a similar beat, so I called it that, as it was our little running joke in the studio. It was fast becoming our

NEED TO KNOW

Five Essential Facts About… CJ Bolland and The Analogue Theatre

18

cymbal. It was this big, Ravey dancefloor tune. It was lying around before I started the album. It was this unfinished thing I kept coming back to. It has a haunting melody. I always liked those types of refrains. Things that aren’t too happy. I get a little

1

He used to road-test all the tunes in the clubs in Belgium. “I’d play the DATs of the new stuff I had, then go back and tweak them further.”

2

Sugar is Sweeter

“The first track I sat down to make for this album was actually Sugar is Sweeter. I had a little Breakbeat groove, which I added bass sounds to from the Juno, then ran that through some guitar pedals to give it this big distortion sound, which comes in on the intro. Then I worked on the structure on it for a bit

It took a while for Breaks to make it over to Belgium. “I got kicked out of many clubs for playing it, believe me.”

3

Sugar is Sweeter started as an instrumental, until Nikkie, from Jade 4 U, popped by the studio and just had to lay down some vocals.

4

someone you’ve probably never heard of called Mauro Pawlowski. It’s going to be really freaky as the shit he’s into is insane. He does the weirdest, darkest, evilest music, so I just thought that would be fun. It’s definitely not for the mainstream. “Production-wise, I still prefer Cubase, but for the Rock stuff I produce it’s obviously Pro Tools. Soft synth-wise, apart from Reaktor, which is insanely good, I use all the Arturia ones. From NI I really like the FM8. Massive is good for what it’s for, but I try and stay away from that, because you end up sounding like everyone else. As good as it is, I think it’s pretty over-used. I still like my hardware. I like to keep the analogue theatre open, so to speak, but we’ve since lost the curtains.” [laughs]

with Kris Vanderheyden, and he said he had a wicked sample for the middle, and it turned out to be The Beatles. It was from I Am The Walrus, the big Mellotron breakdown. We just stuck that in, as is. “It stayed like that for ages really, until we realised that we couldn’t clear that sample. I think Michael Jackson owned the rights at the time and we couldn’t get it. We ended up using it, but I smashed it up completely with filters and another melody. It actually was a lot less cheesy than having the original sample in there on its own. “It took a while for people to get it over here. Sugar is Sweeter went to number one in the US. Six in the UK. It didn’t even chart in Belgium. Not even the top 100.” [laughs]

WANT TO KNOW MORE? For more info on CJ, his latest news and his discography, visit his official website at cjbolland.com

The vocals on Sugar is Sweeter were recorded through headphones, as there were no mics in the studio. That first take is the one you hear on the finished track.

5

The Prophet is still an anthem for Bolland. “People still come to the DJ booth holding their mobile phones up with ‘The Prophet’ texted in and loads of exclamation marks.”


Technique | Logic 9

LOGIC ESSENTIALS

Going Beyond The Presets in Logic Pro 9

It’s tempting to kick back and find the sound you’re after be found by surfing lists. However, you don’t need extensive synth knowledge to strike out beyond a preset and radically change a sound into something unique. Jono Buchanan is your guide. Personalised ES2 lead

1

One of the main reasons why people stick with presets is that they don’t know their way around a synth’s parameters and therefore aren’t sure how to

unlock a plug-in’s potential. However, one of the first parameters people do learn about is filter cutoff as it produces such a recognisable sound. In this first video, I’ve loaded an ES2 preset whose sound is

THE EXPERT

Jono Buchanan composer, producer Jono is a composer and producer who married Logic in 1999. They live together in London within their sons GarageBand and MainStage.

Simply lengthening drum sounds can add a lot of weight

currently very much in vogue in Pop production, yet turning down its cutoff frequency produces very little sonic variation. I’m showing you why that’s the case and how to resolve this particular issue. Then, I’ve gone on to show you two subtle ways in which you can personalise a preset without touching any of the ‘key’ sound-adjusting parameters. With a little detune and a modified pitch-bend setting, this sound becomes much more flexible. ON THE DVD l

Getting creative with an ‘in-vogue’ sound

68

> Trance leads are back in favour in Pop production but that doesn’t mean you have


ON VIDEO

TH ED VD

Imperfect Pitch Velocity controlled pitch can give unpredictable results

Velocity to Pitch

2

Pop and Dance producers are always looking for killer sounds to act as hooks within their productions – infectious noises which stick in their listener’s heads to get them dancing or, better still, out there buying a record! These types of

sounds need to be sufficiently different from others out there acting as hooks in other tracks, so you’d assume that extensive synthesis knowledge would be required to go deep into an instrument to produce a weird and wonderful sound. This can work, of course, yet something catchy and immediate doesn’t need to be hours of programming away.

to stick with the sound of a preset. A few tweaks and a new sound is born.

Ultrabeat sound lengthening

3

Of all of the parameters available within synthesizers in terms of what’s possible, volume might not sound like the most life-changing. After all, pitch change or tone change immediately

I’m firing up the ES2 and loading the ‘Fat Analog’ synth sequence preset. I’m leaving the whole sound entirely as it is at the load stage, except that I’m setting up a routing to feed velocity directly into the pitch stage of all three oscillators. This means that notes played ‘hard’ will be high in pitch and gently performed notes will be lower. While

leap out as more dramatic effects and yet the weight which can be added to a sound when its volume intensity is changed can be dramatic and impactful. In this video, I’m looking at how easy it is to begin to produce drum sounds which are perfect for half-speed Dubstep productions simply by altering the amplifier envelope routings assigned to individual

this makes it impossible to accurately control pitch, the result is great – and with some Glide to bend from one note to the next, a sweeping, bubbly, super-Poppy sequence is born. ON THE DVD l

> Go beyond conventional melodic programming by routing velocity to pitch for instant hooks.

drum sounds within Ultrabeat. So, I’m starting with the default kit and adjusting the drum lengths of the kick and two separate snare drums so that they more closely match the envelope shape of the default clap, which is longer. With longer durations but also a louder average volume through the decay stage of each sound, each takes on much more

69


Technique | Logic 9

weight, without a single additional parameter being modified. ON THE DVD l

> Fill out Ultrabeat sounds by lengthening envelope shapes. Great for half-time Dubstep drum parts.

Evolving soundscapes

4

If you’re keen to get into the kinds of productions which use soundscapes – IDM, film soundtracks, or ambient to name but three – Sculpture will become an important

weapon for you. However, it is unquestionably Logic’s most complex sound-generating synthesizer and it’s part of the human condition than when faced with complexity, most of us tend to look for a simple way out! It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Sculpture comes stacked with preset starting points. Getting beyond these is much more straight-forward than you might think, though don’t expect to be accurately making the sounds you can hear in your head straightaway with Scultpure. Fortunately, the ‘mistakes’ you make along

the way will produce some thrilling results and there’s a ready-made playground in the middle of the GUI which should tease out some remarkable sounds in the form of the ‘Material’ square. On the DVD, I’ve recorded a simple pad/drone and used automation to bring this aspect of the sound to life. The result is an evocative soundscape, achieved with the bare minimum of fuss. That wasn’t so hard, was it?! ON THE DVD l

> Sculpture is complex but that doesn’t mean that a single parameter change can’t make a huge sonic difference.

Tune In Osc detuning is a tried-and-tested way to fatten your sounds

Random FM blasts

5

The EFM1 is a much overlooked Logic synth, partly because FM synthesizers produce sounds in different ways to subtractive synths and so some people are put off with the terminology they face when they boot up FM synths. Still, you don’t have to know what modulators, carriers or even frequency modulation is to produce some great sounds and, in combination with setting up automation mode, you can create angular, spiky sounds which will sit nicely as drones underneath tracks you program. On the DVD, I’ve selected a pad sound and manipulated some ‘known’ parameters first – I’ve changed the amplifier envelope so that the sound starts and stops quickly. Thereafter, I’ve simply held down a chord, extended it and, without worrying too much about the result, recorded automation data in for the FM amount, as well as for the Harmonic dial for both the Modulator and Carrier. The results are sonically startling. Activate Automation and off you go. ON THE DVD l

> The EFM1 responds well to random automated ‘blasts’.

Wobbly pianos

6

‘Looking beyond the presets’ can extend to sample instrument manipulation as much as it does to sound sources which are produced entirely

Oscillator Octaves

7

One really simple way to change a preset into something bigger, fatter and wider is to detune multiple oscillators across different octaves. I’ve started by loading the ‘3 Oscillator Hook’ sound from the ES2 synth and playing in a simple

70

melodic part. To create a hook which can really cut through a mix, I’ve then detuned each oscillator so that one is an octave higher and another is an octave lower. Suddenly, the three separate voices are much more apparent and because each is playing back at its own pitch, it’s almost as though three different synths are

playing back the same melody. Blend in some Glide, so that each note bends from one note to the next and you’ve got something much more interesting. ON THE DVD l

> Fatten up your synth hook lines with oscillators detuned across three octaves.

EFM’s unique sounds can be perfect for layering


Logic 9 | Technique

many key sound parameters but this video might change your mind.

Simple Dubstep bass

9

in the electronic domain, as this video shows. I’ve loaded the preset ‘Yamaha Grand Piano’ sound for the EXS24 to start with and then I’ve set up LFO2 so that it’s clocked to the tempo of my Logic arrangement and is producing oscillations (up and down ramps) in 16th notes. To start with, I’ve routed this movement to the filter cutoff and I’ve dropped the overall tone so that the sound is darker than in its preset form. This works nicely, producing a slightly spooky result. The spookiness is developed further when a second routing takes this LFO movement into the sound’s pitch to produce a weird vibrato effect. Add some Tape Delay with its wow and flutter options activated and the sound ceases to resemble a piano and becomes something new, dark and evocative.

Creating Dubstep bass using Logic’s ES1

Dubstep is the genre to have emerged most forcefully from underground roots into the commercial mainstream within the past couple of years and plenty of new plug-ins are offering Dubstep presets these days. As Logic’s preset banks were constructed long before the style became popular, you might yearn for some ready-made patches to launch you into the genre. However, if it’s the genre-defining wobbly bass sounds that you’re after, you might be surprised how easy it is to manipulate a preset to get within touching distance of that sound. On the video, I’ve loaded the Plucked Bass preset for Logic’s ES1 synth which is

providing plenty of bottom-end thump but, as yet, no wobble. However, once I’ve chosen the right LFO waveform shape and I’ve selected a triplet quarter-note speed for it, it’s a simple matter to route this into the sound’s cutoff frequency and, hey presto, my sound is in the right ball-park. Through the video, we’ll also have a look at how to switch off other parameters which might be ‘fighting’ any routing you choose to set up. ON THE DVD l

> Just because Logic’s synths don’t contain ‘Dubstep’ bass starting points doesn’t mean they can’t be yours with a few simple clicks.

NEXT ISSUE Among other things, Jono will be looking at Logic’s arpeggiation possibilities in our next issue. FM245 on sale 27th September

Cut Copy Chopping bounced presets can keep things interesting

ON THE DVD l

> Add a clocked LFO to sampled piano sounds and very soon the word ‘piano’ no longer applies.

Pads to sequences

8

Sequence sounds tend to be short, spiky little sounds which allow you to introduce a rhythmic component to emphasize the harmonic progression of your track. Pad sounds also do this but lack the dynamism of sequence parts; as they tend to attack more slowly, feature high sustain levels and long release times, they don’t tend to respond well if they’re given busy sequences to play. However, as this video shows, manipulating a pad sound to become a sequence part is easy – it simply means familiarising yourself with the amplifier envelope settings. I’ve started by loading the ‘Purity’ pad sound for the ES2 and through the video, I’ve turned this into a muted sequence sound, before automating the envelope parameters to allow the sound to open out again and become a pad for a more sustained section I’ve recorded towards the end of the sequence. ON THE DVD l

> Lush pads and spiky sequence sounds might not sound as though they’d share

Bounce and Chop

10

While these videos have encouraged you to see that you don’t need to understand every single parameter of a synth to be able to manipulate a preset in new and interesting ways, it’s equally true that a preset can be a great launch-pad for an alternative form

of sonic exploration. In this video, I’ve loaded a preset and recorded a sequence for it without manipulating a single parameter. That said, the mission is still to produce something new, so instead of relying on synth parameters, I’m chopping the pad sound which originated in Sculpture into 16th notes before creating a couple of points where the regular rhythm is broken up into shorter notes. Then I’m turning to Logic’s Autofilter plug-in to manipulate the tone of

my new sequence to produce something new. The overall idea becomes that it’s so easy to turn even a preset sound into something new and it’s so exciting to experiment, that there really is no excuse for relying on the same sounds available to every user. ON THE DVD l

> When in doubt, cheat! Audio tricks and effects can also radically reshape preset starting points.

71


Reviews | Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017 | £954 From audio engineering nobility comes recording mobility as the R&D at RND produce a new shape for the Portico range. Robbie Stamp inspects ON THE DVD WHAT IS IT? Mobile mic-pre/DI/ compressor

CONTACT Who: Sonic Distribution Tel: +44 (0)845 500 2500 Web: rupertneve.com

HIGHLIGHTS 1 Vari-phase control 2 High preamp quality 3 Low power consumption

SPECS Inputs: 1x XLR (mic), 1x ¼” TRS (Inst) Outputs: 1x XLR (Main Blend), 1x ¼” TRS (Mic only), 1x ¼” TRS (Inst Thru) Gain Ranges: 66dB (Mic), 30dB (Inst) High-pass Filter: 12dB/ octave (Bessel) at 80Hz Compressor Ratio: 2:1 Compressor Attack/ Release: 40ms/40ms (Fast), 100ms/350ms (Slow) – via PCB jumpers Max. Output Level: +23dBu (20Hz to 40kHz) Noise: < -100dBu with unity gain, < -62dBu with 66dB gain (measured at main output, unweighted 22Hz-22kHz, terminated with 150 ) THD+Noise: < 0.001% @ 1kHz, < 0.002% @ 20Hz Freq. Response (Line Amp): -0.2dB @ 10Hz and -3dB @ 160kHz (measured at main output) Crosstalk: < -90dB @ 15kHz (channel to channel) Dimensions:

165 x 191 x 51mm

Weight:

3.1kg

90

T

he robust curved metal casing of the 5017 houses a two-channel preamp (Instrument and Mic) with a compressor, variable phase control and Silk enhancement. The mobile recording focus of the unit is augmented by the power supply requirement: 9-15VDC drawing 12W. Though a PSU pack is supplied one can easily run this off a car battery for all you roadtrippin’ songwriters. The rear panel features the power socket/switch, main I/O, ground lift and +48v switches. The two transformer balanced outputs (TRS and XLR) provide a mic preamp only and a blended main output respectively. The Blend knob at the front controls this main output balance between the two channels. The pre has been designed so that the XLR input can also be used for line level sources, as has the front panel instrument preamp input (TRS).

Sensible gain

The gain structure of the 5017 is a sensible balance of usable range and

electrical conservation so that there is just enough gain and headroom to get most pickups and mics to a full recording level by the end of the dials. The instrument input provides 30dB of gain while the mic gain is a stepped control that provides 66dB in 6dB steps. Both amps sacrifice nothing in the name of portability and possess excellent sound quality. Full frequency range clarity and a distinct lack of tonal bias create reliably high class results, and with a variable phase control on the loose this is important: poor phase linearity + phase adjustment = unholy mess. The Vari-phase control, when engaged, adjusts the instrument input phase relative to the mic input, a useful tool for acoustic/electric guitar/ bass recording and re-amping. In combination with the phase polarity reverse switch there is full scope for finding the most complimentary phase relationship between the two sources – they will never be in perfect phase at all frequencies, but there are usually a couple of points where the combined sound is pleasant. This is simple to use and allows a tonal creativity that cannot be achieved with EQ. The Silk button engages this trademark

harmonic enhancement effect on both outputs. Like many harmonic distortion effects the character is driven more by low frequencies and wide band sources, and in these cases there is a slight thickening of the signal without dulling it at all. It is subtle but pleasant when audible.

Optical process

The opto-coupler-based compressor is fixed ratio (2:1) with a bypass switch and threshold knob. The time constants are also fixed, though moving a jumper on the PCB accesses slower attack/release responses. The behaviour is mostly transparent when used sparingly, as expected from an optical compressor regardless of speed, but higher threshold settings can obtain a good percussive characteristic with the default fast setting. It is a somewhat utilitarian dynamic process that provides a good degree of subtle and unobtrusive control. Another set of PCB jumpers can move the compressor out of the blended signal path and apply it solely to the mic preamp signal. Though the two preamps and compressor have signal present LEDs there is no power state indicator, and the white buttons against the light blue/grey front panel make it hard to see whether they are in or out. There is no doubt this is a high quality mic and instrument preamp which provides a sensible range of routing and processing options. As such it makes a great practical and creative tool for mobile musicians, producers and engineers, especially thanks to the sturdy yet lightweight build and low power consumption. As with all Rupert Neve gear you pay a premium for the quality (and thus the name) so there are cheaper units providing similar functionality, but having spent some time with the 5017 I must admit there few comparable for quality per pound.

VERDICT BUILD

❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

VALUE

❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

EASE OF USE

❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

VERSATILITY

❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

RESULTS

❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

Mobile preamping and recording may be its raison d’etre, but this is a high quality studio tool too.


Future Music 244 Sampler