FRE4KNC Q&A

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    • #4564
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      This month Mr Fre4knc has delivered a really awesome tutorial about making beats, using a variety of tools.. and what’s really sick is that it was done using Acid… a first for Sample Genie πŸ™‚

      Bert has kindly agreed to take your questions and clear up any stuff you might not be sure about, or any thoughts that have arisen for you while watching it.

      Feel free to ask him questions and also send links to your tunes for him to check out and give feedback on. Just some rules PLEASE follow them first:

      1. One question only – And keep it as short and to the point as possible. No Long dissertations don’t be selfish and hog the mic, think of others too πŸ™‚

      2. If you want to show him a track, just send one, and your best thing. He will leave one positive point and one negative point (if there is one) about it. Please only post if you are prepared for this!

      It’s all moderated, so please be nice and play by the rules!

    • #4567
      ,Jesse
      Participant

      hey! i make drum and bass, well this is my attempt that came out not completely terribly i go by Sirka, and was hoping for some feedback on here??? https://soundcloud.com/jess-83/shape2/s-g5vr4

      • #4575
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hi Jesse, first of all I’m loving the overall sounds and atmosphere. Some atmos sound a bit distorted though, for example the one on 34 seconds. If you hear that on a PA it could really hurt peoples ears. There are 2 things to do about that:
        1. Try to find why it’s distorted and fix that.
        2. Send it to a little smooth and slightly wet reverb. This could work if there is no other option.

        Further I’m missing an overall structure in your track. Too many edits may cause that it sounds a bit messy and than I can’t hear a proper flow in the track. For me that’s really important: a structure.

        Also the buildup with the kicks before the drops sound louder than the track drop itself. It should be vice versa!

        My overall comment is: Try to make a 64bar loop without edits and check if you can listen to that for 5 minutes. If you are happy; try to spread it and build around it. That’s the basis of how I do all my stuff. The edits will come later and they will be way more structured. I hope this helps! πŸ™‚ <4

      • #4577
        ,Jesse
        Participant

        i see what yu mean! thanks man that really does help! ill get back to work πŸ˜€

    • #4568
      ,Jesse
      Participant

      And to add a solid question here, what would the best VST to create a mean Bass in and programme it?

      • #4576
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        I use many different VSTs like NI Massive, Serum, FM8, etc etc. Instead of making basses during a track, I sit down for a day or two and make several. Than when I’m working on a track I check what I made and re-edit it more. Split the sub part and mid part and make the mid part mean with distortion plugins and add a little reverb. And I also use samples quite a lot!

    • #4569
      ,Sektion
      Participant

      How do you do your mid range? And will you being doing a tut on it?

      • #4582
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Please see my answer above. Also I want to add: I always try something different. I don’t have one specific method.

    • #4570
      ,atmosfear
      Participant

      When dealing with different hat lines, I always seem to layer stuff but end up with a clutter of clashing frequencies. what are some of the techniques you use mix-wise and rythmic-wise to hear them all clearly, keeping that rolling sound without sounding too stuttering ? Like in this track for example

      Cheers on this month’s tutorial, it was extremely helpful !

      • #4583
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hey Atmosfear (funny, I named a mix the same),

        I’m really glad to hear the turorial helped you! πŸ™‚

        First of all: it’s hard to discuss hats of a track I didn’t make.

        For hats layering: I had that same issue in the beginning. Nowadays I try to use as less hats as possible. Why? Because in normal music there aren’t 4 drummers using 8 hi-hats at the same time, just because that will sound messy as well. Same reason!

        Just try to find or make 2 or 3 closed hats (which sound slightly different) and 1 or 2 open hats and give them all their own place. It will sound way better and more natural, and best of all: no frequency issues anymore!

    • #4584
      ,Howitzer
      Participant

      Hey Bert, I’m a huge fan of your music thanks for this months tutorial, its given me some more avenues to explore in my drum breaks!

      You covered the creative aspect of breakbeats very nicely, but on a technical level, what process do you use to finalize your breaks? Do you have a go-to mix rack for making your beats big and solid?
      cheers

      • #4616
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hi!

        Thanks man! Well it depends on every bit you make. Sometimes the kick fits really good as a layer on the sub. But sometimes not at all. Most of the time I add a little 2dB EQ peak on both the snares and kicks, so it cuts better through the sub, and the kicks and snares have more their own frequency peak. With kicks it’s normally around 150 Hz, and with snares it’s around 250 Hz, but of course, that depends on your snares and kicks!

        With layering I send all the snares to a bus, and the kicks to another bus and add the EQ part there, so they glue all nicely together. When I think the beats need more punch, sometimes I run them through Voxengo’s LF Max Punch, which can work really well!

        Further it helps to add some sidechain on the snares. If there is a lot of midbass going on, the mids can get in the way of the range of the snare. You need to have the same hit of the snare during the tune, so add a subtle sidechain around the snare frequency, with a really short release. You won’t hear the midbass is changing, but the snares have way more room now to keep it punching through the mix. Further I always try to avoid compression on drumwork, because when it will be released it gets mastered by labels. Then you get twice compression (which sounds unnatural in my opinion, and I love the natural sound of beats).

        My overall advise is: if the source of the drumwork is good enough, you don’t need a lot of processing at all!

    • #4594
      ,Woodz
      Participant

      Thanks for the Q&A! πŸ™‚

      What’s your favorite way of creating atmosphere and ambiance? Like in your track Spitfire:

      • #4617
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hi Woodz,

        Well I love rising atmos, as it always gives some more tension. So I make a lot of my own with different VST’s or I record them and edit them. With processing I like to use delays, and Altiverb (reverb). Altiverb is really awesome!

        I also start with for example 2 octaves down, and go up more on more so you have even a more rising effect. To announce a breakdown I do it vice versa, so the atmos in the track is a bit more easy going. I do that so the impact of the second drop is heavy again, and it just sounds natural or something.

    • #4600
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Thanks for doing a Q&A Fre4knc! Was trying to think what would be a good question to ask, and I am going to go with:

      Do you have any particular production techniques that you have learned or developed in the past year that you have found invaluable to your current work?

      And I’m posting a work-in-progress, a little different from my usual work, and would really appreciate a critique from you:

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #4618
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        No problem Harry!

        Well, what really helped me, I guess, is when I start a project I setup around 10 busses.

        Kicks
        Snares
        Hats
        Sub
        Minor Distortion 1
        Medium Distortion 2
        SUPER HEAVY Distortion 3
        Minor Reverb
        Minor Reverb 2
        Long Reverb
        Delay
        + Several Sidechains (but most of the time i do that later).

        So when I have a midbass I can run it through 3 different distortions to check which sounds the best, and it’s really easy and fast. Next to that you can send the distortion to 1 of the minor reverbs.

        For atmos you can send it first through a delay and send the delay through the long reverb. I also love to automate the dry and wetness of the reverbs.

        About Knock Knock:

        Overall it’s not bad! The first things that come in my mind are:

        1. I think the instrumental stabs (with delay) aren’t in key?
        2. The closed hats sound a bit static. Are they all the same? I would use different ones and maybe make some variation by slight layering or pitching. The open hat / crashes sound nice though!
        3. Make some variation with the mid/reesy bass. Try some EQ automation for example.
        4. The kicks and the snares could also get some attention to make it more punchy, especially the snare which sound a bit muddy.

    • #4626
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Well, what really helped me, I guess, is when I start a project I setup around 10 busses.

      Thanks for the insight, appreciate it. Last year I started organizing my busses in a similar manner (kick/snare/perc busses going to a drum bus, sub/mid/high bass busses going to a bass bus), although your set-up has given me several other ideas to try out.

      One follow-up question, just for clarification. Your sidechain busses, those are the triggers? The way I have my set-up, I have a kick triggered sidechain, a snare triggered sidechain, and then a third that is the kick & snare both triggering it. Does that sound similar?

      And thank you for the feedback, I built that track up after watching your video. From messing around, I think what you covered works for some drum sounds (one-hits, drum ROMpler hits), but did not work with sampled drums that might have other artifacts layered in. Going to be something I mess around with more.

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #4782
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        I only have the kick trigger and snare trigger. And not on all frequencies but at the frequencies where sub, mids and hats etc could get in their way. I use sidekick 5 for this. πŸ™‚

      • #4793
        ,Harry
        Participant

        Cool, thanks for the follow-up. Will take a look at Sidekick 5.

        "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

    • #4726
      ,IstvΓ‘n
      Participant

      Hey there!

      respect ur stuff, and thanks for the Q&A!

      question: do u have any musical prestudies like playing piano/guitar, and if yes, do u recommend it to have some knowledge of that for electronic music purposes?

      and would you be so kind to give ur opinion on this track of mine?

      thx!!

      https://soundcloud.com/pulex/dustwave/s-ZhESv

      • #4783
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        As a child I had flute lessons, and I was good with music on my high school. I never had any piano lessons though, as I wanted to be a drummer, but my parents wouldn’t let me as it would be too noisy. At the end I think the minor flute lessons were very helpful for myself, cause in all the years after that I studied the music more. What keys they are in, and I can hear more easily if something is off key or not. So, of course piano lessons will help, as it’s way easier to make music. Bass music also has to be in key! I hear a lot of beatport music which is off key. Really horrible actually!

        For myself it was also very useful that I DJ-ed for a decade before I started making music myself. Than you know what works on the floor and what not, and you also have to mix in key.

    • #4727
      ,Spikebowl
      Participant

      Hello Sir do u have a way we can send finish mastered tunes to you!

    • #4728
      ,[email protected]
      Participant

      Hey, πŸ™‚

      Really like your tunes!

      All the best!
      Sven

      • #4785
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Cheers dude, your music is nice! Really like the percussions πŸ™‚

    • #4741
      ,kong85
      Participant

      Hi there

      Thanks for the video and getting the QandA. Do you have any tips on getting the balance in the mix? My tracks sound flat and lacking any real impact when compared to others? There’s an example below

      Thanks!

      • #4786
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        I think you need some more highs in the snares, and make the kicks and the snares a bit more punchy. It’s really important that there’s a good contrast between the kicks and the snares. Further I don’t hear a lot of sub, that’s a big part of making it less flat. Just add some more sub and maybe add some more mid with the sub, to make it more hearable, instead of feeling it on a subwoofer only.

        Also you can make the midbass a bit more stereo with a little more reverb. That will make it more open and less flat.

    • #4747
      ,BeppStep
      Participant

      Hello!

      Thanks for the QnA πŸ™‚

      Its not dnb but feedback is still very much appreciated

      Cherrs,

      • #4787
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Very cool! I love the atmos, the glitchy stuff and cymbal and hat work. The kicks is superb. I think the snare (coming in at 1:14) is too loud compared too the rest, and maybe you can add a reverb on the piano. Than it will glue better in the whole mix. But that’s it, great work, reminds me a bit of Tipper, and I love Tipper πŸ™‚

      • #4917
        ,kong85
        Participant

        Thanks for taking the time to listen and offer some feedback! Much appreciated.

    • #4756
      ,Tsub
      Participant

      Hey Thanks for a great tut!

      What i want to know in regards to using apps like AD2 and Superior drummer, how often or how likely are you to use these kits as the main drum break in a tune or do you tend to back them up with something more solid or synthetic underneath to provide beef or balls?
      Can you get enough out of the kicks from these kits as I would instinctively think they would be a little too boomy/boxey/tonal for a club track on thier own or is this a good thing?
      And what do you tend to look for in a kit out of these kinds of plugs with regards to what they contain or what they add to a drum buss?

      • #4788
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Sometimes you can use them one on one. Sometimes you can’t. While you’re working on a new bit with AD2 beats you can hear it’s enough or not. But with all the settings in AD2 you can definitely have a good enough beat, as they have compression and distortion etc. Also if you make it less roomy, the kicks aren’t that long, and further they have the 909 kicks for the short punchyness.

        To make it sound even bigger you can add a Multiband Limiter, Distortion, maybe more compression, and Fabfilter ProL. But you really need to know this gear, otherwise it will f*ck up everything.

    • #4757
      ,[email protected]
      Participant

      Hey, would be much appreciated if you could analyse my track for me please? πŸ™‚


      • #4789
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Not bad at all! It sounds a bit messy here and there though, especially with the placements of the beats. The snare at 0:32 and 0:39 sound weird for me together with the percussion layer beneath it. You can really hear it’s a layer now due to the intro, and I always try to avoid that. Maybe you can add a reverb in the intro for both the percs and the snares glue them together, and a volume envelope for the snares to give it some introduction instead that it’s coming out of nothing.

        Further I hear the percussion during the whole track. What I would do is try to remove them suddenly to add some variation. All in all it could use a bit more variation, but that’s the hardest part, also for myself. I hope this is working for you! Let me know.

    • #4766
      ,cholaboy
      Participant

      Hi, my track: How do you see my drums?

      In general opinions?

      Thanks

      • #4790
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hey hey, well they are punchy and loud enough imo. Maybe your kick could have some extra mid and it could be a tiny bit louder. Try to add some volume changes in all the percussions around 1:16, to make it sound more natural.

        But all in all it’s hard for me to give feedback on this, as I’m not really good in making digital beats. Sorry!

    • #4914
      ,Gravox
      Participant

      hey

      Shot for the QnA
      have a listen
      feedback is very much appreciated

      • #5601
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hey Gravox,

        Nice and dark ey? Here’s what came up to me:

        The reese is nice, but could use some extra work to make it sound a little less “cheap”. Just try to add little bit of extra distortion. Did you ever try Izotope Trash 2?

        I’m also missing a sub. Maybe it’s there, but I can’t hear / feel it. Make them the same tones as the reese and it’s getting way more a banger already.

        I was expecting that the reese would go away at 2:35. If you have the sub there, just add some mids on that sub and you have an ace transition there.

        I’d also do some variation with the reeses, some stuttering, some eq envelopes for example. Than it will be a bit more varied and more special.

        Further I think the breakdown should come in a bit more subtle. Just add a longer reverb on the last part of the reese, or add some delay at the last part. Just some simple tricks to glue these parts together.

        The snare could use some extra work as well. It needs a bit more attack, now it’s not really in the face, but a bit wet.

        That’s about it, good luck with this πŸ™‚

    • #4919
      ,[email protected]
      Participant

      Fre4knc,

      firstly thanks for doing this.
      Could you give me some feedback on the following track, i did use one of the sample genie breaks for the drums!!!

      https://soundcloud.com/conduit-dnb/lox-bass

      • #5602
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hi Peter, no problem sir!

        I have nothing to say about this, great job, loads of energy and really funky. Next step is to make a composition / a whole track! Maybe it lacks a little sub, but that’s it. Good luck!

    • #5450
      ,Eric
      Participant

      Hey Bert, longtime listener of your tunes. Super glad you’re doing this. I was just wondering if you had tips as far as finishing tunes, or methods that seem to help you get out of being stuck on tracks, or even when to scrap a tune and move on. Any ideas on these would be appreciated! Cheers

      • #5603
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        Hi Eric, bigups mannn πŸ™‚

        Well, what helps with me is that I finish all my projects before I go to a new one. When one track is done you have a fresh mind for a new one, and a lot of eager to make a new one.

        When I’m stuck (which happens a lot!) I just leave it and make some random sounds. You can also listen to other music (dnb or non dnb) to pick up some ideas.

        I read this article a while ago, and this was what I was doing at most points already, maybe this is helpful: http://output.com/14-ways-to-beat-creative-block/

    • #5454
      ,Byron
      Participant

      Hey Bert – Just wanted to thank you for the excellent tutorial. I spent a lot of time with it and found it to be a gold mine of information. It was also really clearly and methodically presented. It definitely upped my game with AD2, which I’m still a bit new to. Love your music too – keepin’ the funk alive! Looking forward to more tuts from you hopefully in the future. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s much appreciated!

      • #5604
        ,Fre4knc
        Participant

        No worries Byron! I’m glad it helped! Remember you can also use funk samples instead of AD2 if that’s too hard. Bigups BRAP BRAP BRAP

    • #5606
      ,samuel
      Participant

      Hi,

      Nice tutorials . I also use AD 2 . So i was pretty familiar with all those technics .
      In the tutorial you don’t show how you process the dynamic of your drum .
      Do you use compression ( other than the AD ones ) ?
      Do you you use separate outputs of AD to EQ and glue the differents layers ?

      Personaly i always output each element of AD in a separate channel then eq and send them to appropriate Bus ( kicks , snares , HH , overhead ) , on each bus i use some Glue compression and EQ again, then each bus go to a “drum bus” , with again eq , compression , and maybe exciter or other revelant effects.

      Compression/Gate/Expension/Side chaining are very important for drum part, can you give us more informations about how you work on that ?

      Thanks.

      • #5623
        ,GENIE HQ
        Keymaster

        Thread closed now – but most of this answered in his video if you watch closely πŸ˜€

    • #5611
      ,Alex
      Participant

      Yo FRE4KNC !
      I feel like my tracks are always ‘Missing’ something, It feels like I dont have enough elements in my tracks and Im not sure if its the bass or the atmos. How do I make my tunes sound full? When I add more elements They just sound cluttered.

      Thanks for you help man!

      • #5624
        ,GENIE HQ
        Keymaster

        Thread Closed now – But our advice would be to not add millions of layers to make it full. Instead use layers which are fuller themselves, and less of them. Also not having them playing over the top of eachother, but in sequence helps. Look up ‘Simultaneous’ and ‘Temporal’ ‘masking’ (Psychoacoustic terms) Thanks and have fun πŸ˜€

    • #5625
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      ****THREAD CLOSED*****

      Thanks everybody for their input. More Q&A’s coming up soon!

    • #5668
      ,IED
      Participant

      What a G `:O

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