I never thought I would find a way to fit in a quote of Jerry Springer. But it’s the most accurate and appropriate quote that came to me. Fitting perfectly during these difficult times that we are going through. The COVID19 crisis that has spread around the globe is having an impact that’s never been seen before in our lifetime.
Unlike we are used to, we need to distance ourselves from one another and stay inside. Prisoners in our own world, condemned to isolation. So the best way we can advise you to go about it, is by being creative.
The extra time that became available, we’ve been using entirely on our music. From new upcoming tutorials and courses, to daily tracks which we are sharing with you guys on our ‘Lockdown Sessions’ playlist on Soundcloud! Give us follow and a like if you haven’t already
Also we are going to be getting back to our streaming sessions, since our studio just got finished in time before this mayhem happened.
This free Ableton Live 10 audiorack from hardbeats.be emulates an enhanced stereodelay effect that was inspired by the legendary 2004 trance track ‘Motocycle – As the rush comes‘. Every synth that was used throughout the track, was processed through this effect, which gave the track its iconic vibe and atmosphere. Together with a mesmerizing vocal by Andain, the ingredients for a worldhit dance classic were found. Now, you can have this effect in your Ableton Live environment for free by downloading our free Ableton Rack below. No strings attached.
What does it do?
At its core, our Ableton Rack ‘Stereo Rushdelay’, is a dotted eigthnote stereo delay which gets modulated and filtered to create its unique sound. To create the ambient vibe out of these processed rhythmic elements, some reverb is added and the signal gets compressed. This results in a rich effect rack which is ideal for use on a return track.
How do I use it?
Using this plugin is really easy and happens in 3 stages. Before we begin, setup a new return track in Ableton and place the ‘Stereo Rushdelay’ rack on it. As a default, we have already set a nice position on the controls but for the purpose of this walkthrough, we will be resetting them to a more ‘clean default’ so you will have an opportunity to learn the controls going through each phase. To get the effect going, send about -12 to -9db from input channel to the return track to begin with.
Part I: The Delay
When you load in the effect rack, set the controls to a ‘clean default’ like on the image below. The first thing you will here is clean delay. It already has some shaping going giving the sound a nice stereo feel without overshadowing the mix.
Now it’s time to personalize the effect to our taste. First we are going to decide on the character of this synth. You can do this with the ‘DEL FBACK’ control. By giving the rack more feedback, you will hear more free-running delays which will boost certain frequencies. Set it to taste. We advise you to aim for a point where you find the clean signal and the delay are creating an A/B harmony.
Since both signals originate from the same sound, we are going to mix them better together by saturating the delay. Our general strategy here is to give quite a bit of saturation with ‘DEL SATUR’. Our aim here is to have the transient of both signals sound as one without distorting it to a point where crunches in the sound start to appear. The added bonus of this technique, is that the tail will start to pop out which will give a very stereo feel, while the attack of the sound will be feel very centered.
Part II: Bandpass movement
We have created a very filled soundscape by now. The stereo delay has given the sound a very nice and natural groove. Helping to this effect is the built in LFO we placed in this patch. By default it is designed to make an imperfect sine driven but balanced bandpass filter.
To create a more unique bandpass, use the ‘BP AMOUNT’ control to amplify a secondary LFO to move in contrast with the primary LFO. Please note that the hardcoded primary LFO is controlling the frequencies, while the secondary LFO controls the movement of the primary LFO.
The ‘BP OFFSET’ control will favor certain frequency regions by giving them more unmodulated time in an 8 bar timing compared to the other half. Put in layman’s terms, if you turn the controller to the left, it will stay longer in the lower frequencies and if you turn it right, it does the exact same thing but then for the higher frequencies.
To intensify and diversify your sounds more, we advise to add a touch of ‘BP AMOUNT’ to deviate it a bit from the standard 1/8d rhythm. Use the ‘BP OFFSET’ to reduce the effect for to lower or higher frequency band if the mix requires it.
Part III: Glue and Compression
Before we can start compressing the effect, we need to listen to the return track in solo carefully. The delay effect is by default very soothing and gives the impression of having alot of reverb. But peaks or aggressive frequencies give away that it is in fact reverb free. If we don’t address these peaks, we cannot compress them later on in a clean way. To counter this, we use the ‘REV’ controls.
First we start by setting the ‘REV Decay’ to about 1 second and we turn the ‘REV DRYWET’ up slightly to hear its effect. Our goal with the reverb is to glue to sounds together so they are more balanced in volume. Too much reverb will kill the depth of your delay, so be sparse with it. Use low percentages and play with the decay control to get the sweetspot.
Turn off the soloing of the return track. You will hear that the balance we created earlier when saturating the delay, is no longer there. This we will fix by compressing the added effects back to the desired level. By dialing back the ‘COMP THRESH’ control until the sound sounds more ‘flat’, we glue the bandpass and reverb effect into the delay to create a coherent sound.
We love to drive the control to the max first and then returning back to 0 to find the sweetspot between a flat sound and dynamics. Afterwards, use the ‘COMP MAKEUP’ to get the sound to the requested level. You have achieved the sound when in the end result, the effect tail is filling the gaps between the notes at a high volume rather than a delay in the background.
What is required?
To make use of our Ableton Rack, you need the Suite edition of Ableton Live 10. This rack has some dependencies to make note of.
Ableton Live 10 Suite.
Max 4 Live Device: LFO
Plugin: Soundtoys: Echoboy Jr.
To maximize compatibility, a version was made out of stock plugins to create the same effect.
Where can I get it?
The ‘hardbeats.be Ableton FX – Stereo Rushdelay’ can be downloaded from our webshop. It will be attached to your account so you can get it later at any time.
Every now and then, I get the distracted in the studio. Over time, some bad habits became tendencies. One of them are the longstretched hours I tend to have in the studio, mostly in one session. Even though I am aware that this is not best practice, its what kept me creative throughout the years, often finding an out-of-the-box idea caused by dedicated focus. The grind then leads me to deviation which in my case often gives me inspiration of the fertile kind. In the end, more often than not, this results in a concept worth working out.
“Being a producer is being able to reinvent yourself for every track.”
Inevitably, without external stimulants, one can not really birth ideas or concepts. Finding these stimulants is a personal search I believe. I’ve had colleagues in the business who would just sprout ideas on the spot whenever you asked them to. Those were rare cases though. Others have a process. This can be a variety of things: listening to other peoples’ music, watching some TV, taking some vitamines, playing ball,… the list goes on.
For me, being a producer is being able to reinvent yourself for every track. And for doing that, I need to be able to have a broad scope on music. Obviously, the harder styles like tek-, hard- and rawstyle, will always be ever present on my day-to-day listening charts on Spotify. But for those who look closer, my Spotify playlists vary alot in genre and artists. It may come to no surprise that this reflects on the production side of things as well for me.
When the grind is getting too real, it’s time to get creative for me. Without exception, this means changing the genre and the BPM for me. Given that my heart beats at 150BPM, the switch to trap and hip hop is easily made. 150BPM equals 75BPM when you produce your tracks in halftime. The same tempo, but the opposite, more laidback feel right? I don’t know your opinion, but I can most certaily get down with that! After getting that out of my system, I can listen with more clarity to what I’ve been producing more previously and have a much easier time pinpointing the problem parts, the inadequacies or shortcomings of the production.
One more thing that occurs to me rather by accident, are friggin’ earwurms getting stuck in my head. They haunt me! But I can’t blame them, its their sole purpose and they do it beautifully. Recently ‘Stranger Things‘, the Nextflix hitseries cast in the eighties, brought back that reminiscent sound from that era. I must plea guilty, neither I could escape it. The soundtrack is ever in my thoughts and I truly believe that in 20 years when you would ask me about an eighties sound, I would refer you to this soundtrack while there are vastly more accurate answers at hand.
In the next upcoming week, I will be hosting the ‘Viewmasters‘ in the hardbeats.be studios for a weekend long creative session and the finalization of a few tracks we prepared at our previous Bootcamp Winter session in France.
To invite these lovely creative individuals, I took the persistent earwurm of ‘Stranger Things‘, and created it into a hardbeats.be worthy invitational sound card.
The track itself is a demo I made recently during one of these creative escapades. The ‘Stranger Things’ sound is not a sample, but was played on the ‘Access Virus Ti‘ on a patch that I made myself. By using the amazing analog emulation filters available, combined with the wavetable sounds coming out of this amazing synth, the bell sound from the original was fairly recreated to fit its purpose. The chords played in the theme are generated by the classic, but still powerfull and amazing, Lennar Digitals’ ‘Sylenth’. Patched as a 1-part, double 8 voiced, detuned sawtooth, filtered and precisely resonated to give that old synthopia resemblance we got used to in the eighties, but with a modern twist this time.
I still stand behind my earlier statement in the end. Postcards are so last decade, wouldn’t you agree?
As we started 2020, hardbeats.be founded a new tradition. Every sunday, we will be streaming live on Twitch in an all-day beat creating session. This january is entirely dedicated to techno and from this weeks session, the second one already, Serano crafted an earthshattering dark techno beat filled with hall kicks, retro inspired distorted leads and a straight in your face groove.
As with all tracks on the livestream, we start from scratch and start building up tracks from the inspiration at hand. None of these tracks are entirely finished or polished, nor should they be at this point. The goal is to establish an idea, a vibe, a groove. Later, these tracks can, and most probably will be revisited and sculpted into fully arranged techno bangers.
In the meantime, enjoy ‘Radiant’ in the Livestream Demo Edit and join us next sunday at 10:00 am. CET on Twitch!
It has been a few long weeks. After getting lucky on scoring an original Roland 909, we started recording a whole bunch of samples and after processing them, both digital and analog, we finalized these 50 amazing groundstompers. All in 48kHz and 24 bit lossless audiofiles.
They will most certainly stand their ground in any tek genre you put them at, but they scope way beyond that. Most will work straight out of the box in any scenario, others will need to be adjusted and tailored to taste once you go experimenting other genres. Fun times none the less with these heavy charged kicks.
Below you can find a short Demo track demonstrating several kicks from the pack. To listen to all samples individually, head over to our Sonoiz release page where you can preview them before buying. You can also buy individual samples from the pack on Sonoiz
Alternatively you can buy the entire pack at once via the webshop on hardbeats.be
It was in the early afternoon when the studio doorbell rang on january first. A new decade man, with a new fresh perspective has come to our shores. On local shore, it was ‘Derauhe’ at the door who came by to check in with us. Nothing out of the ordinary, given that he actualy has the access codes to the complex. But he also brought a curious bag with him which caught my suspicion. I had no idea what was to come.
“Nothing sounds better than a nineties hardware synth!” – Derauhe
After the mandatory celebratory greetings for the new year, conversation quickly went over to what one another did last night. It turned out, our dear friend ‘Derauhe’ went to a retro party. In contrary to what you may expect of these types of parties, it turned out that this was a proper one. From the first filtered basses outside of the venue, provided by Robert Armanis’ ‘Hit hard’ classic, Derauhe was treated to a trip through memorylane taking him from the early rave to the nineties’ mesmerizing melodic synths of the hard dance genre.
Nostalgic feelings struck the lot of us. The former glory, we once had the honor to witness, it seems is no more. Nothing is as edgy these days, nothing as creative even though back then they had way less resources at their disposal as we do now.
It’s the curse of the digital age. We have virtually endless amounts of processing power at our disposal. An unlimited amount of high quality samples are readily available via Splice, Sonoiz and the lot. And yet we all keep getting trapped in the same 16 bar loop. The big problem there is, our bar loops all sound the same sonically with virtually any diversification.
At that point, the bag that was brought in earlier by Derauhe, was getting opened while the conversation continued. No cliché got spared, but none had is hard as the “Preset way of working” we have nowadays. The argument for it being that it would confine you into a limited possibility range. In the old days, someone like ‘Push’ would have been obligated to manually configure new patches on top of his stock presets and there was no ability to download presets on the fly.
Et voila! Derauhe established a base for the surprise of the day: an Access Virus B in mint condition! The predecessor of the iconic and marketshaking Virus. Even though it is the second generation, it is a treasure to have. And we were going to have a go at it for the afternoon.
The result of this session is a lovely dub techno track that was recorded live into its current form as the “Studio jam session”.