Rhythm Creation - Music Production and Sound Reocording

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I used to make a lot of hard house music and one of the most common sounds in hard house and similar types of hard dance music is the hoover sound. Even though it is used a lot (sometimes too much) some people have trouble recreating this sound themselves and end up using samples. The original sound was made on the Roland Juno Synthesizer and I’ve even heard of people buying that synth just to create this type of sound and spending hundreds of their hard earned cash in the process. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a basic hoover without a Juno. If your not sure what a hoover synth is then play the sound below.

Click Here To Listen To The Final Hoover Sound

I made that hoover style sound above as an example for this tutorial using the Malstrom and the NN-XT sampler in Reason within a few minutes and I’m going to show you how to get that style of synth sound so you can make all the hoovers you require without a Juno and also so I don’t have to hear a hoover sample that I’ve heard hundreds of times before next time I listen to some new hard house/dance tracks.

The following tutorial is done in Reason but you should be able to reproduce this sound using any synthesizer or softsynth which is good at making some sort of nice fat lead sound.

Creating the Starting Sound
First we need to create a fat lead type sound, I shall leave you to choose one yourself here as most synthesizers should be able to create sounds which are good enough. Here is the sound I used, so you can get an idea of the sort of sound that you need to start off with.

Click Here To Download The Starting Sound

As you can see it’s nothing special, it is in fact just 2 x Sawtooth like waves with one of them an octave lower than the other. There is nothing special about this sound and you can find samples of this sort of sound all over the internet for free. Experiment with different sorts of lead synth sounds as your starting point for the hoover, but to get a real fat hoover you need something that sounds quite fat to begin with. You want to aim for lots of high and low frequencies in there as it will make the hoover sound fatter and more Juno sounding.

Making The Hoover
This is the bit which most people who try to make hoover sounds and fail don’t know about. We need to use a sampler such as the NN-XT in Reason which allows you to use a mod envelope (ADSR) to control the pitch of the sound. I’m sure that there are many other samplers that can do this too.

For this you need to first export the sound from your synthesizer and save it as a sample to reload into your sampler. You want to create a very long sample or create a loop in the sampler so you can hold the sample down for a long time without it ending.

Once you’ve loaded the sample into you’re sampler, you need to make the mod envelope affect the pitch of the sample. For the example I set the mod env to pitch setting to +600cents (about the 2-O-Clock position) on the NN-XT. I increased the attack on the mod envelope to about midway up and the decay just that bit higher than the attack. The sustain, release and hold were set to none.

I also made the sound play three notes at one time to give it more substance, these were C3, C4 and C5 on the MIDI keyboard and placed a notch filter on the sample with the frequency set about half way. Now we have the basic hoover sound, you can now go and add some effects on if you want to make it sound even better.

See it isn’t that hard to create a hoover once you know how it’s done. Hopefully this has shown you that you can create Hoover type sounds very easily and quickly within Reason. You don’t need a Roland Juno or other fancy kit to create one. You can also achieve this with most synthesizers and a sampler with the mod envelope to pitch ability. Experiment with the hoover sounds too by starting with different starting synths, there are loads that can be made. If you use Reason there are some great ones that can be made with the Subtractor and Malstrom as a starting point.

Tutorial written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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I learnt something new today and thought I would share it with you. The other week I sent a few tracks off to TSM Radio, a radio station which is devoted to playing unsigned and independant artists. I was rather happy to see that they added 2 of my tracks to their playlist. (Thanks TSM Radio).

I went to listen to TSM and heard my track played, in the track I panned a sound going left to right and back again in the mix. Online broadcasts need to be compressed down into smaller bitrates and one way they might compress down your tracks is to make them mono. TSM Radio does this on their 32kbps stream and what this meant was that when the panned sound was suppose to have been panned on one side the sound played and when it was suppose to be panned on the other you couldn’t hear it. Now I wasn’t that upset as it actually ended up sounding quite good because the sound wasn’t an important part of the track and it kept coming in and out. Had it been a more important part such as any vocals for example I would have been a little annoyed, not with TSM Radio but with myself for not realising that may happen.

So my tip is that if you are sending tracks off to any on-line radio stations or podcasts that may broadcast streams in mono it may be worth sending a mix than contains no fancy panning effects. It will stop any disappointment if you can’t hear certain instruments or your mix gets ruined.

TSM Radio.

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You’ve made some great sounding tunes, now you want to get some people who aren’t your own family and friends to take a listen and start getting your music out there to be heard (That is why you created it right?). Well you could start off by trying my list below of 5 sites I believe can really help when it comes to promoting your music, getting some listeners quickly and best of all every one of these sites is free to use.

OurStage
OurStage is great site with a great concept which is different to the others in this list. Listeners get to judge you tracks against another track and choose which one they like the most. Listeners then get to see whether other listeners agreed with them or not and these votes determine the charts in the various genre categories. You can go on to win some great prizes if you music is successful. I think this site has got the best ranking system of all the ones on this list because it’s a system where the charts can’t be interfered with too much by the musicians friends with false votes or plays.

Visit OurStage

Reverb Nation/Facebook
Facebook has joined up with Reverb Nation and together can help promote your tracks as you can place the Reverb Nation players into your Facebook page. Listeners can comment on your tracks, you can post a blog or use your current blogs feed if you already have one. Reverb Nation also has some great widgets to place on your own sites. I also especially like the fan mailing list tools on offer too and it also makes it easy to find other musicians in your local area who you may not know about.

Visit Reverb Nation

MySpace
Originally just a social networking site, but musicians and bands can have their own page, upload some songs to show off their music, design the layout and look of their page and create a list of friends/fans who enjoy their music. MySpace is an essential promotion tool for bands and musicians even if you already have your own personal web site. Rhythm Creation has a MySpace profile so if you enjoy the site or need someone to start off your friends list, why not add us as a friend

Visit MySpace

Soundclick
Upload your tracks and get placed into the Soundclick charts, you can place your uploaded tracks on any other page you own using their widgets as well as sell your music through their pages. There is a very large amount of tracks on here and your music can get hidden away unless you have other pages to promote your music using the widgets. Note: Soundclick does have an optional subscription charge if you want to make use of the extra facilities. A basic account is free.

Visit Soundclick

TheSixtyOne
We recently placed this site in our Hall of Fame because we liked it so much. Listeners can bump up songs they like similar to sites like Digg and the listeners are playing a game themselves to gain points. The great thing about TheSixtyOne is there seems to be a good amount of users who are ready and waiting to discover the newest tracks that have just been uploaded. The other great thing is that if you are selling your music using Amazon MP3, listeners can go and buy your music if they enjoy it as a buy button will automatically appear if you disallow downloads of you tracks. If you haven’t yet got your music on Amazon, go to our feature about selling your tracks on-line.

Our longer review of TheSixtyOne
Visit TheSixtyOne

Hopefully this little list will give you some good sites to start getting your music out there, there are loads more sites on the net I just wanted to give you these 5 which have been my favourites so far for promoting my own tracks.

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This is a question I have been asking myself recently, mainly due to me releasing some of my own music independently without a label behind me and also because there seems to still be a high percentage of musicians and bands that still want to be signed even though there are some great facilities in place which effectively make record companies obsolete by providing services to independent musicians.

I constantly see more articles on the internet that deal with getting a record deal rather than trying to go it alone. Articles such as preparing your demo, getting A&R people to notice you are flooding the internet etc. I also see musicians on message boards saying things like “if I ever get signed blah blah blah” and yet they’ve never attempted or even thought about going independent.

What Are The Benefits of Being Signed?
Obviously this answer varies a lot from label to label and depends on the contract that is signed but the main benefits are as follows…
  • Distribution: Labels will have the ability to mass manufacture CDs and distribute your music in all the big stores.
  • Promotion: Labels will have employees who are experts at promoting bands, these experts will have numerous contacts which can get you into magazines, web sites and also radio or television broadcasting time amongst other promotion tools.
  • Financing: Lots of money behind them, they can pay for the manufacturing of CDs and promotion as well as possibly paying you up front.
  • Tour Booking: They have the contacts and name behind them to get you gigs in the top venues.
  • Help & Support: They will help you to develop your skills and provide knowledgeable people who can help to record and produce your music.
All sounds rather nice, doesn’t it. I mean who wouldn’t like to have all that done for them by the nice record company who wants to help you with your music. I believe that these points are what that high percentage of musicians who want to get signed see.

Back Down To Earth With A Bump
The reality of it… (Obviously depending on the sort of contract signed, this is a worse case scenario).
  • Distribution: The label owns your recordings and takes a huge percentage of any profits, oh yes you will see your CD on sale in all the big stores but won’t see many royalties for your work. They will own any new music you write too.
  • Promotion: To promote effectively they may require you to fit in. They could even make you change the style of your music to get you to fit into a genre they want you in and be marketable to a larger proportion of customers. They may require you to do things you wouldn’t normally do, all in the aim of selling more CDs to make the record company more money. They may even require you if you are in a band to drop members who don’t fit into their visions.
  • Financing: Yes it’s their money therefore they are wanting good returns for their investment. They might pay you upfront but should your band in their eyes fail, you may actually end up owing the recording company money for all the promotion and the thousands of drinks coasters they produced if your music isn’t a hit.
  • Tour Booking: They may also want a cut of any profits here for getting you the gig and owning the music your playing. More contracts are having this written into them. They may want you to play venues you don’t want to or too often with tours lasting months and playing every night.
  • Help & Support: Will you get this if it all goes wrong, No. Who will they blame, You. You could end up no longer owning your music or any music you make in the future. You could end up owing the record company money and paying it off yourself. Where’s the help and support now?
As you can see not all is so sweet. Note to everyone thinking of signing on the dotted line: Record companies are mainly interested in you making them money, they are just like any other business and want to see returns for their money.

Record Labels/Companies Are Obsolete
There are loads of products and services available that can help you to achieve becoming an independent musicians or band. There’s one major difference - You are employing them to work for you not the other way round. I don’t want to make out that going independent is the solution to all the problems, I just want to point out that all the jobs a record label does can be achieved yourself and may be a better option for you and your music.
  • Distribution: You can use companies like TuneCore to distribute your tracks to all the major digital stores such as iTunes and Napster official site, anyone around the world will be able to buy your music in digital format and you’ll receive all the royalties. You can also manufacture CDs yourself and sell them around the world via your own web site or in on-line stores which have facilities in place to sell independent music. You may not be able to get your tracks into the major stores on the high street, but you can certainly distribute them to your local smaller record stores and you can sell CDs after any live performances you do. There are distribution companies which will distribute for you to the larger stores, but many of these stores won’t stock you on if they don’t believe your album will sell, but realistically this method of selling music is starting to slow down as more people are going for MP3 files. The main benefits of independent distribution are that firstly you keep ownership of all your music and secondly you will get to keep all or most of your royalties, distributing your music has never been easier than it is today.
  • Promotion: This I believe is the hardest part of going independent as you won’t have the necessary contacts or the upfront financing to promote like a record label can. But you do have some very good tools at your disposal. The internet can be a great tool to do things like set up your own site, use social networks like MySpace, get radio play on independent on-line radio stations and in podcasts or get your music reviewed by on-line magazines and music review blogs. The internet is a world wide tool that you can use for promotion and a lot of the time it can be free promotion too. To promote yourself in the real world can be a lot harder, your main way will be through getting gigs at venues.
  • Financing: This will depend on your or your bands current financial situations and yes you will need some sort of financing to get started. You started music because you enjoyed doing it? So enjoy doing it and put any money earned through any gigs or other income sources from your music back in as investments for the first 6 months or however long it takes until you have earned enough to pay for services yourself. Today it is cheaper than ever to get started as basic home recording equipment is cheaper and a lot of these services available like digital distribution can be extremely cheap. You may not earn much money straight away but at least you won’t owe a record label money.
  • Tour Booking: Concentrate on building a local fan base up. Once you have done this you can begin to play larger and larger venues as you can guarantee better that you will can fill the venue. You may not be playing at a well known festival straight away but it is possible to build up to that.
  • Help & Support: The feeling you will get when you achieve things yourself such as seeing your music available in on-line stores will give you a great sense of achievement. If you feel you need the support of say a sound engineer to help you record your music then go and hire one, there are loads out there who may not be famous but certainly know their stuff and are looking for work.
So Why Are Musicians Still Wanting To Get Signed
Even though you can do all these things yourself or hire people to do them for you, why are musicians still chasing that elusive signing deal?
  • Musicians are good at music and the realisation that they may have to learn to be good good at more than just music such as business skills can be a major psychological barrier.
  • They lack the knowledge that they can do it themselves due to all of these articles and info dealing with getting signed and not explaining all the alternatives of going independent.
  • Musicians believe that music listeners don’t want to listen to unsigned bands and that these listeners want to be told by TV and radio what to listen to. The reality is that these listeners just don’t know about your music yet.
  • The current music industry in place makes it hard for unsigned bands to make it. For example radio stations will only play signed artists.
Hopefully this article has given you a bit of a insight into how it is possible to achieve going it alone and why record labels are starting to become obsolete. In the not so distant future I believe that we will start to see more and more services and promotional tools start to become available to musicians wishing to go the independent route, I think we will start to see bands becoming little businesses in their own right.

Why did you start writing and producing music? because it was fun and exciting? Going independent is fun and exciting too, doing work for a record label is like any other job, your working to line someone else’s pockets who believes you can make money for them. If your music is good enough and you’ve got the determination, why not line your own pockets?

Article written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation

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Sine, Square, Triangle and Sawtooth are the basic waveforms (a graphical representation of a sound) used in most popular synthesizers. Most oscillators (The part of a synthesizer which generates the basic waveform) can produce all four of these basic waveforms. All are very different sounding and have their own characteristics which can greatly affect the mood of the sound synthesized.

I believe that by learning what each of these basic waveforms sounds and looks like can be a great way for anyone starting out using synthesizers to be able to start learning to hear a synthesized sound and then go on to reproduce that sound on their own.

Below are images of these four basic waveforms as well as audio examples for each.

Sine Wave
The wave that most of use will visually imagine when we hear the word wave. Can be great for producing very low bass sounds that sound smooth.

Sine Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

Square
As the name suggest the waveform looks square and this creates a unique sound compared to the other four waveforms.

Square Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

Triangle
A triangle wave is a very basic waveform where the pattern rises and then falls by the same gradient creating a triangle shape.

Triangle Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

Sawtooth
The dirtiest sounding of the four basic waves, it is named sawtooth because it looks like the teeth of a saw. You can also get a reverse sawtooth waveform where the slow gradient and steep fall are swapped around.

Sawtooth Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

Hopefully this article has allowed you to see and hear the basic waveforms so you can begin to identify them when you hear sounds that have been created using these waveforms as a starting point.

All images of the waveforms are made using Audacity Article written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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