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How to make Techno Background Groove

How to make Techno Background Groove

Hello this is luca and welcome to another sample sound music production tutorial

in this video we will explore different techniques to create low-end background grooves for techno and house music with background grooves i mean low frequency add-on loops that complete the kick pattern like a techno rumble but more rhythmic and percussive

of course this type of sound takes a backseat to the kick staying in the shadows like this one

so it's a background element but at the same time it blends together with the kick and really adds something to the group so let's see what sound design techniques can help us with that some good starting candidates are obviously toms bongos and any low frequency percussions even other kicks

what we want to do with these percussive loops is to make them sit in the background so low pass filtering is definitely the first step as it makes the sound darker and soften the transients however static filtering is usually quite boring so let's add some modulation like an lfo we increase the amount of modulation select a sawtooth waveform swap the rate to synchronized and then select an interesting rhythmic value

after that we can do some basic q and compression we use the eq to boost the base region and cut the ultra low end

then some fast compression to keep the dynamics under control

another very interesting modulation source is envelope following this means that the filter cutoff will move accordingly to the volume of the incoming signal

the first knob sets the amount of modulation with positive values the filter will open on the attacks and close on the decays

then we can adjust the attack and release values to taste to make modulation faster or softer being these a percussive sound the attack value in particular is very sensitive

let's try with another example if we combine filtering with transposition we can actually apply the same concept to any kind of loop with any frequency content so in clip view we make sure that warp is on then set the transpose value down an octave or more

then we apply filtering and envelope following modulation as we did before

and finally again some basic eq and compression

a different way to transpose down the audio is to use a frequency shifter effect the ableton stock plugin uses hertz values not semitones so we decrease the course parameter until we get a nice low end sound then if we want precise tuning we can also adjust the fine knob with the help of a spectrum analyzer

as you can hear the frequency shifter has a very different flavor if compared to simple transposition

but the key here is to get this cool low frequency groove without interfering with the kick too much like it happens in these positions to clean it up a bit instead of simple sidechain compression we could use ableton clip envelopes which are a very flexible way for doing volume modulation in clip view we click this button then select clip here and gain here now i make sure that the grid is in sixteenth

then i use draw mode to decrease the volume in the first step

i now make the envelope a bit smoother

then duplicate it on every quarter note

and decrease the volume on some other steps as well

as you can see this approach is much more flexible than simple side chain as it allows me to apply any curve and any rhythm

but we can go even more creative for example if we loop just half a bar of the original loop you can hear that the resulting pattern is too repetitive

so we can use again clip volume modulation but this time we unlink the envelope from the actual clip length unlink is a really powerful feature it allows you to have a modulation of any length no matter how long the regional clip is so we increase the envelope length to two bars and then draw the modulation

so now this is a two bar modulation applied on half bar audio which makes the groove far more interesting

usually i like to start with the noisy sound that's the texture that we want before applying filtering so to get these nice low end background grooves

if we don't have much of that texture in the original sample a really nice audio effect to make it more noisy is the recorder this is the default preset on ableton's vocoder

it has the noise options selected in the carrier parameter basically the vocoder generates white noise divided in frequency bands then it applies the rhythmic information of the input to each noise band as if our percussions were playing the noise

the formant parameter is the key knob here as it shifts down the frequency bands

this is a good result to me

to finalize the sound we again apply the same effect chain that we used before

and this is the final groove

the concept of envelope following modulation can actually be applied to any parameter of any audio effect in ableton live thanks to the powerful max for live technology in live 11 you can find the envelope follower device directly into the audio fx let's place it first in the effect chain

this device reads the incoming volume signal and transform it into a modulation source as an example let's replace the recorder with a chorus effect

we now click on the map button in the envelope follower then on the feedback knob in the chorus which now becomes the destination of the modulation so high volumes mean high feedback low volumes mean low feedback we can adjust the sensitivity of the follower the rise and fall parameters which are similar to attack and release in the auto filter and also the modulation range

please note that the position of the effects in the chain is not relevant to the modulation so if we prefer we can place the auto filter before the chorus in this case we can even leave the low pass as static with no envelope following because now it's the chorus that gives movement to the sound

so we've come to the end of today's video we explored a few different techniques to create some background percussive loops and get that nice techno feel

we've seen dynamic low pass filtering volume modulation the vocoder and all sorts of envelope following techniques to keep these rhythmic sounds down in the low end but not too static and blend them together with the kick so i hope you enjoyed the video thanks for watching and i'll see you next time

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