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5 Stereo Widening Techniques

Their are many ways to achieve a wide mix and sound, experimenting with all of these different methods for varying elements in your record is important to get a really wide and open sound in your tracks.

1 – Track Duplicating

To start things off, we explain arguably the best technique for stereo widening, which is track duplication. Track duplication is of course an over simplified title, as after you duplicate you should hard pan the sounds to counter each other, one left the other right. At this point creating slight differences in the left and right side will really take things and open them up. Using plugins like Eq, filters, & distortions with different settings of each plugin from the left and right side will push the sound further out.

2 – Short Delays

This next tip can actually work in conjunction with the first, as their are a few ways to do this as well. To accomplish a wider sounding track, as an add on to track duplicating is to then take it a step further by delaying either the left or right side by a few milliseconds, many of todays daws like Ableton & Logic allow provide a ticker directly on the track for you to push or pull the sound by small amounts. Another way to achieve this by using any number of delay plugins, available on the market or packaged within your DAW, turn off the host-sync and work with time (ms) and again here be sure to have very small but different delay times from the right and left side of the sound.

3 – Stereo Widener

One seemingly simpler way to widening your sounds and your mix is using a stereo widener plugin. Some of our favorites are the Waves S1 Stereo Imager, Izotope Ozone Imager Module, & Brainworx Control with many more great options on the market. Even though the process and experimentation can yield faster results to get it right can still be a bit of a task, wideness without reason can also detract and even distract the listener from the rest of the song as a whole, gentle use tends to work best and keeps things a bit more cohesive in the mix.

4 – Reverb

Reverb is another great method for widening sounds and your mix. Generally used to create space and rooms to bring things forward or push things back in the mix, reverb can also be used to enhance the illusion of width and pushing things further out to the sides. Many of the reverb plugs out today have stereo/width knobs to increase the space of the verb off to the sides of the mix, if not one tip is you can drop a stereo imager after your reverb plugin on your auxiliary track and widen the reverb and you’ll hear things begin to open up.

5 – M/S Processing

Last but not least is a modern digital technique known as Mid-Side Processing. Many new plugin developers from Brainworx, Fabfilter, Ableton and more are creating many different types of M/S plugs and/or adding M/S processing options to their plugins from EQs, distortions, and compression which allow you to process the mid signal differently from the side signal.  Dropping the level and frequencies of the mids signal while increasing the sides level and frequency, some psychoacoustic dimensions will begin to take place.

You truly can’t go wrong with any of these options and new technology is always entering the market place to allow us to take things even further, but as always experimentation is key and if you find that none of these are working on a particular sound you are trying to widen, try to actually do the opposite and widen everything around it to enhance the space in your mix and the impact will be as much, if not even more powerful.  Lastly, and most importantly drop a mono switch on your master track and check your mono-compatibility periodically.

Artist Interview – ROMAN LINDAU

Roman lindau interview

Music has always coursed through Roman Lindau’s blood. Even if he weren’t the accomplished producer and respected DJ he is today, the German audiophile would still be giving over all his time to the art form. “I’m a music junkie. I need music to live” he states. “For me it’s the elixir of life.”

Roman spends his days shaping the nu-school electronic landscape alongside pals Mike Dehnert and Sascha Rydell with their Fachwerk imprint. One of the most prominent Berlin labels of recent times, it consistently deals in heavy techno sounds that are doused in dub and finished with an analogue authenticity which set them apart from the crowd.

When producing on his own, the results are tracks like ‘Raumgestaltung’, which appeared on Len Faki’s Berghain 03; ‘Keppra’ which appeared on Ben Klock’s Berghain 04 mix (and on the Berghain 04 vinyl release which also features Martyn), dance floor smasher ´Simplicity´, ´Crasse´‚ ´Rave On´ and many more which get regularly charted by the likes of DJ´s Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Chris Liebing etc….His place amongst the Ostgut Ton techno elite is well deserved.

 

1.Can you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your background in the industry?

Hi, I´m Roman Lindau DJ, Producer & Music Junkie from Berlin with Music/Remixes on Fachwerk (Keymember), Ostgut Ton, CLR, NRK, Echocord, and many more.

 

2.Take us through your studio set up?

My Studio consits of a iMac running with Ableton Live and Logic with various VST´s, plus Roland Integra 7, Akai MPC, Nord Lead A1 and a UAD Satellite Fire wire DSP. In addition to that I work with the Controller PUSH and some Controller from Akai. Over the years I built my own Sample Library, but I also use of course the great variety of sounds from Waveform Recordings and Raw Loops!

 

3.What is your favorite piece of equipment to use in the studio right now and why?

My favorite piece of gear has to be the UAD. I´m on fire with some effects, for example the Moog Filter! Its an amazing filter tool plug in!

 

4.What do you think of analog vs digital in the studio?

At the moment a lot of people come back to analog stuff and say, ‘hey look at my studio I have a lot of analog equipment – I´m a real Producer.’ Often when I listen to it,  the sound is cold, soulless and without any character.

In the past I also worked more analog, but I lost myself often. One day with the development in digital producing I began to sample all my stuff and the workflow for me is much better now.

To be honest, it is not a question of what you use! The ideas and creativity comes from your mind and not from the machines 😉

 

5.What one piece of advice would you give to new producers starting out? words of wisdom.

There is no secret formula! Take time to find out what works for you. Please don´t waste a lot of money to buy everything people recommend you. Less is sometimes more! Work with limits and you’ll find out how creative you can be 😉

 

Top 5 Mastering Plugins

The gentle art of mastering is an important step in the process of getting your records to sound polished, powerful, and professional. These are some of the must-have tools to do the job and do it well!

1- Brainworx bx_digital V2

Hands down the best M/S EQ on the market to our ears. This EQ is ideal for opening up a more narrow mix by gently EQ’ing the mid and side of the song against each other.. Clearing out the super lows in your side signal, and removing some of the super highs from the mid signal, is a great first step to begin opening things up. Fine tuning of all frequencies, (which is really dependent on whats going on in your song) to determine where the feeling is in your song, will help you decide which sounds should be pushed forward and back slightly to bring out the best in your mix. A soft stereo spread knob and a mono frequency knob are also key features of this plug in to prevent and unbalanced master and keep things mono-compatible that need to be. We generally like to keep everything below 50-80 Hz in mono and boost the stereo imager to around 110-125%.

2- Waves L3 Multimaxmizer

The Loudness war conquerer. The L3 Multimaximizer is possibly the best plugin to add as much volume to your song as possible with the least amount of distortion, but only when used properly one wrong move and you can quickly make a mess of your tracks final sound. Determine which frequencies to limit and push are most important here for transparency. The best feature of this plugin that some overlook is the ability to tell the L3 to disregard certain frequencies. This is really useful when mastering techno, house, & dance type records that have a lot of bass. By having the plugin not limit those frequencies you can prevent the classic over-limited & usually unpleasant distortion on your bass & kick sounds, making everything else louder but keeping your bottom clear and rumbling.

3- Izotope Ozone 6 Advanced

The mastering workhorse. If your after an all-in-one solution this bad boy comes in as a top contender. This plugin comes packed with features, from dynamics control to harmonic exciter, imager, EQ, verb, and a maximizer essentially every and anything you will need to master your tracks. Added bonus here is that you can use each of these elements as individual plugins to either save CPU on your mastering chain or to use within your mixing process. One major drawback is the hefty price tag can be a bit off-putting, and for about the same dollar amount you can buy all of the other four plugins in this top 5.

4- UAD Manley Massive Passive EQ – MST

Transparency is what this bad boy is all about for us. For a truly sweet sounding EQ this plug can’t be beat, pushing frequecies without coloring them, shaping your mix in seemingly all the right ways, when your using the Massive Passive it almost feels like you can’t make a wrong move every tweak seems to just sound GOOD. The bonus here is that for coloration the non-MST version of the plugin which comes bundled when bought from UAD is more of a hi-notch sound perfect for tone shaping when your after a bit more extremity.

5- PSP Vintage Warmer 2

Considered to be old school by some at this point, this “nostalgic” plugin will always have a place in our studio. You’d still be hard-pressed to find a tape hitting type plugin that has a better emulating sound and more power than the PSP vintage warmer. We’ve ran tests on nearly all of the tape emulation plugins out there and still to this day nothing compares in our opinion. A Little trick from our studio, at times we actually prefer driving into the Waves L3 with the PSP vintage warmer, instead of pulling down hard on the L3’s threshold, when done correctly we find the sound can come out a bit more robust at times and less even sounding which depending on your song can be a better suited and/or what your after.

Artist Interview – RESET ROBOT

RESET ROBOT INTERVIEW

Reset Robot is a name that is increasingly familiar to fans of dubbed-out, moody tech house all over the world. Having released a series of well-received tracks on key labels including Truesoul, Drumcode, 100% Pure, Excentric Muzik, 8 Sided Dice, and Noir. Reset Robot then made a debut on Dubfire’s Sci+Tec Digital Audio imprint to crown what has been an amazing start to his career. Soon after that he followed up with another EP on Sci+Tec, Get Physical, Drumcode and Soma.

Can you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your background in the industry?

My name is David Robertson and I currently write music under the names Reset Robot, Mister Woo and Customer. I have lived in Portsmouth (UK) for about 17 years and this is where my passion for dance music began. I studied music production/technology at college for 4 years from 1999. I was learning how to record and mix bands predominantly. We would spend hours setting up drums, and microphones and then we would record to 8 track DAT and see how good we could get it all to sound. I learn’t a lot of mixing techniques from the lecturers back then. They had a couple of Akai samplers as well. My friend and I would stay behind after class and link the samplers up giving us 16 channels. We made some weird music but had so much fun doing it. Currently I produce music for myself at my studio in Portsmouth. I also work alongside people like Alan Fitzpatrick, Adam Beyer, Victor Calderone and Rhymos to name a few.

Take us through your studio set up?

My studio setup is simple. Reason 8, Adam P11a Monitors, Motu Ultralite Mk3 and a Herman Miller chair. Alan got the Korg Volca series recently and left them down at my studio so we’ve been using those a bit too.

What is your favorite piece of equipment to use in the studio right now and why?

Thor in Reason. Beast of a synth with so many possibilities and routing options. It’s great for simple pad sounds or complicated rhythmic sequences. You can get some lovely organic sounds from it and some really heavy bass hits and low stabs.

What do you think of analog vs digital in the studio?

Analog vs Digital….I like both and can see the benefits of both. I’m definitely going to get some hardware but choosing what to get is very difficult. I’ve heard the new moog is very good and the latest Elektron drum machine as well. Maybe those 2 would be a good addition? There is quite a big difference between tracks made in the box or with hardware. I definitely think the analog gear has a richer sound and a bit more weight to it.

What one piece of advice would you give to new producers starting out? words of wisdom.

My advise is always the same. Don’t rush!! Get your sound right and try not to get ahead of yourself. Get your tracks spot on first and you will have much better results when sending demo’s. I definitely released music to early.

5 Ways To Use Samples & Sound Original

We here at Raw Loops are all about helping artists to not only make great music with our loops but also to help them create their original sound using our samples. With such a fierce market for producers nowadays, we drive to create high-quality content raising the level for producers to stand out from others. With these five tips, you will be well on your way to being accomplishing this goal.

1. Layering

From one-shots to loops, layering can give your sound a whole new life. For hits, first pull up your favorite sample based drum machine plugin and with a pretty simple 2 step process of loading up two sounds in the same category i.e. two different hats, kicks, synths etc and essentially balancing them, EQing them against each other and being sure you are picking sounds each with different strengths you can achieve a unique sound. For example, one sound will have enough top end while the other has a good mid-low end or one sound has a good attack and the other a great decay. Layering is truly the secret to creating your own sounds from samples in order to match your records and make them stand out.

Another form of layering is loop based layering. It is slightly different; you will hear this abundantly in very high energy music and certain forms of techno or pumping tech house. For example, loading up several different hi-hat loops and again EQing them against each other will make sure they mesh well together rhythmically. The key to get them working together is to have them well balanced and in a proper space in the mix (some low while others high, some left with others right or even on top of each other). The idea is to make it sound whole together as one sound.

2. Modulation

Modulation is all about FX and moving the different parameters to take a simple 1 bar loop to another level. There are many things to do here, and the possibilities are endless. One basic yet very impactful trick is, to load up a bar loop; duplicate it over 8 bars; add a delay effect to the track; add a basic 16th note rhythm; no feedback and then turn the delay all the way dry. Next you will open up the automation lane of your track for the dry/wet parameter and draw in different points taking the dry/wet to 50% for 16th note rhythms randomly over the 8 bars. Therefore, you will bring some sparseness into the rhythm of the track with it sounding not so loopy. This will overall make it much more dynamic, funky and interesting for the listener. This concept works for just about any effect from filters to reverbs.

3. Slice & Chop

Slicing and chopping are exactly what they sound like, cutting up different loops, taking from different sounds from each one, taking from different sections of each loop then creating one new loop that’s cohesive.

4. Re-Sampling

Re-pitching, format shifting, time stretching, frequency shifting, essentially pushing and pulling on the loops, changing the pitches of different notes and or hits to create entirely new melodies, riffs or getting your drums to match the records tonally.

5. Tone Shaping & Filtering

This again is about FX, from distortion, filters, EQs to even tonal shaper FX plugins. This technique works on every sound but tends to work better on elements with a lot of mid and low range. For example, you can alter a basic square wave bass loop, add heavy distortion to change into a screaming lead hook or sound. Making it virtually unrecognizable from its original state.

Happy Tweaking from the Raw Loops Team!

Meet-the-Owner MIKE FRADE

Mike Frade Interview
Mike Frade co-founder & creator of Waveform Recordings sample packs, has now launched a new web-store and sample company Raw Loops.  Waveform is a staple in almost any underground producers sample library, the imprint carved out an impressive niche in the sample game giving many producers top quality samples to work with.  Using this tried and tested formulate, Raw Loops owner & creator Mike Frade has launched this boutique web shop for the mega-underground producer/DJ. So we though why not interview our own boss? – Raw Loops Team
What are Raw Loop Sample Packs about? And why did you start a new imprint when you own a highly successful one already? (Waveform Recordings)
The idea really came about to create a sample company with a webstore dedicated to a more pure & ‘raw’ underground sound so that producers could have a true one-stop boutique location for everything they need to produce quality tracks and to prevent an insane amount of wasted studio time running around searching for packs through stores that are really difficult to navigate and find anything, cause at this point the market is so over-saturated that its hard to distinguish and find anything of real quality anymore.     
What will be of Waveform Recordings regarding sample packs?
Waveform is now focusing more on the record label side of things and not on sample packs anymore.  We may release one or two here and there but definitely not our focus, the sample pack focus is entirely here on RAW LOOPS.  Our efforts are to build a real underground community of producers who are only interested in producing top quality underground music.
The Producer community talks about analog vs. digital production frequently. How do you feel about the ‘plastic sounding’ music being released recently?
Both sides have their pros and cons really…The analogs strength is the digital’s weakness and digital strengths are the analog weakness’…I definitely don’t just use one method to produce the packs I’m constantly using both and going back and forth to be constantly creating different sounds, textures and tones.  For me the real answer when writing tracks is always using the best sounding samples and working them or manipulating them when needed to create the sound that you want, which makes for a faster production process and a better result in my opinion.  Being a pure analog head is great for someone who doesn’t really want to be a professional DJ and artist constantly writing new music and truly breaking boundaries musically.  The problem with analog is your essentially limited by your gear and if you only have a few pieces your sound will start to sound the same over and over and over, and you’ll get boring quick as an artist, the analog sound is great but its flexibility is weak, its true power is as a lower to your sounds and music.  Even guys that work out of the box are still using samples in a sample based machine or something like it, so the need for samples in music will never change especialy electronic music which is highly sample based in the first place.  Not to knock any piece of kit over another but for instance the new Akai Rhythym Wolf Drum Machine I’m sure it sounds great but at best you’ll get a track or two out of it before your fans get bored of you and you get bored of yourself.  Thats the weakness for me its gets boring to constantly make the same style kick and snare and hi-hats over and over again, ok some slight pitch differences or other tweaks but your tone is always the same out of a machine like that.  It gets boring and the music is not exciting after one or two tracks.  I am personally, extremely into sound design and new sounds therefore the best tracks out there always have that element to them…. very rare a straight 808 record gets me excited anymore.

What piece of advice can you give to an aspiring producer out there who is trying to make it in music?

Producing high quality music with top marketing.  This is really the answer you want to do anything in life.  Producing music and Djing is no different, High Quality product with Great Marketing is the key to success. Put forth your best and go out an sell it.

What will be the future of Raw Loops?

Basically pushing on and creating more new and fresh sounds, but most importantly trying to inspire everyone that comes to our store.  Opening up our product line is important to me too, so from samples, to presets, many more ableton raxx, midi packs, more analog shuffle packs and whatever else I feel producers could use to make their studio process easier, more enjoyable, and just tools to make us all sound better from the creative process to the mixing process, beat-making to song writing.  Our core will always be samples for sure as in my opinion they are the most important part of your music period. Bad samples, bad music no way around it, everything else are just tools to aid us to manipulate the samples. Lastly, Id like to give a major THANK YOU to all of our current users for their support and all those to come in the future without you this wouldn’t be possible. That’s why we have made customer support a big priority here and work hard to fix any problems you guys may have with the site, it’s a bit of a work in progress for the store, we are artists here first not programmers so please bare with us lol. If you are one of the few who have had any issues.. Please feel free to email us at info@rawloops.com anytime for customer support or just to say what up! we are always around.

Take Your Loops To The Next Level

You’ve just purchased your new sample pack and are ready to create your next underground jam, you’ve created your core beat with loops but now your a bit stuck on the arrangement.  Here is a tip on how to take your loops even further in ableton, which can not only help with sound design but arrangement manipulation as well helping to extend your 4 bar loop in to an interesting 16 or 32 bar piece turning your beat into music.

 

Go ahead and select any loop, tops, percs, vox, and leads work best for this trick.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.34.26 AM

 

Add a filter delay to the selected track/loop, mess with it a bit until you get a rhythm pattern that sounds good in your track.  Now turn the volumes for each delay in the plugin all the way down so you no longer here the delay.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.39.50 AM

 

Go ahead and open up the envelope editor of the loop in Ableton and select one of the delay volumes from the menu that you’d first like to start tweaking.  For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to start with Filter Delay – 3 Volume.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.44.12 AM

 

Now De-Select the LINKED button, turning it red and causing your loop to “disappear” while the loop brace turns a pinkish color (depending on your color settings).

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.45.30 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.45.41 AM

 

Here is where things get really interesting. Pull your loop brace as far out as you’d like, but for the purpose of this tutorial we are going to do a simple 16 bars.  Basically what you’ve just done is separate your loop length from your automation/modulation length.  Now just draw in some random automation either with the arrow or pencil.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.21.45 AM

 

You’ll instantly here that your raw 4-bar loop has taken on new life, has a bit of controlled randomness but is much more interesting to listen to overtime greatly improving extension of your record for the song as a whole.  Repeat this step for other delay volumes and truly any parameter of any plug-in and your loops will truly begin to set themselves apart from the rest creating not only interesting rhythms but textures as well.  This is just a basic way to do this to get you started, remember you can do this with anything so let your imagination run wild and pure magic will begin to happen!

 

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Keep It RAW. NYC Based, RAW LOOPS, is a professional audio company providing the highest level of loops & sounds for both Producers & DJ’s.

 

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Are you a music producer looking to earn some money from your hard work in the studio? If your interested in producing sample packs, midi packs, ableton raxx or any other music merchandise you think may be interesting, send us a demo of your product to: info@rawloops.com