Fruity Beats (II)

A tutorial to the TR-909 demo tracks

If you want to know where to get the plugIns I use and what this is all about, please read the introduction to Part I first.

Beat II: Big Beat/ Electro

mp3 without and with effects

FLS-File

This beat manages with four TR-909 channels. The tempo is 120 bpm.

(For FL users: The bass drum channel comes third in my FLS pattern, the hihats fourth and the snare/ claps first. So don't get irritated.)

I made the bass drum (C3) very warm with a decent delay. Turn tune and decay to a little over 1/2, pitch to 3/4. Tune and compress only need 1/4 and the attack (which in the end makes the sound harder) is completely off.

The beat pattern is what I would call a typical electro pattern: Hits on the 1 and 1/8 after the first and before the second snare drum hit (which usually are on the second and fourth 1/4 beat). In the second part there is also a tiny hit 1/16 after the second snare just to give the rhythm some smoothness.

One element that turns my beat into a big beat probably are the two cymbal/ hihat hits I placed in this pattern. The cymbal (C#4) hits with the first beat, the open hihat (D#4) with the second. As for the 909 settings, I drew you a picture:

Here is a pic of the full channel arrangement:

Effects: The Camel Crusher (preset: Destroyer) will distort our section and make the cymbal/ hihat kind of sing. Mix in only 50% of this effect. I added an EQ to take away some of the 250 Hz frequencies (-5.1 dB) and increase the 3 kHz (+1.7 dB) and 8 kHz (+3.1 dB) frequencies. Now it sounds really fat. Next comes in a delay (3 notes, 91 BPM, and decrease the cutoff frequence to 1/4). This way you have something deep crawling in the background. Finally there is the Fruity Love Philter with a 'lowpass with waveshaping' preset (like the Crusher with a mix level of only about 50%). It will take away some of the brightness that we will need for the other channels (This is how it sounds without the Love Philter and this with it).

The hihat section is pretty easy. The closed HH (F#3) reports every 1/8 and the open HH (A#3) in the offs (the middle of each 1/4). The only exception is the last 1/4 which sees the closed hihat playing around its actual place (the last and third last 1/16). Again: this last 1/4 of the beat is fore the smoothness and non-repetitiveness (I hope there is such a word) as opposed to the usual echno beat.

The OHdecay of the TR-909 should turned back right between 1/4 and 1/2. Increase the tune a little.

The first effect for this channel should be a reverb. Almost every hihat section needs a little of it. I have chosen the Fruity Reverb 2 with a mix level of 50% and the following settings:

Hihats are for the higher frequencies of your arrangement, so use an EQ now to increase them (63 Hz: -18 dB; 250 Hz: -11.5 dB; 500 Hz: -0.8 dB; 1,500 Hz: +1.1 dB; 3 kHz: +1.4 dB; 5 kHz: +3.7 dB and 8kHz: +12.9 dB).

As third effect I added the Glitch's Gater. Take a look at its settings:

It will actually take some of the reverb back and make the hihats sound sharper and more focused.

Finally there is the Fruity Delay Bank with its 'Big res.fst' preset. Someone once said, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Well, I'm not sure if I would need a thousand words to describe the settings, but here is the picture anyway:

This is what it sounds without the delay and here you can here what the Delay brings to the table. I think it provides some 'swing'.

We're through with the hihats, now bring in some snares and claps. In this channel I assembled snares (D3 and E3), a clap (D#3) and two toms (C4 and D4). And, you know the drill, for the lack of words I show you where to put the notes in yet another picture:

So basically the snare plays its usual part and the rest adds a little funk.

Another picture for the TR-909 settings:

Note the effect the afterverb has on the claps and how the toms get pitched up so that they will sound more electronic when we add the effects.

Speaking of effects: This channel is run through a faint reverb (regular Fruity Reverb with Room Size: 16; Decay: 0.2 sec; leave the rest as it is) that just ads a little warm room. Next comes the Fruity Chorus (CE chorus preset) with the following settings:

This chorus will give the snares more presence in the whole mix.

Finally an EQ increases the mid frequencies a little:

The last channel throws in some wooden sticks sounds. They actually come from the TR-909's Rimshot (C#3), in which you boost the tune to the max. I used an 3/16 step pattern for them(once again to lighten up the 4/4 structure):

An EQ minimizes the higher frequencies and therefore makes the sound warmer, more wooden like (settings: 63 Hz: +2.5 dB; 250 Hz: +0.6 dB; 500 Hz: -1.1 dB; 1,500 Hz: +3.4 dB; 5 kHz: -15.2 dB; 8 kHz: -12.4 dB). A reverb (Room Size: 37; Decay: 0.1 sec; Reverb: 10%) and a delay (Fruity Delay 2: Feedback: PingPong; change Time OFS to 16.2 ms left; mix level: 80%) provide volume and echo. This is what it sounds without reverb and delay, and here you can witness the aftermath.

And above all that we add a phaser (Fruity Phaser preset 'MoogIt') with the following settings:

This will add a nice analogue touch to it.

Give your channels the following volume settings: bass drum: 60%; hihat: 80%; snares and claps: 75% (default) ;wooden sticks: 80%.

The channel panning of the wooden sticks is 30% to the left.

So that's about that. Note that the bass drum channel has to be mixed in not as loud as the other channels, as the Camel Crusher will always turn up the volume. Try for yourself.

If you want a more electro style beat, just try to replace the Camel Crusher in the bass drum effect section with something less agressive and turn down the bass drum's decay level. Also the rimshots could then use something more electronic, like a real weird Phaser. For electro you usually can abandon all the rules for beat effects. Try to sound as cold and minimal (no big reverbs) as possible and think unconventional.

The tutorial for the third demo beat will follow...