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The 5 Drum Programming Tricks Every Producer Needs to Know

These 5 steps for how to program better drums will have revolutionize your drum programming. I mean, what's the point of rigid, lifeless drums? Life is too short for that!

You’ll learn how to have harder, louder drums loaded with tons of groove, without needing to buy a single plugin!


Here are the top 5 drum programming tips.

  1. The first step to better drum programming is layering samples.
  2. Add some swing
  3. Slide some patterns forward or back
  4. Add velocity to enhance the groove
  5. Tweak plugin so that velocity effects pitch by 10%

If you follow these steps the next time you write a drum beat, you'll be certain to get better results!

Download your free Reason cheat sheet here.

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How to Mix Piano - Epic Guide to Making Piano Plugins Sound Lifelike and Realistic

Piano is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments around, but it can be one of the most challenging instruments to mix. Mixing piano is tough because it has a large frequency range and dynamic range. To help you make make your piano sound lifelike and huge, I've put together these guide on how to mix piano.  

Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.

Consider The Context

Choosing which piano plugin to use, and how intensively to mix it, depends on the context of your music. The mixing techniques and plugin you're going to use for a solo classical piano performance are much more straightforward than for a modern neo-classical or pop song. 

This guide to mixing piano will teach you the most "extreme" settings. Use your ears and taste to figure out how much you should dial things back. The more instruments there are in the mix, the simpler the piano processing should be.


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Understanding The Difference Between Samplers and Synths

What's the difference between samplers and synthesizers? If you're looking to make incredible music, you need to pick the right tool for the job. If you grab a synth instead of a sampler, you could be in for a cacophony of ugly sounds. This guide will quickly walk you through the major differences between the two, but if you want to go in-depth, and hear examples of the difference, be sure to watch the video below.

What is a Synthesizer?

At its most basic, a synthesizer generates its own waveform from an oscillator, and manipulates that waveform through filtering, amplitude envelopes, noise, modulation, and a host of other processing.

Sometimes these can be emulations of real analog synths, like D-16's Lush-101. But some synthesizers emulate real instruments. For example some of the best piano VSTs and Rhodes Piano plugins are synthesizers.

Even more exciting, synths allow you to sculpt unique sounds from thin air. Because they’re sound is being generated...

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How to Create Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats in any DAW

Figuring out how to create lo-fi hip hop beats is tough. But once you’ve unlocked a few core techniques, you’ll be able to experiment on your own and create your own dusty, lo-fi hip hop. The examples I’m using today are in Propellerhead’s Reason (affiliate link), but this should work for any DAW.

Note: this article may include affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission if you purchase through them. Nonetheless, this did not influence the products I recommend here. 

The Basics of Creating Lo-Fi Hip Hop

The basics of creating a lo-fi hip hop sample are simple: you take one sound, speed it up or slow it down, pitch shift it, and add some distortion. But the skill of learning how to create lo-fi beats comes in the order that you do these things, how you do them, and what your source material is.

Here is a video/audio example of how to create lo-fi hip hop samples in Reason. I show you pretty quickly how massively you can create a...

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Best Sites for Free Samples & Free Loops

The only thing better than good samples are good free samples or free loops. Don’t worry. I’ve done the digging for you to find the best sites for free samples & free loops.

Since rap exploded on to the music scene, the use of loops and samples has become ubiquitous in all genres.

Whether we’re talking about pop music, rock, hip hop, or EDM, there is always a place for samples .

For example, in rock recordings, producers often layer the sound of real drums with sampled kicks and snares. Electronic music has relied on vocal samples and percussion loops since nearly the beginning.

Of course, samples and loops can be expensive. And that’s not to say that they’re not worth it. I’ve pick up some absolutely amazing sample packs over the years that were worth every penny.

But sometimes money is tight. Or maybe you don’t feel like you need an entire sample pack, just a sound or two. You can also save money by resampling your own music into...

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How to Affordably Record Great Rap Vocals

Anyone can learn how to record rap vocals in a home studio with great results.

But don't buy into the hype of needing super expensive gear. If you focus on learning how to record rap vocals, then you can get really nice sounding vocals for cheap, and it does not require crazy skills or a fortune. 

Note: this post includes affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission for purchases you make. However, that does influence what I'm recommending here.

In fact, you can get amazing sounds with your audio interface, a mic around $100, and a couple of plugins applied with care.

Seriously - here's a some clips recorded with that less-than $100 MXL 990 mic. 

Now that sounds pretty damn good for a cheap mic, right? So this guide will teach you how to get that sound. 

In fact, here's how I basically used a cheap ass mic to record an entire hip hop EP which got a publishing deal that earned us a nice chunk of change.

You can record great rap vocals with a cheap...

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How To Make Money as Musician by Pursuing Your Passion

This 5-day mini course will show you exactly how to launch a music licensing side hustle so that you can finally get paid for your music!