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Tweaking Hip Hop
Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) BPM Beat Production Software
Sony SoundForge Stereo Editing Software (Windows)
Steinberg WaveLab Audio Editing and Mastering Software (Windows)
Propellerhead ReCycle (Macintosh and Windows)
Kick drum sounds.
Probably most characteristic of Hip hop is a kick drum with strong sub bass
qualities. There are many ways to create these, but perhaps the best way
is through synthesis. Many classic hip hop "kits" are derived from the
Roland 808 sand 909 drum machines, which used analog waveforms coupled with
lo bit samples through filters to make most of the sounds.
The typical sub kick is constructed from scratch as follows: A low, short sine wave is put through a fast pitch envelope that rapidly drops the note of the sine wave by an octave or two. This happens so fast you don't really hear the pitch dropping, but an attack followed by a thud. Processing that helps get more lowness is to put a high pass filter (the opposite of what you might think) and set it to around 50-100 HZ and turn the resonance up high. This gives a massive boost right at the cutoff, but leaves enough definition in the upper frequencies to give a sense of a clean attack. It also helps remove some of the sub bass that is not musically useful under 50 Hz, but keeps the sub bass you feel and hear. If its too peaky, cut the resonance, but if it get wimpy when you do that, consider adding compression or limiting.
To get the kind of low sustained kicks that sound like a musical bass note you can put a long release time on the compressor or limiter and push the threshold way down, to the point of abuse. The Waves L1 is perfect for this task. This essentially squashes the volume against the ceiling. The release on the compressor or limiter can make the kick tight or flabby. Your artistic vision decides.
Digidesign Mbox 2 Pro FireWire Audio/MIDI Interface
The Mbox 2 Pro is a portable, high-definition
audio/MIDI production system that delivers truly professional sound
quality. Packing an impressive variety of connection options into a
compact interface, Mbox 2 Pro puts powerful multitrack recording and
mixing capabilities into your hands, so you can create wherever
inspiration strikes. Mbox 2 Pro also includes award-winning,
industry-standard Pro Tools LE software and a huge collection of pro
effects and instrument plug-ins to get you started creating right away.
Tweak: The MBox2 Pro is well equipped for developing samples. It has phono inputs for an analog turntable, digital i/o and BNC word clock connectors which will allow it to sync word clocks with other digital gear. Firewire is a big step up from the USB 1.1 Mbox 2. All Mboxs come with Pro Tools LE software.
Choosing the snare is typically based on the metaphor of orchestration.
Clean, distorted, full, or heavily filtered and compressed, all are fair game.
Often enough, mid range frequencies are enhanced though and the "bright" frequencies
around 4kHz are left alone. The high frequencies may be boosted to make
the snare "fizzy". Electronic 808/909 snares are often modified with eq,
or real snare drum hits are compressed to bring out more grit and nastiness
then downsampled, eq'd and recompressed for a classic low-fi snare. The snare
is often understated, though there are no real rules here, other than staying
out of the way of the vocals. Unlike in pop music, the snare does not
have to be centered. Nor does it have to be dominant.
Hats. Again the
metaphor may determine the hats. From full bodied heavy sticked hits,
to tinny electronic noise bursts with the high frequencies boosted and the lower
frequencies rolled off. Hats are usually grooved on 16th notes, but not
every 16th note, which would give it an electronica flavor
Claps. The original 808/909 handclaps never sounded like real handclaps and in most hip hop productions the handclaps are deliberately artificial. Samplists who make kits for electronica and club music have long been tweaking the claps and the Hip Hop artists were quick to steal their methods. You will often hear 3 or 4 handclap samples together. These make be compressed, equalized, reversed, use time stretching, raised or lowered in pitch and often have reverb and delay added in generous amounts. In Hip Hop the claps are staged much like a snare is in rock and pop music. It usually comes down on a quarter note and may flam up at the end of a 16 or 8 bar pattern.
of the Unicorn (MOTU) BPM Beat Production Software
BPM unites drum machine-style operation with
advanced virtual instrument technology to give you the ultimate rhythm
programming experience. Combine drum kits, sequenced patterns, sliced
loops and instrument sounds to realize your rhythmic vision, mixing and
matching any playing style with any drum kit. Or plug in your pad
controller or MIDI keyboard to capture your live, groove-quantized
performance directly in BPM.
Tweak: BPM is fantastic for hip hop beatmaking. Build your own drum kits with any sample material you can find. Write your own patterns, tweak with onboard FX. By putting audio loops on the pads you can actually make the whole beat inside of BPM. If you want those Low kicks, they are here. You can also tweak up your own from raw waveforms inside this software.
Slicers: Intakt by Native Instruments also can do wild things with audio loops, though it is now discontinued. It will quickly slice and map a loop and allows you to edit each slice. Recycle is also for dissecting audio loops into slices which can be mapped to a soft sampler's keyboard and effected as an individual sample. However, unless you have a specific reason for using Recycle, like importing samples Stylus RMX, etc., I suggest you try a newer solution. BPM, Guru, Kontakt, Logic will all slice beats.
I hope I have given you some worthwhile information and insight into creating hip hop beats. I wish you the best in your artistic endeavors.
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