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Power Producer: Ableton Drum Design

More Drive with Hi-Hats

Published 11:33 am on Thursday 10th September 2020 by Beat Magazine

1 The Icon
We chose the hi-hat of the most iconic drum machine of all time: the TR-808, not only because it has a very special sound, but because it can be adapted to any style. While some hats are just noise, the 808 comes with a whopping amount of six oscillators. So we‘ll load an instrument rack.

2 Basic Sound
For now, we‘ll add a wavetable synth, activate both oscillators with Basic Shapes as waveforms & set the Wave Position to 100% so that the square waveform is selected. In the Mod Matrix, we also connect Vel(ocity) at -80, with the Osc 1 pos and Osc 2 pos parameters, so the velocity determines the sound.

3 Six Oscillators
The oscillators of the original 808 Hi-Hat are tuned to the following frequencies: 205 Hz, 370 Hz, 304 Hz, 523 Hz, 359 - 1.150 Hz and 254 - 627 Hz, which creates the typical disharmonic sound of the hats. Although not exact, we more or less stick to the frequency spacing and transpose oscillator 2 up two semitones.

4 Modulation
We combine Velocity with Amp Release and set an intensity of 40. For the Amp Envelope, we set Decay to 240 ms, Sustain to -inf dB and Release to about 500 ms. Set the Effect Mode per oscillator to FM and drive Tune to 80% or 100%, which makes the sound more metallic. Duplicate this chain twice.

5 More Modulation
On the first duplicate, we tune Osc 1 to +7 and Osc 2 to +19 semitones. We also varie the Tune of Effect Mode. Varying the settings makes the sound richer. On the second duplicate, we switche Osc 2 off and Osc 1 to White Noise. In the Matrix, we let LFO 1 modulate Osc 1 Pos. Sound design is finished.

6 Dynamic Hi-Hats
You can now play the hi-hat on the keyboard in the desired key, modify the sound and release using velocity, and create ride cymbals with very short note triggering. Tip: To soften the sound, load a Frequency Shifter and set it to about 190 Hz or even automate its Frequency parameter.

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