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Written By: 504MusicMan aka CashStill – Reppin New New Orleans, La.
1. Where to place a bridge in a Hip Hop track? 2. What is a song typical structure? 3. What is compression? 4. Compressors & Limiters, When To Use Them? 5. Mixing Frequency 6. Eq Tip 7. Key Frequencies For Instruments 8. Recording Without Distortion (Checking Input Levels) 9. How To Make A Just Blaze Breakdown On A MPC 1000 or 2000XL? 10.Latency Explained (Delay In Hearing Sounds When Using External Keyboard with Computer or Software 11. 11. How Do You Reduce Latency? 12.Making Drumz sound punchy! 13.Using The Right Samples 14.Where to add Change Ups in my Beatz?
15.Does sampling make me less of a producer? 16.What is Digital Audio? 17.What are SoundFonts? 18.What is the best to produce Hip Hop n R&B Music, Software or Hardware? 19.How to remove vocals from a song to make an accapella? 20.Which model AKAI MPC Beat Machine should I buy? 22.Which Is better Fruity Loops or Reason 3.0? 23.Which software package is the best for chopping up samples and making drum kitz? 24.Where can I have my music heard on the web for free? 25.How to create pgm on the computer and load into the AKAI MPC 2000XL? 26.What is MIDI? 27.What is the best equipment to start out producing with a limited amount of cash? 28.How much should I sell my beatz for? 29.Setting Beat Making Goals? 30.How do I start my own Record Label?
1. Where to place a bridge in a Hip Hop track?
Answer: My advice to you is to put it either right after the second verse for more effectiveness or right after the third verse and then two hooks and have the song fade. Depending on the feel of the song you can go with either 4 or 8. try 4 and freestyle to it and see if you think it's incomplete, if so go for 8. 4 or 8 Bars that is :-) Another Method I use a lot of bridges in my hip hop productions and after the 2nd chrs fits well because with hip hop cats know the hook is usually gonna drop afer the sixteen bars, so that keeps the continuity... Then after the second chrs most tracks just feel like they need a change to refresh the track and it allows for you to go crazy and show off your production skills!!
2. What is a song typical structure? Answer: A Typical Song may have this time proven structure: Intro (4-8 bars) A (8 bars) B (8 Bars) A (8 Bars) B (8 Bars) C (break) 2-16 bars A (8 Bars) B (8 Bars) C (ending)
3. What is compression? Answer:
Compressors help even out the dynamic ranges of different instruments. Lowering the Highs and Turning up the Lows. THRESHOLD - is the point where the compressor begins to recognize the signal. Once the compressor recognizes the signal it begins to act i a way that is determined by adjustments of the attack time, release time, and ratio controls. A THRESHOLD is the entrance point where the signal enters to be compress. ATTACK TIME - is the amount of time it takes the compressor to turn a signal down once its pass the THRESHOLD. If the ATTACK time is too fast, the compressor can turn down the transients. Causing a instrument to lose life and clarity. RELEASE TIME - is the time that it takes for the compressor to let go, or turn the signal back up once it is out of the threshold. RATIO - is simply a comparision between what goes through the threshold and the output of the compressor. GAIN REDUCTION - refers to the amount the compresssor has turned down a signal once it crosses the threshold. The only difference between a Compressor & Limiter is where you set the RATIO control. Limiters are used to record a sound source that might suddenly blast out but is usually fairly constant. BASS GUITAR that plays normaly on the verse but ThUMP or SLAP on the hook is an example.
4. Compressors & Limiters, When To Use Them? Answer: Compressors & Limiters are normally used "during" the recording process to adjust signals. Compressing on Mixdown can result in more apparent noise on a track.
5. Mixing Frequency Answer: Mixing Frequency Changes 1. Equalization 2. Filtering 3. Distortation / Fuzz 4. Noise Reduction
6. Eq Tip Answer: When producing Hip Hop n R&B Musaic it is best to adopt the subtractive EQ approach to mixing. Meaning you cut instead of boost. If there's too little highs, remove some mids or bass to shape it. This does two things - minimizes phase-related artifacts, and more importantly, reduces unnecessary signal level that will eat into your mixer's headroom since cutting will reduce the amount of frequency a waveform will take up.
7. Key Frequencies For Instruments Answer: Kick drum 0db +3 eq at 50 Hz, +1 db at 3khz, -3db at 275 hz. No FX except maybe subtle ambience. You will tweak the kick again, this is just to get you going. Snare -2 db eq to taste in the frequencies above 4khz. Add reverb if the song calls for it. Do the best you can to keep it out of the way of the vocal, even if you have to pan it a few degrees. Lead Vocal 0db use a low cut filter to eliminate rumble and plosive pops around 100-200 hz. Carefully enhance the delicate high end around 15khz to add air and sheen and don't overdo it! This is the trickiest adjustment and may often spell hit or dud. Perfectly center the vocal and pan it not with pan controls, but with very subtle left/right hi freq eq's. Put on the cans (headphones) and make sure its in the absolute center of your forehead.. Every word must be intelligible. Add reverb and delays but don't let it get smeared. Cymbals -25 db Avoid letting these get in the way of the vocals. Pan them to 2 o'clock and remember their main function is to add the glue to a track to hold the music together--they do not have to be loud or present Synth pads -20 db Do these in stereo and hard pan left and right with generous effects if needed. However, keep them in the back. Pads indeed are beautiful additions to a song but don't let them overshadow any of the main elements of the song. Bass -10 db Always front and center. If you use FX restrict yourself to chorusing or a light flange--no reverb. Rhythm guitar -15 db pan off center eq: use a low cut filter to get rid of any bass and add a mid range eq for a slight narrow boost, but make sure it is not competing with the vocalist's sweet spot. Percussion -20db put these elements off center unless they are essential to to basic beat. EQ in a tasteful way if necessary. ** Watch the meters when you play the whole mix through the board. You should have peaks at +3db. If what you have is more notch down every fader in 1 db increments until you get there.
Mono Check: Always check you mix in Mono and look for sudden drop outs or instruments that disappear. That's phase cancellation at work, and it happens with stereo tracks and effects. No faders above 0db rule: When getting a mix started follow this religiously. If you find your vocal doesn't sound good unless its at +5db then move everything down 5 db. Conserve headroom. You don't want your mix compromised by that awful crackle at the peak of your song.
8. Recording Without Distortion (Checking Input Levels) Answer: When you record digitally, its very important to set the input level correctly, meaning right on point!. Above all, you don't want the signal to be too loud, as this will cause clipping, digital distortion. Digital distortion is also know as recording your music “TOO HOT”. Meaning too loud. Clipping typically occurs when a too loud analog signal is converted to digital in the hardwares A/D converters. If you are using Cubase SX clipping might also happen when the signal from the input bus is written to a file on your hard disk. (This would only happen if you made the signal louder in the input bus (by raising the bus level, adding effects or EQ, etc.) 1. Locate your stereo input bus to the left in the mixer. 2. Right click somewhere in the mixer window to bring up the Mixer context menu. 3. Select the VU-Meter Settings submenu and make sure "Input VU" is activated. 4. Play the audio source that you want to record and check the level meter for the input bus. (The signal should be loud as possible without exceeding 0db the Clipping indicator shouldn't light up) 5. Adjust the output level of your audio source so that the meters go as high as possible without going up to 0.0db Now you have made sure there's no clipping in the audio hardware. 6. Bring up the Mixer context menu again and select "Post Fader VU" from the VU Meter Settings submenu. (This is the normal metering mode which shows levels after the channel faders) 7. If you now play back the audio source you can check the output level of the input bus the signal that is to be recorded on your hard disk. (If we would have made adjustments
in the input bus there may have been clipping. If this happens, simply lower the input bus fader, reset the indicators and try again)
9. How To Make A Just Blaze Breakdown On A MPC 1000 or 2000XL? Answer: When you play the metronome on the MPC you get 4 clicks to a bar. 16th time would = 16th notes. there are 4 of these in one of the MPC clicks. When you are doing 1/16 that is one tick out of 16 (one click on the MPC=4 of these). 4 clicks = 4/4 time, if you think of 16th=16 beats 4 to one of the mpcs clicks so like this mpc 4/4= 1 2 3 4 mpc 16th time = 1---2---3---4--- = 16 clicks where - is a click. Hes makin it so that your are play just 1 or 4 clicks in this time instead of 4 in 4/4 time. You can do crazy drum rolls like this. Very interesting. Make a simple loop (k,s,h) following his instructions and you will hear an ill breakdown. Explained A Little Further You have to develop timing. Count to the click, 1-2-3-4 = 1 bar 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 = 4 bars Quarter Notes. You kinda always want to start on the 1 and end on a 4. Whether 2 bars or 16 bars. there is also 8th note timing 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and = 1 bar 8th notes 1-e-and-a-2-e-and-a-3-e-and-a-4e-and-a = 1 bar 16th notes the numbers represent the clicks on the mpc, 1 2 3 4 or quarter notes. The 8th notes are usally the time that the hats follow, the MPC only plays quarter notes on the metronome (clicks). The kick and snare might be in quarter notes. Your sample might play in 16th notes. Just count along all the time and nod your head or tap your feet to the beat. It just takes time to get good timing. Just allways tie it up at the 4 and start on the downbeat (the 1).
10. Latency Explained (Delay In Hearing Sounds When Using External Keyboard) Answer: Latency is based on the fact that in a computer, audio has to be "buffered" (stored) in small chunks during various steps of the recording and play back process. The more and larger the chunk, the higher the latency. High latency is most troublesome when playing VST instruments and when monitoring through the computer. Make sure that the transfer mode for the Hard Drive is DMA Busmaster. You can check this setting under Windows Device Manager and looking for properties of the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers primary and secondary channels. DMA is enabled by default but may be turned off by the system should hardware problems occur! ASIO Drivers run more effeciently than MME or Direct X drivers and normally produce shorter latency times. Make sure you Multitracking Software settings for Audio drivers is set to ASIO an d not one of the above. Normally the lower the buffer size the less latency.
11. How Do You Reduce Latency? Answer: Having a ASIO driver is the most important piece of the equation to determine wheter are not you will even have a chance at reducing latency! If you have a Sound Card without a ASIO driver, look at possibly upgrading! But if the answer is yes and you do own a ASIO driver Sound Card, you still must have your software configured to use this driver. Most times you have to make the setting changes manually. Like in Cubase SX you have to go to the Devices section and make sure its not using the "Direct X" driver instead of the ASIO. So make sure 1st you own a Sound Card with a ASIO driver. 2nd Make sure its the Latest / Greatest driver from the Sound Card Manfuc. 3rd Make sure the Buffer settings are all set properly. 4th Run Win XP in "Classic Mode" to free up a lot of Resources 5th Look at coppin a utility like "Free Ram XP Pro 1.40" to manage and stay on top of maxmizing the amount of free ram you have avail. while doing your music production NOTE: Please make sure you have the most RAM installed on your machine as possible if your going to use it for Hip Hop n R&B Music Production. 256 mb of RAM isn’t quite enough these days to run the memory intense applications on the market today!
12.Making Drumz sound punchy! Answer: Making your drums punchy the first thing is compression. if you don't think your drums are punchy enough then the chances are you are not compressing them right. you may be overcompressing (bear in mind that many of the samples that you use may be compressed already) or you might not be compressing enough. as a rough guide, i go for about 10db of compression, ratio of about 7:1, attack time between 0.15 (for snares) and 0.45 (for kicks) and a very quick release time. the compressor i use is waves C1. If you don't really understand compression that it is a good idea to read up on it. the sound on sound site has got some good articles as i recall. the next thing that can help to punch up your drums is a bit of overdrive/distortion. don't go overboard with this, but mess around with some light distortion and it will do a hell of a lot for your kick drums especially. predatohm is my tool of choice... last thing of course is EQ. for the 'snap' in the snare i usually boost around 2k and for the body of the snare i usually boost a little around 250-300hz (too much of this and you've got a whole lot of mud though...). For the kick i make sure that it is layered between the sub bass and the main bass - i usually end up boosting it at around 100hz and cutting it below 80 and at around 400 (or wherever my main bassline is hanging out). i also tend to give it a little push up at 2k or so to bring out the high end of the kick to give it some definition. hi-hats: loud hi-hats help to make your tune stand out and definitely do a lot in terms of perceived loudness. try a touch of overdrive... ok, hope that's useful.
13.Using The Right Samples Answer: Spend the time to get lots of the ?right? samples and sounds together BEFORE you load up your sequencer and start piecing a new track together. If you start with only a few sounds you hit ?writers block? pretty early on when you try and make something sound interesting with just a few basic sounds, then you have to break your concentration even further and go sample hunting again. If you start with a large list of samples to pick from you can just flick through them until you find sounds that work and any samples you don?t make use of just use on the next track you do. Making sure you chose the right samples is also very important as you will probably struggle to make a drab sample sound
great by applying lots of EQ and plugings (unless you make music that involves a lot of distortion). Ideally, the sounds you chose should require no EQ and only enough compression and limitation to make them sit well in the track, but although this concept might work well in other styles of music it will make most breakbeat and D&B producers fall off their chair laughing. If you know exactly how you want a sample to sound then you could EQ and process the sample file before you put it in your sampler, but keep a backup of the original file in case you need to undo the changes you made. In any c ase the less plugins and EQ you use, the cooler your CPU will stay!
14.Where to add Change Ups in my Beatz? Answer: To keep your tune from becoming repetitive, try changing the drums just a little. If youv’e got a main kit layered with a couple of breaks, try replacing (or just dropping out) one of the breaks after 16 bars and adding, say, some ride cymbals or tambourines or some open hi-hats (2-step stylee!!). Changes like this will maintain the general flow of the track but just make things a bit more interesting. Listen to Bad Company?s drums for examples of this
15.Does sampling make me less of a producer? Answer: One of Dr. Dre most famous songs was a loop "Ain't But A G Thang" Nothing wrong with a lil sampling diggin n crates is really a foundation for Hip Hop so it could never mean you a lesser producer for doing so. If anything, you can say your more pure to the artform & culture of hip hop by sampling Now there is 1 thing about sampling There is the lazy / non creative way = Puff Daddy & then there is the more complex / = DJ Premier, Alchemist, creative way of sampling You decide which route your going to take
16.What is Digital Audio? Answer: Digital Audio is a term which can be used to describe a wide range of topics, including: The audio generated/played back by your computer. The method of recording audio from an analog source to your hard drive or sampler. The audio stored on a CD. How Does It Work? Similar to a scanner which breaks down an image into thousands of tiny dots called pixels, a digital recording breaks down the audio waveform into thousands of tiny samples. When you listen to a CD, you are hearing the playback of 44,100 (44.1 kHz) samples per second! Using your computer and your SoundBlaster sound card, you can record your own digital audio at levels of up to 96,000 (96 kHz) samples per second - that's more than twice the quality of a compact disc! What is sample rate and how does it affect quality? Sample rate refers to the number of samples per second as mentioned above. This is often displayed as kiloHertz or kHz. The higher the number of samples per second, the greater the sound reproduction will be. Why Should I Care About The Sample Rate Of My Sound Blaster sound card? Imagine riding a train across a beautiful countryside. Not imagine if you could only open your eyes once every five seconds. What kind of image of the world would you have? How could you accurate describe the scenery if you only have limited information? The same rings true for the sample rate used during recording. At lower sampling rates, the audio will sound fuzzy due to a lack of samples required to represent the sound accurately. What Does A Sampler Do? A professional digital sampler records audio and places the desired audio on a keymap to be used as an instrument sound. Any sound can be recorded via microphone and be used as an instrument on a digital sampler. An example of digital sampling can be found in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." The title character, Ferris, uses a sampler to fake his cough, just by pressing a key! (We don't recommend trying this at home!) The road to digital audio is littered with the many ways in which audio can be stored. Whether it's saved as a Real Audio file or a Windows Media file, you can bet that you'll run across the following file types at one time in your life. We've compiled a small list to help you sort through the madness of file type extensions. Extension File Type aa Audible Audio File aac FAAC File aif Audio File aifc Audio File aiff Audio File ape Monkey's Audio File asf Windows Media File asx Windows Media Playlist au Audio File avi Video File dat Video CD File jmx MusicEx File lks Learnkey's
Real CBT File lqt Liquid Audio File m1v MPEG Video File m3u MP3 Playlist mid MIDI File midi MIDI File mov Quicktime Video File mp+ MPEGPlus File Mp2 MPEG Audio File mp3 MPEG Audio File mpa MPEG Audio File mpe MPEG Video File mpeg MPEG Video File mpg MPEG Video File mpv MPEG Video File ogg Ogg Vorbis File pls MP3 Playlist ra Real Audio File ram Real Media File rm Real Media File rmi MIDI File rmid MIDI File rmm Real Media File rmx Real Media File sdp Scalable Multicast File smi SMIL Document File smil SMIL Document File snd Audio File (Mac) swf Shockwave File tac TAC File voc Voice File wav Audio File (Windows) wax Windows Media Playlist wm Windows Media File wma Windows Media File wmv Windows Media File
17.What are SoundFonts? Answer:
Basically SoundFonts are the "physical" files inside that are in Hardware sound module like the Proteus 2000. You can now purchase Sound Fonts and use with programs such as Fruity Loops and Reason. The sound quality of Sound Fonts are pretty much identical to the Hardware counterparts. SoundFonts can come in many different “flavas” , there is the Mo Phatt Sound Font, Planet Phatt Sound Font, Orbit Sound Font, Proteus 2000 Sound Font, and Triton Sound Font. Think of it like this, its like owning all these hardware Sound Modules for like a couple of bucks. (Some Soundfonts start as low as $14.95) (Matter fact, a lot you can find online 4 free, if you do yo research right) Here is a starting point for gathering you some sounds http://www.sf2midi.com
18.What is the best to produce Hip Hop n R&B Music, Software or Hardware? Answer: This is a real difficult question to answer because it really boils down to the indivdual.
The best thing I can tell you on this topic is to go online and check various Hip Hop Music Websites and get different people opinions. And believe me you will get plenty of em on this topic. In my particular case, I started out using Hardware and quickly found a lot of limitations that prevented me from “shaping” my music into what I really wanted it to sound like. I found that using Fruity Loops & Reason 3.0 with my hardware has allowed be to do a lot of unconventional things with my music other producers can’t even imagine! Now you don’t think I’am going to tell you everything about the in and outs / pros / cons of all the above. Some things your just going to have to learn on your own! Try going to a local music store and do comparisions on various products to get grasp as to which direction you should be going with your production. NOTE: If you are interested in producing music with software be sure to Read our article on the site in regards to “Fruity Loops vs. Reason 3.0”
19.How to remove vocals from a song to make an accapella? Answer:
Sorry man, it just can’t be done. Once a song is Mix Down that’s a wrap! You can not separate the Vocals from the Beat! Its impossible. If you software making this c lai your probably about to get ripped off!