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  1. Music & Audio
  2. Mixing & Mastering
Music

Creating a Tech House Track Called Shok

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

Project Settings

The settings used for this project are:

  • tempo 125 BPM
  • time signature 4/4
  • G-minor scale

Workflow

First I had an idea using the speech samples, then I created a beat around that. After that I moved to the percussion and drum sounds then added a bass and synths.

Vox2

I started the composition with this sample. I arranged it on the timeline in a way that formed a basic rhythm with the other vocal snippet. 

I made it wider in stereo with Ping Pong Delay and Reverb.

Vocal snippets
I created a rhythmic loop based on vocal snippets

Instrument: 

  • Sample clip in timeline.

Effects:

  • Reverb, predelay 46 ms, size 6, decay 2s, diffuse 6 dB, reflect 2.2 dB, dry wet 38%, stereo 120
  • Ping Pong Delay, feedback 41%, dry wet 22%

Vox1

The second type of vocal snippet, which provides an introduction to the former samples. I seasoned this sound with reverb and delay as well. 

I also took care about creating a reverb with different character from the previous one.

Instrument: 

  • Reversed sample clip in timeline.

Effects:

  • Simple Delay, left 4 sync, right 6 sync, feedback 30%, dry wet 30%
  • Reverb, predelay 8 ms, size 100, decay 2.1s, diffuse 2.3 dB, reflect 1.5 dB, dry wet 55%, stereo 100
  • EQ Eight, low cut at 200 Hz

Bass

I created the bass with Analog. G0 and G1 are used with sixteenth notes. I used a sidechain compressor to duck the volume a little bit to make it fit with the kick.

Bass MIDI clip

Instrument:

  • OSC1, saw wave
  • OSC2, saw wave
  • Filter cutoff at 1 kHz
  • Amp envelope, 5 ms attack, 283 ms decay

Effects: 

  • Compressor, sidechained to the drums channel.

Riser

An up and downlifter noise sample is used at the sections, after every 16 bars. Noise samples are full of unnecessary frequencies for a whole mix, so I carved out much of that.

Riser effects chain
The bottom and top of the noise riser is chopped off with EQ

Instrument: 

  • Sample clip in timeline.

Effects:

  • Ping Pong Delay, feedback 44%, dry wet 43%
  • EQ Eight, low cut at 200 Hz, high cut at 8 kHz
  • Reverb, predelay 2.5 ms, size 156, decay 2.2 s, diffuse 2.9 dB dry wet 38%

Synth

This is a G-minor based synth loop I used from a sample pack. It fills up the tuned mid range and provides some variety. 

The Filter Delay creates a rhythmic pattern when used with these settings.

Synths effects
I used a filter delay to give a rhythmic interest for the instrument

Instrument:

  • Sample clip in timeline.

Effects:

  • EQ Eight, low cut at 200 Hz, high cut at 8 kHz
  • Filter Delay, default settings, with sides in time mode, 289 ms and 188 ms
  • Reverb, predelay 12 ms, size 100, decay 1.5 s, diffuse 6 dB dry wet 55%

Pad

This is a saw and noise based Analog patch. I use this layer to give an extra sound for the mid range. I mixed it quietly as I did not want to be a main player in the song.

Pad synth patch
The pad is based on saw wave and white noise

Instrument:

  • OSC1, saw wave, octave -1
  • Noise, -19 dB, color 22 kHz
  • Filter cutoff at 5 kHz
  • Amp envelope, 128 ms attack, 2 s release
  • Vibrato with 3.9 Hz and 51% intensity

Mids Group

I put an EQ Eight with 130 Hz low cut and 3.5 kHz high cut to make room for other instruments.

Beats

I made bets with drum rack loaded with a kick, snare and ride samples. I automated an Auto Filter to make some movement in the mix at 16 beats intervals.

Kick and Snare

The decay of the bass drum was too long and boomy so I adjusted it to make it shorter in the drum rack's Simpler. I did the same for the snare as well. I added some light Reverb for the snare sound and removed the low end at 700 Hz with an Auto Filter.

Chimes

This sound was recorded in a nice way, but for this track the high end was too much. I used an EQ to put an LP filter at 15 kHz. I also added some body with a +3 dB low shelf at 1.7 kHz, which functions as a broad brush stroke increasing almost the whole spectrum under it.

Top1

To make some movement in the mid and high range for the rhythm section I used the top1 and top2 loops from a sample pack. I filtered out the low end with a 555 Hz low cut.

Top loops
The top1 loop is panned hard left, while top2 is panned hard right

Top2

As in the previous case I removed the low end with a 500 Hz low cut here as well.

Beatbox

This beatbox drum loop is a bit of an odd-one-out, I guess this is not a regular sound for a tech house track, but adds a nice organic flavour to the rhythm section. 

As for EQ-ing, I removed the low end at 600 Hz and the top end at 10 kHz.

Beatbox loop EQ settings
The beatbox rhythm loop is also has a low and high cut

Automating the Beats Section

I added some movement and controlled the energy of the track with automating the filter cutoff at several places of the mix. For this job I used an Auto Filter and drew the curves with my mouse. 

Around at the end of every 16 bars there is a high pass filter moving up the frequency and at the intro section, when only the kick is playing from the drums.

Mastering

I made most of the sound shaping in the mixing phase, so I did't need to change too much at mastering.

The chain I used on the mix bus:

  • EQ Eight
  • Utility
  • Limiter.
Master effects chain
EQ, Utility and Limiter for the master channel

EQ Eight is there to carve out the extreme highs and lows of the track. These are 35 Hz low cut and 19 kHz high cut. Utility is there to check mono compatibility in width 0% mode.

Finally the limiter is adding +2 dB of gain with an output level of -0.3 dBFS. I intentionally used only 2 decibels with the aim of maintaining a healthy dynamic range of DR8. 

For measuring the DR value I used a 3rd party plugin inside foobar2000 music player under Windows.

Exporting

For the master file I used these settings:

  • File type WAV
  • Sample rate 44100 Hz
  • Bit depth 24 bits
  • Dither Triangular

I generally recommend these settings at export for making the master version of a track.

Export settings
44100 kHz and 24 bits is the standard render setting

Conclusion

In this tutorial I demonstrated my session of creating a tech house track. I created an initial idea, added layers of other instruments, then mixed and mastered to taste. Using this approach you, too, can create your own compositions.

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