Video Tutorials

Access the Samplecraze video tutorials from as little as £1 a tutorial. Build your own course by selecting the parts you need.

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Automation

Automation is a powerful feature of your DAW which records changes you make to mixer and plugin parameters.

The most common form, volume automation, will adjust the track levels during playback. To accomplish this an automation lane is created for each track you wish to automate. Set one or more automation lanes to ‘Write’ mode and then playback your song. Any adjustments you make to the faders on those tracks using the mouse or a control surface will be recorded. Then, by switching the automation lanes from ‘Write’ mode to ‘Read’ mode and restarting playback your on‑screen faders will exactly recreate the adjustments you made during the automation process.

But that’s just the start! The videos in this category demonstrate the process in detail not only for mixer tasks but also for plugin parameter control.

Beat Construction

Constructing drum beats and laying down grooves can be daunting for those without drumming abilities.

Fresh new drum breaks can be created in many ways however! Sampling from vinyl, slicing the samples to get individual hits and then rearranging those slices to form a new beat is a common method. Working with pre-existing commercial loops or programming rhythms using a MIDI editor are also viable approaches but THE most powerful technique is to extract both timing and notation information from a commercial beat and to use them with your own custom sounds to create completely fresh new grooves.

In this category I show you how to create unique drum beats and groove templates using the above techniques as well as how to polish the results using dynamics processing and other effects.

Compression

Compression and Limiting are processes that control the dynamic range (loudness) of audio.

Managing dynamics is a professional technique that can produce GREAT sounding results! In essence we are controlling the quietest and loudest parts of audio. The type of compressor we use and, more importantly, the manner in which we use it will have a big impact on your production.

The most common forms of compression are downward and feed forward compression. However, in the right hands compressors can do WAY more than the traditional ‘squash and boost’! The videos in this category cover downward and upward compression as well as expansion. Additionally we detail different compressor designs such as Opto, VCA, FET, Vari-Gain and some esoteric configurations to round things off!

Drum Design

There is nothing more satisfying than creating your own custom drum sounds to use in your beat productions!

Most beginner producers use commercial sample packs or drop samples in their productions that they have sampled from vinyl, but that is not the best way to be original and unique. What if you could create your drum sounds from scratch or to take an existing drum sound and maul it into a new texture? Stand out from the crowd!

The sound design tutorials in this category show you exciting ways of creating brand new drum sounds. Further, I guide you through how to use effects to make your creations even more interesting and dynamic.

Dynamic Processors

Dynamic Processors cover a huge range of production workflows that start with compression but then broadens to include all the advanced corrective processes that great producers use!

Anything that alters the dynamic range of audio is regarded as a dynamic processor. However, that doesn’t begin to explain the myriad of processors we have available in our DAWs.

From de-essing to gating, tape saturation to expansion, harmonizer to normalisation and much much more! All of these processes are explained in detail with ‘before’ and ‘after’ audio examples. A thorough grounding in both theory and application make this category useful AND fun!

Effects

Effects are the fairy dust of production! Nothing adds colour to a mix better than a spattering of effects!

The most common effects used in a studio are covered in detail. Reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and phaser are the ‘go to’ essentials for most producers. Here, I show you professional techniques for using them, and with the right knowledge it’s easier than you might think.

Using an effect for its intended purpose is one thing but to get creative with it is quite another and involves a slightly different approach to the norm, a sound design approach. Layering and modulating effects is a powerful way of creating amazing textures, a subject we explore in detail!

Effects can also be used dynamically. For example stereo-widening, frequency smoothing and pitch shifting are just a few of the techniques covered in this category.

Equalisation

The best explanation I can think of to describe equalisation is that it is a glorified ‘tone control’. An equaliser simply boosts or cuts a specified frequency within audio. In fact, consider what a volume knob does on your sound system. It raises or reduces the gain/volume of a single band. That band encompasses the whole audio. The problem is not understanding what an equaliser is but how and when to use it.

This category explores the various types of equalisers available and how to use them on specific sources.

Equalisation at the channel stage for corrective processing is very different to equalisation at the mixbus for colour and I make sure to explore that in detail.

Most equaliser types are covered:
From multi-band to dynamic, linear phase to minimum phase, Active, Passive, Graphic, Parametric, Fixed and Peaking Eqs – each and every process is explained with before and after audio examples.

Manipulate and control your frequencies – from destructive to creative eq – it’s all here!

Filtering

Whereas an equaliser will boost or attenuate the amplitude of specific frequencies or ranges of audio a Filter will, generally, only cut and over a specified range.

We tend to use equalisation for tonal balance and to generally improve the signal’s frequency response. However, when it comes to dramatic changes to a signal we might opt for a dedicated Filter unit.

Most dedicated filter devices/plugins come with acres of control. Quite often the modulation matrix on a filter unit is housed with lots of modulation sources with each controlling different parts of the filter. Filter sweeps are common in all genres of music but the filter bank/unit can do so much more. Self oscillation comes to mind..

In this category I run you through some of the techniques I use to add life to a mix by using filters with extensive modulation.

Creative filtering for the sound designer and producer!

Gain Staging

In today’s world of digital maximums (ceiling) in your DAW managing all gains, from channels to groups, auxiliaries to mixbus, has become a critical process.

The process itself involves optimising the audio signal level (gain) through the signal chain, from channel to mixbus, to maintain a decent amount of headroom and to prevent digital clipping.

For the beginner this process can be daunting as there are so many factors to take into account when proper gain staging. I make sure to cover most of these eventualities and to guide you through each step ensuring you understand what areas to consider when gain staging within your DAW.

This category covers every aspect of gain staging, from the metering standards to summing, from cleaning channels to managing the Pan Law and so much more.

To best help you I have created a technique that involves mixing to a pink noise reference. I have written an article for Sound On Sound entitled Mixing to a Pink Noise Reference on this subject and have included this process right here and in video format. If you follow this process to the letter your mixes will magically mix themselves.

Don’t get overwhelmed with your levels – learn to structure and manage gains

Low End

If there is one area that confuses both beat makers and producers alike it is the management of the Low End in the mix.

It can be a nightmare understanding how to get the bass and kick to marry each other. If you are into the Urban genres then you can appreciate how difficult it can be to get an 909 bass drum to not conflict with the bass-line. In EDM the low end can be even harder to manage as there are many sounds that encroach into this frequency range.

The video tutorials in this category cover some of the traditional techniques used to manage the low end and are explained in detail using before and after audio examples. However, I have also made sure to include some novel approaches to treating this problem area.

 

Mastering and MixBus

Nowadays, most home-studio producers want to master their own mixes. As most mixes are not released commercially home-studio producers still want to optimise their mixes for the various streaming standards in the event they want to market their content online.

The problems facing these producers are that of knowledge and experience.
Mastering is a completely different ballgame to mixing and requires a different mindset to that of the mix producer.

This category of video tutorials aims to help you in understanding how to best manage the master bus of your DAW project and to confidently master your demos.

Learn the requirements for Mastering music, the processes it entails and how to achieve the perfect master by managing the MixBus correctly and creatively.

Vocals

The most important aspect of any song are the vocals.

Your entire song is built around the vocals so why not get the most out of your vocal recordings from tracking to polish?

To best present your recorded vocals for processing it is essential to first use corrective techniques. This incorporates cleaning the channel, de essing for sibilance, managing plosives, using noise gates to remove background noise and headphone spill and gain staging.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I will show you how to use compressors in series to manage the dynamic range of the vocals, how to layer vocals and create harmonies both in your DAW and using stock plugins, show you how to use 3 stage compression for adding focus to a vocal take, how to tune and pitch vocals, how to use Bump Automation, how to successfully eq any vocal using my 4 Step Technique, how to duck, how to side-chain against the mix and so much more.

To be thorough I have used audio examples of EDM female vocals, Rap vocals, Rock vocals and Backing vocals in all the video tutorials.

Learn how to process Vocals both easily and professionally.