Day: March 27, 2023

  • How to Use Noise in Beatmaking: Unleashing the Power of Unconventional Sounds

    How to Use Noise in Beatmaking: Unleashing the Power of Unconventional Sounds

    Noise has been an essential component of music since the dawn of time. From the sound of a shaman’s drum to the cacophony of modern cityscapes, noise has inspired artists and musicians to push the boundaries of their craft. In the world of beatmaking, noise is not only a source of inspiration but also an invaluable tool for creating unique and compelling sonic textures. In this article, we will explore the different ways noise can be incorporated into beatmaking, how to manipulate noise for artistic effect, and some tips and tricks for using noise effectively in your music.

    1. Understanding Noise

    Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of using noise in beatmaking, it’s essential to understand what noise is and how it differs from conventional sounds. Noise is typically defined as any random, non-periodic sound or signal that is characterized by its lack of tonality or harmony. In contrast, most musical instruments produce periodic, harmonic sounds that are pleasing to the ear.

    There are many types of noise, each with its unique sonic characteristics. Here are a few common types of noise that you might encounter in the world of audio production:

    • White noise: Equal energy per frequency, resulting in a flat, featureless sound.
    • Pink noise: Equal energy per octave, leading to a smoother, more natural sound.
    • Brown noise: Energy decreases as frequency increases, giving it a deep, rumbling quality.

    2. Sourcing Noise for Beatmaking

    The first step in using noise in beatmaking is finding suitable noise sources. There are countless ways to capture and create noise, but here are a few methods that you might find helpful:

    • Field recordings: Use a portable recorder to capture the sounds of the world around you. These recordings can be a treasure trove of interesting noises, from the hum of traffic to the rustling of leaves.
    • Analog synthesizers: Many analog synthesizers are capable of generating a wide range of noise types, making them an excellent tool for creating unique sonic textures.
    • Digital plugins: There are many digital plugins available that emulate the sound of analog noise generators or offer unique noise-based synthesis methods.
    • Online resources: Websites like offer a vast library of user-generated sounds, many of which are noise-based.

    3. Noise as a Rhythmic Element

    One of the most common ways to use noise in beatmaking is as a rhythmic element. By chopping, processing, and sequencing noise, you can create compelling drum patterns and grooves that stand out from the crowd. Here are a few techniques to get you started:

    • Granular synthesis: Granular synthesis involves breaking down a sound into small grains and reassembling them in new and interesting ways. By applying granular synthesis to a noise source, you can create a wide range of percussive sounds, from delicate clicks to thunderous booms.
    • Layering: Layering noise with conventional drum sounds can add depth and character to your beats. For example, try adding a touch of white noise to a snare drum to give it extra bite or layering a field recording over a kick drum for added low-end impact.
    • Transient shaping: By manipulating the attack and decay characteristics of a noise sample, you can transform it into a tight, punchy drum hit. Use a transient shaper plugin or a compressor with fast attack and release times to achieve this effect.

    4. Noise as a Textural Element

    In addition to its rhythmic potential, noise can be used to add texture and atmosphere to your beats. By carefully blending noise with your other musical elements, you can create a rich and immersive sonic landscape that draws the listener in. Consider the following techniques:

    • Sidechain compression: One effective method for blending noise with your other tracks is to use sidechain compression. By routing the output of your noise track to the sidechain input of a compressor on another track, you can create a dynamic relationship between the two sounds. This can help to create a sense of depth and space in your mix.
    • Reverb and delay: Applying reverb and delay to noise sources can help to create a sense of depth and space in your mix. Experiment with different types of reverb and delay to find the right balance between ambience and clarity.
    • Filtering and EQ: By sculpting the frequency content of your noise sources, you can create a more cohesive and balanced mix. Use high-pass filters to remove unwanted low-end rumble, and low-pass filters to tame harsh high frequencies. Additionally, consider using dynamic EQ or multiband compression to control specific frequency ranges within the noise.

    5. Noise as a Modulation Source

    Another powerful way to use noise in beatmaking is as a modulation source. By using noise to modulate other parameters of your sound, you can create a sense of movement and unpredictability in your music. Here are a few modulation techniques to try:

    • Amplitude modulation (AM): By modulating the amplitude of a sound with a noise source, you can create rhythmic patterns and textures that change over time. This technique works well for adding subtle movement to pad sounds or creating evolving rhythmic elements.
    • Frequency modulation (FM): Modulating the frequency of a sound with noise can result in a wide range of interesting effects, from subtle detuning to full-blown chaos. This technique can be used to add warmth and character to digital sounds or create unique sound effects and transitions.
    • Filter modulation: Using noise to modulate a filter cutoff frequency can produce engaging, evolving textures. Experiment with different filter types (e.g., low-pass, high-pass, band-pass) and modulation depths to find the perfect balance between movement and stability.

    6. Creative Processing Techniques

    Once you have incorporated noise into your beatmaking workflow, there are countless ways to process and manipulate the sounds to achieve your desired results. Here are some creative processing techniques to consider:

    • Bitcrushing and downsampling: These processes introduce digital distortion and artifacts to your sound, which can add an appealing lo-fi quality to your noise sources. Experiment with different bit depths and sample rates to find the right balance between grit and clarity.
    • Distortion and saturation: Applying distortion or saturation to noise can create a sense of warmth and character. Use subtle settings to add a touch of harmonic richness or crank the drive to create aggressive, overdriven textures.
    • Time-stretching and pitch-shifting: These techniques can be used to create a wide range of effects, from eerie drones to glitchy stutters. By altering the playback speed and pitch of your noise sources, you can drastically change their character and create entirely new sounds.


    Incorporating noise into your beatmaking process can open up a world of creative possibilities. By understanding the different types of noise, sourcing unique noise samples, and experimenting with various processing techniques, you can create distinctive and memorable beats that set you apart from the competition. Embrace the unconventional sounds of noise and unlock the full potential of your music.

  • How to Create a Melody or Bassline Using the Sampler’s “16 Levels” Function

    How to Create a Melody or Bassline Using the Sampler’s “16 Levels” Function

    The “16 Levels” function in samplers has long been a game-changing feature for beatmakers and music producers. This powerful tool allows you to manipulate a single sample across multiple pads, thus creating unique melodies or basslines with ease. In this article, we will explore how to use the “16 Levels” function effectively to create melodies and basslines, the benefits it offers, and tips for getting the most out of this versatile feature.

    I. Understanding the “16 Levels” Function

    The “16 Levels” function is a feature available in many samplers, including the iconic Akai MPC series and modern software-based samplers such as Native Instruments’ Maschine. It enables you to map a single sample across 16 pads or keys, with each pad assigned a different pitch, velocity, or other parameter.

    Here’s a breakdown of how the “16 Levels” function works:

    1. Load a sample:

    First, choose a sample you want to manipulate. This could be a one-shot instrument hit, a vocal phrase, or any other sound you wish to incorporate into your composition.

    2. Activate “16 Levels”:

    Once the sample is loaded, engage the “16 Levels” function. This will automatically map the sample across 16 pads or keys, depending on your sampler’s layout.

    3. Parameter selection:

    Choose the parameter you want to manipulate. Some common options include pitch, velocity, filter cutoff, or envelope attack.

    4. Create melodies or basslines:

    Now that your sample is mapped across 16 pads or keys, you can start playing the pads to create melodies or basslines. Each pad will trigger the sample with a different value for the selected parameter, providing a unique sound for your composition.

    II. Benefits of Using the “16 Levels” Function

    There are several advantages to using the “16 Levels” function in your music production process:

    1. Creative possibilities:

    The “16 Levels” function allows you to experiment with a single sample in ways you may not have imagined. You can create various melodies and basslines without needing multiple samples or instruments.

    2. Efficient workflow:

    By using one sample and manipulating it through the “16 Levels” function, you can achieve a consistent sound and save time on searching for and loading additional samples or instruments.

    3. Unique textures:

    Adjusting the parameters for each pad can lead to interesting textures and variations in your melodies or basslines, adding depth and character to your tracks.

    III. Tips for Creating Melodies and Basslines with the “16 Levels” Function

    1. Choose the right sample:

    The foundation of a great melody or bassline using the “16 Levels” function lies in selecting the right sample. Look for samples with a clear pitch and tone, such as a piano hit, a plucked string, or a synth note.

    2. Experiment with parameters:

    Don’t be afraid to experiment with different parameters when using the “16 Levels” function. Adjusting pitch, velocity, or filter settings can yield a wide range of unique sounds and textures.

    3. Use velocity sensitivity:

    If your sampler allows for it, use velocity sensitivity to add dynamic variation to your melodies or basslines. This can make your performance feel more expressive and natural.

    4. Layer samples:

    Consider layering multiple samples with different settings in the “16 Levels” function to create more complex and interesting sounds.

    5. Utilize MIDI effects:

    Apply MIDI effects such as arpeggiators or chord generators to further enhance your melodies or basslines created with the “16 Levels” function.

    6. Record and edit:

    Record your performance and then edit the MIDI data to fine-tune your melodies or basslines. This can help you achieve the perfect balance and flow in your composition.

    IV. Applying the “16 Levels” Function to Different Music Genres

    The “16 Levels” function can be utilized in various music genres, enabling you to create unique and genre-specific melodies and basslines. Here are some ideas for using the “16 Levels” function in different musical contexts:

    1. Hip-hop: Load a sample of a classic piano or electric piano sound and use the “16 Levels” function to create soulful melodies that complement your drum beats.
    2. Electronic dance music (EDM): Experiment with samples from various synthesizers and map them across the pads using the “16 Levels” function. This can help you create catchy leads, hooks, or basslines that drive your EDM tracks.
    3. Ambient: Choose atmospheric samples like pads or string sounds and use the “16 Levels” function to create evolving textures and soundscapes.
    4. Jazz: Load samples of acoustic instruments such as saxophones, upright bass, or trumpet, and use the “16 Levels” function to create expressive melodies or basslines with a jazz flavor.
    5. Reggae/Dub: Map a sample of a guitar or keyboard skank across the pads using the “16 Levels” function, and manipulate the filter cutoff or resonance parameters to create spacey, psychedelic effects.

    V. Overcoming Common Challenges

    1. Unwanted artifacts: When using the “16 Levels” function, you may encounter unwanted artifacts such as clicks, pops, or distortion. To minimize these artifacts, choose high-quality samples, avoid extreme pitch shifts, and use envelopes or fade-ins/outs to smooth out the sound.
    2. Timing issues: To keep your melodies and basslines in time with the rest of your composition, practice your finger drumming skills or use quantization features in your sampler or DAW.
    3. Mixing challenges: When using the “16 Levels” function, it’s essential to ensure that your melodies or basslines sit well in the mix. Apply EQ, compression, and other mixing techniques to achieve a balanced and polished sound.

    VI. Expanding Your Creativity with the “16 Levels” Function

    As you become more familiar with the “16 Levels” function, you can explore additional ways to use it in your music production process:

    1. Drum programming: Use the “16 Levels” function to create dynamic and expressive drum patterns by mapping different drum hits across the pads and manipulating their pitch or velocity.
    2. Sound design: The “16 Levels” function can be a powerful tool for sound design. Experiment with different samples and parameters to create unique and inspiring sounds for your projects.
    3. Resampling: Record your performances using the “16 Levels” function and resample them back into your sampler or DAW. This can lead to even more creative possibilities and further manipulation of your sounds.


    The “16 Levels” function in samplers is a versatile and powerful tool that can help you create engaging melodies and basslines with ease. By understanding the basics of this feature, experimenting with different parameters, and applying the techniques discussed in this article, you can elevate your music production skills and create unique compositions that stand out in any genre. So, load up your favorite sampler, engage the “16 Levels” function, and let your creativity run wild!

  • The Mastering Process in Beatmaking: A Comprehensive Guide

    The Mastering Process in Beatmaking: A Comprehensive Guide

    Beatmaking has become a popular pursuit for aspiring music producers and enthusiasts worldwide. As an essential part of the music production process, beatmaking involves creating the foundational rhythm and structure of a song. However, once a beat has been created, it must go through a crucial phase called the mastering process. This step refines and polishes the beat, ensuring that it’s ready for public consumption. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the mastering process in beatmaking and explore its importance, techniques, and tools required to achieve professional-sounding results.

    Section 1: Understanding the Mastering Process

    1.1 The Importance of Mastering

    Mastering is the final step in the music production process, transforming a raw mix into a polished, professional-sounding track. It involves making critical adjustments to the audio to ensure optimal playback across various devices and platforms. By mastering a beat, you ensure that it translates well on different speakers, headphones, and streaming services. Additionally, the mastering process helps maintain consistency across an album or EP, so each track sounds cohesive and well-balanced.

    1.2 The Goals of Mastering

    The primary goals of mastering are to:

    • Balance the frequency spectrum
    • Control the dynamic range
    • Enhance the stereo image
    • Ensure optimal loudness levels
    • Achieve consistency across multiple tracks
    • Prepare the final master for distribution

    Section 2: Mastering Techniques

    2.1 Equalization (EQ)

    Equalization is the process of adjusting the balance of frequencies within an audio signal. During mastering, EQ is used to shape the overall tonal balance of a beat, ensuring that it has a well-defined low end, a clear midrange, and a smooth high end. This can involve cutting problematic frequencies, boosting desired ones, or applying gentle shelves to tilt the overall balance of the mix. A good mastering engineer will use EQ judiciously, making subtle adjustments that result in a more polished and balanced sound.

    2.2 Compression

    Compression is used in mastering to control the dynamic range of a beat. By applying gentle compression to the overall mix, you can smooth out any sudden peaks in volume while maintaining the natural dynamics of the music. This process ensures that the quieter parts of a beat are more audible while preventing louder sections from becoming overwhelming or distorted. The key to effective compression in mastering is to use a transparent compressor with a slow attack and release, allowing the music’s natural dynamics to shine through.

    2.3 Limiting

    Limiting is a form of compression that specifically targets the loudest parts of an audio signal, preventing them from exceeding a specified threshold. In mastering, limiting is used to increase the overall loudness of a beat without introducing distortion or clipping. A well-executed limiter will allow you to achieve competitive loudness levels without sacrificing the dynamic range and impact of your music.

    2.4 Stereo Imaging

    Stereo imaging refers to the perceived width and depth of an audio signal within the stereo field. During the mastering process, adjustments can be made to the stereo image to enhance the sense of space and separation within a beat. This can involve using mid-side processing to balance the width of the mix or applying subtle stereo enhancement techniques to create a more immersive listening experience.

    2.5 Dithering

    Dithering is the process of adding a low-level noise signal to the audio before reducing its bit depth, which helps to preserve the integrity of the audio and minimize quantization errors. When preparing a final master for distribution, dithering should be applied to ensure that the audio maintains its quality when converted to various formats and bit depths.

    Section 3: Mastering Tools

    3.1 Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

    A digital audio workstation (DAW) is the primary software environment used for audio editing, mixing, and mastering. DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, and Ableton Live offer a range of built-in mastering tools, such as equalizers, compressors, limiters, and stereo imaging processors. Many mastering engineers prefer to work within a dedicated mastering DAW, like WaveLab, SoundBlade, or Sequoia, which provide a specialized environment tailored for the mastering process.

    3.2 Plug-ins

    Mastering engineers rely on a variety of plug-ins to achieve the desired sound. These software tools provide the specific processing needed for EQ, compression, limiting, and more. Some popular mastering plug-ins include FabFilter Pro-Q, iZotope Ozone, Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor, and Sonnox Oxford Limiter. It’s essential to carefully select and use these plug-ins to ensure that they enhance the audio without introducing unwanted artifacts or distortion.

    3.3 Hardware Processors

    While many mastering engineers work entirely “in the box” using software plug-ins, some prefer to use outboard hardware processors for certain tasks. These units, which often provide a unique sonic character, can be analog or digital and range from vintage tube equalizers to modern digital processors. Some popular hardware mastering tools include the Manley Massive Passive EQ, API 2500 Compressor, and Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor.

    3.4 Metering Tools

    Metering tools are essential for making informed decisions during the mastering process. They provide visual feedback on various aspects of the audio signal, such as loudness, frequency balance, and dynamic range. Some common metering tools used in mastering include loudness meters (LUFS/LKFS), spectrum analyzers, and phase correlation meters. By using these tools, mastering engineers can make objective adjustments that ensure the beat meets the desired technical specifications.

    Section 4: Mastering Workflow

    4.1 Preparing the Mix

    Before beginning the mastering process, it’s essential to ensure that the mix is well-balanced and ready for mastering. This may involve making any necessary adjustments to the mix, such as fixing problematic frequencies, tightening up the low end, or addressing any issues with the stereo image. Additionally, it’s crucial to provide enough headroom for the mastering engineer to work with, typically leaving around -6 dB of peak headroom.

    4.2 Mastering Chain

    The mastering chain is the sequence of processing steps applied during the mastering process. While the specific chain will vary depending on the project, a typical mastering chain might include:

    1. Equalization
    2. Compression
    3. Stereo Imaging
    4. Limiting
    5. Dithering

    It’s important to approach each step in the chain with subtlety and intention, as the cumulative effect of these processes will shape the final sound of the beat.

    4.3 Quality Control and Revision

    Once the mastering process is complete, it’s essential to perform a thorough quality control check. This involves listening to the final master on various playback systems and in different listening environments to ensure that it translates well across different devices. Additionally, it’s crucial to check for any technical issues, such as distortion, clicks, or other unwanted artifacts. If any issues are identified, revisions may be necessary to address these problems and achieve a polished, professional-sounding master.


    Mastering is a crucial and often misunderstood aspect of beatmaking, responsible for refining and polishing the final product. By understanding the goals, techniques, and tools involved in the mastering process, beatmakers can ensure that their creations sound professional and ready for distribution. Whether working with a dedicated mastering engineer or taking on the task independently, mastering is an essential step in the journey from raw mix to finished beat.

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