Attack Magazine – The Secrets Of Dance Music Production
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The definitive guide to making cutting-edge electronic music.
Featuring 312 colour pages packed with technique, tips, illustrations and hands-on walkthroughs, The Secrets of Dance Music Production pulls together all you need to take a mix from concept to club-ready master, featuring a wealth of exclusive content from Attack’s award-winning team of writers, including:
Customer reviews are found at the bottom of the product description.
Studio fundamentals: Synthesis and sampling; studio setup and monitor placement; EQ, ambience and compression all covered in detailed 101-style guides.
The golden rules of mixing: Learn how the pros get loud, defined and dynamic mixes stacked with interest and energy.
Essential techniques: Layering, frequency bracketing, lo-fi processing, bass splitting, vocal production, mastering… It’s all inside.
Up your writing chops: Compose inspired bass and toplines with kick-starter approaches to voicing, arpeggios, syncopation, killer chord progressions and more. Arrange loops into tracks with analysis of tried-andtested dancefloor structures.
Bigger beats: 50+ pages of rhythm making insight. Masterclasses in drum sound design, transient shaping, swing crafting and ghost placement plus 30+ beats broken down.
Learn from the masters… Pro tips from the world’s finest producers. Huxley, Redlight, Breach, Tricky, Justice, Sigur Rós, Todd Edwards, Kenny Gonzalez and more share their secrets.
Get that sound: From vintage arps to supersize FX; ripping Reese basslines to stacked EDM leads; ethereal soundscapes to deep house keys – dozens of sounds built from the ground up in media-rich walkthroughs.
Paperback, 312 pages. The Secrets of Dance Music Production comes with over 500 audio and project files.
CHAPTER ONE: DRUMS AND BEATS
Drum essentials: tone, transients and tuning
The kick drum: compression and EQ. Myth of the ‘perfect’ kick
The snare drum: compression, EQ, layering and ambience
Hi-hats: sculpting and EQ. Mute groups
Percussion and cymbals
The theory of rhythm: tempo, phrasing, the grid
Breaking timing conventions: Polyrhythms, linear drumming and three as the magic number
Programming and sequencing drums: the three approaches
The fundamentals of beats: velocity, length, transients, hit placement
Quantisation, swing and groove. Faking the funk
Synthesising drum sounds: Analogue kick drum. Analogue snare. White noise hi-hat. Deep house tom
Layering drums: Thinking as one, phase, timing, EQ and bussing
Beat starters: 32+ beat grids dissected for multiple genres including; House and deep house; Garage and 2-step; Techno and tech-house; Chillout and chillwave; Prog and trance; Nu disco and indie dance; D&B and dubstep
The best… drum machines
WALKTHROUGHS: Tuned toms / Tuning a kick and bass / Tuning and EQ tweaks for better drums / Voice groups in Battery / Choke groups in Ableton / Programming ‘live’ bongos and shakers / Programming ‘live’ hi-hats / Step sequencing a house beat / MIDI to program drums / Adding audio to and refining a MIDI beat / Extracting the snare from a drum loop / Swing in Logic, swing in Ableton / Extracting a groove / Layered clap/snare combo / Layered EDM clap/snare smash / Groove essentials: funky ghost snares
CHAPTER TWO: SYNTHESIS AND SOUND DESIGN
Signal flow: oscillators, PWM, filters, envelopes and VCAs, modulation, monophony vs polyphony, MIDI and CV/gate
In depth: waveforms, harmonics
Is analogue better than digital?
Sequencers and arpeggiators
The pros and cons of… presets
Essential synths and emulations
Other forms of synthesis: inc. FM, modular and wavetable
Automation and tweak ability
Programming: synth leads and arps
Programming: synth pads
Programming: synth FX
Programming: deep house keys
Programming: EDM chords
WALKTHROUGHS: Basic vintage arp / EDM lead / Funky synth brass / Moroder-style arp / Basic ‘string’ pad / Building a soundscape / White noise fall / White noise wind-up / Dub siren / Pitch riser / Deep house keys / Stacked EDM chords
CHAPTER THREE: BASS AND BASSLINES
Sub bass: Generation and mixing
Mixing bass: Ground rules and challenges, splitting the bass, distortion for bulk, EQ
WALKTHROUGHS: Moog bass for starters / Reese-style bass / Talking bass – The Skrillex sound / Whomp robot synth / Nu disco/indie; dance bass / House organ bass / Creating an additional sub pass part / Splitting the bass / Radio-friendly bass / Layered synth bass / Stereo floor-shaker
CHAPTER FOUR: USING SAMPLES
The evolution of sampling: samplers then and now
The right sampler for the job
The old-school sample vibe: how a sampler works, crafting character
Stretch and pitch
Creative sampling and resampling
The art of multi-sampling
Amen to that: the last word on breaks
Mixing samples: prep, mixing, isolation
The rights and wrong of sampling: legal questions answered
WALKTHROUGHS: The old-school sample vibe / Old-school melodic drum effects / Resampling a filthy Reese bassline / Making a custom multi-sampled instrument / Make your own resampled break / Isolating a bassline / A-cappella extract – isolating a vocal
CHAPTER FIVE: THEORY CRASH COURSE
Intro: keys and chords, relative minors, modes and triads
Beyond the triad: 7ths and 9ths
Chord progressions: circle of fifths, anticipation and resolution, classic progressions
Taking chords further: voicing and inversions, changing a chord with the bass
More chords and progressions: 11ths and 13ths, added tone chords, suspended chords
Melodies and toplines: contrary motion; anacrusis; arpeggios and arpeggiators; ostinato
CHAPTER SIX: VOCALS
Setting up a recording: prep, right mic for the job, the recording, levels, the ‘perfect take’
Vocal pre-production: comping, edits, pitching and timing
Vocal production: EQ, compression, automation, sibilance, ambient and spatial effects, modulation and character effects, making way for vocals
The best… vocal performances, the pro studio
Vocal treatments: prog lead, gutsy disco, spoken word, pumping chillwave, backing vox, double-tracks, ad-libs, chorus vocal blocks, ear candy and FX
Vocal effects: vocoders, talk-boxes, auto-tune, resampling, reverse reverb, cut-up glitched vocals
WALKTHROUGHS: Vocal sounds: prog-style lead, gutsy disco and pumping chillwave / Fake double-tracks / The chorus block / Vocal FX: vocal riser, telephone EQ, reverse reverb, vocoded vocals and glitched vocals
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE STUDIO AND ITS TOOLS
What you hear in the studio, improving acoustics, speakers vs headphones, ergonomics.
Processors and effects: routing, groups and signal flow
EQ and tonal enhancers
Compression and limiting, de-essers and expanders
Modulation and pitch effects: chorus, vibrato, flange, phase
Echo and delay
Stereo effects: width enhancers and stereo spreaders
Distortion and overdrive effects, tape emulation, amp and speaker simulators, bit-crushers
Lo-fi and found sound production
Ring modulation and frequency shifters, vocoders
WALKTHROUGHS: Compression – drum bus / Parallel compression – drum bus / Extreme pump compression = master bus / Techno beat using field recordings / Mirror EQ separation / EQ ‘search and destroy’
CHAPTER EIGHT: MIXING AND MASTERING
Great mixdowns: context, response, intention. The best… mixes
The golden rules of mixing, how mixes look, mixing for club systems
Great mixes: dynamics, width and depth, sustained interest.
Arrangement, and why it matters.
The breakdown. Track deconstructions: EDM crossover, underground techno, chillout
Transitions and FX
Loudness and levels: dynamic range and headroom, measuring audio, increasing loudness
Monitoring and knowing your room, mixing on headphones, A/Bing
Mixdown: prep, groups, smart working
Creating an initial balance: headroom, automation, EQ bracketing, panning, wider sounds
Compression in the mix: bus ‘glue’ compression, flavours, the master bus, parallel compression, multi-band compression
EQ in the mix: masking, corrective EQ, tone sculpting, rebalancing the bus, what goes where, generating new frequencies
Mixing kick and bass: complementary sounds, the three models of kick/bass mixing, sidechained kicks, arrangement to solve overlap
Ambient effects in the mix: tone and shape, depth and space, mix coherence, SFX, taming returns
Ear candy, automation and endgame, checking the mix
Common mix problems and how to fix them
Mastering: an introduction, mastering for vinyl
Mastering: the process, EQ, compression, limiting, mono bass and m/s, other tools
Mastering: find duties and edits, stem mixing
WALKTHROUGHS: Transition FX: ambient bus build, the bomb, full mix FX, vocal riser / Grouping in Ableton / Fader and bus groups in Logic / EQ treatment: hi-hats and bracketing / EQ treatment: bass / Widening a signal – five approaches / Sidechain compression in Logic and Ableton / Parallel compression – drum bus / Distortion to generate new frequencies / Building a tape-style saturator / Kick and bass mixing: low bass, upper kick; low kick, upper bass; side-by-side kick and bass; arrangement to solve the problem / Mastering: a 12 step approach / Edits to the master / The pre-drop fade
Bpm to tempo chart
Note to frequency guide: what goes where
WHAT PEOPLE SAY:
“One of the best books for electronic music production we’e come across. Stacked with tips and genre-speciifc techniques to take your tracks from concept to master. 10/10. ”Music Tech magazine"
“I’ve been in the music biz 28 years and have produced 65 records globally. Some may think I know everything. I don’t. This author does and he’s helped me a lot. 5/5. ”BrophyUK"
Attack Magazine – The Secrets Of Dance Music Production
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