Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting That Old school House And Techno Sound

This is a part two to getting that old school sound in your house and techno tracks, that sound thats fuzzy, a bit muddy but sounds good and gives you that warm feeling.
The House and Techno guys used this! Its an E-mu SP-1200 and many great tracks were made with it, It was a drum machine and sampler all in one. It was around $15,000 and offered 10 whole seconds of recording time. It was the standard for many years until Akai came out with their samplers.

Now here is the technique to get the retro sound, The E-mu only had 10 seconds of sampling time so the hip hop guys would sample 33rpm records at 45rpm into the machine and then pitch them down in the machine (to have more recording time). If you take that and its 12bit resolution you have THAT SOUND.

Now how do we make it a bit more authentic? Turns out when sampling from a record there would be hissing, mechanics noise and pops and you can add this to your recordings before you flatten and pitch it in two ways. You can use software turntable/tape noisefloor emulation or you can find some real recordings of the electronics online (there are many music nerds who collect these)

Two essential plugins for this are iZotope Vinyl and TB TimeMachine. Both are made by reputable companies and are FREE!

So lets have a quick tutorial:

1. Find a piece of audio you wish to use this technique on, percussion and vocals would be a good place to start. Loops are ok

2. Take your material and times your bpm by 1.35. If you are using material at 128bpm you will have sample at 172bpm. You can always set it to anything you like but the general rule is to have it pitched up a fair amount.

3. Apply a noisefloor, hissing and hum to taste with iZotope Vinyl and apply the 12bit resolution with TB Time Machine.

4. Flatten, bounce and/or render it out

5. You will now pitch the material back down to the original bpm but now you will have some wicked sounding transients and a retro sounding, fresh off the dub plate sound.

6. EQ and process as usual (bonus points for a console style EQ with saturation)

Have fun and here is a track that was made using an E-mu.

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