Sound Effects

Tired of looking for the perfect sound effects in expensive sample packs? Instead buying or downloading endless samples you never use, why not make your own. During the downtime of not making music, a good thing to do is make your own sound effects that will fit perfectly in your projects you are working on. It saves a lot of time, effort, money and space on your computer.

Positives to making your own sound effects

  • Tuned to your track, no need to find samples in the same key as your project.
  • Make your own sample pack; helps cut time down when making music.
  • Create your own unique sound

Using Ableton’s built in plug-in Operator you can make any effect you want. In the video below ARTFX shows you how to spice up your track and make your own sound effects.

Chords Pt. 1

A chord is a tool used to harmonize with the melody in a song and is made up of a triad (three) of notes. A triad is usually based off of a scale.

For example a C major chord is based off the C major scale. The notes in this chord are C-E-G.

Each note in a scale is considered a ‘degree‘ which has a chord associated with it. These degrees exist in both major and minor scales (for what I am going to show you right now). There are 7 degrees in each of these scales. The uppercase letters in the diagram below are the major chords and the lowercase ones (except for the vii which is a diminished chord) are the minor chords.

  • Major = I    ii    iii    IV    V    vi    vii

C   D   E    F    G     A    B


For the minor scales it’s a little bit different…

  • Minor = i    ii(diminished)   III    iv    v    VI    VII

A    B                     C     D    E    F     G


There are rules to how you can use these chords to make up a progression. Usually in most electronic and popular music the common progression is a I-IV-V repeated. So, an example of this would be Cmajor-Gmajor-Amajor then back to Cmajor. This is only one example of the endless amount of progressions you can do, but there are some limitations to creating them.

In order to tell what chords will go good with each other, there is a diagram that you can follow to tell you the possible chords you can go to next. Below is a diagram of how you can go about making a chord progression within a major scale. You can use the same diagram for a minor scale but change the degrees (uppercase and lowercase letters).


As you can see, the I-IV-V chord works perfectly with this diagram. Another example made using this diagram would be I-V-vi-IV-I. So in a C major scale would be Cmajor-Gmajor-Aminor-Fmajor then Cmajor to start the progression again.

Now try and play around in Ableton or on a keyboard playing the different chords and theories mentioned in this post. I will be posting more in depth posts about chords and ways to make your music sound unique.

EXTRA TIP: try starting on the iii of a major scale (phrygian mode) and making a chord progression starting on the diagram at that degree.

Ex. iii-IV-V-I


**Also try using other major and minor scales**


Major and Minor Scales

Here is a great video by ARTFX explaining major and minor scales. These are things any person trying to make music should know. Scales are what make music sound right and in ‘key.’ There will be more posts on different scales and modes that can be used in music.

After looking at this video, mess around with making things in a certain key. Also don’t be afraid to go outside of the boundaries and start on a different root note (Ex. not on C for a C major scale) on a scale to see what you get.

How to get that perfect dubstep styled snare

Dubstep, is known for it’s super strong kick and snare. The snare in the drop (and usually through out the whole song) is super fat and cuts through the mix. It also has a reverb that is different than the rest of the instruments in the track which sounds more lo-fi.

Recently I have just figured out how to route audio so your snare has that perfect lo-fi sound. With this tip I hope everyone learns how to route audio and parallel channels in Ableton Live.

To start your set up, take a drum rack on a new midi track or a new audio track to place a snare in the arrangement view.. It can be any type of snare, but in this case I’m going to use a dubstep snare (specifically a “brostep” styled snare, not a trap or “riddum” styled snare).

snare drum rack

It might be kind of blurry, but above is how I set up my snare in its own channel. I don’t use a drum rack to place all of my drums into because I feel that makes things confusing and I don’t know how you would do this trick I am about to show you to do.

After you have your snare all set up, place a snare hit every 3rd beat on either a MIDI track or in your arrangement view. Either way will work. After doing that create an audio track (Cntrl-t or Command-t) right under your snaresnare parallel

Once you have done this, you are process the snare to be routed into the audio channel. Doing this makes it so the snare has a second channel playing a completely reverbed version, while allowing the original snare still have it’s girth in sound.

Problems with other techniques

  1. In my experience, having the snare having it’s own reverb placed within original track makes it so my snare is too transparent.
  2. Using a separate return track for the snare also causes issues because I bus my drums (snare, kick, toms, and weird drum loop breaks) into one group and use a return to send a small room reverb to the whole group to make the whole kit sound like it has similar spatial aspects. When I send a different reverb from a return track to the snare with this set up, once again I get a weird phasing issue because it is filtering the snare through the small room reverb and it’s dedicated reverb. The end result just never lets the snare punch through the mix.

Setting up a parallel reverb track

After setting up the audio track underneath your snare channel, set the routing so the input of the audio track is the snare channel above it. This means that the audio output from the snare is playing through that audio track also; they’re both parallel tracks playing the same thing.  Make sure to make the ‘In , Auto, Off’ section is at ‘In’ so this works also or you won’t be hearing anything.


When this is done and set up, place a high pass filter at 400hz and THEN a reverb of your choice. DO THIS IN THIS ORDER SO YOU DON’T GET A BAD REVERBERATION. It’s makes it so only the frequencies above 400hz are the only ones affected by the signal going into the track.


In this case I used Ableton’s built in EQ and a Convolution Reverb by Max for Live (which pumps a lot of CPU out of your computer.)

Once this is all done you should be able to play your track with the snare and hear the difference with reverb. You snare should sound like Must Die! or Barely Alive’s.


About Me

Hello fellow electronic music producers,

My name is Matt Kurr. I have been into making electronic music for the past 5 years using Ableton Live. In addition to that, I have played the drums for the past 10 years. I am a huge fan of the bass music genres like dubstep, gltich hop, trap, and electro. Currently, I am a graduate of the UWW-Whitewater with a major in Public relations and minor in media arts.

The goal of this blog is to help spread knowledge and ideas regarding audio production in electronic music. In my experience learning how to make electronic music, I have learned there are many misleading YouTube tutorials with people who don’t know what they are doing. Most of the time, the only place to get good free education about making electronic music usually costs money. Sometimes these online have a small free course that doesn’t show enough to know how to make your mix down on a song sound closer to the pros. In this blog, I am trying to help guide people to a better cirriculum on learning how to make better electronic music without going to an expensive school.

For this blog, I will be using Ableton Live 9.2 as the DAW of choice to showing how to make music. Posts on this blog can also be put into consideration to be done on other DAWs such as FL studio, Logic, Reason, Sony Acid, Etc. Each of these programs do the same thing (EQ, Compres, et) in their own way.

In addition to using Ableton Live, I will also include some 3rd party plug ins. These plug-in’s include Native Instrument’s Massive and PSP vintage warmer 2 which are not free plug-ins. Other plug-ins that will be used are free and will be linked to find.

Below is where you can check out any of my projects. If you’re interested in collaboration or talking production you can email me at or hit me up on Facebook.



Drum sound design

When making the beat for any song, the drums are always a KEY part. Creating your own drums out of a multiple samples can be really helpful in building your own samples so you stick out like the pros. ARTFX does a great job of explaining how to process your own signature drums.

In the video posted below, ARTFX talks about how to make your own snare samples out of multiple samples processed together using the multiband dynamics, glue compressor and transient shaper (which could be replaced with Flux Audio’s bittersuite).

This technique can also be used to make big sounding kick drum samples and other drum samples you wish to mash together to make a signature drum processing.

I would advise everyone looking at this to subscribe to ARTFX’s channel. His tutorials are very helpful and lead people in the right direction. I will also be using his channel as a reference.