How To Make Techno Music In Just 6 Stupidly Easy Steps Using Household Objects
Ever wondered how to make techno music but don’t have a studio, the right equipment, or even much talent? Well, if you fancied yourself as a music producer, specifically a techno music producer, but were put off because you thought it might be too difficulthelp is at hand. And it takes the form of a very simple how-to video called “How to Make TECHNO” from Soundz , which takes you through a step-by-step guide on what you’ll need and how to go about creating those all important techno music kicks.
First up when it comes to the subject of how to make techno music you’re going to need a laptop, specifically a Mac. Because, well, because that’s what everyone else uses. Once you’ve got your hands on one of them, borrowing one will work just fine, you then need to get a copy of Ableton Live. Borrow that as well. It’s expensive.
Ableton Live is music sequencer software which costs anywhere from around $99 to $449 to buy. But fear not because as Hobo explains in the video you’re only going to need the demo version. Nice one.
Key Discipline : Finish Fast And Finish Often
As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work. Herbert Lui, Why Quantity Should be Your Priority
One trap that a lot of producers fall into in stage 2 is the perfection or masterpiece trap. They think that they must create amazing workthat they must focus on creating masterpieces.
Having a perfectionist attitude in stage 2 is not only an inhibition to learning and progression, it also destroys your self-esteem. Why? Because even if you were to set the perfect standard for your work and achieve it , youre progressing at such rapid speed that youll be disappointed in your masterpiece a few weeks later.
What you should focus on instead is finishing. Not just finishing, but finishing tracks as often as you can.
When I was in stage 2, Id finish tracks in one day. They didnt sound that great, but I learned something new with each project.
You have to focus on quantity during this stage, because if you do, quality will inevitably go up and youll learn much faster than you would otherwise.
Ready To Make Your First Track
Now, for the fun part. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Its time for you to get your hands dirty and start making some music. Were really going to emphasize this next sentence, because its important:
The biggest thing standing in the way of you producing electronic music is learning how to use your DAW!!!
If youve followed along with our recommendations, if youre a Mac user youre going to use Logic Pro, and if youre a PC user youll go with FL Studio or Ableton.
Trust us when we tell you that you really need to become comfortable with your DAW. Creating and producing music is massive amounts of fun, and if you take the time to really learn your way around your DAW now, you can allow your creativity to run wild and youll be making beats, sounds, and throwing together tracks in no time. When we say learn your DAW, we also mean getting acquainted with the Swiss Army Knife of effects and synthesizers it comes with.
The absolute BEST way to learn your DAW is to watch an online video course, and follow along with their examples. While there are countless of free YouTube videos out there about DAWs and music production, they are actually not the best way to dive in. There are a few reasons why YouTube videos are not optimal for this:
Head over to Udemy and watch some preview videos of this course!
- A Mac with Logic Pro X installed
Classic Techno Creation Tips
The sound of ’80s Detroit is also the sound of now
Techno is back in a big way – and it´s funkier than ever. So, dig out your 909 and allow MusicRadar to advise you on how to start producing in this classic electronic genre
1. A great way of sourcing percussion is to make it yourself. If the idea of sculpting hats and snares out of pure waves doesn´t appeal to you, try processing and applying amplitude envelopes to random samples and bits of percussion.
2. Plenty of the more esoteric techno artists, such as the legendary Future Sound of London, take noises from real life and twist them up. If you´ve got a microphone, record anything and everything you can and send to it in your soft sampler.
3. It´s possible to emulate the reversed tape effect from early techno classics such as Derrick May´s Strings of Life by exporting a section of your track as audio, then reversing it and placing it back in your tune.
4. Applying a tasteful delay effect to a synth riff can add depth to the sound and create complex little melodies if done right. Try setting the delay time to a quarter of a beat with a low wet level and high feedback. Experiment with the delay time until it sounds sweet.
7. If you´ve got a delay effect that gives you the option of turning the delay time all the way down to zero, make sure you experiment with these extreme times. Chorus, reverb and flange effects are all created with near zero delay times, so there´s plenty of mileage to be had from this particular effect.
The Secrets To A Perfect Kick And Bass:
Well, there are no secret ingredients to get it. But there are some tips that, if you follow them, will make you have a solid kick and bass for your track.
How do we know?
Because these are tips coming from a techno producer with more than 11 years of experience and considered one of the best mixing engineers in this genre, Hannes Bieger.
1 CHOOSE YOUR INSTRUMENTS RIGHT
Hannes tells us that the mix already begins when you choose your sounds.
For example, when choosing a bass, you should not choose it just because it sounds good on its own.
You should choose it in relation to the kick and other bass elements that you already have on your track.
This will save you unnecessary modifications and processing later on.
Both melodic instruments and drums must be perfectly in tune.
This is one of Hanness secrets to getting such a clean and perfect sound, and its why he prefers to work with easy-to-tune software drums.
3 WATCH YOUR LOW END
Do I leave the bass in mono or stereo? Do I cut the low frequencies or leave them?
A lot of opinion has been given on these and you probably wonder what is correct and what is not.
Hannes makes it clear to us: it is not advisable to have too wide a bass because our ears do not perceive it as accurate.
So, go mono as much as you can below 100Hz.
And cut the low frequencies below the fundamental frequency of the track. Those frequencies are not harmonically useful for mixing.
4 MAKE IT GROOVY AND INTERESTING
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What You Need To Keep In Mind
In the best techno tracks, youll find something called rumbling bass. Its that deep, rolling bassline that just keeps going. The bass that rocks the entire room and shakes your subwoofer to near destruction.
A techno bassline is like one in psytrance in the sense that it’s rolling and repetitive to induce a trance-like state. Techno basslines are often deeper, though, with more focus on your kick. The rolling bass kind of sits in the background like an echo-y bass reverb, ducking and diving your kick for a better groove.
But how do you make a rumbling techno bassline? We covered precisely this, with a step-by-step guide in our article 6 Steps To Make That Rumbling Techno Kick You Love .
You can also find a detailed walkthrough for basslines with ready-to-go project files in our Techno Masterclass course, which walks you through the entire process of creating your professional techno track.
Deep bass in your techno track does this:
- Danceable. Deep bass makes people dance.
- Heavy. Techno tracks should be heavy and deep basses help this along.
- Trance-inducing. Ultra-low frequencies are very trance-inducing and make you want to listen for hours and hours.
Top 5 Techno Music Software
When compiling this review, I was comparing all the programs based on their price, a variety of features they support, usability, workflow and design. Besides, I considered whether they come with integrated plugins, sound libraries and packs. The best programs mentioned in this review, support a great range of effects and instruments.
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Create Your First Song
The final step in the initiation stage is to make a song, from start to finish. Dont worry about how you think a song should be made, whether there are any rules or not, simply make something thats 2 or more minutes long, and call it done.
This is an essential step. You must get into the habit of finishing music as early on as you can.
Otherwise, you run the risk of not being able to finish music later on down the track.
You may feel the urge to show everybody your creation. You might feel its time to create a Soundcloud account or post your track on YouTube. Though theres no intrinsic harm in doing this, I dont recommend it. Its a distraction, especially in the initiation stage.
If you want to speed up the learning process and follow a proven framework, check out EDM Foundations. Weve had over 3800 beginner producers go through the course with great results.
New to music production?
Watch our free masterclass on how to learn electronic music production the smart way
Its All In The Rhythm
Once youve got a kick down, you can program extra percussion hits like claps and snares around the kick.
As I mentioned, you dont have to stick to the standard 2 and 4 like in house music.
You can use claps and snares as an energy-building tactic and be more creative with the rhythm.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
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Test Your Track Everywhere
Once you finished your track, you might want to check it out in a couple of different ways. I always listen to my finished tracks first on my studio-monitors, than I listen to it on my headphones. I try to test it out in the car as well and on a bluetooth speaker. By testing it out on all these different speakers, you will know how your track sound on any occasion. You might notice something you want to change. After this, the best test is always at the club or a festival, as the track is meant to sound good on the dance floor.
How To Produce A Retro Techno Acid House Record In Ableton Music9 Lectures 2hr 5min
- Introduction to producing retro Techno House musicPreview14:00
- Adding Soft synths and importing the sounds for recording15:20
- Lesson 3 Arrangement part 119:35
- Lesson 4 Arrangement part 214:56
- Lesson 5 Automation & Filtering and Sound effects.19:56
- Lesson 6 Mixing down the track21:39
- Retro House Music Tutorial Lesson 7 Mastering10:21
- Closure and recap of the tutorial00:57
- 4.3 Instructor Rating
- 5,463 Students
- 11 Courses
My name is Rob Webster and I am a professional record producer and record label owner.
I create and teach people how to produce music of various genres and to hopefully pass on my knowledge and experience to others who wish to become producers. My courses are mostly within the Ableton software with the use of various 3rd party plug ins and I teach a whole range of different genres ranging from Disco & Techno to Chill Out music.
My courses are very easy and simple to follow with many different learning techniques such as playing the keyboards and chord structure through to editing and audio mixing. You can read my biography below, thank you.
I have a long and proven success record within the music industry and you can view the highlights of my career below so far.
DJ since 1993 in many different venues and for many major clubbing brands including a ten year residency at “Progress” in Derby.
2000 Remixed a U.K number 6 chart hit for girl group “Atomic Kitten” called “See Ya” This was released by Virgin Records.
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Sourcing And Processing Techno Kicks
The 4/4 kick is the backbone of almost all techno and tech-house styles, so can be considered the most important element to get right.
Electronic drum sounds from the Roland TR series drum machines are synonymous with the genre, so if youre seeking true authenticity, grab a kick sampled from these units or from an plugin emulation. Clean kicks can be dirtied up with distortion or saturation for a more aggressive tone.
How To Make Hardcore Techno
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This is it. You’ve heard a lot of tracks, seen a lot of DJ and you are interested in the process of making Hardcore Techno. Maybe you’ve been listening to Hardcore for some time, and you finally made your decision.
You’re going to be a part of the family.
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Making Techno Music With Acoustic Instruments
Ben Kopfnagel and Maxl Walmsley-Pledl of the German band Klangphonics sat on the floor of their studio and performed amazing techno style music without using any electronics or computers. According to their website, the bands mission is to integrate acoustic elements into electronic music.
Klangphonics are a trio that produce and perform live electronic music. By using a combination of acoustic instruments and electronic elements, they bridge the gap between producer and live band. This results in a very natural, organic sound, whilst still retaining the energy associated with deep house and melodic techno
Critical Elements Your Techno Track Needs
What are the critical elements your techno track needs to rise to the next level? There are five, ranging from deep bass all the way to intricate effects. I mean, what’s a techno track without that heavy, rumbling kick and bassline with crispy hi-hats in between?
If you do these things solidly, chances are you’re a proud artist and creator of an excellent techno track. But if you’re just starting out, use this list as a guide-line for the critical techno elements your track needs, with included pointers on things to think about.
Let’s dive straight in, starting with number one.
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Find Your Own Percussion
With beats being so crucial to techno, simply whipping out some 909 soundswont make you original whatsoever. There are plenty of strategies to fix this, and well talk about plenty of them in this article, but the best way to sound original is to create your own samples from scratch.
Using a handheld recorder, a proper mic or even your phone microphone, head out and look for some real-world hits to add into your track. While creeping around an industrial estate could be the right thing for a certain flavour of techno, you dont even have to leave the house if you dont want to. Get creative with what you find around the house to come up with samples that nobody else could possibly have as well.
Of course, if youre in a hurry or dont have the time or equipment, weve got plenty of techno percussion samples to satisfy you immediately.
Combining Real Instruments Or Vocals
I LOVE electronic music.
But theres a common criticism of modern styles. Those created without analogue equipment can sound cold and inhuman.
This doesnt have to be the case.
Heres where it all comes together
Combine soft-synths, samplers, AND recorded audio into your compositions. It can bring a depth and character that solely synthesized music can lack.
You can either record into an audio channel in your DAW, or load in shorter samples to a sampler and play with triggering them with MIDI.
It can be a lot of fun!
Another option is to add an atmospheric track sitting far back in the mix. You could also try having guitars and keyboards play in harmony or riff with each other.
Both are great ways to add depth, color, and interest to your music.
There are also certain treatments you can apply to your synthesized elements to real them up. One of the best is saturation and harmonic excitement, which well look at in the next step.
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Getting The Rhythm And Structure
Once you have your base rhythm of a kick you are going to want to add some extra rhythm or noises and give the song a structure.