Posts Tagged ‘Production’

513 Free Analogue Tube Drum Samples!

September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

FREE goodies from our friends over at Samplephonics


Samplephonics says:

Some time ago we gave away some deliciously tasty drum one shots that had been processed with some gorgeous analogue tube saturation. Since then, the Samplephonics community has grown dramatically and we thought it would be a shame to deprive all of our noobies from the tube goodness!



We hope you enjoy this gift and turn these little beauties into something special. Send what you create with them to

Until next time!

– The Samplephonics Team

ASR 10 FlexiDrive Installation and Notes

December 24, 2013 5 comments Return of the Ensoniq ASR-10

Part I: FlexiDrive

Harden your Hardware and forget your Floppy – words by Drew Spence


FlexiDrive Multi-Volume mounting mission

They don’t make them like this anymore. We turn back to a time when a sampler meant you recorded audio and created…samples. The Advanced Sampling Recorder is a classic piece pulled from the days of hardware-only, in a time when a collection of crates was known as your soundbank. Writer Sean Maru has covered the ASR-10 in great detail in his Vintage Series article in issue 01 (page 35).  Here, we take a look at ‘dropping the floppy’ and adding a more modern storage system to the ASR-10. is all about replacing the floppy drive on your machine with USB and SD mounted media. They cover a wide range of brands, including Kawai, KORG, Yamaha and Roland.

[More info here:]

For this article, I will focus on my own experience with the ASR-10. I chose the $385.00 USD FlexiDriveMV-SD, which is a multi-volume SD card-reading drive. I could have also chosen the USB reader for the same functionality and cost. The idea is to have EVERY floppy disk saved on a single SD card (including the O.S. Disk). They boast a single card solution can store up to 2,500 Disks and that’s more than enough.

Faceplate and Facepalms

Firstly the disclaimer: Producer’s Edge Magazine is in no way suggesting you follow this article or video as an instructional guide and is not responsible for any damage to you or your equipment. Maintenance and upgrades should only be done by qualified persons and any attempted alterations may void your warranty.

My package from arrived shortly and included a nice SD card reader and a 4 Gigabyte Kingston SD card.

There are numerous screws on the bottom of the ASR-10. I removed these to lift the faceplate and get access to the internals.


ASR-10 Internals


The FlexiDrive sits in the same bay and connects to the exact same cables from the floppy drive. I took pictures as a reference to see how everything was connected. I also took note that the ASR-10 was upside down, so the drive bay would be installed upside down. Although the FlexiDrive came with proper mounting screws, I reused the ASR’s screws. I used two different screw drivers, a normal Phillips for the body screws and a smaller PC Phillips-head driver for the smaller screws that secure the drive’s mounting bay. Since the holes are in a tight space, I used tweezers to hold the screw in place and then screwed down from the space above, in the drive mount’s frame.

ASR-10 Internals

ASR-10 getting Screwed

d-Hold-in-palce e-Screwing-inmplce

Once secured, I only used a few bodily screws to put the faceplate back on since I wanted to make sure the new drive worked before closing up the ASR-10. Nuts! The drive powered up, but the ASR didn’t see it. I opened her back up and re-secured the drives’ connecting ribbon and voila, we are in business. Oh wait! I forgot to make an image of the O.S. Disk before removing the floppy bay. No problem, you can find ASR-10 Operating Disk images on the internet in various places.


When I start the ASR-10, she tunes the keyboard and then asks for the systems disk. I use the browser on the front of the new FlexiDrive and load the image of the O.S. floppy and the ASR-10 boots up.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this purchase and the tech support from It’s a relatively expensive solution, but when weighed against the cost, concern and hassle of maintaining an extensive library of floppy disks, it’s more than worth it.

**** NOTE: You can load an image of your ASR-10 Operating Disk and save it to the INTERNAL DRIVE of the FlexiDrive and load that image first upon start up.

This means you can skip the step I show of loading your ASR-10 O.S. Image every time you start the ASR-10. This is much better solution. The instructions are located in chapter 2 of the Settings & Functions pdf.

Alternatives Storage Recommendations -10 (well, maybe two, not ten)

There are other solutions for working with a single loading floppy bay emulator. The HxC Floppy Emulator is a hardware unit designed to retro-fit and can be found on a few sites and eBay for ~$70.USD

There are numerous USB to Floppy drives available, ranging from $30 to $60 USD. These work for normal PC floppy drive operations but DO NOT work for reading/writing/emulating our specialized drives and their formats.

My modern PC [Griffin Avid edit: It’s really old, but runs Windows 7 just fine] doesn’t have a floppy bay/drive so I decided to visit the nearest mom & pop computer store and pick one up for $15 USD. I had old spare ribbons sitting around and luckily, my mother board had the right slots. The next mission is to archive all of my old floppy disks, on my PC and then transfer them to the SD card reader on the ASR-10. isoBuster is next.

Halloween 2012 FREE TREATS and LESS Tricks!

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

There is one day a year where it is acceptable to knock on a stranger’s door and ask for a treat. A lot of us, in and around the music industry, tend to feel and act like every day is Halloween. We wear the costume of someone serious and expect doors to be opened and our grandest aspirations advanced just because we knocked really loud.

I’ve come across many producers and beat-smiths who feel their work is done because a particular A&R has their music. They say things like they are in or it’s a done deal. I ask why? They reply something along the lines of my beats is dope. I say: yes, but why are you getting the exclusive shot? Is it possible he’s heard a lot of dope beats? Is it possible, you are not the only choice for submissions? How good an A&R can he be if YOU are the ONLY music he has to shop?

We say to artists all the time – it takes more than talent, or better yet, it takes EVERYTHING but talent. Don’t expect your ‘relationships’ to give up their contacts or pass you along or give you your big break until you’ve earned their trust or understand that they won’t help you until it helps them more.

Two sides of the Bag

What works? As a person who’s done his fair share of trick or treating I have to say some approaches work better than others. The houses that had no candy or crappy stuff got egged. The people with the quality treats got revisited -sometimes with us wearing new costumes. As a creative, that’s your goal- to keep showing up with new and engaging looks and showing your ability to arrive prepared.

If your goal is to be solicited as a business, then it makes sense to have your house in order and be able to deliver on the promises you make. Smoke and mirrors has always been a part of the game, but we are looking to create a career, not a hustle. In reverse, as a content provider, it is in your best interest to position yourself to receive long work, not luck up on a big break. Put in work if you want those doors to open.  Have a happy and safe Halloween. This blog post is sponsored by Big Fish Audio. I’ve been using their libraries for a while now and thought I’d share a one in particular that got our attention in the office.

–Drew Spence Editor In Chief Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine

Platinum Synth Melodies $49.99

Platinum Synth Melodies from Big Fish Audio

Platinum Synth Melodies from Big Fish Audio

Need blazin’ synth loops that will set your productions apart from the pack? Platinum Synth Melodies is loaded with 30 multi track synth loop sets ready to help create your next urban synth laced track. From big screaming lead lines to club ready arpeggios to thick warm pads this product delivers. Whether you need hip hop, urban pop, or dance this product has you covered. Mix and match the loops to create thousands of music ideas. Platinum Synth Melodies is another Beat Warrior product from Nova Loops. The production team’s credits include Tu Pac, Flo Rida, Wu Tang, Jodeci, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, NFL, BET, HBO, and are responsible for over 20 million records sold worldwide! All parts in this product are separated, edited and come formatted in WAV(Acidized) and Apple Loops format. When you need synth ideas for hip hop, urban pop or dance, look no further than Platinum Synth Melodies.


Also, the newest Mark of the Griffin is here. It’s a Halloween themed episode called NIGHT ZONE. If you don’t know, Drew Spence from PE Mag has been working on an adventure web series about a regular guy who is turned into a vigilante/detective. Check it out.

-Xodus Phoenix


September 17, 2012 Leave a comment


The microSAMPLER hosts a solid complement of top-end sampling features to expand your creative potential.


microSAMPLER: Bonus Sample Pack Fourth Edition is the most exciting pack yet! It all starts with a full bank of samples from the product that put Korg on the map: the DONCA MATIC electromechanical rhythm box. Painstakingly sampled from Korg Inc’s own recently restored DONCA MATIC, this bank features individual tones, patterns and even samplings of the mechanical noises the DONCA MATIC produced, for complete authenticity. Add to this three insanely fresh banks from the magic workers at SAMPLE MAGIC (Deep Tech-House, Nu-Rave and Organic House), and Bonus Pack four becomes a must-have. As always, it’s free of charge and completely license free!

Korg has prepared yet another compilation of bonus sounds for your microSAMPLER, downloadable for free from the microSAMPLER support page .

First, we invite you to experience a bit of Korg history with our exclusive Doncamatic samples! The Doncamatic is the first product ever produced by Korg; an electro-mechanical rhythm box made nearly 50 years ago. Korg engineers restored the original Doncamatic at our Korg Product Museum in Tokyo to its original condition to create these samples! The Doncamatic was used most recently on the single “DONCAMATIC,” released by the internationally famous group Gorillaz. Enjoy One-Shot sounds, Loops, and Patterns of this important classic.

Next up is three banks created by our friends at SampleMagic, and compiled by Sharooz Raoofi. Each of their Deep Tech-House, Nu-Rave, and Organic House selections includes a great set of patterns tempo-synced to the pattern sequencer for instant use. More details are available with the free download. Click on Support and explore all of the free downloadable sample for your microSAMPLER

The latest addition to the Korg “micro” series serves up sampling with a powerful performance punch! The microSAMPLER delivers multi-mode sampling, resampling, Pattern Sequencing and over-the-top effects – and all under a fun-to-use intuitive interface. More than just a sampler, the microSAMPLER is a complete sound design studio for creating up-to-the minute loops and phrases.

Giant Sampling / microSIZE
The microSAMPLER hosts a solid complement of top-end sampling features to expand your creative potential. This full-fledged instrument offers fourteen-voice polyphony, reverse playback, editing operations such as Normalize and Truncate, and a Time Stretch feature that lets you change the tempo without affecting the pitch. Selectable sample rates of 48 kHz, 24 kHz, 12 kHz, and down to 6 kHz let you sample at rates beyond CD clarity or add in that Lo-Fi vintage vibe. Each bank contains 36 samples (a maximum of approximately 160 seconds of recording time for monaural samples at a 48 kHz sampling rate) and sixteen patterns of sequence data; the microSAMPLER lets you store eight such banks in internal memory. The Keyboard mode takes a single sample and assigns it chromatically across the keys for instant playability. With its recessed controls, bright LEDs and informative display, the microSAMPLER is fun to use and easy to operate – for beginners or seasoned pros.

Swiss Army Sampling
Too many instruments simply offer sampling as an added feature. The microSAMPLER is all about sampling, in every creative form. Five distinct sampling methods allow you to work the way you want, to get the results you need. The microSAMPLER offers traditional One-Shot and Loop sampling, plus a number of creative sampling modes – Loop, Key Gate and Auto-Next. When it comes to sampling, the microSAMPLER has it all.

  • Loop sampling for recording grooves and phrases, drum loops, etc.
  • One-Shot sampling for grabbing and triggering single events such as drums, etc.
  • Gate sampling for playing a sound musically across the keyboard
  • Auto-Next sampling for capturing phrases as multiple samples. For grabbing a groove as separate samples on individual keys, choose the AUTO NEXT mode and use Tap Tempo to match the BPM of the source material. The microSAMPLER will automatically divide the sample equally across multiple keys. Each key can be set to capture anything from a 64th note to a full two measures. This method lets you automatically perform the same type of sampling as KEY GATE.
  • Key Gate sampling is best for grabbing multiple samples from the same source. With Key Gate, you can take multiple samples from the same source or phrase and assign them to different keys as you play them! The individual keys assign the sample and enable recording all at the same time. This intuitive method of sampling, editing, and mapping in a single step is fun, interactive and fast.

In addition, there’s a resampling function that lets you play existing layered samples processed by an effect and played by the pattern sequencer – and capture it all as a new sample. You can even sample while playing, allowing the sampling process itself to become part of your expressive performance.

Sample anytime, anywhere – or anything!
The microSAMPLER can run on batteries, so you can perform on the go – or capture samples anywhere. Both line input and mic input are provided to allow a broad range of input sources including electronic musical instruments, CD, and voice. A gooseneck microphone is included so you can capture sounds with ease. The convenient caddies (located beside the mic jack) provide a cradle for your portable MP3/audio player when using it as a sample source. Truly, the world is yours to sample anytime and anyplace.

Pattern Possibilities
The pattern sequencer uses an overdub operating style that lets you continually layer your performances. You can switch between patterns during playback for seamless performances. Up to sixteen patterns (16,000 notes per pattern, or a maximum 64,000 notes) can be stored in each bank.

The KAOSS Effect(s)
Developed for Korg’s KAOSS PAD series, the effect engine serves up a great selection of effects – so important when editing samples. The twenty-one effects include not only traditional delay and chorus, but also ring modulator and grain shifter, and even a Looper that’s derived from the Loop Recording feature of the KAOSSILATOR Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer. The effects can be applied to any sound while resampling, allowing the effects to be used over and over again for more sonic expression.

Made to be Played
The microSAMPLER features our new Natural Touch micro keyboard, offering greatly enhanced playability and expressive power. By adjusting the proportion of the black keys and white keys, we’ve made chords easier to finger, and the touch has been improved so that rapid phrases can be played more easily – and with less fatigue. The box-shaped keys project a sense of quality, and also allow smoother glides and smears. The controllers you need for an exciting performance are laid out on the panel for intuitive operation. The status of the samples assigned to each key (and the item being edited) is indicated by the lit state of the LEDs running along the top of the keyboard, ensuring excellent visibility even on stage.

By using the free editor/librarian software for the microSAMPLER, you can manage a gigantic sample library that’s all your own. You can back up sample and pattern sequence data to your computer via USB, or load samples and patterns back in just as easily. . Importing and exporting of WAV/AIFF data on your computer is also supported. The possibilities are endless…

Download four FREE new sample banks for the microSAMPLER, courtesy of Producer’s Edge Magazine. These banks contain a total of 136 sounds, including drums, bass, leads, sound effects, and more.…and don’t forget all the other microSAMPLER goodies on the PE Mag blog!!!!!!

Why do so few people wanna be artists ? Drew Spence weighs in

Found this on one of the music forums I am a part of.  I replied.

Will Make Beats for Food

The Passion for Music verse the Pursuit of Profit

I actually WISH that I didnt want to be an artists. Too much effort, chances you will make it is little, spend too much money and might not blow up.

And think about your family. My mom wish that I wanted to go to college and study, but whenever I told her I wonna do music I can just see it in her eyes that she thinks “Your throwing your life away son”. There is just too few people who will ever make it and you have to work really hard to even have a little chance.

Think about when you have a teenage child. Do you really want to see your child lock her/himself in the room making beats all day? Or would you rather have your child go to lawyer/doctor/manager school?

Mostly the following is not particularly aimed at YOU, but you represents many of us pursuing this musical ambition.

Ten reasons why I disagree with that line of thinking:

 1. Wishing you didn’t want to be an artist? Like it’s some uncontrollable passion that guides your life? A joke. It’s an idle thought, just as valid as you saying “I wish I didn’t want to be President of my country, an actor, a doctor, a chess master” etc…..

2. Either you are or you are not. Either you’re an artist or you are not. There is no “Want to be”. Either you are a great artist or you are a poor artist. If you are struggling with technical concerns that prevent your creations from being enjoyable then you are some sort of apprentice- still learning HOW to express yourself in a wholly meaningful way.

 3. Too Much Effort. An artist struggles with themselves. Creativity is centered around a million judgements. Anything that interferes with that process can be farmed out. If it is too much ‘effort to create art’ then you are not any kind of artist. See #2

4. If your struggle is with the business side and “breaking in” the source of your great efforts and pained labor then simply focus on creating and let the world worry about your place in it. Your greatest obstacles can be easily eliminated by a simple mindset adjustment.

5. spend too much money Art requires almost NO MONEY ever to be spent. We can do (A FREE BUDGET) this with EVERY art-form in existence. The problem is that non-artists believe art can be made greater or better by acquiring or using greater or better TOOLS. The process is the same no matter what the level of tools. Precise Tools (which is different from expensive) allow the artist to concentrate on the finer details. The same finer finer details they are only apt to control AFTER mastering their craft.

6. might not blow up That’s never the goal of a true artist. Creating is its own reward.

7. might not blow up Every artist has a goal in mind. Being compensated and recognized for their work is usually one of them. That’s fine. Blowing Up is usually reserved for those who want Success in Excess of their Accomplishments. They want to noodle around with some toys in their bedroom and make millions. They want to have “Fun” being a produca and retire at a young age. They basically want money for almost nothing. That’s the dream and fantasy. You want to BE LUCKY. Be at the right place at the right time and meet the right person, say the right thing have the right 99 cent beat.

8. might not blow up no one ever imagines themselves being worthy of DEMANDING THEIR COMPENSATION and that being worth millions. YOU GO FIRST and accomplish the kind of stuff that makes you and your art/music WORTHY of millions. You always imagine it being GIVEN TO YOU- never REPAID TO YOU. What? Imagine making 4 or 5 big accomplishments FIRST and then restating what you are worth as opposed to someone else making your art worth supporting. But alas, no one wants to actually work hard without some kind of GUARANTEE of being paid. Which is what this meant: you have to work really hard to even have a little chance

9. You have no idea what it is to do art for a living. It is not the same when you have exact expectations, timelines and pressure. There is no ‘mental block’, turn on the XBox and try again tomorrow. There is no “I made 12 beats today” You need useable music for whatever your industry is- and useable means that they WILL BE USED. You are no longer creating for yourself, you are trying your best to create for others. It’s your JOB to please others so any thoughts of making ART needs to go out the window. And you will not have the energy or ability to do both. You will find that ‘your own stuff’ takes a back seat to what is commercially viable.

10. Do you really want to see your child lock her/himself in the room making beats all day? If that’s what they enjoyed doing, yes. Suppose my kid wanted to stay outside and play all day- as opposed to staying in his room and studying? Would that be okay? Should there be balance? Of course, but if I ever saw any kind of obsessive inclination I would support it. Maybe convert the den, garage or shed into a studio or make a skating ramp or basketball court or…or….

Or would you rather have your child go to lawyer/doctor/manager school? There are people on both sides of the fence. People making tons of money, but hating what they do and people doing their art with no money that are miserable. Happiness is about time management. How much or the ratio of doing what you like to do and doing what you don’t like to do. Minimize the boring, arduous and tedious- Maximize the engaging, fun and awesome. That’s life. That’s relationships. That’s the universe.

As far as money goes, you can basically have and do anything you want in life- it’s just that you may not be in the position you envisioned when it happens- and you may squander those perfect moments trying too hard to decide how your life is truly meant to go. Some people limit their creativity by looking at their resources and some use their creativity to increase their resources.

Look at what a person goes through to become a doctor.

1. The HOURS spent studying.

2. The loans and inve$tment in medical school.

3. The mental capacity to survive those LONG WORK HOURS

4. And it’s even a cut-throat hospital system too. Lots of politics there too.

You get a lot of money but you get even more RESPECT. Why? Because your “job” is making people’s lives more enjoyable- sometimes even extending their lives.

You would get that from music too- if your aim was to make art that impacted peoples lives. If you were doing more than seeking to be rewarded for your musical luck.

Would mom be happy if you were a world famous musician? Would she respect and love you if your art was respected and loved by the world? Yes. But your goal(s) are materialistic things. Things you could get being a manager, a consultant, a stock broker or any other job that pays well, but no one cares about.

Imagine what you could accomplish in music if you pursued it like any other professional who considers their work to be ART.

-Drew Spence, Editor in Chief Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine

I say stuff

Drew Spence Interview and Fallout Shelter Music in Rapper’s Delite Magazine

December 28, 2011 1 comment

Two things that are pretty cool this week. Griffin Avid hooked me up with some questions about making music from a site called Producers Corner and couple of tracks I produced with Fallout Shelter got bundled with the newest issue of Rapper’s Delite Magazine.  The deal is, you can download a bunch of beats  for free in every issue or get a bunch more when you become  an MC Subscriber. There’s even some beats from my friend  Sean Maru; the writer for the Vintage Series.

Read this issue

Rapper’s Delite Magazine the Original Sugarhill Gang

Here’s the issue sampler so you can get an idea of what everyone donated.

And here is the interview hook up.

Drew Spence is the Owner and Editor in Chief of Producer’s Edge Magazine. It is a quarterly publication centered on the production of Hip Hop, R&B and Rap music. After creating a raucous underground radio show called the M-Train at Adelphi University 90.3 FM, Drew Spence worked as media editor for Don Diva’s Magazine D3 DVD. He creates music under several aliases that range from underground hip hop, Nu Jazz, pop to Electronic Dance Music. After collecting numerous accolades and glowing reviews, he has turned his attention to creating a modern journal for beat makers and music producers.

 ”Music production is the relationship between the creativity of the artist and the craftsmanship he is able to employ through the mastery of his tools.”

1. Sampling. How important is it in producing music?

There’s a distinction between sampling and using samples. For Rap and Hip Hop music to be accepted in a larger commercial sense, it had to be sell-able. Un-cleared samples became such a legal problem, that sample interpolation became the new sampling standard. Being able to create music without using the works of others is paramount for establishing a career in this modern industry.

2. Where do you see new producers making mistakes?

Sharing their music too soon. Every beat maker thinks it’s time to share a beat once it’s finished. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Why have someone come to your site or profile and hear unfinished music or tracks that are not up to par? It taints your image and lessens any confidence a potential customer could have about your music.

3. What software do you recommend for making beats? And why? And what do you use?

I don’t see an influence in a producer’s sound depending on what he uses. The most I hear is producers only using the very basics of their tools, because they haven’t taken the time to learn them properly.

4. To all those new aspiring producers reading this learning to produce music / make beats, what advice can you give them starting out?

Great writers do more reading than writing. If you intend to make great music, you need to understand the working behind what we consider to be the best music. That means knowing the history of your genre to understand where it has been, where it is going and gaining valuable insight to where it’s going next. Higher understanding also involves absorbing music outside of the genre you intend to produce.

5. What are the 3 most important steps to making beats?

I’d say One is choosing the direction of the instrumental which is tied to understanding the purpose behind creating the track. Making a story track? – then it means to be evolving and dramatic. Making something for lyricists? – then it needs to be open and have room for the vocal to lead the intensity. That’s the general principle.

Two, would be immersing yourself in the culture of the intended genre. They are different approaches to every genre, tempos, song length, arrangement and even complexity.

Lastly would be understanding the industry behind the marketing, promotion and selling of the music. Making battle track and presenting it in the same fashion as a club banga is a mistake.

6. Very few producers make it to the top of there career as a world famous producer. What’s the difference, in your opinion, between a famous producer and one who can’t seem to it? What do the ones that make it do that the ones don’t?

People that don’t make it fall in to two categories: ones that give up and those who don’t take advice from those around them. When you are sure that you know better than everyone around you and you are still not making forward progress, it’s time for a reality check.

7. Which do you prefer new producers start with when learning to make beats: Hardware or software? And Why?

Use whatever you’re attracted to. Understand the final delivery medium and be sure you are able to present your tracks in a proper industry format. You don’t need Pro Tools, but understanding how records are made should influence your early choices.

8. What makes a quality beat? What must it sound like? How do you know when you’re done?

A quality beat actually sounds like the instrumental to a full record. Many producers only present the foundation, which is enough to inspire the artist to create over the basic skeleton. Even in this open state, the track should indicate a general direction for the artist to build off of.

9. Should I go to school to learn more about music?

If you feel you learn best in a formal setting then yes, but don’t discount the life experience gained from internships and mentoring programs. Real world experience is invaluable in transforming yourself into a valuable asset in this production industry.

10. Any final thoughts or advice to aspiring producers?

Take the time you spend doing music seriously. You never know when your life will change course and music won’t be able to be your number one pursuit. When beat makers have the luxury or time to make music every day and to follow music as their number one interest, it should be cherished. Regrets based on the things you wished you did outweigh the things you wish you didn’t do. Do music, take it seriously. No one will take you seriously if you don’t take your music and art seriously.

Thanks you for supporting Producer’s Edge magazine.

And thanks to Producers Corner

Producer’s Corner Interview with Griffin Avid

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Producer’s Corner Interview with Griffin Avid

Griffin Avid Logo

Griffin Avid

A blogsite about making beats did an interview with me and Drew Spence. Very Cool.

Griffin Avid is a sound designer, music producer and media editor attached to Producer’s Edge Magazine where he handles all of the content featured in the publication.

1. Sampling. How important is it in producing music?

Sampling records was the earliest production tendency and the nuances and [beloved] artifacts of the sound design have been indelibly imprinted in our minds as the sound of authentic hip hop. Every producer as some point has tried to fake it by adding sounds like turntable hum, scratches, pops and even noise to emulate a vinyl source. The lo-fi aspect is emulated with bit-reduction and some producers buy vintage samplers to capture the character of our earliest rap records. Even when beat makers are looking for drum kits and commercial samples to incorporate, the packages listed as being dirty, crusty and dusty remain the most popular.

Sampling even impacts the arrangement of our music. The huge change-ups and number of musical elements that are linked together are a throw-back to producers manipulating samples that were composed of multiple instruments playing on top of each other. Very few producers have been cable to capture that style of arrangement once they play or perform all of the instrumentation themselves.

So in conclusion, sampling as a sound is the most important aspect of rap and hip hop music. This still holds true long after traditional sampling has all but been eliminated by the modern producer.

2. Where do you see new producers making mistakes?

Thinking selling beatz is the shortcut to being a producer. They wrongfully believe they will sell a beat to a well-known rapper and once they have that one major placement; they will become the next super-producer. Being a true producer is what happens around, on top of and after the beat. There is no shortcut for this. You start the journey by producing the records of whoever you can and you certainly do not want to put off your growth by waiting. Take your career in your own hands and start making it happen for yourself now.

3. What software do you recommend for making beats? And why? And what do you use?

None of that matters to me. I’ll use anything. Usually, I get stuff to review for the magazine or at least to be familiar with to remain current and use that. I think cats should choose their tools by the amount of inspiration they feel using it. If it feels right to you, you are more likely to dive deeper and master your toolset.

4. To all those new aspiring producers reading this learning to produce music / make beats, what advice can you give them starting out?

I would suggest they avoid the trap of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I see the advice ‘practice makes perfect’ and beatmakers think they will magically get better by simply making more beats. The learning process comes from experimenting and studying the different aspects of production, and not just from repetition.

5. What are the 3 most important steps to making beats?

1. Choosing to make beats that you like and not beats that ‘should be liked’ by others. This is really related to number 2.

2. Making sure it works in whatever context you are making the beat for. Bangerz should bang in the club. Battle beats should inspire freestyle verses. It seems simple, but many producers focus on adding signature elements and not sculpting the overall vibe.

3. Adding that final 10% that turns a beat into the instrumental for a record. That’s pretty much the part producers never show you because it’s the workings of their inner ear. Anyone will show you the building of the foundation. No one shows you the roof being put on.

6. Very few producers make it to the top of there career as a world famous producer. What’s the difference, in your opinion, between a famous producer and one who can’t seem to make it? What do the ones that make it do that the ones don’t?

Being famous is a matter of your hard work running into luck and chance. Everyone will have their turn, but for most, it won’t happen until you are ready for it. If your opportunity arrives before you are ready, you will miss out and probably never know what you could have accomplished.

7. Which do you prefer new producers start with when learning to make beats: Hardware or software? And Why?

Doesn’t matter. I usually advise producers to physically imagine HOW they want to work and go in that direction. Either approach or a mix of both will get it done so why choose?

8. What makes a quality beat? What must it sound like? How do you know when you’re done?

A quality beat sounds right for an artist to use. Lots of beat makers have beats that sound great, interesting, original and impressive. What’s hard to find among a huge catalogue of beats are usable tracks.

9. Should I go to school to learn more about music?

School is about creating an artificial environment that fosters learning. At best, it gives you real world experience. At worst, it gives a false sense of entitlement. The paper is a statement about your dedication and commitment. If you understand that most courses only provide you with the material and it’s up to grab your own education, you’ll be fine.

10. Any final thoughts or advice to aspiring producers?

Start producing today. Live the music, not the stuff that happens in-between the beats. Focus on the stuff that counts, which is the end user’s reaction to your art. I see too many beat makers overly focused on the opinions and thoughts of other producers. Rappers and those concerned with making records need to be the most important people in your mind. Thanks for the time.

Read the Drew Spence take on these same questions.

Check out the Producer’s Corner

Griffin Avid YouTube Channel reaches 8 Million.

November 28, 2011 2 comments

Producer’s Edge YouTube Griffin Avid Channel reaches 8 Million.

YouTube Griffin Avid Youtube Channel Screenshot

Griffin Avid and YouTube

Oh yeah, it’s some kind of milestone, but I’m not sure what to do about it. If it was a FAIL or cat playing with a ball of yarn or a celebrity clown shot, then it really wouldn’t be significant. BUT!  These this is a channel that is supposed to be educational- in the way of sharing information about products and services related to Music Production. Learning stuff is boring to most people.

I will admit I had so little faith in a product-heavy channel that I said no to launching it and made Griffin Avid host the channel under his name. I was wrong, boy was I wrong. But I will take credit for bringing the specialist and the ‘here’s how this works’ demonstrations to the front. No one was paying attention to those workshops but I instantly saw how valuable a living manual could be. A big shout out to Remix Hotel (from the Remix magazine people), KORG for the M3 Workshop and our good friend Nate Tinsley who showed so many ROMpler-heads how to sequence in some of the most popular keyboards (that no one knew how to use). Props to Sam Ash and NAMM for always supporting the magazine.

Here’s a few gems.

Most viewed video. Props for being the champion.

Highest rated video. (And the most blocked comments insulting other producers [in multiple languages])

Video with tons of personal feedback

Awesome, but here comes the Drew Spence curveball. The views are nice, but what’s most important is the amount of people and companies our video channel has been able to help. More important than those YouTube gold-star badges are the personal emails and comments thanking us for posting these videos. As I said before, most people want a quick-fix to everything and most don’t invest enough time learning their tools. I think it’s important to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of your purchases. Okay, okay. Thank you for watching the Griffin Avid YouTube channel and supporting Producer’s Edge Magazine.   –Drew Spence, Editor in Chief Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine.

Music Production: Where should I start?

October 26, 2011 2 comments
Music Production: Where should I start?
Words by Griffin Avid


One of the most frequently asked question is ‘What do I need to get started with Hip Hop production?’ It’s overheard in music retailers and posted on forums. The typical answer usually consists of entry level software, a staple drum machine or workstation keyboard. More important that what you should get is what you bring to the table and how you intend to work.

My initial foray into Hip Hop consisted of commandeering the home stereo system (a phonograph was my first turntable) and digging through my sister’s closet for a microphone that came with her tape machine. The first sampler I ever used had 90 mins  sample time. Don’t sleep on the dual tape deck. My parent’s record collection was raided for my first sound library. Today, you might be utilizing mom’s old computer and the Casio keyboard you received for your 12th birthday.

No matter how you approach a production task, the workflow will involve both hardware and software. Hardware is controlled by software, software runs on hardware. Increasing the quality of either will have a positive effect on the sound quality of your production work. But! keep in mind it’s the relationship between your creativity and talent in conjunction with your tool set that decides the final results of your production work.


Teach me how to make beats

No one can teach you how to make beats. True, you can pick up a book about production or magazine and read up on the subject, scan a production website and dig through all sorts of tips and tricks. Yes, you can watch videos of another producer laying down tracks and adopt some of their working system. You might even be advised ‘Work at these tempos’ and ‘Put the snares and kicks here and here’. A mentor may even bring you along and share a production style or workflow. Fledgling producers may even snatch up the original samples used in a track and reverse engineer the composition. All these ‘educational exercises’ add tools to your box, but they do not teach you How, Why and When to use them. The actual learning occurs as you are producing.


What’s In a Studio?

The level of a studio is obviously defined by the sound coming out of it. There is base level of equipment any producer should aim to stay above. For the analogy of a tool set, you can imagine a wrench that was machined improperly. Now, instead of gripping and loosening, your tool is stripping the nut and damaging whatever you were working on. It follows then, you don’t need the most expensive tool set available to achieve great results, but I also stand by the cliché of selecting the right tool for the job. We won’t be discussing budget here since the ability to actually produce music is more important than assembling the ultimate studio on your first trip to the gear shop.


Audio Interface

The soundcard is a very important part of your studio chain and often a huge factor in the overall sound quality. The default card in a computer is usually inappropriate for music production since it lacks the base level connectors (RCA [back of your VCR]) and the number of adaptors needed to make studio connections degrades the signal too greatly. Be sure to take note of the actual connection points in your studio before you pick up a dozen XLRs and find you needed ¼ inch cables instead. Also pay attention to the end points. ‘Males’ are the plugs and ‘females’ are the sockets/openings.


MIDI Connections.

MIDI allows computers, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, sound cards, samplers and drum machines to control one another, and to exchange system data. MIDI does not transmit audio—it simply transmits real time digital data providing information such as the type and intensity of the musical notes and technical cues played during a performance.

Flexibility is key here. There is more to MIDI-ing  up a studio than Out going to IN. If you have several tone modules and drum machines all connected, you can use any MIDI interface to trigger any sound source and increase the total possible combinations of tools/sounds available. A MIDI interface is an excellent addition to any studio.


Keyboard and MIDI Controller

A MIDI keyboard is a viable option for the producer who wants to use rack mounted tone generators and VSTs. Full sized keys and a full length board increases the playing options since you may not always be the only producer working out of your studio. The aim here is a well rounded studio which is able to accommodate various workflows without the avoidable limitations. You may not play the keyboard well today but…


Microphone, Vocal Chain and Acoustics

There are many opportunities to record artists beyond making demos or pre-production tracking. Even for the recording of ideas or inspirations, a microphone is a vital tool in any studio. It is always best to record the vocals dry (without any effects like reverb) and minimal processing from a compressor (to decrease the variation in volume level) and Gate (to eliminate ambient noise). The reflection of sounds off the walls of your studio will adversely affect your ability to properly hear your production and negatively impact your mixing curves. Padded walls and bass traps are recommended.


Speakers verse Monitors verse Headphones

A car is about the worst acoustic space you can find which is why it’s always a good idea to test your mixes on the road. Home stereo systems tend to have an inaccurate/sweetened bottom end, diminished middle and a curve upward on the highs. The EQ line looks like a smile and is the reason why everything sounds good coming out. Headphones will enhance the stereo field. The best option is a system without as much coloration as possible. Studio monitors are meant to deliver the most accurate account of ‘what’s doing with your audio’. Beyond reviews, salesman recommendations and company reputation, you’ll have to select monitors YOU can mix with. Once you have selected your monitors you will have to ‘learn them’ by listening to well recorded material and hearing the impact of your studio space on the material.



I saved this aspect for last because I feel it’s the most important element. Your interface, whether it’s the LED from a drum machine/groove box or the GUI from a software tracker, is the place where you will spend most of your studio time. It’s the studio tool you’ll turn on first and turn off last. Countless hours will be spent here as you search for inspiration, fine tune ideas, mix and even master your latest production. All of the major sequencers have enough functionality to bring your creative sparks into reality, but they differ greatly on presentation and workflow. Here is a listing of some of the most popular sequencers available.


Ableton Live
Apple Logic
Digidesign ProTools
Cakewalk Project 5
Cakewalk Sonar

Cockos Reaper
Imagine Line Fruity Loops
Mackie Tracktion
MOTU Digital Performer
Propellerhead Reason
Sony Acid
Steinberg Cubase

Steinberg Sequel


Total Solution Hardware Workstations


AKAI MPC 2500, 5000

Best value MPC 1000


KORG Triton Extreme, M3

Best value microX, microKorg  TR


Roland Fantom X, G

Best value Juno-G, SP 404


Roland MV 8800


Yamaha Motif ES, XS,,CNTID%25253D544448%252526CTID%25253D206400%252526CNTYP%25253DPRODUCT,00.html

Best value MM6,,CNTID%25253D544864%252526CTID%25253D206400,00.html,,CNTID%25253D62580%252526CTID%25253D206400%252526CNTYP%25253DPRODUCT,00.html




And so…what should I use to make my beats?
A classic production related question that has no definite answer. If you round up any group of producers and pose this question you usually get a suggested favorite workflow. Assuming the talent levels are even you can make music using any workflow or combination of studio pieces.
“Music production is the relationship between the creativity of the artist and the craftsmanship he is able to employ through the mastery of his tools.
When I read that quote I thought ‘damn, that’s an ill definition, but it really doesn’t spell out the hidden tangibles. I consider music production to be “the result of a particular sound placed when.” That’s all you really have to go on. You choose a sound, whether it’s an existing tone or something you created and manipulated and decide this is a puzzle piece and decide next when to place it in time. This encompasses all the aspects of sound design and timing -also known as rhythm. Most of us in the studio have agreed to use the term EAR as in an ear for music. Your ear tells you when elements are out of tune and when timing needs to be tighter or looser.
Should I pick my gear by what other producers use?
You can never buy a piece of gear and suddenly become as talented as another producer. For some elements of sound design, it’s prudent to pursue a particular bit of gear to add the tone many other producers have taken advantage of. There is a confidence that lies behind a studio tool knowing it has been used on countless hits and is reliable to deliver a musical tone. Many artists and producers start out emulating other producers and eventually switch to the pursuit of their own voice and a unique and original sound. It doesn’t hurt to explore different techniques and explore the various methods of production so feel free to mix and match systems.
As stated above, you spend a great amount of time staring at the screen of your chosen sequencer and interacting with your hardware. Features and specs only tell half the story. What may be the most important factor is the comfort level you are able to achieve with your workflow. The final choice rounds down to which method of production allows you the freedom to use your ear and sense of rhythm to produce the music you want to.
Press pause. See you in the lab.
Griffin Avid