Fruity Beats (III)

A tutorial to the TR-909 demo tracks

So here is the making of for our final TR-909 demo track. Again, if you want to know where to get the plugIns I use and what this is all about, please read the introduction to Part I first.

Beat III: 140 BPM Electronica

(I actually had a little trouble finding a fitting genre for this beat. The truth is, it can be used for a variety of electronic styles, like Electro, Drum'n`Bass, Big Beat, Techno, Industrial... It's really up to you to decide!)

mp3 without and with effects


This beat includes five TR-909 channels. The tempo is, just as the heading reads, 140 bpm.

The clou of this beat is that in every channel the second half (although playing mostly the same as the first) does not start on the 1 (the first 1/16), but exactly 1/16 earlier, thus giving the rhythm its nice break.

The first bass and snare drum (C3 and D3) share one channel. You can basically remain their TR-909 settings, just give the snare less of the 'snappy' thing (I chose 50 percent).

As you can see in this picture

I used the basic electro pattern as in demo track 2, just that the second snare hit comes 1/16 later. The second half of the beat, apart from the 1/16 shift to the left, adds a third snare hit to the last 1/16 to make the break not that empty.

There are two effects for this channel: A short reverb (Room Size: 23; 0.1 sec decay; 6% reverb - really just to give it a hint of it), but most importantly the Camel Crusher with its 'Dark Crunch' preset. There is no better example of how this plugIn can pimp up an average drum sound.

The next channel (in my FLS file it is actually the last one) addresses the hihats (A#3) and contains also another bass drum (C3). For the bass drum settings turn the decay and attack to about 25 percent, the pitch full 100 percent to the right, turn tune mod off and compress to 75 percent. This should provide a warm, wet sound. In the hihat section turn OH decay off and tune to the maximum. That way we will have a plain, more natural sound.

A picture for the piano roll:

On the bass drum hits you can see how the second half of the beat starts 1/16 earlier.

If you have read the previous two chapters you will probably have noticed that I like the 3/16 steps somewhere in the beat to lighten up the strict 4/4 rhythms. Also note the slightly decreased velocity of the bass drum hits.

The channel has a volume of about 55 percent (FL's default setting is always 75 percent) and a panorama setting of about 15% to the left.

Effects: Again we start with a shy reverb (that is just a little different to that of our first channel): Room Size: 17; 0.1 sec decay; 13% reverb. An EQ will add some mid-frequencies (+3.4 dB 500 Hz; +14.6 dB 1,500 Hz; -0.3 dB 5 kHz). But since we don't want the hihats all sound like coming out of a bucket, some Phaser will give it a sharper and more panoramic sound. I used the Fruity Phaser (mix level only 75 percent) with the following settings:

For Non-FLS-users: the channel should sound like this in the end.

Our next channel contains of yet another bass drum and a rimshot (C3 and C#3). These elements serve as a constant rhythmic background, much like shakers or wooden sticks.

The bass drum settings are all turned down, only the decay is allowed to somewhere around 15, 20 percent. That way there is only a certain pressure left that will add nicely to the rimshots. Their tune is set to the max.

As you can see, this pattern is a mix of 3/16 steps and monotone 1/16 repeatings (to give it some aggressiveness) with a panoramic variance.

Turn the volume of this channel down to 10 to 15 percent. Try to turn the panorama level for the first half 80% to the right, and for the second half 80% to the left, which will result in a slight panoramic change for the end result (in FLS you simply regulate this in the piano roll window under 'channel panning':

An EQ emphasizes some of the mid frequencies (-15.8 db 250 Hz; +11.8 dB 500 Hz; -0.8 dB 1,500 Hz; +11.8 dB 3 kHz; -6.2 dB 8 kHz) to get a crispier sound. Next there is a light flanger with the following settings:

It's really just to give it some life. A Fruity Delay adds to that with a 120 BPM 1-step-delay (mode: Inv. stereo; Feedback and Cutoff only 25 percent). The 'British Crunch' preset of the Camel Crusher will finally give the harmless sound a thrust that will blow the roof. This is what this channel should sound with all the effects.

The next channel provides us with an effect driven snare drum. Make sure the tune and tone settings of the TR-909's snare drum section are turned to 75 percent, the snappy just a little bit left of 12 o'clock (which means 50 percent) and the EQ just a little bit right of it. Here I used FLS's channel settings delay. Check the next image for its settings:

To know where to set your notes, I recommend to take a look at the next hand-painted work of art:

I used the D3 and E3 notes, though there is actually no difference in sound, so you can put the E3 notes on D3, too. There are the classic snare hits on every second 1/4. The first and third hits are kind of double hits and there is some new note at the end.

Turn down the channel volume to 30 percent.

For effects I first chose the Fruity Vocoder without changing any settings. Now you can hardly hear the snares anymore. The Camel Crusher's 'American HiGain' preset will change that immediately. Now add some reverb (Fruity Reverb settings: Decay 0.7 sec; 11% reverb; the effect has a mix level of 90 percent). By adding more high frequencies with an EQ (+0.8 dB 30 Hz; +2.0 dB 500 Hz; +4.5 1,500 Hz; +6.8 dB 3 kHz; +3.9 dB 5 kHz; +7.3 dB 8 kHz) the sound gets sharper.

The last channel has more effects sounds. All we need for this is once again the Rim Shot (C#3). Leave the tune setting as it is. Place the notes like this:

The channel volume should not be pumped up over 50 percent.

The first effect for this is a reverb with a high predelay (Fruity Reverb settings: Predelay: 212 ms; RoomSize: 19; Decay: 0.5 sec; Reverb: 6%). That way the rim shot sound itself won't get a room, but will produce some kind of delay in the background. An EQ will evelate the higher frequencies (-3.7 dB 63 Hz; -4.8 dB 250 Hz; +5.9 dB 1,500 Hz; +13.5 dB 3 kHz; +9.8 dB 5 kHz; +4.8 dB 8 kHz). Next I used the Fruity Delay 2 with the following settings:

It will add a delay in the middle of the panorama and our little rim shot section should now sound like this.

Finally (and that's really the final step) the Fruity Love Philter comes into play (preset: Sequence: Tri Filter Damage). It will create some interesting flanging effects and sound like this.

There you have it. In case you have actually followed these three tutorials, you should have a pretty good idea what to do with the TR-909, what possibilities you have when you add some plugIns, and hopefully got some new ideas for your own music.

Once again, feel free to use the beats, patterns and FLS files in any way you want and add some creativity of your own to produce your next favorite track.

Fruity Beats Part I: House

Fruity Beats Part II: Big Beat/ Elektro

Introduction to the TN 303

Karma FX: Step 1

Using and mixing Reason in Cubase