Music Production Tips/Tricks/Bits of Kit

There’s many talented people on this forum making music, and probably quite a few, like myself, who are dipping toes.

I thought it might be useful to have a thread on tips, tricks and useful bits of kit people are using as it can be a confusing world with the amount of options out there.

I had a few bits of hardware many years ago and restarting in the mainly software world has been daunting - there is just so many options, and lots that are free, or cheapen comparison. Too much choice and options is never a good thing without the fundamentals in place.

The original team behind the Roland 808 (and others) have released a free VST version.

I love the Juno series of synths and wanted a good software emulation. I have tried many, and the best I’ve come across is the TAL-U-NO-LX plugin that can be had for around 40 notes. They do some nice free plugins too.

Similarly with the Space Echo. Tried many variations and ended up going for the Arturia Tape 201 (all Arturia instruments and effects are currently half price). This VST is a lot of fun for the dubwise amongst us.

On a whim, I ordered one of the Behringer 303 clones. Not quite the same sound as the OG but it’s good for the price and lots of fun to play with. Almost identical in terms of use, but with more connectivity and and good app.


Yeah the behringer 303 clone and the 808 clone are both excellent. I’m tempted by the 606

Edit - cured my own GAS / the hats on the rd6 are way off

Good to know about the 808

The only thing I’d say about Behringer is that I wouldn’t buy any of their products just on principle. Uli is an absolute cunt and the way they treat dealers and other manufacturers is appalling. Not least the whole anti-semitic affair :expressionless:

The best advice I can give is dont get bogged down with loads of hardware and attractive looking synths and VST’s. Pick your DAW of choice and learn it. You can absolutely make pro sounding music with a copy of Live and its on board instruments and effects

I didn’t follow this advice at all and spent many frustrating years wading through VSTs I didn’t understand and trying to wire up old MIDI hardware to the computer. Don’t get me wrong, outboard synths and drum machines can be a lot of fun, but try learn the basics of your sequencer first


Yeah it’s absolutely possible. I made this very quickly from just a sine wave and stock Ableton plugins and FX

Might re-visit this and polish it up!


Agree the TAL-U-NO-LX is a great little VST though. I had that for years.

You can achieve the exact same bassline sound used on Mr Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’ with that. Just turn the Chorus on and adjust the a VCF and ADSR settings


Learning the basics of synthesis is important too

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That’s great, maybe we should have a little TP project, maybe not a competitive thing, just a time constrained one? Based around a few samples or some such? Perhaps with a show and tell to learn how other folks get creative?


Really enjoyed this production technique video recently. I don’t make jungle but it’s fascinating how it’s done:

Also really like how there’s no special acoustic treatment in the room, just shelves, gear and clutter in a tiny room.


Good that, I’ve seen that before. Watched a few like that with tracker software that they used to make hard-core and jungle on. So primitive but completely baffling, can’t get my head round it

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Saw krust do a talk once (may have mentioned that before!) and he cited one of the biggest blockers for him was lack of constraints in the digital age. When he had 8 tracks on a desk and only 12 hours to fully do a tune (before Roni or Die came in for their session & wiped the desk) he did some of his best stuff. When he got a laptop with unlimited stuff he couldn’t finish anything.

Always struck me as being something in forcing yourself to work within limits.


If you’re looking for a good collection of mix tools, I’d highly recommend the FabFilter collection. Even the basic (which comes with a great EQ and compressor) collection is really amazing.

I love the Arturia pack, the Korg collection and a handful of Roland Cloud vsts (though they’ve got their issues) if you’re looking for some instruments!

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Option anxiety.

I made some of my best tracks with pretty much just a sampler, JD800 and an SE70.


Limits are crucial. Fewer tools, but that you know inside out.

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Is there a way to have one midi instrument trigger another in Ableton Live?

I’ve done this in the past with hardware gear, but don’t know if it’s possible with softsynths

How do you mean, what do you wanna do exactly?

You should just be able to set the midi out on the host channel to the channel you want to trigger?

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Say using one of the drum channels to trigger the timing of an arpeggio on a synth. I’m sure it must be pretty straightforward.

Like this, but with software instruments

The trigger input on a synth expects a voltage pulse, it won’t work with any midi.

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