You want to sell more of your fresh beats to artists in 2018. Maybe your beats sound a little basic, or a little to light and fluffy for the hip hop crowd. You want your beats to stand out or at least sound industry standard, and most of all you want at least $100 bucks from each of these beats you upload. Here’s the first secret of how to do it:
When I first started learning about sound, I thought distortion was a bad thing. I started recording and synthesizing things as clean as possible. Never adding any noise or distortion to the beats, people always seemed to think my music was kind of gay. After years of practice and new techniques, I’ve finally figured out one technique to really make your beats stand out and give them a rough and tough character.
When To Use Distortion:
What’s really important in hip hop? Put light distortion on these things and then crank it up to see what sound you can get from your distortion plugin:
-You can Distort Everything!
Here’s a few examples:
Want an aggressive New York “boom bap” sounding drum kit?
Load up any old sampled drums and slap some EQ (to roll of the low end near 60 hz) while adding some distortion from my favorite FREE distortion plugin, CamelCrusher.
I like to tweak the “Tube Warmth” preset and crank the “Mechanical Distortion” knob about 1/4 of the way up to really crunch and crisp up the whole drum kit. (For a really aggressive, sloppy sound, toss a gate plugin on the drum track before your EQ and Distortion to shape the transients much tighter and take the decay and release of the drums down a notch.
Ever mix some 808’s in the studio, and can’t hear em when you play the track on your phone or bluetooth speaker?
Crank the distortion up a notch!
Here’s the solution:
-Slap some serious Distortion on your 808 or baseline (I like to use CamelCrusher)
-EQ your Bassline by rollin off 40hz, and rolling off above 8khz (8000hz)
-EQ a dip in the midrange or low-midrange (wherever sounds appropriate to take away some of the extra frequency additions and sharpens the sound of your 808 or bass)
Have you found that your vocals sound a bit weak or thin on the track?
add some extra frequencies with some very light distortion, and EQ accordingly.
(HINT: Use distortion sparingly here, unless you want to sound like Rage Against The Machine, or you recorded vocals with your iPhone)
When to Leave Heavy Distortion out:
-Vocals (in large doses)
-Melody or high lead instruments
All in all, emphasize the MOOD or EMOTION of the track or beat you are producing… don’t try and add this effect to give it a false edge, or it can sound terrible if it sounds “out of place.” Use it sparingly on lots of stuff instead of large amounts on only 1 instrument. Be decisive in what you want to add some fuzz to, and give that a little edge. With Distortion, a little goes a long way, but don’t be afraid to heat it up.