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Sound Design Tutorial

Designing Electronic Drums

  4.4   (3)  - log in to review
15 Videos | Length: 3hr 7min 54sec
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  • image description 15:17

    Slice to New MIDI Track

    See how to use the powerful 'Slice to New MIDI Track’ function in Live 7 to trim, warp and slice audio data!

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    Making a Kick Drum Sound

    Learn to shape a sliced sound into a more usable and familiar sounding kick drum using the filter and volume envelope settings on the simpler instrument and Live's Saturator and Compressor plug-ins.

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    Creating a Clap Sound

    Discover how to fabricate a clap sound using the settings on the Simpler and Sampler instruments and some of Live's effects, such as Compressor, Simple Delay, Saturator, Reverb and Gate.

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    Making a Closed Hi-Hat Sound

    See how to create a great sounding closed hi-hat sound using the settings on the Simpler and Sampler instruments and some of Live's effects, such as Compressor, Saturator, Reverb and Gate.

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    Creating Slicing Presets

    Learn how to create a new slicing preset where no macros are mapped to any of the Simpler's parameters. This time saving procedure is crucial to working with drums in Live.

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    Making an Open Hi-Hat Sound

    Explore designing the ever useful open hi-hat sound using the loop, envelope and filter settings on the Simpler instrument and some of Live's effects, such as Compressor, Reverb and Gate.

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    Making a Tom Sound Pt. 1

    See how to make two different types of Low, Mid and High Tom sounds. This tutorial also looks at creating a nested sub-rack within the main drum rack of our kit.

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    Making a Tom Sound Pt. 2

    Learn to map key parameters to the macros on the drum rack to allow flexible, real-time control over the most used parameters on all 3 Toms together. Also discover how to map send effects, and a Grain Delay to complete the sound.

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    Making a Conga Sound

    Discover the secret to making conga sounds reminiscent of old vintage drum machines. Racks are further explored, as well as the 'Copy to Siblings' feature added in Live 7.

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    Making a Ride Cymbal Sound

    See how a ride cymbal is created by layering 3 Simplers together in a nested drum rack, triggered by the same MIDI note, using 3 different, very short loops and some crafty programming.

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    Making a Triangle Sound

    Starting with one of the Simplers created in the Ride cymbal tutorial, the sound is re-tuned and a nested rack is created containing an open and closed triangle sound.

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    Making a 909 Kick

    Copying one of the Congas and using it as a starting point, the same short waveform loop is used to create a powerful second kick drum much closer to the classic ‘909’ sound by changing the filter, pitch and envelope settings.

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    Making a 909 Snare

    See how you can make a great sounding snare similar to the classic ‘909’ snare using impressive programming techniques as well as the Saturator, EQ8 and Compressor plug-ins.

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    Making a 808 Snare

    Starting with the snare created in the previous tutorial, some of the key parameters are changed to create a snare very close in sound to the classic ‘808’ snare.

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    Saving the Finished Kit

    Explore the options for saving the different elements of our new kit, such as saving the devices and racks, using the new kit in other projects, and creating Live clips so that clips can be saved with the kit.

Product Overview


Have Ableton Live? Like Electronic Music? Then you must see this inspiring collection of eye-opening tutorials from Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough. This series reveals the steps to design fat, brilliant modern and classic electronic drum sounds that will make the rhythm tracks in your electronic music productions be noticed.

The techniques Craig shows you can then be applied to any DAW and to any type of sound to make them stand out and shine.


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Designing Electronic Drums is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 3 .
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Lots of Takeaways in this Series! Craig does a fine job at experimenting, building, creating, and sculpting rhythmic samples and sounds. This series is lengthy (over 3 hours), but it's worth it. Using Ableton Live 7's tools (a little dated, but still relevant in today's Live 9.7 to 10 environment), Craig provides a lot of inside and information in his methodology and practice. A lot of takeaways can be used in my own music with his techniques in mind. Very good!
Date published: 2018-03-16
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great on Drum Synthesis & Sound Design I've looked around a lot for "how to" guides on drum synthesis. This video series is one of the best if not the best. What makes it very good is i) it is quite broad and deep, covering a lot of drum sounds and a considerable amount of programming information for each sound; ii) unlike books & PDFs (the other best guides I've found on drum synth) one can watch the video, see the techniques applied and hear the results. I agree with the other reviewer that the material is complicated, but don't see this as a problem or fault. Synthesis is complicated and technical, and to know how to synthesize many different percussion instruments is a complicated matter. I have revisited this video multiple times. It merits watching and rewatching. I think I will even take detailed notes on next viewing to get down the techniques for programming different percussion instruments. A curious aspect of the video is that the author uses sample slices from a beatbox recording. Virtually all the techniques he mentions would work using either synthesis or sample manipulation to get to percussion sounds. So IMO these are all synthesis & sound design techniques that will apply to percussion sounds regardless of their sound generator (e.g. sample vs. oscillator). Overall, a great tutorial on electronic drums, and one of the best tutorials on Groove3 that I know of.
Date published: 2017-04-20
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from Complicated The first lesson of the tutorial was great but then in the 2 lesson in making a clap sound you had to remove the kick drum up to a different slice. It made no sense when you could have drawn out that note from a new slice.
Date published: 2016-12-08
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