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What makes a great techno synth line great?


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Why can't I come up with a really bitchin synth rip like all you pros? (I mean besides the lack of talent and formal training) The lines are never that complex or anything, but they are just smokin'. They seem like relativly simple arpegios, but whenever I try to come up with something, it sounds anemic. For example: Lords of Acid Superstar, Voodoo you, and many others. Man, I wish I could come up with shit like that. How do you come up with a great techno synth line? Any advice?
Heeeeeere kitty kitty kitty
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Here's a tip from lead guitar playing. Sing the line first and then convert it to keyboard. Play some backing tracks if you need to, any set of chords or even a rhythmn will suggest a bass or lead/melody line/riff. Sing it first or play as you sing. I can play lead guitar or create keyboard riffs all day long using this technique.
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I think the Wewus has a point there. I would also add keep a micro/mini cassette recorder handy. A lot of times I'd get inspiration and not have my bass handy or be away from the keyboard. If you can sing/hum/tap/beat/stomp or moan it out to tape you'll have it and can work on it later. :D RobT

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[quote]Originally posted by midispaceho: [b]Why can't I come up with a really bitchin synth rip like all you pros? (I mean besides the lack of talent and formal training) The lines are never that complex or anything, but they are just smokin'. They seem like relativly simple arpegios, but whenever I try to come up with something, it sounds anemic. For example: Lords of Acid Superstar, Voodoo you, and many others. Man, I wish I could come up with shit like that. How do you come up with a great techno synth line? Any advice?[/b][/quote]The secret of techno is the sound and the production. Spend some time getting to understand how to program more expressive patches, and spend some time processing the track, Eq'ing, filtering it, running through effects, etc. I've yet to hear a track that was harmonically complex or difficult. What sets the style appart mostly is what is done after the fact.

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One other tip I guess... A lot of lines get their character from the portamento, filter sweep or other tonal modulation that is happening. Also, there are often tightly controlled variations in how long a note sounds (or how quickly the filter decays). Take those elements out and the "riff" rapidly becomes ordinary. So I would try to write techno lines with a step sequencer or something similar so you can focus on the details of timbral control..... not just the notes. Personally, I find most of the riffs are not as melodic as most classic rock guitar riffs... but they are expressive due to the attention paid to the control of timbre. Cheers, Jerry
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Real-time processor and synth control is really vital. I use a Peavey MIDI fader box and you'd be amazed -- hook up enough parameters to manual control, and you can have even a simple riff evolve into something that's compelling. Also remember a lot of what you're hearing is in the mixing and mastering. This stuff is compressed/limited so much that lead lines come out sounding REALLY IN YOUR FACE. Only problem is too many people overcompress, which leads to a fatiguing sound.
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[quote]Originally posted by Gulliver: [b]Want to make techno? Get an arpegiator! ;) [/b][/quote]The arpegiators on my equipment are OK, but none of the presets are stunning. The arpegiators are unfortunatly not programable. Has anyone ever developed a stand alone arpegiator that alows you program your own?
Heeeeeere kitty kitty kitty
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I think I definately need to invest in more equipment (I can hear my wife cringing now). I have a few good instruments, but no effects procesors and the like. I hope when I dive into a computer DAW (hopefully soon...need the $$$)I will have more options. Even the techno presets done by notable folks on my synths don't sound like the pro stuff.
Heeeeeere kitty kitty kitty
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What Craig said is so true. Dance/house music is so in-your-face because of post production mastering. For now, find out what the artists you like use for equipment. Lot's of artists I like in dance music use the virus, nord lead, mpc's, reason, sonar, reaktor, acid...My point being: there are many roads that will get you there. Above all, dance music to me is a vibe, a feeling. Just start laying down some basic four on the floor kicks and try to lock it into a fat bass line. Then this, the build, the break, and all the elemnts will eventually fall into place. Listen to how good (subjective of course) dance music is produced. What about it makes you want to listen, to dance? To me, it's always the drum/bass hook. I will adivise you from personal experience though, you won't get "that sound" without high quality mastering. Even if you buy waves, or a finalizer, using these to their fullest 'professional' extent is an art onto itself. So, just make the songs for now!

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[quote]Originally posted by midispaceho: [b]Has anyone ever developed a stand alone arpegiator that alows you program your own?[/b][/quote]you could just program your own with any sequencer. all an arpeggiator does is automate an arpeggio.
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[quote]Originally posted by midispaceho: [b]Has anyone ever developed a stand alone arpegiator that alows you program your own?[/b][/quote]you could just program your own with any sequencer. all an arpeggiator does is automate an arpeggio.
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