Video Tutorial – Making a Snazzy Dance Electro Pop Beat in Reason

Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and this is my tutorial on how to make a dance electro pop beat similar to the one in the song “Midnight Movie” by “The secret Handshake”.

This tutorial was made as a request, so if you want to know how to make a particular beat or synth sound, drop me a message!

You can download the tutorial files and samples here:

Download Reason Tutorial Files


Okay! Let’s begin.

I’ll start by playing you the loop. I’ve made something close to the original song, just to get a feel of the music. And we’ll be making this beat. We’ll make it with ReDrum, using several effects units to add more power and presence to the beat.

We’ll learn to use some useful techniques with ReDrum such as dynamics and using more than 16 steps in a loop.

1. Right click the reason interface and click create > combinator to create a combinator which will hold our instance of ReDrum and the effects we’ll use. Rename it “Snazzy Electro Beat”.

2. Right click inside the combinator and click create > ReDrum drum computer to create an instance of redrum.

3. Click the “open” button near the bottom left and select the drum kit. I’ve created a kit with some samples in my collection that you can download from my website. Remember – choosing quality samples is 90% of getting a good sound! If you choose a kick drum with no low end then no matter how much EQ you add it will never be bassy.

4. In this kit I’ve got two bass drums, two claps, a snare, a shaker and a crash cymbol. Let’s start with the bass drums. There are two different ones to make the final sound more full. One kick has a lot of punch while the other has a more consistent tone. For this beat, I’m going to put the first kick on the 1st and 7th beats.

5. Now we come to adding dynamics. On ReDrum’s pattern editor, there is a slider that has choices between soft, medium and hard. Slide this to soft, and place a kick drum on the 15th beat. Press Run and you’ll hear how that beat is less prominent than the others. This makes it ideal for making the beat more interesting without it being full of hard hitting kick drums that swamp the whole loop.

6. This beat varies a bit, so instead of going through the hassle of making two seperate beats and alternating between them, let’s just make one beat that’s twice as long. Click the up arrow next to steps until the readout says “32″ – if you’ve done A level maths you’ll realise that’s double 16! When you play the beat now you’ll see that there are 4 beats where nothing is playing. To add beats in the second half of the loop, drag the “Edit Steps” slider to the “17-32″ setting. The existing beats disappear, and if you place beats on the 1 and 7 positions then you’ll hear the initial kick loop is complete.

7. Now we’ve learned dynamics and how to switch between parts of larger loops, let’s add in the remaining parts of this beat. Select the second channel and put beats on the 1 and 7 positions of the beat on both 16 step spans.

8. Now for the clap sound. We’ve got 3 clap/snare sounds to work with here; when making a good snare, layering samples is the best way to make something you want. The first clap has a click to it which fills the high end, the snare has a sharp attack and the second clap has a strong mid-range to it, making for a filled out snare. Place each one on the 5 and 11 beats for the first step span, and 5 and 13 on the second.

9. Place the shaker on every odd number on both the step spans, and place the crash at the start of the first span. There! Our loop is complete. Now to make it sound considerably more awesome!

10. Right click ReDrum and click create> MClass Equalizer. Select the lo Shelf and increase the gain to about 3/4 and turn the Q to 1/4. The gain increases the level of this part of the frequency spectrum – here it’s making the low end stronger. The “Q” is the bandwidth of the affected area, I’ll show you what that means: Select the Param 1 setting, turn the frequency to 3/8, gain to 5/8 and the Q to 3/4 – notice as I move the Q up and down it increases the width of the effected area? That’s the bandwidth. Hear how the beat is a lot more bassy now?

11. Right click the equalizer and click create> MClass compressor. Turn the input gain to 3/4 and the ratio to infinity:1. This means it’s compressing anything that goes over the threshold, no matter how loud it is, to the same level. This makes the level of the beat more consistent.

12. That’s the basis of the beat complete, but there are a few more tricks you can add. To make the beat sit in the mix better, try adding a reverb effect carefully (Too much reverb doesn’t usually work well for a driving beat!) And I’ve added a bit of distortion to the mix to make it a little more crisp and have a more prominent attack.

13. And there you have your dancey electro beat! Grab your autotuner and get making some obnoxious pop music!

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Hi! I'm Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to the site!

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