One of the best things about any of the modern DAWs is the fact that you can write and produce a pro-sounding mix simply by using the built-in instruments and effects. House producer Dale Anderson has done just that in this new course from Producertech, which works through the re-creation of his 2006 track Makes Me Feel (on Saved Records).
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The 13 modules can be streamed direct from the Music-Courses.com website, and total a running time of 190 minutes. Although the streaming is fast and problem-free, the video quality isn’t particularly great, and the player only allows you to view in a small window or in full-screen.
The first half of the tutorial looks at the writing and arrangement of the track, using the mix of the final version as a reference. Anderson begins with setting up the Logic project and screensets, before moving on to sequencing the beat using the EXS24 sampler. We then look at adding in piano chords, pads, the bass line, and the other musical elements that make up the melodic deep house track.
In the second half of the tutorial, Anderson tackles the mix, with careful use of EQ, compression and reverb to balance each part and get it working, but without overdoing the processing with unnecessary effects. Although it’s great to see how an experienced producer approaches a mixdown, we question the need for an 11-minute section on adding low-cut automation to the kick drum. We were also a little alarmed by the use of a Logic mastering preset on the output channel without any consideration to the settings and dynamics – although, to be fair, the mix still sounded great, and as Anderson states, the main focus of the course is on track creation and arrangement rather than in-depth engineering.
These things aside, this is a great example of how to create a balanced arrangement and mix without over-processing and using lots of unnecessary parts and plug-ins. The addition of the project files and a handful of samples is also a bonus. If you’re looking for more techniques on engineering a modern tech house track, check out Producertech’s other recent course, House Production in Logic Pro by Andy Lee.
A methodical look at writing and arranging a melodic deep house track, using a careful selection of elements and plug-ins to create an open-sounding mix.