I have been stripping my tracks down lately to try to minimize the number of elements and focus more on modulating the existing elements across the tracks. Getting back to the root of the techno sound I supposed, focusing on percussion and variations in timing/rhythm. I have also been listening to a lot of plastikman and Derrick May which might explain some of that ideology.
I was never one to always be chasing the newest plug-ins or effects for fear that I would never learn one really well. Initially, I at least attempted to limit myself with the tools in my DAW of choice, Ableton. But, there is a realization now that the quality of sound in some of Ableton’s standard effects (ie. reverb, delay) was lacking. They just dont have as much depth in my opinion since they are designed to be cpu efficient for live use. After downloading an demoing other plugs I figured it was time to get my hands on some.
There are 2 current tools I have been spending most of my production time playing with lately and both are developed by Polish software companies. Doskonałe!
The first one is the d16 Drumazon drum machine. Previously I had been using a combination of E-phonic’s free plugin Drumatic 3 (similar to an 808 with more mods) and the Ableton Drum Machines kit for most of my drums with some layering. But I was feeling like the sound quality with the Ableton 909 sample kit was pretty weak so went searching for a quality 909 emulator. Heard great things about the Drumazon, demoed it and was hooked! Super nice interface design and the ability to modulate each sound separately. There are also some really nice grooves pre-built into the drum machine to use with the internal sequencer and it makes some killer sounds. Next couple of tracks I’m working on all use the Drumazon. Would love to get some more d16 plugs too such as the Nephaton drum machine and the amazing distortion unit, Devastor. (sound like dinobots!)
PSPAudioware, the developers of Vintage Warmer and a slew of amazing analog style plugins are on my go to list for top-notch plugs. I recently purchased the new PSP 85 delay unit which is preceded by their PSP 84 and Lexicon PCM 42, an award winning delay plugin. A lot of the amazing percussion and modulation of groove found on some classic techno records was accomplished with the creative use of delay. The PSP 85 sounds freakin amazing too. And with 2 independent delay lines, automatic ducking, built-in LFO, filters and a plate/sprint reverb unit, the possibilities are endless. The 60 new presets all sound really diverse and included are also another bank of more standard delay settings. I have had a lot of success just using them on single tracks / loops and the PSP 85 adds some very nice space and warmth along with some very intricate pattern.