Break Help! Chopping for Octamed Amiga/Renoise

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Break Help! Chopping for Octamed Amiga/Renoise

Postby Hagotae » Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:09 pm

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to ask you all some questions in regards to break preparation and if you can offer any tips to improve my technique and speed up workflow, as i am completely self taught on this subject.

I will give you a little introduction on how i started out and then go into great depth on how i currently chop/process breaks today, to be used within Octamed for my Amiga 1200 and Renoise on my Mac. Its gonna be lengthy so be prepared :)


Primarily i work on LSDJ on the gameboy so i have an understanding of trackers, but i wanted to "up my game" but still use old hardware, so i bought an Amiga with Octamed and started using that.

When i started getting into breakcore, i would find a break , be it 1 bar or 4 bars and transfer it to my Amiga. For this example lets use the AMEN. I would figure out the BPM of the break and then set my song to that tempo and put in the break. I realised that sometimes the break would either wrap around too early, or not play in its entirety before the loop comes back around. After experimenting (as i have no experience with producing breaks or drum loops, i am a guitarist into METAL ;) ) i realised by either increasing the pitch of the break e.g. C to C# etc i could play the break at faster tempos, or pitching it lower for slower tempos as well as combating timing issues (you guys know this :P). This worked for a while but the pitch would always need to be fine tuned to get the groove right and this really annoyed me.

I felt this was a lot of work to put into a break every time i wanted to write a new song and i did not want the songs BPM to be dictated by the breaks BPM. Granted the use of the sample offset command would help me choose different parts of the break and combat timing issues, but since Octamed only has one line for commands, id be missing out on all the glorious pitch shifting and other effects it has to offer. By researching the forums on here and watching tutorials, i tried to figure out a method that would work and i would only have to do once. So i came to the conclusion that id have to chop every break into one shots, which i could then place on the samples relevant subdivision of a beat in a tracker and be able to build the original break and variations. Creating this master break, i would only need to import it into a new song and not have to chop and slice it every time i started a new song.

Now i know this is how Drumcorps, Venetian Snares, Shitmat, Squarepusher, Igorrr and Maruosa, among many other artists that influence me (including a lot of you talented chaps on here) do this, but being a complete novice i had no idea about the level of detail that was put into sample preparation and only figured this out by listening extensively to those artists.

Current Method

I will now break down how i now chop breaks below;

1. Get a break (e.g. amen) record it from vinyl into Logic X at 96k, making sure the vinyl is super clean and there is no prominent clicks and pops.
Use the bpm counter to figure out the breaks rough bpm. Shorten the region at the beginning so the kick(or other instrument) is directly on the beat (or a few ticks off for a human feel, but the region is on the beat)
Shorten the end region just before the next beat(kick,snare etc). Then i time stretch/compress the break so it fits into a 4 bar loop (or how many bars the break originally is) and can be looped with no issues.

2. Once i have done this, i go into the sample editor and move the transient markers (as Logic's transient detection is shite and the + function does not work in Logic X due to a bug, worked ok in Logic 9). I try to get the transient marker just before the spike, so i don't lose the attack of the current one shot I'm working on or spill from the previous sample. With the end of the current one shot, i try find the lowest part in the waveform so i don't get that "suck" sound at the end of the sample (although the end transient marker is also the start of the next one shot, so i try compensate for both)

3. I then quantise the loop to 16ths/semiquavers, this means that i work in the resolution of 1 e + a, (4 events per beat) etc, so that each one shot lasts a 16th, unless it is a Kick, Snare or Vocals, they usually are a quaver/dotted quaver. I try not to have one shots last more than a beat because thats when i start to have timing issues.
Then i slice at transient markers, so i then have the break in one shots.
I would then label these Kick 1, Snare And (1), HiHat 2, Snare E (2), Kick and (3), Snare A (3) etc. This means that once i export everything into a folder dedicated to the break e.g. Amen, with sub folders for each bar, i would have one shots that make up that bar and are labeled with their beat/division placement. Then i know where to place the samples if i want to construct the original break, or sections from the break (e.g. Amen's, hi hat and ghost snare groove).

4. I then would fade the beginning and end of each sample, I do this in Renoise as Logic sucks for that.
Export audio in Logic, import into Renoise, play each one shot at the lowest note on the keyboard so the break is played super slow and i listen out for clips and pops at the beginning (fade in to remove them), then clips and sucking at the end of the break (fade out to remove them). I fade in/out by a tiny amount as i have found before that when i put the whole break back together in a tracker at its original BPM, there is space between each one shot and it sounds choppy and nothing like the original break.
Test out the break in Renoise, in its original form, then create variations. Finally i then save as WAV and place in their corresponding folders.

(5. Optional). I rebuild the break with the new faded one shots in Logic to create a master template, so i can take the Logic file anywhere and then record the samples through external hardware.

First time round, i stupidly used the old one shots before i faded them and recorded a few loops through a Distressor, sounded great.... but i just created another 5 breaks and i would have to edit the fade of each one shot DOH!


So that is my current workflow for getting a break and chopping it so i have a DRY MASTER BREAK. I can just grab the files and either put them straight into Renoise, or convert them to my Amiga ( thats another process i wont go into). The next steps i am still figuring out, e.g. converting certain samples to mono, do all the EQ, compression and other effects and master the one shots, so the finished track on my Amiga played live would sound the same as the recorded track.

In the context of Renoise, i would use dry samples and do the mixing and mastering via Rewire in Logic where i would be recording my guitar parts for my Metal project. The live performance would be in a band context so only the samples would be mastered.

Big thanks to whoever manages to read the whole thread, i am quite a chatterbox and go into detail quite a lot.

Let me know your thoughts on my current workflow and if there is anything i can do to improve (primarily, be faster) so i can have a simple step-by-step process to follow whenever i grab a new sample/break etc.

Thanks again


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Re: Break Help! Chopping for Octamed Amiga/Renoise

Postby DoomCannon » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:36 am

yeah, seems legit :P really very similar to my workflow although i use vastly different hardware/software than an amiga ;) I like to chop and process the breaks right in renoise, then proceed to do all my arranging right then and there. Breakcore. for me at least just feels more at home when done in renoise as i'm sure it would in similar tracker like programs :) I find there are two basic ways of going about manipulating break beats for this type of music: A) use the "syn" option in the instruments panel in renoise to sync the loop to what ever BPM your looking to work in. B) chop the break up just the way you want to, it can be hit for hit or semi-sections. Then load it into a renoise drum kit to spread the hits across the key map. When i'm feeling lazy i do the first, when i want to be able to really control all the fine bits of a break i use the second option and just save the renoise drum kit so i can pull it up later whenever i want and not have to go back to chop every single hit every time i want to make a new track with that particular break :D

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Re: Break Help! Chopping for Octamed Amiga/Renoise

Postby thanatos » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:09 pm

there is no god way you have to find your own

i use renoise and chop the break into oneshot. it is faster and better at list for me
this way you can layer multiple break ex 2 snares from 2 breakbeat to make a phatt snare

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Re: Break Help! Chopping for Octamed Amiga/Renoise

Postby rasha » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:55 am

I find there are two basic ways of going about manipulating break beats for this type of music: A) use the "syn" option in the instruments panel in renoise to sync the loop to what ever BPM your looking to work in. B) chop the break up just the way you want to, it can be hit for hit or semi-sections. Then load it into a renoise drum kit to spread the hits across the key map.

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