Output, a Hollywood-based music production software company, is well known and respected in the industry. Their software instruments push the envelope of production software and are mouth-watering (perhaps an understatement) to music makers. Analog Strings is their latest and greatest released tool; it is an incredibly comprehensive instrument that produces an incomprehensibly wide range of sounds.
It’s easy to get lost in Analog Strings’ massively customizable sound sources (which range from real strings orchestra sections to vintage synthesizers). It also boasts modulation routing, dual tape-stylized loopers, and two arpeggiators. The instrument also has a huge suite of FX and runs in Native Instruments’ fabulous Kontakt player.
We thought that Analog Strings would serve as another excellent subject for our new DMNW Demos series. We took on the challenge of creating the majority of non-percussive elements with this powerful instrument, to both challenge ourselves and illustrate the astounding versatility of this device.
Combining Analog Synths and Orchestra Strings
To start the process, we jammed on some rich synth pads and played some string section arrangements. We found ourselves gravitating towards a synthesis of analog synths and live strings for our track, to push the abilities of AS. As we clicked through the presets, we found great starting points for our track. The massive preset selection makes it simple to find suitable sounds for your tracks. It also helps you understand the versatility of the instrument, as an added bonus. Our spacey explorations were stretched out and synchronized to a click track in Ableton. All the while, we recorded our session, with plans to chop up and resample the result. We then structured an intro, with arpeggiated string plucks layered over a sidechained pad.
After we had an intro structure, we made a transitional section into a ‘B’ section. We arranged more live strings to create a interweaving and erratic lead melody. These two parts became the intro and transitional sections of the track, which had a bouncy downtempo groove. It was amazing realizing that our whole track was made with Analog Strings up to this point. We were excited to see what else we could do with this powerful instrument.
Splendid Bass Tones and Fat Beats
The MIDI pattern of the new lead melody was then put into another instance of Analog Strings. We used a preset as a starting point and morphed it to fit beneath our strings. It was reminiscent of a pleasantly fat layered Moog Minitaur sound. When we played our MIDI pattern through the patch, we were blown away by how sonically different, organic, and awesome it sounded.
We edited our bass pattern a bit at this point so it wasn’t too similar to the prefacing lead sound. A percussive rhythm was starting to mentally take shape, so we took to that next. A simple house loop started as the foundation to the drums. We sequenced a hip-hop drums section and then a driving techno-house segment.
After our drums were sounding good, we chopped up them up, as well as the strings, bass, and pads into some new rhythms. We had cut up every element of our track at this point, so we settled on the fitting title “Reassemble” for our track. Reassembling and resampling allows more specificity in your tracks, as well as sometimes yielding unexpected results. In the case of our track, reassembling our sampled sections helped create an unexpected, unique, erratic groove that gets your booty shakin’. We also recorded some vocals at this point, to help glue together the two stylistically different sections.
Putting It Together
Our song transitions from a spacey hip-hop style beat to a techno-influenced dance track. We were left proud of the end result and impressed with Analog Strings beyond expectation. Output’s efforts have created an instrument that serves an indeterminably large number of applications. It can create both synthetic and organic sounds with ease, regardless of the user’s skill level. Whether you want to create lush synth pads, gritty basses, or orchestral arrangements, this instrument serves as THE tool to create a diverse range of sonic elements in your tracks. There are so many sound sources and modulation abilities that the possibilities seem endless!
Analog Strings’ sonic diversity is amazingly impressive. It was often indistinguishable from analog synths we had at hand or had tucked away samples from on our computer. When you produce string sections, atmospheric elements, basses, and synths on the same instrument, do you really need anything anything else?
Analog Strings is available for $199 from Output’s website. They also have a variety of other awesome plugins that transcend typical software music production tools.
If you’re looking for more production-related content, check out this recent interview with Featurecast. Familiarizing yourself with him and his process will definitely get your creative juices flowing. Stay tuned for upcoming tutorials from him in the future!
What production tool should DMNW Demos detail next? Let us know in the comments below!