How useful is automation when arranging a track? Pro producer Ed:it shares his secrets for keeping a track rolling in this tutorial
In my productions, I use automation to get the most out of each sound across the different sections of a track. I increase tension with filters and reverb for dramatic growth, or use sharp volume cuts to allow the main elements to breathe. Here, I’ll demonstrate how automation can bring energy and drive to a composition when arranging. To achieve this, I’ll begin by wiggling different parameters such as volume, mute and pan on certain events. Over the next couple of pages, I’ll start with a rising white-noise sweep, before moving on to filtered vocal loops and other arrangement tricks.
Automating the pitch of elements can produce great musical variety, alongside timebased effects such as delay and reverb. I love to use techniques like these on sweeps, stabs and vocals, as you can enrich sparser intros and breakdown sections with movement.
As I mentioned last month, I like to get handson with my automation by using MIDI controller pots and sliders to give a physical feel when programming fiddly parameter lines and curves like this. Depending on the situation, l may go more in-depth and precise with mouse edits after – or I may leave imperfections as they are. Variation is key – I always try to ensure that each ‘event’ in the track is different to the last, which gives things a more natural progression.