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How to program a mutated techno synth drone

Techno drone
(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Background textures are hugely important to techno. Let’s create a techno-tinged, unpredictable and movement-filled drone with the help of Absynth, NI’s additive synth plugin

Techno 40 Years

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Step 1: Load an instance of Native Instruments Absynth and create a two-bar MIDI note, in this case a very low note at E0. The starting point is to find a preset that has some movement and character. For this example, we selected the Alcove Fields preset.

Techno 40 Years

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Step 2: With a preset selected, the key part of this process is to use Absynth’s Mutate function. This randomly alters various parameters producing an entirely new, mutated version of it. This stage can be repeated until a useable sound is produced. This process is unpredictable and usually takes several iterations with the Mutate button.

Techno 40 Years

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Step 3: With the mutated Absynth note playing, record to a new track using a resampling audio routing within your DAW. We use Live, and select a 2-bar section of the resampled audio, pressing the Fade button in the Clip View to prevents clicks when the audio loops. In this example, we also selected the Texture Warp Mode, and detuned audio by an octave to add more grain and grit to the sound. 

Techno 40 Years

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Step 4: The final step is to add in various effects to the resampled audio track. We add an EQ Eight to roll off the low end, a large and wide reverb to add space and depth, an Auto Filter to sweep over 8 bars. Finally we add a ping-pong Delay to add further stereo interest to the filter sweeps. 

Techno 40 Years

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

Step 5: You can now export the resulting audio, making sure to select the Render As Loop function in order to fully integrate the effects within the exported loop.

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