The sound of old-skool Dance genres like 90s hardcore and jungle was largely defined by the limitations of the gear used to make them. Samplers offered a cheap way to capture sounds, but back in the day, they had short memories and low recording quality.
It's these factors that influenced the short, choppy and pitched breakbeat sound we know today. Short bursts of drum beats were captured at a low bit rate, and then played back at differing pitches to fit the speed and groove of a track.
Native Instruments' Maschine allows us to recreate this workflow very easily, thanks to its emulation settings and MPC-like design of the hardware. However, the new 64-pad Maschine Jam adds another layer of flexibility to this workflow too. Let's take a look at using both…
There's more performance sampling know-how to be had in the Autumn edition of Future Music (FM310) (opens in new tab).
Step 1: We start with a pack of one-shot drum hits sampled from a classic funk break. This is a pre-made pack, but for authenticity, try digging out a great drum break and then chop out and save the best kick, snare and cymbal hits.
Step 2: Maschine's Engine settings replicate the low bit rate sound of various classic samplers. We use the SP1200L setting for our drum hits. We also lay a shaker loop behind our beat, which we've pitched up (rather than time-stretch) to roughly fit the tempo.
Step 3: Pitched drums are key to getting that old-skool sound. Maschine Jam lets us experiment with this easily. We step sequence a snare groove, then jump into the Piano Roll mode and move the pitches of each hit around to taste.