Here’s our Dub Techno Ableton rack with a full dub techno effect chain. I made this rack after making the Dub Techno Tutorial: 4 Ingredients guide, check that out if you haven’t yet as it goes into more details and covers other parts of the dub techno production process including drums and other chords.
The key to dub techno chords is processing them with low pass filters, and dub fx like reverb and delay, then tweaking these over the the track. So here I’ve set the Macros up to manipulate these main filter and dub effect parameters.
You can hear the rack in action here:
Here’s a video I made to show the Ableton Rack in action:
Here’s a run down of the macros and what they do, you can automate them, but I would use a midi controller and tweak them all live, recording in the automation. You can always edit the automation later, but it is good to get a live feel.
Detune: adjusts the Detune value of Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2 in opposite directions to get a nice detuned sound.
Filter Cutoff: adjusts the filter cutoff of the Chord within Ableton and will open the chord up.
Filter Decay: adjusts the filter envelope decay length and will open the chord up slightly (when the cut off is down) I would automate this with the cutoff to tweak the chord over time.
Erosion: adds an erosion distortion effect to the chord. You’ll hear the effect of it more if the filter cut off is up.
Reverb: controls both the Reverb amount and Decay settings on the first Echo unit in the chain. So turning this up with add reverb and increase it’s tail length.
Echo Fd back: this is the delay feedback amount for the first Echo unit. You can use this as build up, and at it’s highest settings can turn the chord into a wall of noise!
Echo Amount: the wet dry of the first Echo unit, use it on it’s own to change the feel of the delay or in conjunction with Echo Fd back to build energy with feedback.
Echo 2: this macro controls the second Echo unit at the end of the chain which has much longer and subtle ping pong delays. It controls both the wet/dry and the feedback, so turning it up can yield extreme results, and really wide stereo results too as it is ping pong delays, you’ll hear the sound jumping between the speakers.
The Instruments And Effects In More Detail
From left to right, the rack starts off with the Macros which you can automate or assign to a midi controller to tweak the dub chord and effects live.
Then the Chord unit sets up the midi to play a minor chord based on whatever note you play. For example if you press just the D on your keyboard, it will be like you played D, F and A all a one time – which is a great chord for techno. Just play any one note and you’ll get a good chord from this midi effect.
Then the sound of the chord is generated in Ableton’s Analog, which has the oscillators detuned slightly for a nastier thicker sound, which is then filtered down at the filter and only a small amount allowed through with a filter envelope. These can be lifted later on to develop the sound and give it movement.
Then the chord is warmed and distorted slightly with an Overdrive unit.
The dub chord is distorted more by the Erosion unit. You can automate the Frequency controls on the Overdrive or Erosion units if you like for more movement, try it out, you’ll hear what happens.
Then there are 2 Echo units to add spacial dub techno effects. They are both in ping pong mode for wide stereo delays. The first Echo adds short delays which are both slightly off, it also adds reverb to the signal. The second Echo adds a much longer delay and more reverb.
The main parameters are controlled by the Macro, but you can automate what you like. Have fun!
Download The Dub Techno Chord Rack:
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