With his technical mastery of production and highly critical ear, Proxima is one of the leading figures in Drum & Bass today. His music rapidly caught the attention of popular labels, leading to his first release on Renegade back in 2008. Since then, he has been a regular artist on the roster of Tempa, Shogun Audio and more recently Icicle’s label Entropy.
In this online course, Proxima takes students on a journey as he sculpts a twisted Neuro Tech DnB track from scratch. Practically every one of the musical parts, including basses, leads, FX and even drums, are created using Live Suite instruments like Analog, Operator, Collision and Wavetable. Students can therefore expect to be treated to a huge wealth of sound design expertise and insight, as each sound is carefully crafted from an initialised state.
In addition to sound design, Proxima shares his invaluable mixing and arrangement tips, showing how to achieve a perfect balance throughout a track. Using audio processing and automation to great effect, he demonstrates how to juxtapose sounds to create melodic and rhythmic interest, whilst delivering a satisfyingly gnarly and devastating groove, guaranteed to have a dancefloor rocking!
As with all Producertech courses, a free sample lesson is supplied, so students can see an example of Proxima’s lesson style before signing up, to make sure the course is right for them. Signing up then allows access to well over 3 hours of streamed lessons, the completed Live project from the tutorials and a 100MB taster of Proxima’s Looptone Drum & Bass Masterclass sample pack, providing students with a huge package for producing massive DnB anthems of their own!
Proxima Module Descriptions
Module 1 - Technical Setup
Proxima explains a couple of 3rd party plugins he commonly uses, including Voxengo’s popular shareware plugin Span, which he configures with his preferred settings.
Module 2 - Kick
Kick layers are designed from the ground up, using Operator and various effects, to gain maximum control of each part of the sound.
Lesson 1 - Kick Layer Sound Design 06.12
Lesson 2 - Kick Layer Effects 05.06
Module 3 - Snare
The main snare is similarly designed from scratch using multiple instances of Operator and a number of Live’s factory effects.
Lesson 1 - Snare Layer Sound Design 04.45
Lesson 2 - Snare Layer Effects 05.17
Module 4 - Hi Hat and Drum Buss Effects
Additional drums are added to the main break, including a hat loop, which undergoes dynamics processing, whilst the other drums are grouped on individual busses and treated with a number of effects and editing techniques.
Lesson 1 - Adding Hat and Dynamics Processing 05.29
Lesson 2 - Snare Drum Buss, Position and EQ 02.49
Lesson 3 - Transient Preservation and Level Automation 04.26
Module 5 - Additional Drum Layers and Buss Effects
Continued work on drums, including adding an extra snare, which is blended into the groove, and setting up limiters on every buss. Proxima also treats kick and snare busses with Live’s pedal effect, before wrapping up with some final comments.
Lesson 1 - Additional Snare Layer 03.23
Lesson 2 - Buss Limiters 03.22
Lesson 3 - Pedal Effect 04.12
Lesson 4 - Final Comments 02.16
Module 6 - Bass 1
Proxima designs the first main Neuro bass sound, using Live 10’s Wavetable synth. Layers are constructed with the 2 oscillators and sub, which are processed using a range of built in effects.
Lesson 1 - Wavetable Intro 03.48
Lesson 2 - Creating the Bass 1 Layers 07.04
Lesson 3 - Mid/Side EQ and Pedal Distortion 07.28
Lesson 4 - Pitch Mod, FM and Sidechain Compression 08.28
Module 7 - Bass 2
Proxima constructs the second main bass part, which is an FM patch made with Operator. After setting up the synth, the preset is processed with EQ and phaser.
Lesson 1 - Making an FM Bass with Operator 08.08
Lesson 2 - Bass Modulation and FX Processing 07.59
Module 8 - Arranging and Mixing Considerations
Proxima starts to arrange and mix the bass sounds with the kick and snare, making adjustments to position and level via automation, and commenting on the overall dynamics.
Module 9 - Stab
Live’s Collision is employed to create a more percussive, stab patch, to alternate with the sustained bass sounds. After designing the sound, it is processed with various distortion effects and EQ.
Lesson 1 - Intro to Collision 05.41
Lesson 2 - Designing and Processing the Stab 08.24
Module 10 - Lead
Proxima uses Operator to make a lead sound, which is layered and processed with multiple effects, including Mid/Side EQ, Erosion and Chorus.
Lesson 1 - Designing the Lead 09.28
Lesson 2 - Layering and Additional Processing 11.10
Module 11 - Arranging Part 1
A 4-bar drop section is developed to start the arrangement, duplicating and adding variations to bass sounds, and tweaking different aspects of the mix to improve the sound.
Lesson 1 - Creating a 4-bar Drop 09.36
Lesson 2 - Tweaking the Stab 06.44
Module 12 - Noise
Proxima creates a noise patch to add upper textures to the mix. The sound is made with Analog and then processed with effects to shape the sound and add extra depth.
Module 13 - Risers and FX
2 Risers are added to the arrangement, both made with Wavetable. One is a shorter 1/2 bar filler, to add extra textures to the break, and the second a longer, 2-bar riser, to help build tension at the end of the section. Finally, a crash type FX sound is added to the start of the drop.
Lesson 1 - Short Riser 07.03
Lesson 2 - Long Riser 04.12
Lesson 3 - Impact FX 03.49
Module 14 - Arranging Part 2
An intro section is explained and developed, before some adjustments are made to different parts in the mix, ironing out inconsistencies in dynamics.
Lesson 1 - Intro 06.05
Lesson 2 - Mix Tweaks 07.12
Module 15 - Master Bus Tweaks
Proxima ends the course with some comments on the master buss frequencies and level, refining the settings on the Limiter and EQ.