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How to Record and Mix EDM in Spire Studio

by Charley Ruddell, iZotope Contributor October 7, 2019
Learn how to mix and record an EDM track with Spire Studio.
Learn how to mix and record an EDM track with Spire Studio

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Don't forget to download this article's Spire session file directly to your iPhone or iPad, and explore our final mix in the Spire app! Spire Studio hardware is required for projects to open on Android devices. 

With streamlined accessibility to professional-level software, there are more people than ever creating their own EDM. Whether you’re savvy to the genre or not, the inspiration it provides to aspiring creatives is something to be celebrated.

EDM isn’t only limited to DAWs like Abelton and Logic Pro. With the right know-how, a few electronic instruments, and some creative intuition, you can create your own EDM track using Spire Studio. The heavier amp simulators, like Echo Fuzz or Classic Stack, can give a synth patch some aggressive crunch. A pedal, like Purple Phaze or Revolver, can give your bass line a woozy wobble. A little bit of ingenuity can go a long way with Spire Studio!

Using the Spire app’s features and the included Visual Mixer, let’s build a unique track that smacks, grooves, and slaps with the signature characteristics of an EDM banger. Let’s start with the beat.

The beat is one of the most important aspects of an EDM track.

The EDM beat

With so many EDM subgenres, it can be difficult to establish a tempo that feels right for you. In this example, we’ll work in the style of House, a more popular subgenre of EDM found on the charts today. House music tends to run around 120–130 bpm, although whatever genre or tempo you work with is up to you. 

When you create your beat, keep in mind the overall dynamics of an EDM track. While the groove is the centerpiece, you’ll want to factor in the dynamic build that releases into the groove—a staple quality of EDM.

This example starts on the build and releases into the groove at 124 bpm. Make sure your beat is recorded in time with the metronome, and that you’ve properly Soundchecked—drum clipping is a pretty big turn-off when you’re deep in a groove.

Top Tip: For added flavor and depth, try running your beat through a pedal with dry settings. This beat is run through the Revolver pedal—the flange gives the beat some stereo width, but make sure to turn off the delay.

The bass

Often in EDM songs, the bass line is the selling point—subgenres like dubstep, deep house, and future bass are all built upon prominent bass lines.

During the build-up, try a more filtered bass line that blends with the kick drum. When your main groove drops in, go all-out with the fuzz, distortion, crunch, or whatever you think will beef up your bass line. 

The example below is two different synth patches run through the bass amp simulator. The bass line in the main groove is beefed up with some of the Bass Amp. Spire’s Bass Amp is also a great tool for containing and compressing bass frequencies (in fact, the Bass Amp has many applicable functions).

The synths

Synth patches in EDM vary depending on the style of the song. There isn’t an easy way to pinpoint the right synth patch for you, but it helps if you can narrow down patches based on their function. I’d recommend finding at least one buzzy sine wave patch, one flat square wave patch, and one synth pad. What you decide to do within those confines is up to you. 

In the example below, the synth pads slowly filter into the intro, and come back in at the end. Both synth pads are plugged in the Big Air pedal which adds chorus and delay, two great effects for creating space in the mix.

The buzzy sine wave patches come in at the end of the song and are both running through the Capratone pedal, which adds a small amount of delay and reverb. There is also a strong sine wave lead tone, which rings out during the end section of the song.

A final square wave patch is used to double the main bass line. It’s also running through the Capratone for the added delay. 

The mix

In an EDM mix, the drums reign supreme, (there’s a reason we have so many guides on EDM drums) followed by the bass, and then whatever lead part you may have. Having a strong and centered drum and bass mix is key to having an authentic EDM banger.

This mix features the drum and bass track in the center with the drums pulled up in the mixer. Two of the sine wave patches are panned far left and right, and brought down underneath the lead sine wave, which is slightly off-center. The synth pads are also panned left and right and the doubled bass line sits right under the bass track.

Conclusion 

Creating your own EDM track in Spire Studio is a simple and rewarding process. Just start with your beat, get funky with your bass, and limit yourself to a handful of synth patches. Using Spire’s Bass Amp simulator and a handful of pedals with wet effects will create compressed and contained sounds while boosting the stereo field. Get lost in the mainstream movement of EDM with the help of your own Spire Studio.

Learn more about mixing and producing EDM

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