Do you reference? [Music Production Foundations - not Scaler specific]

Have you ever heard someone’s track or listened to your own and thought, hmm…does that really sound like a Trance track, a Synthwave track, a Bossa Nova track? Or maybe you started tapping out a drum pattern and said to yourself…that feels like a cool Techno beat? Are you sure? How do you know?

If these scenarios sound familiar, you might appreciate a video from Oscar over at Underdog Electronic Music School. Referencing skills in Ableton and Reason - YouTube

He produces some great content for anyone exploring electronic music production and foundation topics like Referencing compliments the Scaler workflow very nicely.

To quote my 1st “music teacher”, Concrete Zebra from Craft Master Productions…keep it simple but not basic.


I just watched this, and it is very interesting. The genres he talks about (Techno, Trance) still have a lot of crush added, whilst several other genres have stepped back and applied slightly different approaches - see Loudness war - Wikipedia

In the same vein, , if you haven’t already done so, it’s worth downloading the ableton book for free at

I also have an app called Har-Bal which does loudness balances and adjustment against loaded reference material, as well as trying to do ‘smart’ EQ.


I certainly will…thanks a ton.

Very fortuitous that you mentioned the Ableton book today…thank you. I just installed Ableton last night for the 1st time and I have been binging on Ableton tutorials all day.

I’ve been a Studio One user for years and really like the sound quality and UX. However, now that I spend so much time focused on Scaler, I find myself almost exclusively using Roland’s Zenbeats (that I’ve had since it was Stage Light). It’s light weight, simplicity, and loop and track design made it my go to for exploration and experimentation since i rarely keep and certainly never master anything I create.

However, while Roland continues enhancing it, and their Cloud offering provides a very rich set of tools and sounds, it became clear that if I wanted to further explore electronic music, I had better add Ableton to my quiver.

It is funny how the mind works and how a visual orientation to a process can impact how we understand it (or don’t). I struggled for a bit getting my head around what I was looking at and how things related. I had S1, Maschine, MPC Beats and ZenBeats stirring around in my head, but I could not orient to Ableton…until I did. It is fascinating how temporal and spatial relationships play on each other.

Anyway…thanks for the DeSantis book suggestion, I just brought it down.

Oh yea, check out his video on Affordances where he suggests looking to hardware instruments to help tame the overwhelming number of options in many software instruments. The key to learning music production - YouTube