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Programming Early 90s Rave/Breakbeat House Breaks
Old 9th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Programming Early 90s Rave/Breakbeat House Breaks

I need help recreating the breaks you get in late 80s/early 90s UK rave/breakbeat house.

I play in a band where we cover late 80s/early to mid 90s dance pop that was big in the UK. It's a standard live band setup - guitar, bass, drums, keys, vox, and extra percussion triggered from Ableton Live. Generally speaking, most of the tracks are fairly straightforward, but the one thing we can't get right are the programmed breaks you find in rave or breakbeat house. A few of the tracks we're trying to get right are:

It's a Fine Day - Opus III

I'm Gonna Get You - Bizarre Inc

Let Me Be Your Fantasy - Baby D

Boss.

I'm familiar with the samples (Amen, Apache, Think, Take Me To the Mardi Gras, etc...) and I know that the sound is down to the equipment used (Akai and EMU samplers, Mackie and other home recording desks of the time) and use of pitching, extending or shortening the samples, and the programming is key, but all of my attempts are coming up short. I'm not bothered about accurately recreating the grimeyness of these breakbeats but they need to sound passable "in the mix".

Does anybody have tips or advice to give? Does anybody have any usable samples of the breaks used in this era?

tl;dr Need help with recreating rave breaks for a covers band. Breaks will be looped in Ableton Live. Capturing the same sound is not a priority, but need to have the same groove.

edit: Before I get any "Use an AKAI/SP1200/time machine to go back to early 90s" answers it's probably worth pointing out I don't have any of the classic equipment, nor do I have access to any of it. I do have countless bitcrushers, eqs, and similar effects that can get me part of the way there.
Old 9th September 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
All those tracks you mentioned were done in commercial studios at the time, so you need to think about recreating that chain too, not just the akai's etc. I would recommend starting with the Waves SSL channel strip and small Lexicon reverts. The samplers put through the tight gate and compression of the SSL will get you in the ballpark. I you need to do this on a regular basis I really would suggest you buy a cheap S3000 xl on eBay though..they can be had for less than £50 and really will do what you want.
Old 9th September 2012
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by franciskimberley ➡️
but all of my attempts are coming up short.
Mind letting us hear some of them so we can point out what you should fix?
Old 10th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Well obviously you need some of the commonly used samples of the time - these must be easy to buy now surely - most of the 90's breaks must be bundled into some mega pack by now - X-static goldmine etc, Zero G stuff?

As others have hinted it will help if you try to mimic the outboard used in Ableton, and despite some people thinking compression was not used prior to
the year 2000 or whatever, its not true. Mild sidechaining of breaks using the kick, or whole 4/4 beat helps get a nice feel, or put all of the percussion through a buss type compressor to have everything mildy suck a bit and glue it together, otherwise it just sounds lumpy, like the break is just playing in the background and not a living part of the beat...experiment to taste.
Old 10th September 2012
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I always used to just sample rap records breaks on my Amiga and pitch them up. Worked for Urban Shakedown Urban Shakedown - Some Justice - YouTube

Are you overthinking this?
Old 10th September 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Just google vinyl breaks samples.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifer ➡️
All those tracks you mentioned were done in commercial studios at the time, so you need to think about recreating that chain too, not just the akai's etc. I would recommend starting with the Waves SSL channel strip and small Lexicon reverts. The samplers put through the tight gate and compression of the SSL will get you in the ballpark. I you need to do this on a regular basis I really would suggest you buy a cheap S3000 xl on eBay though..they can be had for less than £50 and really will do what you want.
Can you explain what using the Akai S3000XL hardware sampler can do that Ableton Live doesn't? I've never used a hardware sampler before, only Ableton Live so it would be interesting to understand the difference.
Old 10th September 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
lowkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
^it will sound like an Akai sampler from the 90's :P
Old 10th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
They are drum loops mixed w/ some simple drum machine beats.

Experiment w/ that. Basically, it's kind of loops on top of each other. The Baby D song even has part of the Amen Break on it in the left speaker. It's just cut up a bit.

Cut up loops, layer w/ some drum machines of the time. 808,909,and the cheaper sample based drum machines like DR660 and all that (not sure if DR660 is early 90's but I mean that type of fake drum machine).
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Wildfunk
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by jizmatron ➡️
I always used to just sample rap records breaks on my Amiga and pitch them up.


Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jizmatron ➡️
I always used to just sample rap records breaks on my Amiga and pitch them up. Worked for Urban Shakedown Urban Shakedown - Some Justice - YouTube

Are you overthinking this?
Well I doubt he has an Amiga either :-) But yeah, those computers were extremely common tools for 90s breaks/hardcore music, particularly anything UK.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildfunk ➡️


Oh man you're taking me back!!! Back to the TERRORDOME!!

I remember reading an Amiga Format magazine with Aphrodite on the cover, talking about how he used 2 amigas in sync to get 8 tracks of audio and being well impressed...

I used to make my own version of 'time-stretching' in Octamed, playing the same sample rapidly but computing an inital offset time for each one (worked out on my pocket calculator). Sounded good enough on my JVC ghetto-blaster home monitoring system, but a bit ropey at our live PA in front of 500 ravers

Anyway, the Amiga's 8 bit sampling quality was never something we thought of as a desirable attribute at all. It sounded grungy and we fought against it but it was all we had!
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