How to Create Your Own Royalty-Free Samples

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Mixing engineer/producer Ethan Mates (Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers) shows how he creates original tracks to sound like they've been sampled: by giving them creative lo-fi mixing treatments for an old, dusty, warped sound.

When making music for television and advertising, most music supervisors require the music to be 100% original, avoiding samples to avoid extra fees and hassle. But when it's your task to create a beat with a sample-based sound, how do you do it without using actual samples? The answer is simple: Create your own.

In this video, learn how to get your original recorded tracks and virtual instruments to sound like they've been dug up from a dusty, old crate of records:

  • How to add dirt, vinyl texture & dimension (1:35)
  • Giving virtual pianos & keys vintage character (3:00)
  • Adding lo-fi color and warble to keys & guitar (4:09)
  • Creating track layers and atmospheres (6:19)
  • Make a guitar sound like a sample (8:10)
  • Customize your track's flavor using sweetener elements (9:38)
  • Give your master buss a vintage vibe (12:35)

Download Ethan's plugin chains for StudioRack and personal presets for J37 Tape, Abbey Road Vinyl, H-Delay, Cobalt Saphira, OneKnob Filter, H-Comp Hybrid Compressor, PRS SuperModels, GTR Amps & Stomps, and H-Reverb plugins:

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To load these presets:

  1. Download the file: ‘ethan-mates-presets.zip’
  2. Extract and the .XPS preset files from the zip folder
  3. In the plugin menu, Select ‘Load’
  4. ‘Open Preset File…’
  5. Find the location of the extracted .XPS preset files
  6. Select the '_____.xps’
  7. Click ‘Open’

To save each preset in your plugin menu:

  1. Select ‘Save’ in the plugin menu
  2. Select ‘Put into Preset Menu As…'
  3. Choose the existing name or a new preset name
  4. Hit ‘Ok’

Want to learn more on adding vintage vibe to your sound? Watch this tutorial for mixing retro lo-fi sounds into your track.