Dark Techno Mixing Tips


Techno and especially dark techno are synonymous with experimentation and pushing the boundaries of sound. And in this article, we are going to show you 5 ways you can use the stock Ableton audio effects to create raw, edgy dark techno productions. 


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Like a lot of heavier rock music, when producing dark techno genres you can throw the “rule book” out the window and really go hell for leather. In this tip we are going to load a saturator on to our kick drum and really drive it hard until its slamming the red, from there switch on the soft clip and pull back the output a little. This will bring in extra harmonics, texture and a bit of extra punch.

Also do not be afraid to try this on all your drum sounds or any sound for a matter of fact.

If you like the sound of this try our blog post on how to create a dark techno kick


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As far as I can remember my most enjoyable adventures in the studio have been running sounds through pedals and amps. Its this second piece of outboard gear that can add some real bite to the sound. And within Ableton’s selection of audio effect, you have a great amp emulator that reproduces the sound of a range of classic amps each with its own distinct flavour. 

The way that I like to use it is to slap it on an aux return then send your drums and bass there. From there select an amp mode, slam the gain for the plus 11 sound and then pull back the output gain to stop from going into the red. 

Heavy NYC Compression:

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Dark Techno drums and bass are all about power and punch and when trying to provide that punch to your rhythm section NYC compression is key. This is a compressor that is placed on an aux return with a high ratio and threshold. After the compressor uses a high and low shelf boost from the EQ8. From there send your drums and bass there.


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When working with the dark techno genres you need to find ways to add some raw edge and grit into your sounds and guitar pedals are perfect for this. Try adding a pedal audio effect to your aux return and send all your elements there. Remember to adjust each send to taste. It can be very easy to over cook it. 

I also find running all your drums through a guitar pedal and using a dry/wet to still maintain the original sound and dynamics can help bring the sounds to life.


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With Dark Techno you can really through the rulebook out the window. Normally it's not recommended to try and over compress your sounds due to it can bring in some unwanted artefacts but it these artefacts that can really help bring some character to your sounds. Simply crack the ratio and threshold to the max and the attack and release to the minimum then adjust the dry/wet to taste.



In conclusion when creating sounds for your dark techno productions through the rulebook out the window and push things to extremes. And if you have enjoyed this post why not have a gander at some of our other gems.