Progressive house music is a genre of EDM that is known for its uplifting melodies and driving beats. In this article, we’re going through the process of making your own progressive house tracks, using plugins that anyone can buy and use for their own EDM.
To see how it’s done, watch this tutorial on how to make Progressive House music. It’s not as complicated as it may seem. Think of it as standing on the shoulders of giants who’ve paved the road for you.
The tutorial uses Nicky Romero’s Progressive House Song “Okay” using LANDR FX, which is the ultimate plugin suite for mixing and sound design. It comes with 5 Multi-FX adapted to each mixing group.
So, basically, instead of going it alone, there is a formula you can follow to make a progressive house track, dutifully shown in the aforementioned tutorial.
The 3 Main Steps to Make a Progressive House Track
- Choosing the Melody and the Chords
Step number 1 is to set the BPM to 125, then make the melody and the chords. Make the drop leads. Next, find a main lead. Add layers to make the leads sound fuller. Note about the tutorial: They added a lot of different layers to shape the sound they wanted for the leads.
Now make the drop chords. The chords are very important when making progressive house. Combine pianos with synths, like supersaws, – these two work very well for your progressive house drop.
They used layers and cut off the high frequencies from the chords, which will prevent them from clashing with the main leads. Make sure you also cut off everything below 200Hz to make room for the bass.
- Getting Ready for The Drop
Next up, add an arp. An arp can be a great ambient element for the drop and it follows the chords.
Add a mid bass at this point. Use a rolling bass to give the drop more energy and movement. They added LANDR FX: Bass to the mid bass mixing chain. This plugin is great for enhancing your bass sounds mixing. Use the Metal preset. As you will hear, it gives a really nice touch to the bass sound.
Next add a sub bass preset. You should also add some ambience to the bass, which almost always gives it a nice touch.
Then, the drop drums. The tutorial uses these drums and FX:
- Top kick
- Ride 1
- Ride 2
- White noise ride
- Pre-shifted clap 2
- Pre-shifted clap 3
- Cymbal loop
- Cymbal loop 2
- Full drum loop
- Drop fills
- Drop FX
- Full Drums and FX:
- Drums and FX
- Time For The Break
In the break, they use vocals from the original Nicky Romero track. Make the intro first by using different chords than the ones made for the drop. They are played by 2 piano sounds. Next add a break arp with 2 soft pianos that play a simple arp melody. This usually works well inside progressive house breaks.
The tutorial uses LANDR FX: Acoustic to mix the piano sounds for the break. This plugin is great as an extra touch to your instruments. Next up, add a warm pad sound. Adding a pad can add a lot of warmth and fullness to your break. Add a Reese bass for the intro. Finally add some FX, like some ambiance and reverse FX.
Now, the main break. With the break, switch to the main chords made for the drop. They used the same piano sound though. The same applies to the pad. Instead of a Reese bass, add a guitar bass for the main break. Also add some real instruments together with the other elements.
The instruments add a lot of extra emotion to the break. Finally, add some break drums. The build-up uses roughly the same elements as the break. Slowly introduce the drop leads using a filter cutoff automation. Finally, the last step is to add some build up drums, and then listen to the finished track!
Should We Use Plugins?
Simply, yes. Why labour for hundreds of hours to make specific sounds when you can invest in products that have done all that work for you? A bonus is the professional quality to add to your creativity.
Plugins are powerful tools for mixing and sound design in progressive house music. They offer a wide range of features, including synthesizers, samplers, effects processors, and more. Plus, they can be a great way to save time and money, as they provide a complete set of tools for producing high-quality music.
One of the main advantages of using them is that they are typically well-integrated. This means that the different plugins in the suite can work together seamlessly, which can make it easier to create complex and sophisticated sounds. They also often offer a variety of presets and templates, which can be a great way to get started quickly or to learn new techniques.
Final Tips for Using Plugins in Progressive House
- Use the right tools for the job. Not all plugins are created equal. Some are better suited for mixing, while others are better for sound design. Choose one that has the tools you need for the type of music you want to make.
- Experiment with presets and templates. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the presets and templates that come with your plugin suite. This can be a great way to learn new techniques and to find sounds that you like.
- Automate your plugins. Automation can be a great way to add movement and interest to your music. Many plugin suites allow you to automate their parameters, such as filter cutoff, volume, and delay time.
- Use reference tracks. When you’re mixing and mastering your music, it’s a good idea to use reference tracks. These are tracks that have been mixed and mastered by professionals. You use them to compare your own mix and to make sure that it sounds its best.
If you’re serious about making progressive house music, then investing your time (which you’ve just done by reading this article) and resources (by buying plugins) is the way forward. With a little practice and creativity, the tutorial and this article, you can start making your own progressive house EDM.