Keen to learn how to produce in the Future Rave style? Want to go really deep into it? Well, then you’re in the right place. You’re about to read all about how to make Future Rave, from extracting the vocals to the fundamental break, to making the lead synth, creating the bass, the drop, and, finally, the mastering.
This article uses ‘Miss You’, but you can choose whatever you like. As always, use stock plugins and a few samples from a Future Rave pack. Let’s dive in.
Extracting The Vocals
Okay, first up, do the vocal extraction. You can use vocalremover.org – it’s free, who doesn’t like that? It doesn’t add too many clicks or irrelevant noises, which is great, but one thing to note is that it works best with tracks with FEWER background sounds.
To use it, select your file and upload it. Now let the AI do its thing, then play around with it a bit. Once you’re satisfied, download it. WAVE is a good option if you’re after best quality. Hit vocal, and there you go, your vocal extraction is complete.
The Fundamental Break
Ok, we got the vocal. Now, if you don’t know the chords and can’t figure them out from the chords in the original track, go find them online. By knowing the chords, you can first add the reese bass. While mixing, I removed some frequencies around 200hz cause this can make it sound muddy. And we don’t want muddy!
After that, I’m limiting some peaks to make the bass more stable. For the song, I miss You, two extra chords are added. The first is more mono and the second is to fill up the stereo spectrum. This gives a more diverse sound.A genuinely brilliant question to ask yourself at this point is: “Which room did I fill up, and which room is left to fill up?” and let this guide your thinking.
To create the ambience, a dreamy atmosphere underneath the vocal would contrast nicely with the heavy, stabby, Future Rave sounds.
It will make it sound EXTRA big, so use your good old friend reverb. Add in some sounds from other parts of the track – this helps them fit into the vibe of the song, since you’re using the same sound.
In this case it’s the lead and vocal shot, a crackle sound, drones, and an arp all for that organic texture. But wait, how to set up reverb? Let’s look at how to set up a reverb bus for those ambient sounds.
Why set up a bus?
1. Cleaner mix
2. More control over EQ
3. Save that CPU space To do this, first select your mixer track & add reverb.
Second, link it to the bus where you have REVERB. One important but often overlooked detail: keep the signal WET 100%. Just left click the upward arrow. Lastly, EQ your reverb afterwards.
Also remove some DB at 2KHZ in order to make room for vocals. Why? Because this is the range where vocals are most present. So make some room for them, or not – it’s your choice. To transition from the break to build up, use a STAB sound.
Stabby sounds impact the listener. Now each sound has a purpose. If your sounds don’t – they will clash. If they clash, it will be chaos, and probably sound awful. The goal is to make stabby sounds that fill up the whole frequency spectrum. That’s how you get it to sound “Big”. So, I added a tonal ambience sound to make it even more tonal. Then a white noise sweep to suck you into the next part.
Add more impact to make the stab more stabby. A kick, for extra impact. And a bass stab, because, you know, stabby stab stab. Then, add sub drop to fill up the low-end and make it sound big and dark.
Next, use a lead shot to fill up the higher frequencies. It matches the vibe of the song. And then automate it all with a big reverb on the vocal so it becomes part of the stab.
Now, for the Reverse Effect. Take that lead shot, and make a reverse effect to introduce the next part of the track. Just select your lead. Reverse it by clicking “reverse”, and this instruction was issued to you by the department of the extremely obvious!
Use the stock plugin Fruity Panomatic, to let the volume sound wobble. Right click on SPD to automate the speed at which the volume is wobbling, and automate the speed of the wobble to create a cooler effect.
Making the Lead Synth
OK, to save time, use a preset from the sample pack classic Future Rave.
It’s basically made of SAW in combination with a ton of OTT, and a short envelope on the synth. It works well because SAW sounds powerful and OTT puts it in your face. So all that’s left is to mix it. Add OTT first to compress the sound. This gives it power. Next SSL EQ to boost the frequencies around 300hz. Do this if the lead is sounding thin. I suggest an analog EQ instead of digital. They just sound better and when it’s done you should have a fuller sound. After that, add another compressor, to compress even more, and another EQ to make it sound tastier.
- Another EQ
- Saturation to add harmonics for a fuller sound. .
Also, remove the low-end frequencies under 150hz so the bass has some space to be bassy. Add a multiband compressor to reduce unwanted frequencies in the high end at specific moments, and again, more EQ.
Now for the David Guetta Lead Reverb Trick, which is to reduce reverb when synth is playing. Let it come back when the sound is not playing. This CLEANS up your mix a LOT. Cause we all know reverb can seriously mess with your mix.
How? Assign the lead bus to the reverb bus. Add reverb to the reverb-bus. Make sure it’s 100% wet. Use the stock plugin ‘fruity limited’. Right click on the side chain insert. Choose lead bus where the dry signal is. Now play around with the compressor parameters.
Bring down the level of threshold to see an effect in the compressor. You can visually see this inside the plugin. This determines at which volume level the reverb is ducking down. Now the compressor reacts. Adjust the release. This determines how long it takes until the reverb kicks in after the dry signal stopped playing. And please please please, don’t copy strict values. Every mix is different, unique and needs its own special treatment.
Creating the Bass
The Bass. Make it bassy. Use plucky bass, short envelope and saw wavetable. It works because it has a similar character to the lead. Short and plucky. It also fills up frequencies that the lead doesn’t. They’re BFFs. After selecting plucky bass, use EQ to remove high frequencies because they are already covered. I also removed some muddy songs at 200hz and 450h, and everything under 25hz because humans can’t hear this anyway.
Next, compress the bass so it’s flatter. Add a bit of slow attack so the transient of the plucky bass doesn’t trigger compression. Add some warm saturation, which warms up the bass, giving it a fat sound. Lastly, some SSL EQ boosting the 300hz, making it fuller.
Now to build the track up: The break. The Drop. And in between the transition – the Build Up.
You need to prepare the listener for the drop. So use elements of the break and drop in the build up.
First, use the lead from the drop with a filter. This cuts out the highs and slowly brings them back. It helps the listener anticipate what’s to come, then use the same reese bass from the break. Add some ambience pluck from the break, and some ambience shots from the break to give the build up some of the breaks’ atmosphere.
- White noise for organic texture that sucks you in.
- Snare drums that repeat quicker and quicker.
- A filter to help fade them in smoothly.
- A tonal riser to add tension.
You want the listener to feel “something is about to happen”.
Use a present drum fill from the Thermal Future Rave Pack, which helps complete the build up and makes it slap harder.
Dropping the Drop
Everything builds to the drop. It’s the epic part of your song. Kick drums. Synths. Bass. They all work together. Tip: Add in new stuff every few seconds.
First find a kick that fits perfectly, use the one from Future Rave because it punches STRONG and can be heard through the big drop while working well with the bass.
Try multiple kicks before deciding. The drop starts with a kick only, and more drums come in the second part to add the interest & groove. Some of the other elements are claps, rides and hats.
These drums go into the same mixer bus where they get compressed, with the bus compressor. Then add a multiband compressor set to 2khz to make those claps even more snappy. Room reverb also helps give the drums their own space in the mix.
By adding a crash and downlifting it you get EXTRA impact at the beginning of the drop, while an ambience lead shot gives it more atmosphere. Add the vocals back into the second part of the drop to help keep it interesting. Then by clicking the up arrow on the bus, you “route to this track only” to make sure all the synths are linked to the bus, with kickstart on it to sidechain them to the kick.
Without sidechain it will clash with the kick. The sidechain is short, because the kick is short.
Short kick = short sidechain.
Long kick = long sidechain.
Doing the Mastering
During mastering, you want the mix to sound even better. Nothing crazy, but subtle changes. The main goal is to make the track sound WHOLE, not like single instruments.
First, add endless smile to create a washout effect during the build up so the drop hits harder. The wet signal of the plugin increases by using an automation.
It’s FL studio stock when you “tweak parameter”. Go to add in the top left corner and “create automation for the last tweaked parameter”. Also take a few DB of volume away during the build-up, and add it back when the drop hits, to give the illusion that the drop is louder than it is.
Next up, use a multiband compressor to make the low-end tight. This prevents huge volume changes on the low end and tames the peaks in the high-end a bit. Use EQ to remove muddiness.
Remember: some frequencies should be removed – anything under 25 khz, and avoid going too crazy with these. A 1-2DB gain reduction is enough. If you need to reduce more than that, your track is not mixed well!
Another note on the EQ: make sure to use it in linear phase mode when mastering, otherwise phases might get messed up. Linear phase is all the way at the bottom.
Using PSP, add some low-end frequencies. A mid-side EQ has two purposes:
Make the low-end mono.
Make the high-end more stereo.
You can change to mid-side mode in Fabfilter Pro Q by going all the way to the bottom and change the channel mode to mid side. Next a compressor glues the track together. Around two DB of gain reduction by tweaking the threshold. Beware of overcompressing the mix, you could lose ALL the dynamic. Not what you want. Push the limiter to the loudness level that you want to achieve. But be careful with distortion! Also, turn “true peak limiting” off because some people don’t like how it affects their transients.
And that’s it! You’ve come to the end of an in-depth look at how to make a Future Rave track. Now, go back to the beginning and read it again, and watch this tutorial to see how it’s done. Have fun in the studio!