Hands On w/the Beatport Production Starter Kit

Free bundles includes 1GB of sounds and production tutorials.
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We recently wrote about the proliferation of BitTorrent Bundles as a way for independent artists and small labels — many of them of the electronic persuasion — to get paid and/or to increase their followings. Now the mother of all digital dance music stores — Beatport — has embraced the platform to put out a completely free bundle for aspiring dance music producers.

Beatport’s Production Starter Kit launched earlier today on the BitTorrent Bundle site, and you don’t even need to give them your email address to download the nearly 3GB of samples, MIDI files, plug-in presets, video tutorials and PDF tutorials.

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The Sounds
Of course, Beatport didn’t get to where it is today by making stupid business decisions. All of the nearly 1,500 sound files in the Starter Kit come from one of 20 different soundware publishers on Beatport Sounds, which is Beatport’s store for distributing samples, MIDI files and synth presets in packs that usually sell for $20-30 apiece. You get a 30% off coupon to Beatport Sounds as part of this BitTorrent Bundle.

The sound material in the bundle includes samples (more than 900), MIDI files and plug-in presets, mostly for either Native Instruments Massive, Lennar Digital Sylenth1 or Reveal Sound Spire (pictured). You’ll find instrument and drum loops, one-shots of drums, vocals, stabs, and special effects like risers and impact sounds.

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On a technical level, the sounds are expertly produced and of professional quality, mostly in WAV format. Stylistically, the samples sound up-to-date, but don’t vary in genre as much as they could. Instead, Beatport has again done the shrewd thing by including sounds that would fit the styles of most of the current DJ Mag Top 100 DJs: big-room house, progressive trance, electro-house et al.

The Tutorials
A couple of video tutorials come from Fader Pro and are squarely aimed at beginners. There is a primer on basic effect types like distortion, chorus, delay, bitcrushing and reverb. The other one shows users of this bundle how to get started producing a track using basic elemental building blocks from the Starter Kit.

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Ten PDF tutorials split into five on music production and five on the music industry. The Compression Basics PDF does a nice job distilling the principals of this potentially confusing but essential effect. There are also three that focus on tips for producing specific genres: deep tech-house, electro house and minimal house/techno.

I really like the how-to PDFs on the business side: Get Your Demo Heard, Make a Living in the Music Industry, Set Up and Run a Digital Label and Start a Club Night. Oftentimes beginner-oriented music guides include nothing on the business side of things, but including this material adds a lot of value and shows people that success in this world takes a lot of work and dedication.

Essentially, you have nothing to lose but a little bit of time by checking out this free bundle, but if you are a beginner, the bundle doesn’t really have “everything aspiring music creators need to… start creating,” as its description reads. The most obvious missing piece, as the Fader Pro videos confirm, is some software. So if you don’t have — and aren’t ready to buy — the Apple Logic DAW and Massive synth plug-in, try the Tracktion T4 DAW, the free version of the well-rounded Tracktion DAW software for Mac/PC/Linux.

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