Hip-Hop + BASS - jamming out on a few patterns (and some stories!)

First time I really explored in depth the tonal differences in sampling 26k vs 48k for different sounds, in combination with classic vs hifi engines and output filters - by comparing each in pattern. Did each sample at both resolutions and played around with them to see how they’d sit in the mix at both resolutions with different output filtering. What I landed on here is:

  • Horn samples were pretty colored as is, so all horns here are the 48k versions but in Classic mode and run through the Dynamic Filter on Channel 1. Channel 1 is also going through an analog delay pedal (Boss DM-2w ftw!! - it’s never met a sound it didn’t endlessly repeat :crazy_face:)

  • Guitar was too piercing at 48k, so wnet 26k 12 bit and classic engine which warmed it up but also ran it through Channel 1’s Dynamic Filter which really glued it together

  • Main sample (first sound you hear) - is 26k 12 bit and classic engine and running in the main mix (my output routing is a bit lacking ATM - main mix out and then a single channel I’m sending through FX, with some strategic choking on that channel). In this video it isn’t, but I intended to have that track running through Channel 5’s Fixed Filter - it takes some of the bite out and REALLY warms it up, but must’ve switched it off prior to recording

You may hear some random triggers when I switch banks, specifically when it hits the live loop bank it plays a random trigger - I owe @Mickey the snippets from the vid so he doesn’t have to watch the whole thing over again, to see if it’s a bug or not - most audible examples occur at 4:41 and 6:50

TL;DR from here - look up Pretty Lights if you’ve never heard him - IMO he kinda glues the S2400 community together with (simply put) a very nice blend of hip-hop and house/dance grooves - his live shows really bring this out, and all shows from 2016 - 2018 on YouTube he officially recorded in HQ audio and if you’re looking for something new, well worth a listen.

Made this using some really cool breaks. Not sure how many are familiar with Pretty Lights but if you know me you know he’s is one of my all time favorite producers, performers, and just artists in general. He gets REALLY creative with how he approaches each project - his most recent album, A Color Map of the Sun - used a recording process that to my knowledge was unique to him - there’s a really cool 20min documentary (can’t link another YouTube vid won’t allow me). Basically he created his own record collection to sample from by recording live studio sessions of bands he compiled, playing music he wrote, to “emulate” the types of breaks and sounds he would go vinyl digging for. I sampled from the reel breaks used in on of those sessions.

PL was known for his sampling wizardry, genre-blending old (like really old, digs back into the early 1900s) soul and blues records with classic hip-hop drums, classic lines/verses, and them an EDM style synth setup and dance groove - gets really out there tough put a genre to - I’d say his early work is best compared to Bonobo. Anyway, because of his sampling style, between the incredibly difficult to track down owners, and then incredibly popular samples an un-signed artist would never get clearance for, he gave all his music away for free (still does at prettylightsmusic.com).

Cut to the most recent album (A Color Map of the Sun) - it was going to be his magnum opus from the get go, but how could he use his sampling process if clearance would be almost unattainable - he couldn’t so instead he used his years of knowing what to look for in records he sampled, and instead compiled bands in different cities (LA, Brooklyn and New Orleans), wrote music for them to play or jam on breaks he knew he was going for - recorded them using X recording process from the time period he was going for (reel to reel for some, acetate pressings, but all analog baby!) to acheive the truest possible sound he was after time-period included. Then recorded all those sessions to vinyl and voila - he had his own, custom record collection to sample from. The album went on to be nominated for a Grammy for best Dance/Electronic album in 2013 - but unfortunately happened to be the same year Daft Punk (RIP :cry:) came out of retirement and released R.A.M. - which won the category. The story goes that Daft Punk actually reached out to Derek Smith (Pretty Lights) to say they thought he should have won, that his record was like nothing ever produced, and the recording process floored them. Obviously musicians aren’t in it for the awards, but still crazy to think an independent producer from Colorado - went in 7 years from his very first release to a Grammy nominated album and a personal consolation from Daft Punk. I was at his last show at Red Rocks on August 11th, 2018 (was his 10th consecutive year selling out a weekend at Red Rocks) and he has not been heard from since…some lore for ya!


I really liked this! Cant wait to get mine. Thanx for sharing and I m gonna follow you on Youtube for lessons! lol but seriously, im just starting out so…

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Are you really using 26k and not 24k? I’ve never heard of using such an odd sample rate. (I don’t own the 2400 yet, so I don’t know if you’re able to dial in your own sample rate) And thanks for the PL tip!

26K (technically 26.04K, same as OG) for 12-bit and 48K for 24-bit are the options on the S2400. I’m not too savvy when it comes to sample rate and the resulting bit resolution/depth/rate, but I do know that the SP-1200 uses a sample rate of 26.04K and the MPC60 uses a sample rate of 40K and both produce very distinguishable 12-bit sounds.

Also YES definitely check out PL you will not be disappointed! - I’d start with earliest work up onward and you can hear the progression from an almost straight MPC + Ableton production into some really crazy worlds of the best of the best sampling IMO (pick any song and you’ll hear a collage of at least 5-10 different records sampled) - to when he starts integrating modular + multiple iterations of Ableton + Bitwig. Dude is a mad scientist, truly genre-bending.

Hopefully someone will drop some knowledge on how sample rate affects bit resolution/depth/rate. I’d love to learn more cuz they certainly don’t seem to be mutually exclusive from what I’ve read (i.e. lower sample rate doesn’t always equal lower bit resolution).

Thanks for the PL tip. So the 26k rate is unique to the 1200 that the 2400 is emulating and extending. Very interesting, and I’m no expert, but one consequence of the lower sample rate (from 28 to 26k) would be a corresponding lowering of the Nyquist frequency, which likely contributes to the character of the sound the 1200 is famous for. I always knew about the 12-bit resolution, but didn’t know about the sample rate.

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@juniorg is right, but there is a Roger Linn OS version that will allow a 20khz sample rate on the MPC 60. Its not as crunchy as the SP-1200 because of the sample interpolation but it definitely adds grit. @xmiinc keep in mind that the S2400 will play any sample rate, but if it isnt one of the ‘officially supported’ sample rates it ends up speeding up or slowing down the sample. This can be something fun to play with and a way to add color to your samples. If you have software that can resample to arbitrary sample rates it may be worth testing out.

I can’t recall but didn’t he also release the sample source material for that as well? I could have sworn I had it in my digital archives. And yeah it was a really interesting short documentary.

Anyway here is a link to the making of this album. Getting the all the musicians into the studios and letting them just go sounded like a lot of fun.


Wow, great doc and super-inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

Yep that’s it - thanks for sharing! Was going to put it in my original post but it was long enough already haha. But yes, all of his official releases up to that point were on his own label and he had to give them away (also wanted to), because the sample clearances would’ve cost a FORTUNE. So what does a guru sampler do to make a marketable hit record…make his own crate of vinyl to of the breaks, sounds, eras, genres, vocals, horns, strings, worldly sounds, etc that he’d normally dig for - write the music you already know you’re looking for, have bands play it exactly how you know it’ll best be sampled, then sample it! - then the icing on the cake for me was recording using the styles of certain eras. Acetate in some instances, bounce to tape, I believe he even did some old cylinder recordings. Most of the studio sessions are available for free on prettylightsmusic.com - or the deluxe version of ACMOTS on Spotify, Apple, etc. - So this process not only allowed him to “officially officially” release that album and put it up for sale, even though he still gave it away for free - but also eligible to be nominated for a Grammy, which again unfortunately lost to Daft Punk. But think about that, the FIRST album you make (in a less than 10 year recording career) that’s eligible for a Grammy get’s nominated and almost wins - even DP gave him the props afterward.

I was fortunate enough to be gifted an actual reel used in one of the NO sessions that includes some of the CRAZY vocals from that documentary - where he asks the woman to scream like a zombie apocalypse or something is happening lol (he has a way of painting a picture of the sound he wants ha) - I don’t own a reel to reel but I’ll go to my buddy’s studio just to listen to it - it’s entirely ‘good enough’ music on it’s own - but also a genre I’ve never heard - it’s like if there was an chart topping soul/blues/funk crossover band that existed in the 1950’s - that’s how it sounds.

I’ve been lucky to kick it with Derek a few times, chilling after shows we became in touch, then kicked it at his place in New Orleans while I was down there. (his studio is mindblowing - literally every piece of gear and every module I’ve ever seen, the COOLEST sounding custom Pittsburgh Modular oscillator module I’ve ever heard). He moved from Denver to NO because from the band he assembled for that stop on the studio sessions, one of the keyboardist and hammond organ gurus, Brandon Butler, and one of the drummers, Alvin Ford Jr (Brandon’s cousin, and one HELL of a drummer - has been in a few great jazz and funk bands and toured with some greats) became mainstays in the most recent iteration of his live band. I HIGHLY recommend watching some of his live shows from 2016 - 2018 (Episodic Festival - he put on his own festival stops for his last 10 - 12 shows), all recorded by his team in HQ audio and video (LazerShark - if you don’t know him and like live analog video synthesis, look him up too!) - I could rave all day, but I’m incredibly glad he’s getting some extra flowers right now. y fav shows to rewatch are both nights the Red Rocks 2018, the Gorge Amphitheatre 2017 both nights - Red Rocks 2017 night 2 - I mean hell they’re all freakin phenomenal.

The man is really one of a kind. They way he approaches production I just can’t fathom. He hears entire pieces, and in A Color Map of the Sun album - literally the whole album in his head before ever recording a note.

Easily my favorite producer and a truly one of a kind soul - IMO he has a connection to source energy…ok I’m getting deep - but watch his final show at RR 2018 and maybe have an idea of what I’m getting at. From studio recording, to selling out Red Rocks 10 years straight with multiple iterations of new concept bands, to making arguably his best just to fall off the face of the earth - no one has heard from him since that last show at RR. Being there, it felt like a transcendent event. I remember afterward people just standing on the rocks in awe wayyy longer than people normally linger after shows - and the vibe was just like “what did we just witness” - was beyond music. It felt like what I imagine some of the legendary Grateful Dead shows might have felt like.

Ok enough fanboying I could do it all day - if anyone ever wants a recommendation on anything Pretty Lights use me as your fanboy button.

Familiar with Zappa? Another production-creator genius who put out otherworldly musical material (prolly not as fun to be around, though, from what we hear from the musicians). Prince has a rep there too. Thanks for the Pretty Lights tip.