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Arts & Entertainment

In the Studio, Part 4: Adding Groove and Bass

Armin van Buuren

Lesson time 8:55 min

Now that Armin and Benno have some melodies they like, it’s time to build out the low end of the track. Watch how the techniques Armin’s showed you for creating grooves come together in the context of a new track.

Armin van Buuren
Teaches Dance Music
Learn how to make dance music from the platinum-selling producer voted No. 1 DJ in the world five times by DJ Magazine.


- So just to be clear, we were working in two separate Logic projects. was working on his laptop creating some grooves and throwing some elements together. I was working on the main DAWs set-up right over here. What he's doing now, he's importing all the media information and the instruments into my project. The one that's running on the DAW, but just to see if we throw those elements together, see if they make sense. - Right, so now it sounds like a big mess. What are we going to do? - Um-- - What would your suggestion be? - I would suggest to make more of an energetic baseline and kind of-- If we really want to go down this route-- - Yeah. - Be my guest. - --maybe mute the baseline that you've got going. - Yeah, sure. - It has a different feel to it. - In the mean time, shall I get some risers and stuff? What would you like? - Could do. SPEAKER 1: Do you mind if I change the kick? SPEAKER 2: No, no, no. Not at all. It needs to be changed. Melodies are a bit loud as well. - Yeah, we need to. I need to lower the volume on that one because it's clogging up the mix. Um, so that is-- SPEAKER 2: That sounds more decent. So. I think we need a riff right? - Da luh luh luh. - Yeah. SPEAKER 1: Let's put an LFO tool on the kick. So we-- SPEAKER 2: I could try to see if I could find a sound for it. For, like a big sound for it. Or do you want-- SPEAKER 1: Yeah, absolutely. We could try it both ways. SPEAKER 1 (VOICEOVER): We're looking for a kick drum that fits the rest of my element. And I feel this is a pretty standard trance track with a unique melody. I want to use a kick that really works on the dance floor, has a beautiful bottom end, but isn't fighting with my baseline. [DRUM SOUNDS] - Also, that block sound is a little bit muddy. - Maybe you should start working on a dooga dooga dooga dooga. - Yeah. - On an arpeggiated bassline. - Arpeggiated. Yeah. With perhaps a square-like sound? SPEAKER 1: she had a solid bass-- SPEAKER 2: Square it. SPEAKER 1: --kind of-- SPEAKER 2: Solid. SPEAKER 1: Solid bass. SPEAKER 2: Right? SPEAKER 1: Solid bass-like. Not saying like solid bass. SPEAKER 2: Ish. SPEAKER 1: Or why don't we try the new one, plugin that we just bought? Like this one. See, it's got that solid bass. [BASS SOUNDS] - I kind of like that. [BASS SOUNDS] It has a solid bass feel to it. What I'm going to do now is-- So-- [BASS SOUNDS] SPEAKER 1 (VOICEOVER): I'm trying different rhythms with my bassline in order to give the track a certain groove. A bassline is extremely important, especially in combination with your hi-hats and your kick. That is your groove. SPEAKER 1: I don't know if this is particularly the bassline sound that I'm looking for but-- I'm looking more for do do do do do do do do do do. [BASS SOUND...

About the Instructor

Every week, Armin van Buuren puts 41 million listeners into A State of Trance on his radio show. In his first-ever online class, the platinum-selling DJ breaks down his hits and builds a track from scratch to show you how he produces, performs, and promotes dance music. You’ll learn his technical process for using samples and plug-ins, mixing, recording vocals, and how to DJ a set. Your crowd is waiting.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I've seen, that the way of Armins producing EDM, is pretty much the same what I already do. This makes me confident of the things that have done and will do in the future. I learned a lot of "Must have" plugins which keeps my own production easier and more accurate to the goals that I have.

Excellent, well-structured. Complete and thorough, with useful information from beginning to end.

Very inspiring, id like to see something with more fundamentals on structure and perhaps and artist that uses fl studio.

It was very insightful. Went it to a lot of detail, which was frustrating for the things I already knew and became slightly boring, but for the things I didn't it was extremely eye opening


A fellow student

Finally a part I actually understood; this isn't a complaint i meant it merely based on my knowledge. What I loved most about this lesson was the part when Armin was testing different keys because before he went up or down I actually anticipated what he was going to do. I loved it because it made me feel like I have a good ear like Armin has said before. Im not saying I'm the next Armin van Buuren but it felt nice to be able to feel that


It's nice to see how the song gets done over time and how different options can effect the track.

Jeff M.

when he adds an LFO to the bass so the kick can shine through, can't he just use side chain?

Maurice D.

I am amused about the transcript. They managed to transcript "dooga dooga dooga" but when it comes to Benny's name they say [INAUDIBLE]. Funny!

Morgan G.

I'm wanting to understand better the layering of bass. Somehow I got under the impression that trance has multiple bass lines not just multiple basses. Is that true? It's something I seem to hear on trance tracks. Or is the sub just duplicating what the higher frequency is doing?

Jer G.

It's interesting to watch him just work after explaining some of the tools in the previous lessons. There is a balancing act between being creative (like coming up with a baseline), and being a sound engineer (like when he and Benno critiques the sound and changes levels).

Lachlan I.

Great lesson, love how Armin explains how the LFO tool can be so useful in ducking the kick to give more space to the bass-line.

Jordon V.

LFO tool VS. sidechain compression in Ableton. Which one do you guys prefer for basslines/kick ducking? I've been using sidechain compression thus far, as it's how I was trained, but I feel now like it may be better to use a LFO tool, since you can add more of a groove to the ducking, which can add another dimension to the sound. Thoughts?

Dylan W.

The LFO Tool seems pretty popular with EDM I almost bought it for $49.95 but I found one for free! TAL-Filter-2 and it works great! Mac or PC, AU, VST AAX, plugin you can modulate the volume of an incoming signal and also does a whole bunch of other things. TAL software has a bunch of free plugins and synths and they work great. I am using them with Logic Pro X and Ableton Live. Check it out!

Andy D.

Really getting so much from this course, thanks Armin and Benno. I'm getting into dance music ...I'm going to invest in the LFO Tool, sounds like a great plugin to keep each sound in it's own frequency space to stop overlap. Cheers guys, Andy