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The Sine Wave Challenge

The goal of the Sine Wave Challenge is simple, use a simple sine wave to design a beat. 

The sine wave is the raw building block in which all sounds are made. We’re starting with a simple sine wave recorded from a synth and loaded into Ableton’s sampler.

Designing a Kick Drum from a simple sine wave is relatively straight forward. First start by applying a fast downwards pitch envelope to the start of the sine wave. To beef up the kick, load up an instance of Ableton’s Overdrive and and increase the Drive. 

A Snare Drum is also relatively simple to create. We can start by duplicating the Kick Drum track so we have the same settings, then pitch the Sine Wave up two octaves. We can opt to increase the drive even more to create a smashed snare tone.

For the last sound, we can duplicate the Snare track and draw in 1/16th notes. Next, tighten the sound’s ADSR envelope parameters to create a short click. Finally, open up Ableton’s Vocoder to add white noise to the signal, giving us a convincing hat like sound.


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