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5 Ways To Get Better Using Project Files

Project files or templates are a great way to improve your production skills. Here are a few ways in which they help you get your production to the next level.

1. They allow you to study the track’s MIX & MASTER.

In a track’s project file you can see everything the producer did, including the ways in which the track was mixed. You can take a look at all the effect chains behind sounds and at all the automation lines. With a project file you also get the whole mastering chain - by studying it you can see how it’s polishing up the track and making it loud. By studying the mix & master in this way you often find new techniques and solutions to problems - which you can apply to your own productions later on.

2. They allow you to reverse engineer the track’s SOUND DESIGN.

With a project file, you also get all the synth presets that the track uses. Thanks to this you can easily find out how the synths were made. When you turn off all the effects and filters, you’re left with just the oscillators. Then you can figure out how the oscillators are made and how they interact. Then you can take a look at the filters & effects and see how they are affecting the sound. During the whole process you’re able to see how various modulation sources (LFOs and envelopes) are affecting the sound.

3. You get an inside look at the track’s ARRANGEMENT.

With a project file you can clearly see the track’s arrangement. Not only do you get the locators for all the track sections, but you can see what elements are playing. With complex tracks it’s hard to figure out exactly what elements are playing. With a project file you can solo individual tracks and check how they interact.

4. You find out how the track’s elements are LAYERED & how the chords are VOICED.

It’s very common for original sounding productions to include a lot of layered sounds and a lot of interestingly voiced chords. With a project file you get the inside look at all the synth layers & sample layers. You can clearly see what role is every element playing and how it affects the overall sound. By having access to all the MIDI information you can see how chords are voiced - which can help you with writing chord progressions in the future.

5. They’re a good way to start making YOUR OWN TRACKS.

With a project file you can easily use its elements to create new tracks. If you delete all the MIDI clips from the MIDI tracks and leave just one sample for each audio track, you get the track’s „source material”. Then you can write your own drum patterns, chord progressions, basslines & melodies using pre-mixed sounds & synths - so that at the beginning you don’t have to worry about mixing and just be creative. To make the track more „yours” later on, you can always change the track’s samples using the „Hot Swap” function in Ableton. You can also tweak the synth patches or change the effect chains.


Good luck with your sound design. See you in the next articles!

Check out our Ableton Project Files in the "Templates" section in the menu.

k pizza author soundcloud


I’m a music maker who likes to share his experiences with other producers. I’m regularly going to show up with music and content at PML.

Listen: https://souncloud.com/k-pizza


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