How to Use Splice to Produce Amazing Tracks
Looking to produce music with Splice at your home studio?
This post is for those who are newer to production, and desire to make some higher-quality demos at home. It comes from my direct experience. I’ll be sharing with you some of my own process and music, and how I made it, step by step.
First of all, home recording is not as daunting as it seems! It is just a matter of getting the technology on your side, and then developing your ability to choose and edit.
If you’re still working with GarageBand, you may want to consider stepping up your game and getting Logic or even Protools. Professional software isn’t that hard to learn to navigate, especially with so many helpful tutorials on Youtube nowadays provided by one simple search.
Today we’ll go through creating music on Logic using samples and sounds from Splice.
By the way, this is not an ad – this program has been so helpful to me, I just had to share.
Why make music with Splice?
Prior to asking yourself how to produce music with Splice, you may ask yourself – why should I produce music with Splice?
Here’s a simple answer. For an affordable monthly subscription, you can download and use any sound in the known universe.
The most well-known producers, DJs, and musicians create packs of samples for Splice users, and the samples are of the highest quality possible.
Most of all, we’re working with audio instead of midi. It just sounds better.
Once you’ve got Splice open, you can work either in your web browser, which I prefer:
Or on the software on your hard drive:
Method #1: copy & paste
Have you written a song with a fairly common chord progression?
You’re likely to find an amazing synth loop at just the right tempo with just the right chords.
To download full synth, drum, and bass loops and drag them into your session is super easy. It requires some searching and sifting through the samples, but this process is actually fun! It can illuminate some possibilities you haven’t thought of before.
As you search, you’ll be able to use the filter window to really get specific:
You can specify the beats per minute, the key, and whether you’re looking for major or minor.
For example, in the search bar I typed in “synth progressions”. I choose 120 BPM, Loops, and the key of D major, looking like this:
And here are just a few of the thousands of samples that came up:
Amazing selection already! Each sample has a unique vibe, and could inspire a whole track!
Yes, transposing these samples is possible without changing the tempo/sample rate! Reveal the Region menu with the shortcut: “i” and you’ll see an option to transpose. This works with half steps/semitones.
Let’s say I want to take one of the sounds I found before and put it in a 1/4/5/1 chord progression, I’ll copy and paste the audio file to create 4 of the same samples in a row. I’ll keep the first one as is, in D.
To transpose the 2nd one, I’ll select it, then double click next to transpose and type in “+5” – meaning raise the pitch by 5 semitones. This will make it a G chord.
To transpose the 3rd file, I’ll select it, then double click next to transpose and type in “+7” – which will make it an A chord.
I’ll leave the final one as is, and it’ll sound like this:
Caution: Sometimes transposition won’t work within your specific scale! Study up on your music theory and make sure you’re aware of scale degrees, intervals, and how each melody should and will work when transposed.
Pro-tip: Sometimes, when I love a sample so much but transposing doesn’t work, I’ll learn to play it on keys, rewrite it slightly, and then record it on my own!
Rinse and repeat
Once you have your main sample going, so many loops are at your disposal. Simply head to Sounds and you’ll see an array of options.
Don’t get overwhelmed! You’ll be able to tailor your search for exactly what you’re looking for using those filters.
Search for drum loops, sweeps and fills, and use the building blocks you download from Splice.
There are also lots of ways the algorithm can decide to present your search results:
Experiment! Follow your intuition and let it bring you to the right sound. Listen to as many as you have time for. Take notes of the ones that resonate with you by clicking the heart next to the sound. Look through your favorites, choose the best ones for your song, and then download!
From there, it’s as simple as opening your Splice software window, create a new audio track in Logic, click and hold the sample you want, and drag it into your Logic session!
The computer will rename your track to match the title of your sample.
Pro-tip: Make sure your session is in your desired tempo. Otherwise your samples may seem pretty wonky against the metronome!
Method #2: Detailed building blocks
The amount of different snare sounds on Splice is almost mind boggling.
Getting into beat making and arranging piece by piece is a special craft that requires a discerning ear and decisiveness.
For example, in this one pack alone by Sonny Digital, there are 25 different snare sounds:
Take a finished song that you’ve written. It has its energy and vibe. Sit and listen to that song or play it through, and meditate on what kind of snare the song is calling for.
Is it electronic or acoustic? Dry, or with lots of reverb? Deep or cutting? Is it a rimshot? Is there a flam? Intuit your answers and this will dwindle your choices. You’ll definitely find the right one!
Go through these same steps with your kick, your hi-hat, crashes, fills, and all the other sounds to create your beat.
Click and drag
Set your tempo in your session, and create lots of new, empty tracks.
Click and drag each sound you downloaded, each kick, snare, etc. into your grid. Create your beat by clicking, holding option, and dragging (AKA copy & paste) to their place throughout your track!
It’s like painting or sculpting! What should go where? What can you take away?
Here’s a visual of a beat made of a kick, a snare and hi-hat I recently made from Splice:
Here’s how it sounds:
So, I don’t play guitar, but there are so many beautiful guitar samples on Splice, and it gives me amazing access to this instrument!
It suddenly means I can write guitar-based songs. Using transposition, I got to match these guitar sounds to my chord progression.
I added some bass, and here’s the track!
If I choose, I could send this home demo off to great mixing and mastering engineer at Supreme Tracks, and release it as a single tomorrow!
Splice has been so helpful for me, I’ve even started to dive into the world of Podcasts, creating music and editing!
It’s just limitless, and the more you work with it, the more you learn your groove.
Of course, what will really inform your beat making and arranging is a great song. Check out some of my other posts about songwriting so you can really have amazing material to work with when you turn to production.
Thanks for reading!
Just for fun, I’ll leave you with this beautiful 5.1 surround sound sample of a clear day in the forest. Enjoy!