old school house records vibes

How to recreate the old school sound

Picture of Post by distilled noise

Post by distilled noise

I make house music, I share tips for house music producers on YT and Patreon.

Dear friend,

in this week (late) email, I want to tell you about few tips about how to recreate the old school sound.

First off, what do I mean with “old school sound”?

I define old school the sound of house and tech house that was coming out in the 90’s.

In those years producers were mainly using digital samplers like the Akai MPC or analog synths like the Roland 909 Drum Machine, the Roland Juno and many more.

The first category, digital samplers, were usually recording the sounds with a lower bit-rate and sample rate than today’s samplers and this resulted in a sort of lo-fi sound, adding many artifacts and imperfections.

Analog synths on the other side were noisy and warm.

The combination of these 2 elements gave to the records a peculiar texture and vibe which is difficult to get through modern digital synthesizers.

Difficult, but not impossible.

Today we have many tools that we can use to get very close to those vibes. Here is a list:

  • samples: we can still find samples recorded from analog machines or processed through digital samplers. For example the Goldbaby and Samples from Mars packs. Also you can find on the web old sample libraries like the “House masters” ones.
  • vintage synths emulations: there are many companies which succeeded in creating perfect emulations of old synthesizers, like ArturiaRoland CloudUVI (these are actually sampled instruments) and more.
  • plug-in effects: there are also effects that are emulating the flavour of analog sound processors. Tape emulations (like the Studer tape by Universal Audio), bitcrushers (like Decimort by DC16), vintage compressors, eq and delays emulations. In general, everything you found in the studio back in the days, today has its own digital emulation.
  • sampling from vinyls: another good way to add that old school spice to your tracks is to use sampled material of your own. Have a check at your parent’s vinyl collection, find the oddest records and see if there is something cool to sample and use in your tracks.

Now a written content is surely not the best way to show you how to use these tips and get the sound you are looking for.

But at least I hope now you have some new ideas.

If you want to see how I use these tools and reconstruct an old school style track, well, you know the drill: join us on the Minimal Improvements community.

A warm hug,



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Video by Jon Makes Beats (YT video here)

2 – The Art of DJing: CCL – Expansive digging methods for Discogs

Great tips on how to dig new music (YT video here)


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