Monstercat is a label that’s been around for about as long as I’ve been into dance music. While they release various music and genres, they always have a particular sonic aesthetic. It’s bright, punchy, modern, and emotional, and no matter which artists are releasing on the label on any given week, fans of the label can expect that it will be of the highest quality for all the above qualities.

Angara recently had an amazing melodic house release on the label, which is a bit chiller than most of Monstercat’s discography. However, the release still manages to have the label’s iconic aesthetic. So, to celebrate this release, I wanted to invite them on and talk about which plugins they used and how they use these studio tools, and I wanted to get a few quick tips on how they make melodic house music. So listen to the release a couple of times below before we dive into the sauce on the latest iteration of How It Was Made: Angara – I Don’t Mind.


Angara - I Don’t Mind Repro

U-he Repro is a super cool synth that brings classic analog vibes. It recreates the Prophet-5 and Prophet-1 amazingly, which we knew about for their rich, warm sounds. It was our go-to for this nostalgic track, especially for the Rhodes-like synth. We needed it for the chords because we were hunting for an organic sound with an electronic edge. We were inspired by the iconic Rhodes/synth sound from Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place”; we wanted to capture that fullness.

We stumbled upon an article where Thom Yorke explained how he achieved that sound by panning his Prophet-5 hard left with some specific settings and recording another take with it hard right with slightly different settings, a bit like you would do with different takes and recordings of guitars. To add some extra warmth and depth, we automated some reverb and delay, and threw on some saturation. The result was this rich chord sound that perfectly fit the mood of our song and evolved into a rhythmic triplet sound – thanks to a gate effect following a particular pattern. If you’re a producer looking to get that classic analog sound without spending a fortune on the real thing, U-he Repro is an amazing choice.

In a broader way, we found products from U-He to be of top-notch quality – Hive2 and Diva are also great examples that we use often depending on the characteristics of the sound we are looking for.

Learn More About This Plugin Here

Split EQ

Angara - I Don’t Mind split EQ

Split EQ is a plugin that we can’t live without. It detects transients and lets you separate them from a sound’s tonal response. You can now distinctively manipulate a sound’s attack from the rest of it, and you can also manipulate it on the sides and mid parts, which has a lot of potential for working on specific sounds.

For instance, on “I Don’t Mind,” we used a tonally excellent shaker sound but the attack made it too present. Instead of only EQ-ing it, which would have removed both the attack and the tone, we only removed some attack from it, and the sound seemed untouched. This allowed us to maintain the natural feel while fitting it perfectly into the mix. Split EQ is a game-changer if you’re working in genres that require precise control over your sounds.

It’s particularly useful for dialing in percussive elements or any sound that needs to sit just right in the mix without losing its character.

Learn More About This Plugin Here

SSL Native X-Phase

Angara - I Don’t Mind SSL

SSL Native X-Phase is a tool that helps manipulate the phase of an element by either shifting the phase at a certain range of frequencies or delaying either the left or right signal of that same element to correct mix issues resulting from phase cancellations.

We had many issues from one track to another, especially in the low-end section, and we did not understand why until we stumbled across articles and video tutorials that explained how much phasing issues were impacting the sound quality. So, we now try to ensure we get the best out of potentially phase-conflicted sounds. One area where phase issues can occur the most is in the low-end, especially the relationship between the kick and the bass. We combine SSL Native X-Phase for phase manipulation, Ozone Imager to tweak the image response, Shaperbox to manipulate the length and shape of the kick and its relation to the bass, and an oscilloscope to check if all works accordingly.

(Don’t forget always to check the mix in mono!)

If you’re facing similar issues, SSL Native X-Phase is a must-have. It can save your mix from muddy low-end and phase cancellation problems, ensuring your tracks hit hard and sound clear.

Learn More About This Plugin Here


Angara - I Don’t Mind DAC

TAL-DAC is a great plugin that emulates the character of vintage digital-to-analog converters. From the official product presentation, we understood that adding the imperfections of 80’s samplers gives a little lo-fi charm. There are simple controls, and it’s perfect for anyone looking to add some retro flavor like we did to the Repro synths. More broadly, we like to use plugins that bring imperfections to our sound, so we never want our presets or sounds to remain untouched, even if they are really subtle.

So we basically either create some movement, add some different tone characteristics to match the song properly, or we give some retro character. In “I Don’t Mind,” there is a balance between nostalgia and a certain kind of good feeling. It brings back strong emotional memories, so we add these imperfections like a video editor would process an emotional movie or video, by adding grains and tonal characteristics. One trick we’ve learned is to pair these kinds of plugins (tape emulator/saturation plugins) with synths like Repro.

This adds a little touch more, a little detail more, and helps give your tracks a more authentic and organic vibe. It also enhances the feeling of converting digital to analog better (while not using any proper hardware). We are looking to have our own sound; we need to experiment with tones, imperfections, and randomness.

Learn More About This Plugin Here

Tips For Making Melodic House

#1 – Embrace imperfections! Add subtle lo-fi effects and saturation for that nostalgic, organic vibe that make your sound more relatable and emotionally impactful.

#2 – Process the attack and sustain separately, just like you do with mid and side sections, for ultimate control.

#3 – Analog on a budget! Master your synths and plugins to nail that vintage sound without breaking the bank.

#4 – Phase it right! Tackle those phasing issues to make sure your tracks shine in both final production and live sets.

The post How It Was Made: Angara – I Don’t Mind (Monstercat) appeared first on Magnetic Magazine.