Creative Auto Filters with HAEN

Sachin Menon, who goes by his artist name HAEN, is a rising star in the Indian electronic music scene. He is also one half of electronic duo - Feeling Sunsets with Yash (artist name - Scarr..), who together also run Soule Studios in Pune, a production house and a mixing and mastering studio.

Within a year of inception of both projects, Sachin has released a plethora of music independently and on some of the top labels in the world as both Haen & Feelings Sunsets. His and Scarr’s debut EP Moved was released on Silk Music (now known as Monstercat Silk), followed by releases on Songspire Records, ​​Traum Schallplatten, Elliptical Sun & Mango Alley Recordings under his HAEN moniker, and a whole lot more signed & scheduled for release later this year. Having a good ear for emotive music, production skills he’s polished over the years and having no boundary for genres is what makes him a very talented, very versatile artist and one to definitely keep an eye (and ear) out for here.

We had a word with him about his production techniques and his favourite tools to use on Ableton Live. Here’s what he’s got to share with you..

HAEN’s go-to plug-in is Ableton Live’s Auto Filter, which he uses in his own unique way to create grooves, rhythmic melodies, chords and pretty much anything else under the sun. “I happened to stumble upon this trick on my own while I was experimenting with Ableton and now I use this on pretty much anything to get interesting ideas. You can try this with anything - midi & audio. The LFO feature is super useful, plus amps, reverbs or delays post the auto-filter helps me build unique sounds. It all starts with the auto filter though..”

In this exercise he’s shared with us how he uses the auto filter creatively to come up with different ideas for his tracks. Let’s have a look.

Here’s how you can get creative with bassline grooves using both midi clips and audio samples.

  • Open a midi channel and drop your favourite VST plugin, select a bass preset
  • Open a midi clip and draw a simple note for your bass
  • Load up the auto-filter and cut the frequency to around 400 hz
  • Open up the LFO amount all the way to 100% and select an LFO shape. Over here we use a triangle wave
  • Adjust the rate in beat mode and find a rate that generates a groove you like
  • You can further enable quantize and select a quantize setting. Each setting gives you a different groove
  • Add some phaze to your sound. Please note, if you’re using Phase on a bassline make sure you use an imager or stereo modulation to control/prevent phase cancellation in the low end
  • You can additionally change the filter mode and increase the drive. Here we use a MS2
  • You can automate the filter for modulations

Voila! You now have a crazy sub/bass groove going on from a simple single note bassline.

You can do the exact same process with an audio sample too. Play around with the parameters till you get something that you like.

  • Load up a bass loop from your samples and add the auto filter to the channel
  • Reduce the frequency range to approximately 100-300 hz. In this example we want the low and mid low range area of the bass sample
  • Enable the LFO - open up the LFO amount
  • Adjust the rate to your liking. You can start hearing a new sequence forming
  • Further fine tune this by activating quantize and choosing a quantize setting
  • Play around with the LFO, rate and quantize settings to come up with really fun & unique grooves
Here’s how you can use a simple guitar loop to create a rhythmic melodic sequence using the similar process.

  • Drop a melodic audio loop that you like and select a small section on that clip
  • Add an auto filter on the same channel and adjust the frequency to your liking
  • Open up the auto-filter LFO all the way
  • Select ‘beats’ on the rate and adjust the rate to your liking
  • Enable quantize and choose a quantize option that you like
  • Add a reverb to the same channel to enhance the sound
  • You can further play around with the Auto Filter frequency, quantize options and the Reverb decay to get really interesting sequences and rhythms
Insane, right? Now again we use the same process on a chord stab sample. Check it out -

  • Select a chord loop that you like. Make sure Warp is enabled on your clip and select complex or complex pro
  • Pitch down audio sample by an octave or to your liking
  • Add an auto-filter. Adjust the frequency, open up the LFO and adjust the rate to your liking
  • Enable quantize
  • Add a delay/reverb to give movement to your sound
  • Play around with the LFO, Rate and filter settings to get really interesting rhythmic chord variations
As shown in the first video, you can play around with the filter types, increase the drive, phase settings and add a different combination of effects to get some really creative ideas out of your elements.

If you’ve enjoyed this exercise, do try it out and please drop a comment and share your experience with us. You can also reach out to Sachin for any guidance or help regarding production techniques or how to make it as an independent artist.

Also go check out Sachin’s music on the following links:

Feeling Sunsets on Instagram -