It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas or how…

Gary Xmas

Hey guys, it’s Andre.

Christmas is coming closer every day. Like  retail sale, many stations made that massive switch to Christmas right after Thanksgiving was over. Especially in AC radio, you’re getting overwhelmed by Christmas imaging these days.

Also the music changes. It’s getting softer, more lovely, many classics from the years before step back into the charts and Michael Bublé drops another Christmas album… A lot of stuff to work with.

But there are other formats which aren’t overwhelmed by typical Christmas songs, especially hotter or genre related formats.

Your job as imaging director is to make the station sound like Christmas, although most of the music stays the same.

Sounds like a pretty hard task, well? – But don’t worry. Use my three little tips and your station will sound like it’s broadcasting from North Pole.

My three Christmas imaging tips:

1. Use bells.

2. Use bells.

3. Use bells.

Sounds pretty simple, but that’s it! Bells create that instant Christmas feeling with no big effort. It’s not the music that gives your station the Christmas sound, it’s the bells.

Here’s an example of how bells can achieve Christmas sound. Below is an example of the hook of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’, a song which has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. Here’s my new version with a few bells.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Bells and everything shiny is useful for Christmas imaging. Check your library for all kinds of bells like jingle bells, sleigh bells, tubular bells, rides, chimes and more. Rhythmic placed bells over a Loop can turn a normal song into a Christmas one instantly.

Avid’s Xpand is part of every Pro Tools since version 8 and features some nice bells, which are really effective when played in two or more octaves at once.

Most of the chimes, I’m using, are part of the basic library which comes with NI’s Maschine.

reFX’s Nexus is not only a top dance synth, it also features a nice selection of bells in its selection of plucked sounds.

Another NI product which features some nice tubular bells is Kontakt. The basic sample library which comes with every copy of Kontakt contains these bells, which can be considered as one of ‘Santa’s little helper

With that pretty flat joke, I’m heading back to the snowed in city of Nordhausen, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and continue my list of plugins and outboard gear for my wish list.

Have a nice weekend and merry Christmas to all of you.

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