I know we’ve been pretty quiet lately but know that it’s not without reason. Today I’d like to show you what I’ve been working on. Retro Future, my latest release on Gravitas Recordings covers genres from future beat to tech house to drum and bass and even features some vocal stylings from yours truly.
Hey everybody! We’re about to ramp up our game for the summer by adopting a more rigorous publishing schedule and adding a bunch of great new content to the store. We would like you to be a part of this growth.
We’re looking for guest writers who can deliver interesting, quality content on Ableton Live. We’re not just going to be publishing basic, beginner guides — advanced tips and techniques are encouraged. If you know anything about analog audio, recording techniques, Max for Live, acoustic treatment, advanced synthesis, or have anything else awesome and Ableton-related to share, we want to check it out. And we’ll pay you for it. Send us your ideas!
If you don’t have such a way with words but still make rock-solid Ableton devices, you could submit them to us and we could sell them in our store. You can set your own price and you will keep 70% of every sale, with the other 30% going towards promoting AbletonOp (meaning more people will see your stuff!). If you’ve created an awesome instrument rack, effect chain, sample pack, or Ableton template, we want to see it!
It is the dream of many Ableton producers to make money with electronic music, and we want to make this goal easier to achieve by giving you guys some opportunities at AbletonOp. Email us now if you have anything awesome to share!
Check out the MASSIVE FAT PACK from Gravitas Recordings 45 presets from Gravitas Artists and friends. All for FREE! And while your over there, be sure to check out some of the great new releases from the past couple of months.
I know it’s been a little quiet around here, so to make up for it, I’m giving you my super sweet spectral effect rack pack for FREE.
AbletonOp SPKTRL FX are a series of audio effects based on splitting the input into different ranges of the audio spectrum, and then manipulating those ranges independently. The SPKTRL FX come in two varieties, 5 Band and 9 Band. There are some redundancies between the two, but the limit of 8 macros lead to implementing control of the effects in different ways.
There are also two blank racks of each. One with fixed frequency bands, and one with adjustable crossover control. I encourage you to insert your own effects and experiment with the different possibilities.
The download will contain a Live project file with 2 group tracks (5 Band and 9 Band). In the groups, you will find each of the various spectral effects. I’ve placed a simple saw wave synth (Simpler) before the effects so you can hear how each one works.
Be sure to open the Live Info View. I’ve left notes about each of the racks in there. Simply hover your mous over the title bar of the rack to reveal the notes.
Today’s Quick Tip comes courtesy of Jordi Shier (aka Neon Filter) and covers an easy trick to add interesting variaaitons to your music loops. The video gives an example for drum loops, but you could just as easily apply the technique to synth or vocal loops. Give it a try!
Today’s article comes courtesy of AbletonOp reader Anshul Vishwakarma and covers a work around to a common problem regarding Clip Envelopes. We hope you like it. You can check out Anshul’s music on his Soundcloud.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” A wonderful quote by Leonardo da Vinci which has an almost universally recognized essence. Simplicity is the paramount driving force of evolution in nature as well as in evolution of art, and that includes audio production. I believe that we can all agree that Ableton Live workflows can get complicated to say the least. Given the number of ways the same thing can be achieved, it can get daunting to find the “correct” way to do something. Of course, there’s no universally correct way to do anything, but there are ways that fit well within your existing workflow or ways that allow for the most robust construction of your workflow and ways that are “backwards-compatible,” so to speak. Yet we still want to keep things simple. These two scenarios can sometimes clash. Continue reading →
I’m giddy. Feels like Christmas morning, here in October.
The Ableton website has been fully redesigned. I haven’t made up my mind whether or not I like it, but I’m glad they’ve changed something up.
A whole slew of new things are coming in Live 9, including a nicer file browser (we’ve been waiting for that forever), awesome audio-to-MIDI functionality, a new Glue Compressor, and a lot of touchups to existing functions.
Push, a hardware device for song creation, is a definite change in the MIDI controller world. I’ve had to rig up my existing MIDI controllers a lot to get them to work for composition, rather than performance. Now we’re going to have a ready-made controller, built intimately to work with Ableton, developed specifically for creating music rather than performing it. Though by the looks of it, it will be just as good for performance as anything else. AWESOME.
I’m so excited. Hopefully the upgrade won’t be too expensive. BUT, if you don’t have Live Suite or a full version of Live yet, now is the time to buy it. Ableton is offering a 25% discount and free upgrade to Live 9 when it’s released. So get on it!
Had a conversation in a Reddit thread in response to the last article that lead to Leslie Cabinets. The Leslie is an awesome rotary cabinet used on many great recordings in many different ways. They are primarily used for B3 organ but their unique abilities have inspired many other creative uses. So I decided to try and emulate the Leslie cabinet in Live.
I tried to think of every aspect of a real world Leslie. So at the top, Macro 1, is the input volume. Macro 2 adds in the Tube effects, layering from clean to dirty tubes. Macro 3 is the Drive for the tubes. After the tubes, Macro 4 controls the Gain of the Amp effect.
A Leslie has two speakers, the mid-high range speaker with the double horn, and a low range speaker with a rotating baffle. Macro 5 controls the cutoff frequency for the two speakers. Macro’s 6 and 7 are volume controls for the hi and low chains, and Macro 8 controls the speed of the rotation. If you take a look under the hood, you can see that I’ve even included a “wind” module that emulate the extra wind noise caused by the double horn at higher speeds.
Feel free to experiment with different Amp and Cabinet settings. I hope you enjoy the AbletonOp Leslie Cabinet. Thanks to johnnybigoode for the inspiration.
This article is in response to a Reddit thread on the topic of how to produce original and unique content in Live that doesn’t sound like generic MIDI music. While every artist will eventually forge there own styles of production, here are some thoughts on how I try to make my music unique.
With the abundance of affordable music production tools, making music has never been easier. However, as more of us move towards making music “in the box”, there seems to be an inherent loss of the art of recording. I do not mean to say that people aren’t creating great music purely on computers, nor that there aren’t people out there continuing to make great recorded music. But one can not overlook the rising absence of the recording process in today’s digital production experience. Continue reading →
My girlfriend is a composition student at Oberlin, a conservatory that very much encourages musical experimentation. She can be seen blowing into bottles in this video, among a crowd of students abusing their instruments in the name of “trans-idiomatic” improvised music.
Her compositions vary widely, but she once lamented to me that she constantly worries about them all sounding the same. I was intrigued by this, because among electronic musicians (and pop musicians of all genres), you hear talk of “finding a style” and sticking with it, at least for a time.
The Beatles are a perfect example of this. With The Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night, and all of the music they composed from 1963-1966 was essentially in the same style. With Revolver, they changed it up a bit, with intricate compositions like Eleanor Rigby, and gentler songs like Here, There, and Everywhere. With Sgt. Peppers they grew more psychedelic, ramping it up even more with Magical Mystery Tour. Studying Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi only pushed their creativity further (possibly to a breaking point?).
Anyway, the point is that their style at any given time was consistent, even though tracks from their later years are completely different from their original sound.
Electronic musicians nowadays, unlike the Beatles, define themselves from the beginning by their style, usually deliberately. Someone will say, “I like dubstep but I wish it weren’t so loud” and a musical project is formed. We become known by our style. It’s one of our best marketing tools. People can say, “Oh, you like this artist? You’ll probably like this one too.” It doesn’t work nearly as well when you have to say, “Oh, you like this artist? You check check out this other one too, but only listen to what he did between 2007 and 2009.” Continue reading →
When you open Ableton Live, what you see can seem a little bizarre. If you’re used to the linear arrangement of most DAWs (think GarageBand or Pro Tools or Reason), session view might look a little strange.
You’re given two tracks — an Audio track and a MIDI track. You have two empty return tracks on the left, and one master track. I’m going to try and explain this interface in the most intuitive way possible. Continue reading →
In the first article of the Respect your Room series, we examined how broadband (mid-high frequency) absorbers can help reign in early reflections and flutter echoes. Today, we will take a look at how to address the low frequency issues with your room and some of the mechanisms used to treat them. Continue reading →
This deal won’t be around forever, so get on it soon!
(And just a reminder: we are still accepting new racks, so send us your stuff if you would like to sell it with us. We have three contributors so far, and each one will be making money from this sale.)
I’d like to spend a little time talking about a topic that we have yet to touch on in this blog, and it is in regards to the effect that your room (ie. your home studio) has on your mixes. What I hear far too often is the notion that acoustic room treatment is too expensive and that there’s no way I can afford it when I’m saving up for all of this sweet gear.
FALSE! The most expensive gear in the world cannot make up for a bad sounding room.
What if I told you, that you could do loads to improve the sound of your room for cheaper than the cost of the next plug-in or rack that your planning to buy? Now that I have you attention, allow me to reiterate that treating your room should be the first thing on your to do list. (Assuming you already have the essentials to make music) Let’s see what easy DIY things we can do without breaking the bank. Continue reading →
I often spend time just imagining different types of sound scenarios and then try to figure out how I can use Live’s tools to create those sounds. Today’s Free Sound Friday is a little exercise in macro mapping. The idea was simple, create a drum rack type instrument, that would play a noise swell, that I could also have control over the time of the swell and then release with a cymbal crash. But I didn’t want a normal time control that sets a pre-determined length as this would be difficult to gauge. I wanted more of a scrub type control. Now it would be easy to create an operator patch that just played noise and had a volume knob. But I wanted to do this with a reversed cymbal sound so I would need to use simpler.
Again, this rack is meant to be placed on a drum pad for a live finger drumming scenario. I would encourage you to examine what the macro is mapped to and how it is manipulating those parameters. Hopefully it will inspire you to create something that utilizes macros in a way you haven’t thought of before.
One of our Italian readers, Marco Caino Marinelli, emailed us an Italian translation of the article I wrote two weeks ago. That’s awesome! Kendall and I were both pretty impressed. I’ve decided to publish the article here for our small Italian audience. I have only studied a little Italian, and remember enough to know how to pronounce it. I can assure you my writing sounds pretty great in Italian. :)
Se state leggendo AbletonOp è molto probabile che amiate la musica elettronica. Nonostante questa etichettatura includa un’enorme varietà di generi (dubstep, ambient, house, trance e tutto ciò che sta nel mezzo) ogni cosa riunita sotto questa etichetta condivide lo stesso tipo di ambizione. L’idea che la nostra musica non sia più limitata a quello che le nostre mani sono in grado di creare. La nostra musica è creata matematicamente. Le onde sonore possono essere modificate formante per formante. I nostri beat di batteria sono inumanamente precisi e possono diventare inimmaginabilmente complessi. Continue reading →
Mid-Side EQ is, for me, like Cajun spice. You can put it on anything to make it better. Some might say Cajun spice is too salty. It’s not too salty. These people just don’t know when to stop pouring.
Anyway, what Mid-Side EQ does is take your track, and splits it into a “middle sound” and a “side sound.” The side sound is the mix with much of the bass removed, and it is pushed to the edges of the stereo space by setting Width in a Utility device to 200%. The middle sound is the rest of the mix compressed to mono by setting Width to 0%. This means that all the stereo effects in your mix, such as manual panning, phaser, auto pan, ping pong delay, etc., will be exaggerated by contrast, because the majority of the sound is monophonic.
All that really matters is that it makes everything sound crisp, clear, and crunchy. While I wouldn’t recommend it for every type of sound, it fits in most places.
Here’s an example using one of my tracks. Here’s the “mid” channel:
And here’s the “side” channel:
And here they are together:
Compare both of them together with the sound of just the middle channel to see the difference in sound you get. For more information on how to use the rack, check out my tutorial on default templates, which mentions the EQ rack.