New Max For Live Video Course from Bit Voltage

My good friend and Max guru Nathan Crepeault from Bit Voltage has just released his new Intro to Max For Live video course.

You can catch some preview videos here.

The course is currently on sale at a discounted rate of $19.99 through July 14th. After that, it will be available for $29.99.

Purchase the Intro to Max For Live video course from Bit Voltage here.

Happy patching.

Free Sound Friday: AbletonOp SPKTRL FX

Ableton Live Spectral Effect Rack Free Download

Happy Friday,

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.

Automate Instrument or Effects Patch Changes with Chain Select

Hello readers,

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 →

photo by: oliverchesler

Ableton Live 9 announced!

Push controller for Ableton Live

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!

Free Sound Friday: AbletonOp Leslie Cabinet


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.

Zen of Live: The Lost Art of Recording

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 →

photo by: mockstar

How to find your style

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 →

The Zen of Live: Absolute Beginnings

Session View

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 →

The AbletonOp Summer Pack — all our racks for $39

AbletonOp Summer Pack

Not much to say here. We’re offering for a limited time all of the racks in the AbletonOp store — a $70 value — for just $39.

For more details, including a list of each rack included in the pack, head over to the AbletonOp Store.

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.)

Respect your Room: Broad Band Absorbtion

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 →

Free Sound Friday: Concepts 01

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.

Thanks for choosing AbletonOp.com

photo by: stuartpilbrow

Why we love to make electronic music (in Italian!)

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. :)

Thanks Marco! If you Italian, enjoy the article in your native language. If you don’t speak Italian, read the article in English here.


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 →