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So far Subaqueous has created 217 blog entries.

Best Office Chairs for Music Producers

Two months ago I got a back injury. Since then I have been working on my overall back health and decided to level up my studio with the one thing that effects my everyday life… My chair!  If you spend more than 10 hours a day in your studio/chair then it is worth the investment to get a chair that will help you sustain a healthy back during your whole career.  I should have done this ages ago.

I did a lot of research on office chairs. Here are my top picks after trying many of them out at local stores, and eventually buying one on amazon.

My Top Office Chair Pick

Price
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Best office chair for the price

I wanted to start with the Office Chair I ended up buying. There were a few things I was looking at for a chair. First of all, I wanted it to be around $100. I also wanted it to be breathable, not sweaty, and good for my lower back.  After a month of searching, the Midway Mesh Office Chair fit the bill. I’ve had this for a few weeks and love it. The cushion is comfortable, it has many different height adjustments, and was a really good price. (more…)

Kalimba Thumb Piano Instrument Rack – Mbira

I love the delicate sound of the Kalimba thumb piano.  There is just something about it. It’s not quite a bell but has a similar quality.

Today I was cleaning out my studio of the random instruments I have. I decided to record some of them before I gave them away.  I recorded a collection of Kalimba Thumb Pianos to make a new instrument rack. Here is a video walk-through:

 


Download the Instrument Rack

In the above link I also added the one-shot samples as a separate download for use in any DAW.

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By | March 10th, 2017|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Generative Music with Abelton Live and Randomization

Sometimes we get stuck. We just hit a wall and need something to break us out. In those cases, I love to use randomization and generative music techniques. I like to think of it as using the machine as a collaborator.

I took a section of my Fast Songwriting course on Generative Music and posted it for free below. I wanted to share some of the ideas I use to speed up my production and come up with ideas.

Here is the introduction video:

What is Generative Music?

Generative music describes music that is ever-different and changing, and that is created by a system. In other words, it is using a machine with set parameters to generate new music instead of writing it from scratch.  With Ableton Live I generally look at using randomization with MIDI and devices to generate new musical ideas.

How do you use Generative Music?

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By | February 27th, 2017|Ableton, Creative Process, Music Theory, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Physical Modeling with Ableton Live and Chromaphone

One of the key techniques I use in my instrumentation is Physical Modeling. This type of synthesis has a unique and organic sound.  Wikipedia defines it as:

In sound synthesis, physical modelling synthesis refers to methods in which the waveform of the sound to be generated is computed by using a mathematicalmodel, being a set of equations and algorithms to simulate a physical source of sound, usually a musical instrument.

I also really like this image as a reference to how Physical Modeling does it. You can see how they have broken an instrument into its parts and used different synthesis to achieve a sound that emulates it.

Here is a video on my favorite Physical Modeling synth and an overview.

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By | February 21st, 2017|Ableton, Gear Review, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|0 Comments

Best Microphones for the Price

 

I’ve helped schools start up their labs, worked in recording studios, and built my own home recording studio. Over the years I have used many microphones and have distilled that information into this list. I particularly looked at mics that were for starting musicians. Ones with a lower price, but you will still find pro’s using them. If you have a mic I should add, pleas add a comment at the end of the article.

Top Pick: SM-58

SM-58 is perfect for vocal recording in the Studio
Price
Build Quality
Sound Quality
Versatility 

I find that in my home studio I run into one major problem, and that is noise. There is always some noise in the house when I am doing voice over work.  The Sm-58 is amazing at only picking up what is right in front of the mic. This makes it idea for demonstrations, voice overs, vocal sketches, and some instrumental recording. I have also used this mic in final recordings and find it has a pretty flat and clean sound. Much better for male vocals, or lower range voice.

Buy the SM-58

Versatile and Solid Mic: SM-57

Sm57 for your instrumental needs
Price
Build Quality
Sound Quality
Versatility 

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By | January 31st, 2017|Gear Review, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Trap Vocal Edits in Ableton Live

Have you ever wanted to edit vocals to give that stuttered and pitched effect you hear in Trap? I put togeather a video of me editing some Silk Drop vocals. I use techniques like cutting up the vocal, re-pitching vocals, complex pro warp mode, and other things.

Wanted to give you an inside look on how I edit vocals this way.

If you are interested in other vocal techniques, check out my video on vocal effects and free audio effect rack.

I also made a video on working with backing vocals and chorusing.

Do you have any techniques you use for Trap Vocals? Plugins? Share in the comments.

By | January 20th, 2017|Ableton, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|0 Comments

List of Microtonal VST Synths and Plugins

To easily make microtonal music in Ableton Live, or other DAW’s, I find it’s best to use third party VST’s that support Scala files. That way you can pick your tuning and write new parts in that temperament/tuning.  I compiled a list of my favorite microtonal VST’s, synths, AU’s, and plugins. There are more synths out there, but these are my favorite.

You will also see a few rows that are highlighted green. These synths are my all-time favorite for working with Microtonal music.

If you have suggestions, please comment below. I would love to check them out and maybe add them to the list. If you are interested in learning more about tuning instruments in Ableton Live and microtonal music, then check out my article on Microtonal Music in Ableton Live. 

Free Dholak Drum Rack Ableton Live

I love adding Tabla, Dholak, and South Asia influenced drums in my music. It adds a really unique flavor and can be used in juxtaposition to other instruments.  Just a few months ago I made the Tabla Drum Rack and wanted to follow it up with a lesser-known, but just as amazing, instrument called the Dholak. This double head drum has a really cool sound.

Here is a walkthrough video on the Ableton Live Pack with the free Drum Rack:

You can download the Live Pack as well as the One Shot Samples (for any DAW) below.

 

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By | January 17th, 2017|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments
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