Halloween is approaching and I have been playing with some good old classic horror sounds. These samples/sounds can be fun to throw in a live set or performance. Below is a video walk-through of the Live Pack.
I love me a good squishy sound. I mean my name is Subaqueous after all. As a sound designer, I am always looking for ways to add dynamic effects and movement in my music. I refined some effects I use a lot in my music and made them a free download.
Here is a video walk-through of the Audio Effect Racks:
When you’re producing music, you want to be in the flow. When you have to stop and do a bunch repetitive technical tasks, it can slow down your production and halt the creativity. Ableton Live features a huge collection of features to help speed up your game. Below is a list of my fast workflow tips in Live.
If you are working on a remix, particularly for a band, then this is a life savor. There are instances when you have a bunch of Audio in Live and you want to move all the Warp Markers in a track at the same time. You can easily do this. All you need to do is:
- Make sure they are all the same length. If they are not using the Consolidate feature to get all the clips to the same size.
- Select all the Audio Clips.
- The last one you selected will be shown in the Sample Display. Create Warp Markers and move it. You will see that all the other audio clips will move as well.
The Compressor is your bread and butter in mixing. If you know can really wield EQing and Compression, then you can deal with 80% of all problems when mixing. The Compressor is probably the most used Ableton live device. Even though producers constantly grab the compressor, there are some less known features that can greatly help the mix.
Adding the Auto Feature:
There are two features on the Compressor that can help make things automatic. The first one is the Auto Button. This will automatically decide the release amount compared to the input signal. It makes it quick and easy to let Live determine how long before releasing the compressor. Once this is activated you cannot manually set the Release amount.
Second automatic feature is the Makeup button. Enabling the Makeup button automatically compensates the output level if the threshold and ratio settings change. In other words, if you change the Ratio of the compression, then Live will automatically adjust the output gain. These are both helpful in automating Live’s Compressor.
Expand instead of Compress:
I love using the Expand feature on the Compressor. It’s a little-known gem. With the Compressor set to Expand it acts as an upward expander, and will increase the gain when signals exceed the threshold. With this feature you can make the louder parts louder, giving you a bigger dynamic range. Normally a Compressor pushes the louder parts down, but now with Expand it will increase them if it is over the threshold.
I love showing off this quick trick. When I start mixing my drums I usually like to separate my kick and other elements. There is a hard way to do this, and a quick way. The quick way is using the Extract Chains option in the drum rack. Below is a video walk-through of using the Extract Chains in Ableton Live.
So you got a rocking song written and you’re ready to move it over to the mixing stage. There are many technical steps as well as room for creativity in the mix down process. After years of being a professional mixing engineer and musician I have found a basic guideline that helps me insure a solid mix. Below is a checklist / cheat sheet I made to help visualize the steps needed.
Download a hi-res version for print. I love having a binder of images like this I can reference along the way. If you find the information helpful and want to see more checklist like this, then donate. Thanks!
Here is deeper run-through of the steps and ideas in the Infographic. If you use Ableton Live then check out the Mixdown Toolset. It is packed with tools to help your stereo imaging, advance EQing, and more. (more…)
Percussion and added rhythm can really add a distinct flavor to your music. Over the years I have been cultivating my own collection of Latin percussion in MIDI. This lets me drag and drop it into Live, or any DAW, and create new percussion parts. Super fast and easy.
This is a collection of 85 unique Latin rhythms in MIDI.
- and more
I have also added a Live Set with all the MIDI laid out in clips. I used Abelton Live 9.6. If you are in live try using the Vintage Drum Machine, Percussion Pack I released for free. I’ve been making some awesome sounds with that combo.
This collection is by donation / free. If you want to support the creation of future tools and resources, then consider throwing in a few bucks.
If you want a taste of what these rhythms can sound like, then check out this track Invoking. I used some of these MIDI in creating the percussion elements. It really added a depth and character to the track.
I love using unique instruments in my production. I end up finding a lot of toy instruments and collecting them in Ableton Live. This time I have been working with the Toy Piano. The Schoenhut “My First Piano” is an amazing instrument. The sound it makes is so crisp and clear. I love how it pierces through the mix.
Check out the Toy Piano and download it below:
PerforModule is an amazing producer and sound designer. I’ve worked with him in the past with things like the Free Drawbar Organ, Sub Follower, and the Pitch Bend Vibrato. So when he hit me up about a new instrument using a Microcassette tape I was stoked. He sent me over an awesome collection of sound designs using the tape sound. The three experimental sound design instruments are crafted using noise from a microcassette tape transcriber, recorded at a sample rate of 48kHz.
Download the Live Pack below and read more about the instruments in this awesome pack by PerforModule.
What is in the Live Pack:
Microcassette Hiss Machine Instrument
This is a device which can be used to provide authentic analog microcassette tape hiss, either to layer in as a background noise floor or for sound design purposes. It has a tone knob which is not a usual filter, but instead alters the playback loop point to highlight a different tone slice, each with a different combination of hiss tone and rotor speed, thus retaining full bandwidth and maximum fidelity at all settings. The brightest, default tone is with the knob in the center position; as it is moved to either the left or the right different sample slices will be resultant, each providing its own unique combination of hiss and mechanical tone settings. Any played key will generate the chosen slice (playing different keys will not repitch). A useful capability is to select a tone setting wherein the pitches of the hiss and rotor harmonically match the key of your song. There is also the option to switch between “SP” (standerd play) and “LP” (long play) modes, which each have their own distinct character.
Ideas for Usage:
- Background Hiss: play a loop and set to a tone (by ear) which seems to resonate with the song’s fundamental key. Now that it is set, reduce the volume to just below where you can barely hear it in the mix, and let it loop throughout the entire song. This is a way to add a little analog background noise to an overly dry, digital mix, or to pretend to have recorded onto tape for hipster cred.
- Sound design (custom sound effects): set up some of your favorite plugins after the instrument, particularly modulation and glitch effects. Record short to medium-length bursts of noise, play with plugins, and freeze. Chop up snippets that sound interesting and save them in your user library as composition resources.
Mecha Noise is an instrument which can be used to create or augment melodies out of mechanical noise (hum & hiss). This one is melodic, outputting pitches, matching the MIDI given it. The planned operation is to use it to double a melody line in a song, providing analog noise which follows the key. Since it is monophonic, it tends to work best with lead, bass, or harmony lines, and will give unpredictable results when playing chords (which still might be interesting).
Once you set it to double a line, you can then reduce its level to almost imperceptible for an analog noise which emphasizes the note flow.
An alternate usage of “Mecha Noise” is as a beefy, square-wave-esque synth with a warm, fat tone. When playing notes in the upper octaves, the ultra-low hum noise shifts into this type of sound, becoming a unique instrument of its own right.
Percussion drum rack made from “stop button” click sounds.
Simple, but useful for organic percussion programming.
- Quick, fast transients with virtually no decay
- Subtle variation and randomization between samples for human feel
- Macros to modulate timbre for variety