Final Mixdown Checklist

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!

Step by step checklist for the final mixdown.


Download the Image

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…)

By | July 28th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Music Theory, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Latin Percussion MIDI Library

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.

Collection of Drum Rhythms in MIDI

This is a collection of 85 unique Latin rhythms in MIDI.

  • Congas
  • Agogo
  • Bongos
  • Shakers
  • 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.

Download the MIDI Library

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.

Party on!

By | July 16th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

(aq) Toy Piano

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.

Toy Piano Pack

Check out the Toy Piano and download it below:


Download Live pack

 

By | July 5th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Microcassette Tape Instruments by PerforModule

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.20160604_162304

Download the Live Pack below and read more about the instruments in this awesome pack by PerforModule.

Download Now

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
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.
Stop Clicker
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

PerforModule does a lot of amazing instruments and effects for live. If you want to grab more than check out his site at:https://performodule.com/

By | June 27th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Geometry in Music Composition with Ableton Live

The Golden ratio unlocks a nature’s harmony, we see in the world around us.  Beautiful never lacks proportion, and mathematics is the language of proportion.

The Golden ratio occurs in nature all the time. From a shell spiral, architecture, growth patterns of plants, the human form, and more. Using this ratio in our music it injects a kind of natural beauty, similar to Da Vinci’s portraits.

last-supper-phi-golden-ratio

The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as the pentagon, pentagram, and dodecahedron. It is denotedphi , or sometimestau .

The formula for the Golden Ratio is: (more…)

By | June 22nd, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Music Theory, Producers Blog|7 Comments

Free Music Box Instrument Rack – Ableton Live

I’ve always been searching for unique bell and piano sounds. I always associate a music box with this eerie yet delicate feeling. After I scoured for different music boxes, I went ahead and created a full Instrument Rack in Live using the samples.  After spending the time to create the instrument I decided to pack it all up and share it on here to give you more sounds to play with.

Here is a video walk-through of the instrument rack that is for free / by donation.

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By | May 26th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Fibonacci Sequence Delay in Ableton Live

Using interesting mathematics in our effects and music can add a natural depth to the sound. I’ve been playing with the Fibonacci Sequence with delays and wanted to share the free / by donation Live Pack I put together.

Video Walk Through:

What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

The Fibonacci sequence is referenced as far back as 900 BCE and is referenced in a lot of Indian Sanskrit and Greek text. In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers or Fibonacci sequence are the numbers in the following integer sequence:

1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\;

What is so intriguing about the Fibonacci numbers are how often they are found in nature. They appear everywhere in Nature, from the leaf arrangement, to the pattern of flower petals, pine cones, or even the bone structure of humans.

Fibonacci in Nature Rose Universe everything

If you want to read more about the mathematics behind the Fibonacci Sequence then check out Mathisfun.com

Download The Live Pack:


Download Live Pack

By | April 20th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|2 Comments

6 Best Free Ableton Live Pack and Effects

An awesome Ableton Live Pack can be really inspirational.  Once and a while I look online for a new technique, sound design, or idea and love checking out Ableton Live Packs and Racks to play around. In this article I am going to list off some of my favorite packs and why I would use them. This is the cream of the drop.

Turntable Scratch

In my live sets I’ve always wanted to add a turntable scratch sound. One day when I was looking it up I found this awesome free pack by Yehezkel Raz at 4live.com.  This Instrument Rack is great for live performance and for the studio. It lets me get some awesome tape stop sounds live.  Check out the video below and download the Free Live Instrument. 

Low-fi VCR sounds

Sticking with the retro sound we have this awesome VHS VCR Tape Emulation from AfroDJMac.  If I am looking for a vintage scratchy sound this is the Live Pack go to. I love the tools AfroDJMac gives to add texture and character to your sound.

Formant filter

If you are trying to get a vowel movement, or spice up your bass sounds, then this Live Effect Rack is perfect.  Yeuda, a fellow Ableton Live Certified trainer, put together this awesome free pack that lets you scan different Vowel sounds and start to morph your sound.  I’ve used this with great effect on square wave basses or pads to add interest.

Formant Morpher – Human Vocal Vowels, For Your Synths (Free Download)

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By | April 5th, 2016|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

The Tax Live Pack and Competition

In the United States the dreaded tax season is upon us.  As much fun as this subject is, I wanted to put together a fun new Live Pack and competition for all the music makers out there. I got my hands on some recordings of a vintage cash machine and played with some coins to make a fun new Drum Rack. The Live Pack, samples, and Drum Rack is a by Donation/Free download.

Cash Drum Rack Coins Register

I also know there are a lot of musicians out there that want an excuse to not do their taxes, so don’t worry I got you covered.  I took the drum rack and made a quick little song sketch using an interview with Bernie Sanders. It’s the start of a Trap Tax song. To help distract you, and possibly help you, I am doing the first ever in history Tax Break Music Competition.  If you win I will pay to have your taxes done through H&R Block online (up to $80). I’ll also match that with $80 worth of live packs from the Subaqueous Store. 

Now there is some incentive to use some creative avoidance and win this competition to get your taxes done for you. The dreaded Tax Day is April 15th, so this competition is perfectly procrastinating by ending April 14th.  To enter just download the Live Pack and or Samples (Download Button Below).  Then upload your finish track to Soundcloud in the “Tracks Made with Subaquoeus Packs Group”. You will be able to check out what others have done as well.

 

Steps to Enter Competition:

1.Download the Live Pack
2. Remix / Create your own track
3. Upload to the Soundcloud Group
4. Procrastinate as long as you can from doing your taxes.

 

Check out the beginning sketch and take this anywhere you want. Bonus Points if you use more Bernie Sanders or Trump sound bites. Let the creative avoidance begin.


 

Walk-through Video:

Here is a walk through video of the Live Pack.

By | March 29th, 2016|Ableton, Producers Blog|8 Comments
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