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

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. 

Bitwig Studio 2 Coming Out – First Thoughts

Bitwig just announced Version 2 to come out in February 2017. I’ve been reading about this on forums, and they just officially announced it.

I made this video to share my first thoughts on Bitwig 2 and what I hope to see in the update. There are also so interesting moves by them around pricing and subscription models.  Enjoy:

 

 

To read more on Bitwig 2 go to: https://www.bitwig.com/en/home.html

Ultimate Guide to 432 – VST’s and AU Plugins

In the first part of this series, we went over the theory of Tuning and Temperament.  Then I went into detail on tuning your synths in Ableton Live from 440 to 432 in part two of the series. In this article, I will walk you through using third party plugins, AU, and VST’s.

Third Party Plug-ins:

If you are like me then you might have a host of Third Party Plugins you like to use in your production. These extra synths give you a whole host of new sounds to play with. Here is a list of Plugins you can use and the where to find the parameter to detune the instrument.  This is in no particular order.

To start here is a video I made in response to questions of tuning Massive and Serum.

 

Massive: Go to the Global tab. Here change the global tuning to  -0.32

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By | January 12th, 2017|Ableton, Music Theory, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|0 Comments

Ultimate Guide to 432 – Using Ableton Live

Tuning into 432 with Live

To play music in 432 you must retune all your synths and presets. This might seem overwhelming idea at first, but it actually takes very little time at the beginning of your tracks. Once you get a library of instruments tuned, then it will also be that much easier.

The simplest way to tune to 432hz is to just detune each of your instruments. By detuning you lower the first note, from 440-432 for example.  since A=432 Live will then base every note from that point forward. You can not just lower the pitch at the end because that will not retune it, it will just lower the overall pitch.

This image shows the different tuning you could use for notes found in the Equal Temperament. As you can see when you move from 440 to 432 you are lowering the pitch by -8hz. You can also see that just 2 notes down 440hz Equal Temperament are 494. If you -8hz to that we do not get 484.90.  The reason why is equal temperament is a ratio that moved up from the root of A. A ratio of “2 11/12” from 440 is very different than a ratio of “2 11/12” at 432. Because of this, you can not return the finished song. You must tune the instruments correctly to start with. (more…)

By | January 12th, 2017|Ableton, Music Theory, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|1 Comment

4 Unknown features for Live’s Compressor

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:Auto Feature Live Compressor

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.

expandupward-expansion (more…)

By | September 28th, 2016|Ableton, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|1 Comment

Quick Trick – Mixing Kicks with Transient Shaping

Transient Shaping is a great technique to help a sound punch through a mix. There are many transient shapers out in the world, but you can actually use Live’s Compressor for the same effect.  Below is a video walk through of using Transient Shaping on a kick.

 

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By | March 24th, 2016|Ableton, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|0 Comments
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