Capturing sounds of nature can be a truly fantastic pastime. Even just going out in the world and closing your eyes, and taking a moment to really listen you will find all sorts of noises you love. When I was in Australia on tour I had the opportunity to capture many amazing bird and nature samples.
I have taken these bird sounds and done some sound design on them with granular synthesis to add a new depth and quality. They can be great to layer as percussion, add a unique texture / pad to your track, and more. I have used them to add to my live set with great effect. especially for some late night house party where you want to trip people out.
I did have the live pack of these bird samples for sale in my Ableton Packs Store, but after a year I wanted to release these for free. It's really fun to use and wanted to just get it into more peoples hands. The live Set includes the original samples as well as one of my Water Riser Effects from the Quneo and Hot Hand Effect Libraries.
Enjoy playing with the sounds, and if you ever use them then let me know. I love hearing what comes out of these packs, and sometime post them on my facebook and such.
Here is a preview of the sounds:
Guest article by Erik Magrini (Tarekith)
For the last few months, more and more industry experts have been proclaiming that the loudness wars have been won. No longer do we have to fight each other to get the loudness master on the planet, we can all go back to just enjoying nice dynamic music.
Except nothing has really changed, has it? How has this been won, when everything is just like it was before?
As a professional mastering engineer, I've noticed an increase in clients asking about this potentially confusing situation. There’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic at the moment, and not much real understanding of why this may come to pass. To help people get better understanding of what’s going on, I thought I would try and briefly summarize the main causes of why someone might claim the loudness wars are over.
It all starts with ITUR BS.1770. Yes, that’s what it’s really called, and you can read it yourself if you really want:
Originally introduced in 2006, this standard was written to help TV broadcasters transmit audio at a uniform volume. That way one show is not louder than the next, and TV ads don’t playback louder than programs. It not only defined what that uniform volume should be, but also described the way audio must be measured to comply with that standard.
It gave us the means to measure music in a way that accurately reflects how humans perceive loudness.
By now, almost all TV broadcast stations around the world follow this standard, and slowly radio broadcasters have been following suit. Currently radio broadcasts are also volume controlled, but often with dynamic compression and other audio processing; this is not only expensive, it’s time consuming. The new 1770 standard only allows for raising and lowering of the overall song volume, the audio content itself is not being altered at all. Much cheaper and easier for radio stations to implement, and it sounds better too!
So far, this has nothing to do with us, I know. But recently internet radio has become much more popular, and it too is starting to follow this standard. Spotify has had a variation of it from day one, and Apple just adopted it for their iTunes Radio as well. iTunes has a similar function called Sound Check that does this for your music library as well.
I'm always looking for new ways to manipulate sound and create unique effects. The last few weeks I have been using Granular Synthesis to add a whole new level to my production. In this article I wanted to walk though what it is and how to use it.
Granular Synthesis is a method by which sounds are broken into tiny grains which are then redistributed and reorganised to form other sounds. This way you can take any original sample and put it into a device that cuts it up into grains. Those grains can then be effected in different ways to create a new sound. Once you have the grains you can change their attack, release, randomize them (jitter), and more.
At low speeds of playback, the result is a kind of soundscape, often described as a cloud, that is manipulable in a manner unlike that for natural sound sampling or other synthesis techniques. At high speeds, the result is heard as a note or notes of a novel timbre. By varying the waveform, envelope, duration, spatial position, and density of the grains, many different sounds can be produced.
Ableton Push is an amazing instrument for laying down new musical ideas as well as a performance tool. The Push also has the ability to use Aftertouch. In playing with the aftertouch feature in Live I notices I wanted some specific controls over it. That way I can make the Aftertouch either have a threshold, or delay when it comes in.
I spent a few months creating an Max For Live device to control Aftertouch to get these exact effects. I worked with Chris Schlyer and Icaro Ferre to get this device done. They are amazing Max For Live wizards and helped make this a reality.
After a lot of beta testing I have the finished device. Below is a video that walks through the (aq) Push Aftertouch Devices and the massive (aq) Push Pack Pro.
This uses a threshold amount. If you are playing the instrument under this threshold of pressure then the Aftertouch will not be triggered. If you press down harder and pass the threshold, then the aftertouch will be engaged.
The device also uses a Smooth Up and Smooth Down function. This allows you to change how quickly the pressure goes up and down after the threshold giving you a smoother effect.
This Patch was made with filters in mind. With this patch you can delay the Aftertouch signal in manner of Milliseconds. This way when you first play a note it will not engage the Aftertouch, after words whatever it is mapped to, lets say a filter, will then happen. Works great with filter release. This M4L device also has an Attack and Release value. This way you can decide how quickly the Aftertouch effect comes on and releases.
Download the Ableton Live Pack Below
Pack Made for Live 9.06 and will work with Mac and PC. Watch this Video for instruction on installing Packs.
Download the (aq) Push Pack Pro for even more creative tools and instruments for the Push. It includes over a Gig of original Samples, Instrument Racks, Drum Racks, and Effects that have all been optimized for the Push. This will give you a creative edge and the tools to start jamming out on Push.
The first 50 orders( now down to 10!) can use the coupon code: pushpack in checkout to get this at %50 off.
Beat Repeat is an awesome tool for live performance and production. After using it for the last few years I have found a way I like to use it the most in an Audio Effect Rack I built. Basically the standard Beat Repeat has a lot of different increments for repeating, like 1/6, 1/12, and others. I don;t find I like those and rather stay more on the grid for my effect like using the 1/4, 1/8/ 1/16, and so on.
What I did is I took a few Beat Repeats and put them in an Audio Effect Rack. Now when I turn my macro it increases the repeating by turning on the next beat repeater in the chain. I also have some controls that let me add some cool effects to the sound as well. Like Filter, Pitch, and so on.
Here is a video showing off how I use this Effect and what it can do.
Sign up to be a member of this site and then a link below will appear for free download. This effect Rack was made in Live 9.04 and will work with that and any newer version of Live.
Michael Durek also took this idea and made a version for Live 8! He saw the video and recreated it in 8 and added his own tweaks as well. You can also download this below.
The last few months I have been really into sound design and synthesis. I have stayed up for nights playing with new tools and new ways to create amazing sound effects. This has been propelled by a few remixes I have been working on and creating unique layers to add to the track.
One technique I developed along the way was how to use Simpler to morph my sounds and modulate the crap out of them to make new dense sounds designs. I created a very simple to use Instrument rack with a Simpler in it that lets me drag and drop any sample into it to create new effects.
This video will walk through what the device is and how I use it.
You can download the Ableton Pack for free below:
Now go fire those Lazors.
At the changing of seasons from Fall to Winter I had a chance to hide away into the woods for a few days. While I was relaxing in a cabin in Washington I got out my field recorder and captured some amazing samples. I got the sound of wood crackling as it burned, the strange metal warping sounds as the wood stove heated and cooled, as well as a creaking cabin.
I collected these sounds together and made a Drum Rack from there. I call it Micro Drum Rack because they are small hits taken from the original source. Giving it a minimal and glitch like quality. I also made my first IR samples out in the woods and room of the cabin to create new interesting convolution reverbs. These use Max For Live. If you do not have Max for Live, then just delete the plugin from the file and the drum rack will still work great.
Download the Live 9 Pack or the original 96 Sample's for use with any DAW below:
During this trip I also grabbed more recordings from the Big Four Ice Caves. I sent the original recordings over to AfroDJMac for him to play with. He ended up crafting a really amazing pack from these recorded samples. Check out his video below and download them off his site.
These packs go hand in hand and create a really interesting blend of electronic sound design, original field recordings, and use of Ableton Live.