Simple ratios like 2:1 and 3:2 play a very important role in sound an music.  In this video I explore how important they are when creating sounds with Frequency Modulation synthesis.  The techniques are demonstrated here on the Operator synth in Ableton Live, but could be applied on any synth that offers FM.

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Have fun. Make music.

L-Don

Hello all.  When writing my Advanced Production in Ableton Live course I thought I would be able to dig really deep into frequency modulation synthesis and the Operator synth.  Well, FM is a deep topic(students at Berklee spend whole semesters on it) and I found that it was just too much to put into the course. But, I had already made 3 videos on the topic, so I will share them here where everyone can benefit!  This first one covers the underlying concept of FM synthesis and Operator, later installments will cover some more applications.

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Have fun. Make music.

-L-Don

Hello again.  In week 5 of my course the assignment is to create an entire piece of music from a single sample, usually a sung vocal phrase.  This is a major challenge and the percussion elements are usually the toughest parts(hence my earlier kick from a vocal phrase post). One section of Sampler that isn’t covered deeply in the course is the OSC section.  In Sampler the OSC is a built in oscillator that can modulate the frequency or amplitude of the sample itself.  This sounds a bit complicated, but the vid here shows how it can be used to add some snap to your sampled drum sounds. Click on the vid to watch it at Youtube and it is much larger.

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Oh, and you can download the deepkickpunch Project. It has 3 tracks the first is the operator patch I made to create the initial 50Hz kick sound, the second track is the audio recording of that sound, and the third track is the sampled instrument that is created in the video.

Enjoy!

Loudon

Hello all, We have been working with Sampler in my advanced production class, and it seemed time to put another vid together, so here is an example of using Live’s Sampler to create a kick drum sound.

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And you can Download the project here.

Have fun, Make Music,

L-Don 

I get a ton of questions about using a sidechained compressor. So, here is an example of how to do it.

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If you want, Download the live pack, to see what I did.

Have Fun. Make Music.

-L-Don

Hello again. In this video I create a custom waveform in Operator, export it as an audio file, and bring it into Sampler for further manipulation, specifically portamento. This could all be done in Operator, but there are many modulations in Sampler that you don’t have in Operator. This technique is very useful as you explore Sampler and want to create some custom sounds to use there.

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The custom waveform and export as AMS features mentioned here are only available in Live 8 with the new version of Operator.

Have Fun. Make Music.

-L-Don

Here is a video I made showing how to create your own drum sounds in Ableton Live. I use a bunch of great mappings and clip properties to make finding hits a fun process; then I use the hits to create a playable drum rack. The drum rack creation and editing process is taken much further in the course Advanced Music Production in Ableton Live.

Oh, there are two mappings I made then never used in the video(oops), the set buttons for start and end.  If you hit those buttons Live will set the point(start or end) right where the current playback location is.  I usually use that to get the point in roughly then fine tune it with the encoders.

If you are interested in the Live set, Download the Drum Rack Creation Live Pack.

Have Fun. Make Music
-L-Don

Thanks to my students Esther Roozendaal for providing the slicing preset to create the file I used and  Jason Clark for asking the question that inspired the video.

Hello all, I just spent a couple hours digging into the latest offering from Ableton, Samplification:

Download it here.

Sound-wise it is strongest in the ambient/evolving sounds that show what is possible with Instrument Racks. There are numerous surprises though, like a multisampled voice and some nasty basses. It fills some gaps in the Live Library, particularly with pianos, but doesn’t have a clear focus; instead, treat it as a lesson in Sampler programming and Instrument Rack construction. In fact, there are some excellent new Lessons on Sampler programming included with the pack. Oh, I should mention that week 5 of my advanced Live course focuses on Sampler, and you can check it out here for free:

Advanced Ableton, Lesson 5: Sampling

There are two main types of presets in this collection: Adg (Ableton Device Group) are Instrument and Drum Racks, big patches with descriptions and extensive modulation; Adv (Ableton Device V?) are Sampler presets, most are the elements used to create the larger Adg sounds, perfect for creating your own racks.

For most Adg files there is a general description and tips on how to control the preset that show up in the info view. Each Adg patch includes 8 color-coded Macro Controls for sonic manipulation; if you have a control surface they map automatically to the first 8 knobs on your controller for easy tweaking.

Adg Description

My initial thought was to give a review of the library, but using HotSwap and the Browser is a lasting skill. So, what follows is a  method for exploring a synth or sampler library regardless of the manufacturer.

Samplification downloads as a zip that includes Read Me files and the Live pack (.alp). Live must be updated to the latest version (8.04) before dragging the Live Pack into the Live app window, completing the install:

Installing Samplification

The included Read Me file mentions the inline lessons that guide the user through the new content.First, show the help view; then click on lessons installed by special add-on Live Packs to get a list of the new lessons:

Help ViewAdd on PackExploring Samplification

Click on “Instrument and Drum Clip Presets” and the Browser will show you a List of what was installed.

PresetList

Right click on the Browser title bar to show some additional columns; I have chosen Type and Live Pack, rearranged them to my liking, and sorted by name ascending.
Columns
A system for saving favorites makes exploring presets productive. Create a folder for yourself, I called mine MyFavoriteSimplifications, and set it as your first file browser.
My Favs
Back to the presets. Double-click on the  first sound, Ambient Abrasive. Make sure you check out the info view (“?” is the key command). The info on the larger Adg files is a great help when trying to perform with them!

Ambient Abrasive
So, I don’t love Ambient Abrasive, time to move on, the Hot Swap feature is perfect, click it and you will be brought back up to the search. Up and Down arrow keys navigate the browser and Enter changes patch.

Hot Swap

The next preset is the Ambient Abrasive Adv patch, a component of the Adg preset we were just using, so I go down to Ambient Andromeda Horizon and hit enter, changing the current patch.

I can perform some pretty cool things with the patch after adjusting macro controls and figuring out a good range and playing technique. Record a short clip and drop it into Browser 1, your favorites folder. A clip with a short performance previewed in the browser gives you all that essential performance information immediately, much better then just a preset name. This is what I came up with:
Preview

Samplification Example Audio

After an hour of fooling around you are left with a collection of clips ready to be used, and a cherry-picked version of the new library; productive noodling!

Have Fun. Make Music.
-L-Don

Created with the word “advanced” in mind, this course challenges even the best student. Ableton Live itself is unusual and the composition and sound design techniques unique to the program are highlighted. Students familiar with other DAW’s are often surprised how a new approach can inspire new ideas.

Full of my personal discoveries and techniques, the material in this course can only be found here. It was a pleasure to create the thousands of words, hundreds of screenshots, hours of video, and many tunes that when into the course. I hope that you can share in my musical discoveries.

If you are considering taking my course, here are some links to help in your search:

Have a look around my blog and get a feel for my teaching style. As of Summer ’09 I am the only instructor for the course, so included with the course is 12 weeks of my advice and support; here is my weekly approach:

  • All grading is done on Monday; an announcement is made regarding that week’s material and any class-related specifics like chat time changes.
  • An assignment is due each week, usually an mp3 and a post about it. While grading I reply to every assignment and post.
  • The voluntary chat times function as both meeting places and virtual classrooms for extra topics: rewire, sound design, advanced sampling, production analysis, and student suggestions.
  • A full featured discussion board is used for day-to-day questions. Off-topic discussions and student collaborations are encouraged.
  • Required discussion questions are included in the course material. By posting links, analyzing tunes, and problem solving in Live, classmates talk about what was discovered in and out of the class.

Have Fun. Make Music.
-L-Don

Created with the word “advanced” in mind, this course challenges even the best student. Ableton Live itself is unusual and the composition and sound design techniques unique to the program are highlighted. Students familiar with other DAW’s are often surprised how a new approach can inspire new ideas.

Full of my personal discoveries and techniques, the material in this course can only be found here. It was a pleasure to create the thousands of words, hundreds of screenshots, hours of video, and many tunes that when into the course. I hope that you can share in my musical discoveries.

If you are considering taking my course, here are some links to help in your search:

Have a look around my blog and get a feel for my teaching style. As of Summer ’09 I am the only instructor for the course, so included with the course is 12 weeks of my advice and support; here is my weekly approach:

  • All grading is done on Monday; an announcement is made regarding that week’s material and any class-related specifics like chat time changes.
  • An assignment is due each week, usually an mp3 and a post about it. While grading I reply to every assignment and post.
  • The voluntary chat times function as both meeting places and virtual classrooms for extra topics: rewire, sound design, advanced sampling, production analysis, and student suggestions.
  • A full featured discussion board is used for day-to-day questions. Off-topic discussions and student collaborations are encouraged.
  • Required discussion questions are included in the course material. By posting links, analyzing tunes, and problem solving in Live, classmates talk about what was discovered in and out of the class.

Have Fun. Make Music.
-L-Don