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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

How to create a dub delay

In ableton, dubstep on February 26, 2011 at 20:02

A few days ago, I discovered a nice video tutorial about creating a dub delay by pointblankonline. I have tried to find out some improvements and extensions. Here are my results. I especially like my combination of noise and delay. If you are interested in exact parameter values, please refer to my screenshot, because normally I won’t write out these values.

Make sure ableton shows the return tracks and send section. If necessary activate the buttons on the right labelled “s” and “r” (a in the screenshot). How could it be otherwise – we start with adding a delay to our new effect rack. In order for that go to the “Live Device” browser for audio effects and drag a “Ping pong delay” on any return track (b). You can find the track on the left side of the master track. Press CMD+R and rename the track to “Dub delay” for example (c). As you probably know, by changing the “Sends A” knob you can control the audio signal routed to the return track (d). And here is my first insiders’ tip. Make feedback possible for your return channel. It’s essential for a dub delay. Initally the “Sends A” knob of the return channel is greyed out, means disabled. Enabel the knob through the context menu and chosoe “Enable send” (e).

The effect sounds good, but for my taste the stereo panning is a bit to extrem. Just fix this by dragging the “Utility” audio effect behind your delay. Take a look at my screenshot to find suitable values. Whenever feedback takes place you should use a “Limiter”, your audience will thank you for it. It’s time to group the devices into a rack. Click on any device, PRESS CMD+A and CMD+G.

But now it’s high time to start with a first performance. Unfortunately we have to do some preliminary work. If you like to control some parameters through a MIDI hardware controler, you should map some MIDI controlers to different parameters. The first step is defining some macros. Open the context menu of the ping pong delays “Center frequency” and choose “Edit macro map”. The macro controls of our effect rack will appear. I mapped “Macro 1” to the “Center frequency” and “Bandwidth” to “Macro 2”. It’s always useful to rename the macro name by pressing CMD+R.
The next step is activating the MIDI map mode and map some parameters of your MIDI hardware controler. I suggest mapping the send knobs of the audio (a) and return track (b). Further the recently mentioned two parameters of the ping pong delay (d). Here another insiders’ tip. Map a button of your hardware controler to a track title bar (c) in order to activate the track (bring it in front).

You may note that the ping pong delay runs in delay mode “Sync”. I think a delay sounds more authentic or vintage, when we use the other mode called “Time”. In my opion it is more comfortable to add a second ping pong delay to the effect rack instead of switching the already existing delay. In order to switch between these delays we have to map
both device activators to the same macro called “No Sync On” for example. It is essential
to control the delay time of the non synced delay. Just map it to a second macro “Time Delay”. Finally MIDI map the new macros to your hardware controler.

We are almost done. Let us try Abelton’s “Vocoder” effect. Drag the device before the delays and choose the “Noise” mode. Then map its device activator to a macro called “Noise on”. I have MIDI mapped this controler to a button of my hardware controler, too.

I think that is possible to realise a dub delay for live performances with Ableton Live. You need fingertips and a couple of time to handle such effect, but it works.

Alexander

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