Archive for the ‘ableton’ Category

Play drums like a hero

In drums, music theory, push, sample, software on December 16, 2015 at 14:41

Many hip hop musicians are used to play beats with pad MIDI controllers like Ableton Push, Maschine, or MPC. To be honest, hip hop is not my favorite music style, but I’m envious of their dexterity when playing pads.

Today, I stumbled over Melodics. Melodics is an app like Guitar Hero for Mac and PC. The idea is simple, you are trained to press the right button at the right time in order to create something like  music.

The download of the app is free and there are 20 free lessons. The training starts with simple lessons (with kick and snare), but they become more complex with the time.

Yes, it’s really similar to Guitar Hero.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

After playing a while, you get a feedback about the precision of your playing. Missed notes and too early or late ones. Gamification, do a job good and reach for that reason the next level.

Melodics: get feedback

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

The lessons are labelled with musical styles. You get a short explanation, what’s typical for the actual  style. There are even fingering tips for each lesson. Great, although they only make sense when playing complex patters.

Melodics: fingering

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

From that perspective, Melodics is like Guitar Hero should be. But what I do miss is the opportunity to create your own stuff with the given samples. An export function or (even better) Ableton Live integration would be nice.

The payment model is not my favourite. You have to pay for month or year. I guess, it’s suitable for beginners, who will – after a few weeks – stop learning with that app and start making their own stuff. For me, occasional users will not be pleased with subscription. I guess, Guitar Hero is paid once, isn’t it?

However, this app makes sense and is really fun. So, give it a try.



Increase your creativity through Push

In ableton, daw, push on December 4, 2015 at 00:25

I’m wondering from time to time how can I improve my creativity by improvisation. What I mean is recording myself while playing an virtual instrument or drums with Ableton Push. I also expect more expressive and varying results. We all know how music often sounds, when music is created by editing the piano roll with mouse and keyboard. This won’t happen today.

I will refer to Ableton Push, although Push 2 was released for some time past. But I’m pretty sure, everything I’ll tell you can be transferred to Push 2.

A good starting point is the following: Live (not Push!) is in session view mode and there are some tracks with different instruments you like to play with.

If I like to play one of the instruments. I have to switch into Push’s note mode by pressing the “Note” button, in case Push’s session mode is highlighted (means active). Don’t be confused Live is still in the session view mode.

Live in session mode and armed track.

Live in session mode and armed track.

I order to play (or record) a different instruments you just have to press one of the left or right arrow buttons. You may notice that the track is automatically armed (the record button turns red).

This could be the moment to improvise while the metronome is playing. Just press the play and “metronome” button. By the way the knob for setting the tempo is directly below the metronome button.

Metronome, Tempo, Play and Left & right buttons.

Probably you like to change the main volume or volume of the metronome. The upper rightmost knob is responsable for that. Press the “shift” button simultaneously for changing the metronome’s volume.

Volume and shift button.

After playing around you will record a first instrument. This will create in Live a clip, of course. Here are two ways to record a arbitrary long clip or clip with a fix length. For the second approach press the “Fixed Length” button and select the length.

Fixed length.

For starting the (so called session) recording press the record button. You may notice, that the record indicator is not turned red, instead of the “Session Record Button” changed its colour. If there is already a clip, press new. This will create a new scene, which contains all clips of the prior scene except the clip of the active instrument. By the way, the “Delete” button will remove the clip of the active instrument.

Session Record Button

Session Record Button

Delete, new and record button

You can stop or restart the recording by pressing the record button again. By pressing the “Undo” button you will revert the last recording. The term “last” is not exactly what’s happening, but it’s enough to give you an idea. You can press the button again, in order to undo older changes. “Shift” “Undo” does the opposite, of course.

For enabling the quantization press short the “Quantize”. For editing the quantization settings hold this button.

Undo, quantize and shift buttons

Yes, there is a note repeat. I find it helpful when playing high hats, for example. Press “Repeat” and the flashing label will indicate, that the function is enabled. The note value is selected with the help of the buttons “1/32t” and so on. If you have set a swing in the quantization section, this swing will be applied to the repeat, too.


The “Device” and “Clip” buttons offers you to switch between the instrument and its clips. That’s helpful, when changing the macro controls. In case the device is select the upper eight buttons will change the macro values.

Device and clip.

You can change the volume, pan, sends of an instrument by pressing the “Track” button. You can change the octave with the “Octave Down” and “Up” buttons.

Track and octave buttons.

I know there are much more details to tell, but I guess this could be a great starting point to improvise with Push. I promise more posts like this will be follow in the next time. Best regards!


The isomorphic note layout

In ableton, chord, harmony, music theory, push on March 15, 2014 at 18:48

At the latest since Ableton Push came out its key layout became popular. This key layout is called isomorphic note layout. But this idea is not new; accordions using various isomorphic keyboards have been built since the 19th century.

In contrast to Push’s in key mode all notes are part of the layout, so you can play notes, which are not in scale. From my point of view this allows musicians more creativity. Use Push’s chromatic mode, if you like go this way.

Ableton Push in chromatic mode

Ableton Push in chromatic mode. As you can see, the not in scale notes are greyed out.

If you don’t own a Push, you can try one of the iPad apps like Musix.

Musix shows the C major scale.

Musix shows the C major scale.

The main advantage of this layout is the transpositional invariance. That means chords have the same shape when transposed to another key. So, you can transpose the following shapes by moving them horizontal or vertical.

Robbie James from Lostbeat made wide-ranging tables of shapes for chromatic and
in key mode. Have fun with it! alexander

Chords in isomorphic note layout

Generating drum fills

In ableton, drums, midi on January 1, 2013 at 19:54

Today, I like to generate drum fills with the help of Ableton‘s MIDI effects. My starting point is a drum rack with samples I made and a programmed drum pattern:

The drum beat sounds no so bad, but probably a bit boring. I would like to get something like that:

And here is the way I created this drum variations and fills. First of all I grouped three MIDI effect devices. Ableton‘s Arpeggiator, Randon and Scale.

Generating drum fills - The whole group

Please consult the screenshot for getting the parameter settings. Of course you can’t use all of my Scale device settings. In case you are not familiar with the Scale device, think about a matrix or filter. The horizontal axis represents the incoming MIDI note and the horizontal axis the outgoing MIDI note. Such a filter leaves the notes as they are, if all red squares are building a diagonal from the lower left to the upper right. Enough with theory – I would like to hear only the clap, snare and bass drum when the device is enabled. There is no need to say that the these settings depend on the drum rack. You have to find your own settings.

Generating drum fills - Tuning the scale

The mapping of the macro knobs is a bit tricky. After pressing the Map Mode button you should map the Chance parameter of the Random device to macro one. Then map the device on/off switch of the Arpeggiator and Scale to this knop, too. I like to switch on the Arpeggiator and Scale only, when the chance value is over 50 percent. This is achieved by editing the upper Macro Mappings table. The minimum value should be 64.

Generating drum fills - Random chance

Finally I mapped the Arpeggiator’s Synced Rate to macro knob two and the Style to macro knob three.

Generating drum fills - The arp

So, we are done. Just vary the Random Chance in order to get drum variations and fills like in the example above.

I hope that helps. Happy new year!


In ableton, free, sample on November 11, 2012 at 13:38

Waveshaper about the sample pack for Ableton Live:

“Modulok is a percussive sample pack made using two semi-modular analogue synths, a couple of vintage synthesizers and a bunch of analogue FX all linked together in a modular fashion.

Crafted by hand with love and care, the goal is to bring out the character of the analogue sound, both smooth and wild, futuristic and retro, raw and advanced, in a big & versatile drum-sample pack, suitable for all kind of music. Analogue but not cliché, this pack knows no boundaries.”

Tech spec: Features more than 380 samples for a total size of 153MB, 364 one-shot samples, gathered in 4 categories: kicks, snares & lasers, hats & cymbs, percussions & sfx (each category being also sub-divided in 2 sub-categories for a quicker browsing); 23 loops of analogue drones and textures for your audio production; 24bit, 48Khz stereo WAV files; This pack is released for free, as Waveshaper’s contribution to KVR DC2012.


Modulok is one of the entries of the KVR Developer Challenge 2012 and my favorite so far, Modulok is a sample pack by WaveShaper, made with a couple of vintage synths, two semi-modular synths and some analog effects. It features more than 360 unique samples and are really well organized into categories and subcategories, and then labeled to give you an idea of the sample. Sample quality is 44Khz 24 bit stereo WAV.
If you don’t know what a sample pack is, is a collection of sound files recorded and/or sythesized, and put together so you can integrate it into a song, beat, video or anything you want.

The highlight in this library is that is really original, extremely easy to use and the sounds are REALLY useful, its not one of those packs full of crap-samples.



Ease Of Use

I was impressed with this pack…

View original post 576 more words


In ableton, daw, hardware, software on October 25, 2012 at 19:19

I think, since Native Instruments released Maschine, there is a new generation of powerful controllers and Push is one of them.

And I’m happy that Ableton Live 9 will have some new features like recording automation in session view mode. See the ‘New in Ableton Live 9’ video by AbletonInc for more information.

EDM arena


Exciting news for Electronic Music Producers today!  Ableton Live 9 just dropped with a ton of new features.  In addition to this Ableton has also announced PUSH.  PUSH is a new instrument that solves an old problem: how to make a song from scratch. With hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds, and song structure, Push puts the fundamental elements of music making at your fingertips – and it fits in a backpack alongside your laptop.

See it in Action here:


View original post

Hundreds of free tutorials

In ableton, daw, free on September 29, 2012 at 15:37

I am frequently asked for free Ableton Live tutorials. The good news is that are many tutorials online. The bad news is, there are only a few videos well suited for beginners. So let’s start an overview. What does the internet offer to beginners and medium advanced Ableton users?

Not surprisingly, does Ableton itself host some tutorials for absolute beginners on their website. I think this is a good starting point.

The biggest site is Dubspot (New York, USA). They offer video tutorials about djing and digital music making for beginners and advanced users. They make interviews and workshops with prominent musicians. Dubspot keep commercial courses, too. Therefore be not surprised, if they promotion their courses within a free tutorial again and again.

It has become a little bit quiet around another large side called WinkSound (New York, USA). They provide video tutorials about djing and music making for beginners and advanced users.

But less known sites are not necessarily bad. For example Anthony Arroyo’s website The Ableton Cookbook (Austin, USA) offers video tutorials about music making for advanced users. There are live courses available. I personaly like his videos, because they are very detailed and comprehensible.

Synthtopia is a very hugh community, which is engaged in all aspects of digital music making. Synthtopia offers video tutorials about music making for medium advanced users. The content is posted by users of the Synthtopia community.

The maker of Abletontutorials is posting many free tutorials. Unfortunately, it’s a tumblr page so the page is unstructured without any search option.

Or don’t forget Nicks Tutorials. Hi has video tutorials about music making for advanced users on his page. You can buy some rescoures and more video tutorials. Ableton8tutorials and Lynch Audio are small sites, which have many free video tutorials and some free resources.

I am afraid there is no maintenance for the site Timofey, but there are very useful tutorials and download, because the author demonstrates how to recreate popular electronic songs.

Last, but no least, Heatercore listed 365 Ableton Live Tips.

The last thing I have to say is that, there are not enough tutorials for absulte beginners. You you agree?

Till next time. alexander

P.S. Look at the comments in order to get new tips especially for beginners!

Next Post

In ableton, midi, vjing on August 31, 2012 at 01:44

Manchester MIDI School‘s Tom Lonsborough, takes us through how to set up your Mac’s IAC Driver for transmitting MIDI to other programs internally. Visit www.midischool.com for more information on their online courses.

Freeze sidechained tracks

In ableton, audio effect on August 11, 2012 at 15:39

Ableton’s compressor, filter and gate supports sidechaining. It is a great feature, when you are looking for a more cohesive mix, fixing mixing issues or just looking for interesting sound effects. Especially when you work with products from Native Instruments you get a too high CPU load and as you probably know, that does compromise the timing of your DAW. Unfortunally Ableton don’t allow to freeze the tracks, which are used for sidechaining.

And here is a simple workaround. Maybe you like to control a filter by a drum beat, in order to modulate the sound of a synth. First of all listen to the drums and synth without sidechaining.

I added an Auto Filter to the synth track and enabled sidechaining from the drum track.

It sounds as expected – the drums do contol the filter:

And here is the problem: When you try to freeze one of the tracks, Ableton reject this with the message, that the track “cannot be frozen because of the routing”.

My workaround depends on Ableton’s routing. I create two new audio tracks and rout the audio from the old tracks to the new tracks by changing the Audio To in the In/Out Section. Know you have to switch the Monitoring of the new tracks to In, otherwise you will hear nothing. And the last two step are moving the Auto Filter to the corresponding new audio track and set the Audio From to the appropriate new audio track.

That’s all! Now you can freeze the old audio tracks and just the filter will calculated in real time. Personally, I prefer using groups instead of new audio tracks, because this approach is simpler and keeps the clarity.

I hope that’s help. alexander

Understanding Ableton’s Multiband Dynamics

In ableton, mastering, mixing on July 7, 2012 at 17:48

Let’s talk about Ableton’s Multiband Dynamics device. It is not my intention to explain compression, I just want to understand this complex device. I think, it’s much more easier to handle this, if you keep the Compressor device in mind and its limitations.
Just open both devices. As you may know, in opposite to the compressor the multiband devices works on up to three frequency ranges. The two sliders on the left hand side are for that purpose. But let’s take a closer look at the edit modes of the Multiband Dynamics. You can change the mode by pressing one of the buttons T, B or A.

The time parameters

You can edit the attack and release time for each band. In addition there is a global parameter, time, which affects all values relatively. Well, no surprises here.

Above and below

In the beginning I was a bit confused what above and below in the context meant. It’s simple. If you take a brief look at the input-output-diagram of the compressor device, you see in general a knee. The right values of the knee are called above (the threshold) and the left values below.

Above thresholds and ratios

By pressing the A button, you enter the Above edit mode. Here is the place for editing the thresholds and ratios. Remember you can work with up to three bands. Here is something different from the Compressor device, you can enter ratios greater than one. That means the signals above the thresholds will be louder. Yes, this device is an expander, too.

It is always a good practice to keep the perceived loudness constant, so you can compare the processed audio signal with the original. For this purpose you should change the Output of the band. Now you can compare the signals by switching the value of the Amount from 100 percent to zero. By the way, it’s helpful to solo the band you are working on.

The diagram in the middle is helpful. The length of the (right) bars mean the threshold and the density of the vertical lines corresponds with the compression ratio.

Below thresholds and ratios

After pressing the B button, you will see Below edit mode. The thresholds and ratios are place as usual. If the initial threshold is minimal (-80 db), nothing happens, because this section manipulates audio signals below this threshold. Increasing the threshold will show a new bar in the middle of the device and enables a (second) compressor/ expander for this band.


As said before, comparing the original audio signal and processed is a good way to control your work. For that the global Output parameter and Amount are the values you have to change.


I hope the helps. Best regars.