Archive for the ‘ableton’ Category

The hidden export features in Ableton

In ableton, sampling on June 30, 2012 at 15:56

I’m pretty sure, you know that Ableton Live creates audio files in the project folder, but not everyone knows how to use this fact.

If you take a look at the project’s directory structure, you may find in the folder Sample/Processed more folders containing audio files.

The project folder structure.

The point I want to make is that can use this place as a kind of audio export, because you can copy every file and use it again in Ableton or load it into other audio applications.

Fortunately, the folder names are corresponding with the respective function in Ableton. If you freeze a track you will find new audio files in the freeze folder and so on.

And here are some things you can do by copying files from there:

  • Time stretching/compression of audio files

    After warping an audio track, its tempo depends on the global song tempo. But Ableton is nondestructive, so a time stretching or compression is done on the fly, when you play your song. Maybe you have moved some warp markers, the software will treat them as local tempo changes. For the sake of clarity, the used original audio file is untouched and you will hear something different, if you play this track.

    As you see, there are some good reasons for exporting this audio and the standard export feature is for my taste too complicated.

    What you have to do is such simple. Select the track in arrangement view and choose consolidate from the context menu. The rendered file will stored in the Consolidate folder.

  • Converting MIDI tracks into audio

    In case you have a MIDI track and you need an audio file, you have to freeze the track and the software will store the result in the Freeze folder.

  • Cutting or joining audio files

    As expected does crop create an audio file in the Crop folder. If you apply consolidate (in the arrangement view) to more than one audio track, you will get one single audio file in the Consolidate folder.

I’m pretty sure there are much more use cases. Note, if you just working in the session view and you need a feature only offered in arrangement view, just copy the track and past it into a suitable track of the arrangement. My tip is, don’t move such files from the place, if you don’t know, how Ableton is using this file.

That’s all for today. I hope this helps. Best regards.



Warping Multiple Tracks in Ableton

In ableton, daw on June 24, 2012 at 15:10

Sometimes I’m working on multi track projects with little timing issues. Of course Ableton Live offers warp marker editing in order to fix such problems. But today I was wondering, what can I do, when every track should be affected? I think, it is simple in case you know how. And that is my approach.

Two tracks with timing problem.

Here is a simple example. I have two tracks – a drum and a bass loop. Unfortunately there is a timing problem at beat 2.2. I think, the instruments are too late, so I like to move both instruments a bit forward.

Make sure, that all tracks have the same length. In case you have not done it yet, drop the tracks from the file browser into different channels of the arragement view or copy the tracks from the session view and past them into the arragenment view channels.

You must decide on which track you will working. The track becomes something like a master track. In my case, I will use the drum loop – looks much more simpler to me. Select the master track while clicking on the title bar of the track.

Click on the title bar of the master track.

After that press CMD + A in order to select all tracks.

After selecting you are in the multi track mode.

So, both tracks are selected (orange in my case). Don’t be irritated that working on the warp markers let the color disapear. You are still working on all tracks. Nevertheless, the clip view has still the typical cross stripes and the clip name is just a star.

Editing the warp marker effects all tracks.

Now you can edit on the warp markers and you will notice, that the other clip will change to. In that case I added three marks and move the inner one.

I hope, you can hear the difference. A simple approach, but it works fine me.

Best regards! alexander

Tempo and beat detection with Ableton Live

In ableton, daw on January 17, 2012 at 01:19

Sometime it is difficult to detect the tempo and beats of an audio file. This is a short tutorial how to do this with Ableton Live.

First of all listen to the example. It’s the vocal Ghosts Of Lees sang by Kaer Trouz from ccmixter.org. In my opinion it’s not so easy to hear the beat in this piece of music.

Our great advantage is that western pop music is written in a 4/4 rhythm and the global tempo doesn’t vary. Otherwise this job is much more complex, but this did not happen in this case.

Let’s walk through the step I suggest.

  • Load the file into a clip slot for audio files. By the way the initial tempo of your song doesn’t matter, because you will change it later.
  • If you look at the sample display, you can will recognize some returning patterns. We are very fortunate that the length of each pattern is equal.

  • Enable the warping and set a warp marking at the end of the first pattern we had recognized.

  • Listen again to the first pattern and guess the number of beats. Maybe you like to clap or count to the music. In this case I think eight beats will work. In order to adjust the tempo move the warp marker to the marker for the ninth beat. If you take a look at the Segment BPM value, you will find the tempo calculated by Ableton Live. In that case it is 89.56 bpm.

  • Now we set Ableton’s tempo to this calculated tempo and remove the warp marker created by you. You may note that the display behind the deleted warp marker will update. This is why the rest of the audio gets the new tempo.
  • If you take a look at the sample display you can see that the transients fit very well to the beat.

    And here is the result with the metronome.

    That’s all. I shall not hide the fact that the second part of this example has an error. You have to manipulate the audio to fix this, but this is not our job today.

    I hope this quick tutorial will help you. Best regards.


How to make a dubstep bass

In ableton, dubstep on October 22, 2011 at 16:48

Some days ago I found a nice tutorial by Danny Bonnic called How to make a Dubstep/Drum’n’Bass/Breakbeat instrument with Ableton Live. The result sounds interessting and the opportunities are really great. The secret of this instrument are to things: Layering of two instruments and usage of an oscillator. So take a closer look.

Start Ableton Live, go to the “Live Device”s and drag an empty Instrument Rack into a MIDI track.

Empty instrument rack

Drag a Operator instrument into this rack. If you use the instrument itself and not one of its presets, you should not have to edit a value. But of course this could be the first improvement of this aproach.

The operator in the rack

After that edit a simple bass clip like in the screenshot.

Four bars track

In order to get a nice modulation and layering drag a Analog instrument into this rack. It’s not necessary to use a preset. First you should adjust the balance between the volume of the Operator and Analog instrument. I think the second instrument is a bit too loud. So we get a first impression how the instrument will sound.

Analog in the rack

Now I will change some Analogs parameters. Set the wave type to square wave.

Set square wave

Select the Amp1 section. Set the Decay to 6.31s, Sustain to 0.64 and Release to 82 ms.

Edited amp section

Now there’s more excitment coming up. I activate the filter Fil1 and chose the band pass 12 filter typ BP12. The filter value could be 1.4k and resonance Reso to 40%. In order to let an LFO control the filter, we have to set the LFO1 in the Freq Mod section to a value like -2.96.

Filter section

Finally go to the LFO section activate LFO1 and set the rate mode to notes and a quarter note.

The LFO section

If you experiment with the LFO1 Rate you will get great modulations. Enter a modulation of this control like in the screenshot and listen to the result.

LFO rate modulation

So, we are almost finished and experiments are welcome. I for example have added a Redux effect to the Analog chain. The sound get more extrem.

Add redux effect

My tip is to check out the usage of the Vocooder effect. Maybe you get sounds like Native Instrument‘s Razor.

See you next time.


Archiving your work

In ableton, daw on March 31, 2011 at 14:59

I have worked on my songs over a long time. So I would be very sad, if I lose them. Of course the easiest way is to store your finished song at a save place. Would it be nice, to archive the whole project? Yes, this is also my opinion. In order for that some people store all project files. The clever ones uses Abletons “File/Collect all and save” option.

Collect all and save

Collect all and save dialog

And here comes my point. We are not talking about just another backup strategy. A backup protects you, losing your data while you are currently working on a project. Archiving is something different. Store your project for future use. It has been my experience that you can’t open very old project files like a “Ableton Live Set” (als). There are some reasons: Meanwhile, you use a different DAW or you have updated your plugins and so their named changed. That’s why I’ve decided to export each track in a different audio file. And this is how it works for me:

  • Make sure your song is in “arrange mode”.
  • You may turn off any effects that are unnecessary (reverbs, compression, especially on the vocals), because someone else would like to remaster your work.
  • You should disable the compressor or limiter for any track, unless they are part of your sound design.
  • By the way the return tracks are rendered in seperate files. Don’t be surprised that a further file will be created. That’s the export of the master track. Keep in mind, that the master effects don’t influence the other tracks. You will recognize that the master track has the shortest filename and the other will get their filename from the corresponding track name.

From the “File” menu, select “Export Audio/Video” and select this options

  • Rendered track: All Tracks
  • Normalize: OFF
  • Render As Loop: OFF
  • File Type: AIFF
  • Convert to Mono: OFF
  • Sample Rate: 48000
  • Bit Depth: 24
  • Dither Options: NO DITHERING
  • Create Analysis file: ON
Export audio from ableton

Export audio dialag

Click “OK” und choose the storage location. I personally like to use a folder name, which contains the tempo (in BPM) of the song. Keep in mind that tracks without audio signal could be exported, too. Those files are large although they contain no audio data. Finally I open all files in my audio edtor, to find the empty once and shorten unnecessary long files.

In order to test your export, open a new Ableton Live project, change the tempo and just drop all files without the master track into it. You should hear the original song without master effects.

That’s all for today. Let me know what do you think about my approach.


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.


A late christmas present

In ableton, dubstep, link on December 30, 2010 at 16:23

Hello! The christmas holidays are over. Jim Hurley has made us a late christmas present. The exciting live livepack is called overload.  Surprisingly, there is no page about the livepack. I just can offer you the download links for Abelton Live 7 and Live 8.

A late christmas present

After installation you can find the devices in your lives device browser under:

  • Instruments/Instrument Rack/-Jim Hurley-/Overload
  • Audio Effects/Audio Effects Racks/-Jim Hurley-/Overload
  • MIDI Effetcs/Midi Effect Rack/-Jim Hurley-/Overload

But what do the instruments sound like? I would call them experimental, atmospherical and dark. So a good choice for making dubstep. Check out my sound example to gain your own impression.

For my mind the instruments stereo effects are a bit over the top. So I used the Abelton’s Utility effect to reduce the influence. Unfortunately, these instruments stresses your CPU. 60 percent CPU usage is too much. I propose you record a audio clip to use it.

That’s all for 2010. I wish you a happy new year.


Accelerate your Ableton search

In ableton on November 13, 2010 at 14:40

It is time for a small hint – maybe you now it already. There is a simple way to accelerate your search in Ableton. Just go to preferences/file folder and disable automatic rescan on each search.

Disable automatic rescan

Please remember to update your index every time, when you add something to your disk.

Enable automatic rescan

There is no need to change the preferences in that case, just open the context menu on a search item and select automatic rescan on each search. Don’t forget to disable this after the scan.

Up to the next time.


Creating a dubstep bass with Ableton

In ableton, bass, dubstep on October 17, 2010 at 13:58

A few weeks ago I found the great video tutorial “Creating a Dubstep wobble / bass sound in Ableton Live 8” made by dubspot. The tutorial shows how to create a dubstep bass in Ableton Live using the Simpler instrument.

Here is my experience with the video instructions. I have created a MIDI track and dragged the “Simpler” instrument into it. After that I downloaded a wave file from Dubspot, which is used in the tutorial, and added the sample by dragging it into the instrument. Then I have to make some settings:

  • Activate “Loop” and “Filter” and select filter “Type” “BP12”
  • Set the filter frequency “Freq” to 290 Hz.
  • Turn filter envelop on and the “Env” field to “-20”.

We are programing a bass sound, so I have set the number of voices to one and activate the glide function. In order to get a more expressiv and more dynamic sound set the filter velocity “Vel” to about 34 % and “Attack” to 54 ms. To get a more spatial result, set the “Spread” to 35 % – this sound like a chorus.

Simpler I

Simpler settings for the dubstep bass example.

We are almost done, but there is one thing missing: the dubstep typical wobble sound. For this set “LFO” on, sync the LFO with ableton (press the “note” symbol), swipe 8th notes and set the LFO amount to about 20.

Simpler II

Simpler MIDI mappings for the dubstep bass example.

What we have done is especially useful, when you play with some parameters while playing the this bass instrumen. So I MIDI mapped some controler knobs to a few instrument parameters. In order for that select the MIDI mapping view and map this:

  • “Beat” – LFO rate (beats) – LFO synced rate (useful range: 1/4 – 1/24)
  • “LFO” – Filter < LFO – Filter < LFO (useful range: 0 – 24)
  • “Filter” – Filter Cutoff Frequency – Filter Frequency (useful range: 30 Hz – 18.5 kHz)
MIDI mapping

MIDI mapping for the dubstep bass example.

In the end I don’t want to keep my first result from you. That is how it sounds. Bye for now.


The Inventory Blog

In ableton on June 20, 2010 at 22:31

Today I will be brief. As you maybe know I am always looking for good Ableton Live video tutorials. I found some clips at The Inventory Blog.

Check it out! Many thanks to the guys, keep up the good work. We are waiting for more tutorials like that.