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.
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.
After that edit a simple bass clip like in the screenshot.
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.
Now I will change some Analogs parameters. Set the wave type to square wave.
Select the Amp1 section. Set the Decay to 6.31s, Sustain to 0.64 and Release to 82 ms.
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.
Finally go to the LFO section activate LFO1 and set the rate mode to notes and a quarter note.
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.
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.
My tip is to check out the usage of the Vocooder effect. Maybe you get sounds like Native Instrument‘s Razor.
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.
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.
After installation you can find the devices in your lives device browser under:
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.
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 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 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:
Today I found an interesting video workshop about making a dubstep bass on youtube. The workshop is by TST and can be found here: youtube.com/user/thesoundtutor
Although TST is working with Ableton, TST doesn’t use a live device for creating the bass sound. The tutorial plays with Massive – an virtual synth from Native Instruments. I think, the benefit of the workshop will be much more, if you own this instrument.