Ableton

Free Ableton Live Pack to add texture to your drums

I love adding texture to my track.  You’d think that would be through pads and layers of ambient sound design… but no… there is so much more than you can do.

That is why I made the Textureal Drums (yes… I know I spelled that wrong).

I made this Ableton Live Drum Rack with unique drum sounds from my collection and added effects to give them textural life.

Check out this quick video preview I made:

 

Download For Free / By Donation:


Grab the Live Drum Rack

 

How I Use It?

When I am writing a track, I like to add layers and texture on top of my beat. To do this I create a Trap Beat… or whatever is 🔥. Once that is going I like to throw in the Textureal Drum Rack. That way I can add sparse, yet interesting hits that add a unique layer to the sound. I find it gives the sound life and makes the beat feel more intriguing.  It seems so simple, but it really brings things to a new level.

 

Keep Making Music!

Now that you have the Live Pack, feel free to use it royalty free in your own music. I also have a massive collection of other free Live Packs and Drum Racks on the site, so feel free to poke around the blog for more.

 

By |2019-05-21T23:55:54-07:00May 21st, 2019|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

400+ Free Multitracks To Level Up You Mixing Skills

Are you struggling with your mixdowns? I have definitely run into that in the past and have found the biggest thing to break you out of it is to change your perspective.  Shack things up a bit.

If your a music producer and your mixing your tracks, you might be hitting a wall with your mix because it’s to close to home.  Think about it… If you are attached to the outcome and can’t get over how rad a synth solo that is, then you might not have fresh ears for the mix. One of the ways to get over that is to mix other peoples music.

You know the saying, practice makes perfect.

That is why over the last few years I keep coming back to a few sites to download mixes to experiment with.  The following list is a collection of sites where you can download other peoples mixdowns and tracks to experiment with. It’s great because you can

1. Cambridge – The ‘Mixing Secrets’ Free Multitrack Download Library

 

I love this site by Cambridge. They released a massive collection of mixdowns from there students so the public could use them to practice.  There are hundreds of tracks and searchable by genre.

Check out the Multitracks from Cambridge

 

2. Telefunken Live From The Lab

 

I love this site from Telefunken. There is a great collection of tracks all sorted and ready to use. Here is what they said about the collection;

The multitrack audio files from these sessions are available for free download via clickable links below the individual performance videos. All audio files are presented in .WAV format and were recorded at 24bit / 48KHz sample rate. They are clearly labeled in the same format with the source listed first (LEAD VOX, ACOUSTIC, PIANO), followed by the microphone used (C12, AR-51, etc) and can be downloaded and imported into your Digital Audio Workstation of choice.

Check out the Multitracks by Telefunken

 

3. Meta Pop remix Contest

 

Ok… I know… these are more for remixing, but Meta Pop is also great for discovering mixdowns to try out an experimental mixing technique. What I love about this site is the tracks are fresh and popular, as compared to the first to above.

The other benefit is if you like a track you can always remix it and submit it for the contest.

Check out the Stems at Metapop

 

4. Splice

 

Splice is amazing for so many reasons. There are always new samples to play with, and tracks you can collab on. The site has a massive collection of Project Files to choose from.  This list is specific for finding mixdowns to try out new techniques, and for that… splice is a little lacking. The reason why is usually the tracks are whole project files. Meaning the producer generally already has eq and all that in there. That means you have to take the time of going in and deleting it.

Also opening project files from other producers will pretty quickly drive you made. Most people do not label or organize things. It can be a nightmare.  Wow… Really… It shows you how important it is to organize your tracks.

I kept it on the list because you can still find some really cool tracks to experiment with.

Check out tracks at Splice

 

5. Full Subaqueous Tracks

 

You could also try mixing with the free 10 tracks I released as Ableton Live Templates. I took my whole album, tides of twilight, and packaged up each of my tracks at Live Sets for you to use. You can see how I organize my projects, try out new mixing techniques, and get a taste of what my production style is like.

All 10 are downloadable for free. I also have a premium version with added video content and downloads available.

Grab the 10 Free / By Donation Live Templates

 

Get Cracking with Mixes!

 

With this list, you have access to hundreds of tracks to practice with. If you new to mixing and what to level up your skills, try mixing one a day or one a week. Over time your workflow will be fast and your skills lightning speed.

If you got other to add to the list, comment below and I will check it out.

By |2019-05-21T22:55:16-07:00May 21st, 2019|Ableton, Music Theory, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Custom Wavetables using sounds from Space

I am in continual awe at the huge and mysterious nature of the cosmos. When Ableton Live 10.1 let you add custom wavetables I had the idea of using celestial sounds as wavetables. But before I get started, let me answer the question of how there is sound in space.

NASA released a collection of sounds and said this:

Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

In other words, these sounds are either radio wave transmissions or other radiation. They are then translated or processed into sound for human hearing.  I went through the Public NASA Sound LibraryEuropean Space Agency Library, and a collection of recordings by Don Gurnett at the University of Iowa. These sounds make awesome textural pads or layers for your music. There is nothing like playing with the sounds of the universe.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at how you can use them with Live’s 10.1 Wavetable Synth.

 

 MAKING SAMPLES INTO CUSTOM WAVETABLES

 

Live announced the ability to add custom wavetables in Live 10.1 update. I thought it was going to be an incredibly complex process but they surprised.  It is actually really easy to use samples as custom wavetables.  All you have to do is drag and drop a sample. Yeap… that is it.

The audio file can be dragged from the Browser, from a clip slot in the set, or directly from anywhere on your computer.

Wavetable reads the first few seconds (up to 256 wavetables) from the file. Each wavetable is a 1024 sample.  In other words, it chops up the sound into 256 splices each being 1024 samples each.  It does this all automatically so you don’t have to start thinking about all the math to prepare the file. It’s incredibly smooth and easy to do.

If you want to learn more about making custom wavetables, check out this article. I had to learn how to make my own 1024 sample wavetables the hard way. This was before Live let you drag and drop samples.

 

SOUNDS FROM SPACE WAVETABLE PRESETS

 

Once I realized I could use any sound I wanted, an idea popped in my mind.  A few years back I heard sounds from the Nasa Soundlibrary and I decided I wanted to turn them into wavetables.  I collected a bunch of sounds and started experimenting. I found the best collection of samples to use with Ableton Live’s Wavetable. I was then playing with the sound of stars. Here is a walkthrough video:

The presets and samples are free / by donation with the link below.


Download Free / By Donation Live Pack

When you open the live set you can play with the Presets I created, or drag and drop the samples on the first track into a new wavetable to make your own.

 

CREATIVE POTENTIAL WITH WAVETABLE

 

Adding custom Wavetable’s with Live 10.1 opens up a whole world of creativity. You can record your own voice and make it a synth, or you can take field recordings… you name it.  If you have found a cool technique, I would love to hear about it. Comment below with any links to videos using custom wavetables, or tricks that you have discovered.

 

MORE WAVETABLES

 

I have tons of articles and videos on how to make sounds using Wavetable. If you want to level up your synthesis chops check out the Wavetable category of my blog.

Making Your Own Epic Custom Wavetables in Live

The Wavetable Instrument in Live is an amazing tool for synthesizing complex sounds. In Live 10.1 they included a new feature that lets you add your own custom User Wavetables.   In this article, I am going to show you different techniques for making Custom Wavetables.

 

DRAG AND DROP AUDIO SAMPLES

 

Ableton Live made it really easy to just drag and drop samples into the Wavetable Synth.  The audio file can be dragged from the Browser, from a clip slot in the set, or directly from anywhere from your computer (Just like dragging in samples). If you add an audio file from a folder, you can use the Next/Previous arrows to move through those samples in Wavetable.

 

How are the samples processed?

Ableton Live has to process the file to make it work as a Wavetable. You have to keep things in mind like sample size, phasing, and many other things.  Most of the time just dragging a file in works great, but let’s look at how Live processes it.

  • Wavetable only reads the first few seconds from the Sample. Since it can only use up to 256 waveforms to make a wavetable, it just takes the first bit and chopped it up.
  • Live makes the wavetable from 1024 samples per wavetable. That is the total length of the wavetable (that is a really really small file).
  • Serum makes files at 2048 samples per wavetable, so Live downsamples it to 1024 if you drag it in.

What is the new “Raw” mode?

When Raw Mode is on it doesn’t process the sound and just chops it up into equal sized 1024 sample waveforms. If the sample is not prepared properly this will cause lots of clicks and phase issues.  It’s best to only turn Raw Mode on when you made the wavetable to the 1024 sample per wavetable spec.

With Raw Off, Live add extra processing to make it work better as a wavetable.  Live will ignore any silence parts in the sample, edges of each wavetable are faded to zero to get rid of clicking, process the sound to avoid phasing, and normalize the wavetable.

 

CREATING NEW WAVETABLES

 

Audio Samples are a fun creative way to make new sounds but don’t always turn out as musical as you would like.  Sometimes you just got to get nerdy and make your own wavetable from scratch. So… how do you do this? The best way to make your own Wavetables is by using a Wavetable Editor and Software.  I will preface this by saying we are going down a pretty nerdy rabbit hole… but for those that are brave, let’s do this. I am going to run down my top three.

Audio Term:

Clunky software… Strange interface… but cool results? Yeap, that is Audio term. The software looks like it was made in the late 90’s on DOS. It has little support, so why use it? Well, it has some really amazing edit functions. Once you get past the initial confusion of the GUI.  I have made some really interesting wavetables based on mathematical equations, F_Type, with this one.  This is a Windows Only Program.

One of the other issues is it renders the sounds as 128 – 4096 samples. Live Wavetable is best used with a 1024 sample, which means you have to downsize this. You can do that in Serum or with other editors. Or alternatively, use it with Raw Mode Off.

 

Serum:

Ok… I know some people are laughing with this one. It is ironic to edit wavetables in Serum just to use it in Live’s Wavetable. I think Serum is an amazing synth, and I use it in production a lot. I, however, find Live’s Wavetable to be a lot faster for 80% of the tasks I am looking at as a Sound Designer. To me, it’s worth making these wavetables and using them in Live’s Wavetable.  Besides, I can render them and share the wavetables with producers that don’t have serum so they can use it in there music.

With that, let’s have a look at Serum.

Serum has a Wavetable Editor window. To open up the editor, just press the pencil tool next to the wavetable on the oscillator 1 or 2. It will open it up.

In the Editor, you have all sorts of parameters and options for editing the Wavetable. I have found this to be one of the smoothest ways of making a new Wavetable. You can draw things in by hand, use some advanced automation, and other tools.  There is just one problem, Ableton Live’s wavetable is half the length (1024) of serums ones (2048) so you need to go to “Process ->Resize tables to be Double (1/2 total number)”. It will then when you export the Wavetable it will be the proper size.

Synthtech Waveedit:

Synthtech is a free program (Mac and Windows). It is an amazing editor. It was designed to work with hardware made by Synthtech, but can work great for what we need. Visit: http://synthtech.com/waveedit/

There is one problem though, it doesn’t allow you to change the sample size.  You need a 1024 Sample for Wavetable, so if you just load one up and edit it, it will not be optimized for Ableton Live’s Wavetable.  The workaround I have found is to either load one of Ableton Lives pre-existing Wavetable’s and just edit it or find a 1024 Sample Wavetable, load that, and create from there. It will then export it to the right samples. Glitchy workaround, but it works. Just make sure it’s 16bit.

The caveat is that the editor is designed for tables that are 256 samples long and only 64 of them. So you get really small tables out of this (16 at 1024 samples if my math is correct :)

Another gem is the community of sound designers making wavetables with Waveedit. Check out the waveedit online community to download tons of free Wavetables. Remember, these are just 256 sample wavetables, so you will have to either use them with Raw Mode off, or load it into Serum to process it into a 1024 sample wavetable.

 

Serum FM Wavetable Studio:

The last Wavetable Editor is the Serum FM Wavetable Studio. This is an easy and free way to generate some pretty simple and interesting wavetables. This is a utility to generate wavetables for Xfer Records’ SERUM using FM synthesis (or, more properly, “phase modulation” synthesis).  Once you export the wavetable you will have to process it in Serum to make it 1024 or just use it with Raw Mode Off, like many of the other Wavetable Editors/Generators I showed.

 

BUILDING YOUR ARSENAL

 

With these tools, you should have everything you need to start making unique wavetable to use in your sound design.  I also suggest trying to mash up these tools. Make something in Serum FM Wavetable Studio, add some flare in Waveedit and do the final go in Serum. Lot’s of crazy things can evolve.

To help you get started, I have a collection of 50 custom user wavetables for free download.  Follow the link below to grab them and use them in your sound design.

 

Download the 50 User Wavetables

Generating Unexpected Music with Artificial Intelligence and Ableton Live

Using Artificial Intelligence in music production is an exciting and strange idea.  Different AI tools have come and gone since 2016, but this is the first one that caught a deeper interest. When it comes down to it the output still seems random. Today that has changed. Magenta is a suite of Max for Live Devices that gives musicians easy access to experimenting with AI for generating new ideas.

Magenta Max For Live Plugins for AI showing all the devices on a red and yellow background

Walkthrough of Magenta Max For Live Devices

Magenta released a free Max For Live Patch to give you access to the power of Magenta Studio. It has four devices you can use to make new musical ideas. This video is a walkthrough of Magenta by Google:

 

Download Magenta At https://magenta.tensorflow.org/studio/ableton-live

 

Magenta Studio of Machine Learning Tools

Magenta is an open source research project by Google. It was made to exploring the role of machine learning as a tool in the creative process. Magenta has taken massive amounts of data and created a database that can then be used with machine learning.  A great example of this is Generate.

The Generate module using AI and Machine Learning to make brand new ideas. Here is Google’s explanation of how it works:

Generate uses a Variational Autoencoder (VAE) that has been trained on millions of melodies and rhythms to learn a summarized representation of musical qualities. Generate chooses a random combination of these summarized qualities, and decodes it back to MIDI to produce a new musical clip.

So, in other words, they have given Magenta a massive collection of MIDI they have collected from live performances and music. The AI then sees similarities and tries to make a new melody that would be similar yet different from the originals.

Artificial Intelligence as a New Toolset

Machine Learning is really good at average. Right now we are pumping a massive amount of info into programs to have them spit out things that are similar. That means it is taking the average of data and trying to make something. It also means these tools have yet to make something spectacularly new and unexpected. It can’t come up with the next best idea, right now it can just average out past ideas.

What this means as a music producer is we shouldn’t rely on these tools. But they are a great way to come up with unexpected ideas. After you get a bunch of ideas you can use your own tastes and decision making to narrow it down or edit them into new ideas.

Interpolate is particularly useful. I was able to take 2 melodies I wrote and use it to move between the two and come up with some new ideas. Taking the generated MIDI from Magenta, I edited it and made a whole new track.  It’s a really unique way to augment your writing process.

I don’t know what the future holds for Machine Learning and Music Production, but this is the first step I have seen that really excites me as a musician.

Check out Magenta Studio and download to start playing: https://magenta.tensorflow.org/studio/ableton-live

 

By |2019-02-09T23:28:32-07:00January 23rd, 2019|Ableton, Producers Blog|2 Comments

8 of the Best Free Ableton Live Packs and Effects (2018 rundown)

Having access to great sounds makes the whole music making the process so much faster.  That is why I am always on a hunt for good Live Packs. I’ve collected my top favorite free Live Packs and Instrument Racks. Download each of these for free. If it opens up a Gumroad page, just put “0” in the name your price to grab it for free.

Singularities for that synthy goodness

First on our list is an official Live Pack from Ableton, Singularities.  This Live pack is freaking amazing.  As they say on the website;

Singularities makes use of single samples and finely tuned, expressive parameters to capture the sound and feel of classic synths and samplers. Included are 40 Instrument Racks, plus MIDI clips and drum kits – all the parts you need for a complete track.

I love the collection of synths and instrument racks in this Live Pack. Check out the sounds of Singularities below.

Smashed Snapple Can Just For Fun

If you have read this blog, you know I am a fan of AfroDjMac. He is constantly coming out with Live Packs and Instrument Racks. I didn’t want to litter the list with all his releases, but this is one of his highlights.

The Smashed Snapple Can Live Rack is just that… A smashed can. AfroDjMac showed this instrument off at Loop this year. Here is what he said about the instrument rack:

I created these while monitoring the In-School Suspension room at the high school where I work. A bored and belligerent student was amusing himself by causing a disruption. He was blowing into a crushed Snapple to make some kind of dying animal sound. Here is the sample:

Unaware of who was supervising the room, the student was a bit surprised when I asked him to do it again so I could record it. After recording it, I processed the sound in Ableton Live and made the three instruments I am sharing with you today.

I love the context this gives to the samples. Freaking hilarious.  Download the Live Pack Here.

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