This is an effects rack that my friend AfroDJMac is using for his master channels in Ableton Live. Very useful and practical!
Free Download @http://bit.ly/freesynth46
I divide my live set up in to two general sections: prerecorded loops and live instruments. I like to be able to place effects on each section independently, so in order to achieve this, I route my prerecorded loops to an audio track (commonly referred to as a “Dummy track,” and I route my Live instruments right to the master output. The advantage to doing this is that I can mess around with my prerecorded loops in a myriad of ways while leaving my live instruments (soft synths, vocals, OP-1, melodica, guitar) unaffected, and vice versa. The Master FX Rack that I am sharing with you today is kept on that Dummy Audio track that all my loops are routed to.
So, I use this rack to do high and low pass filtering, add some reverb, bit crush the signal a bit, and put a subtle flanger over the mix for movement. It also has a control for a beat repeater, which is nice for glitches and stutters. And the final component is a combination high pass filter and delay. As you turn up that knob, the signal is simultaneously hi passed with a delay on top. Turn it all the way up and you only hear the delay and none of the original tracks. I find this useful for ending one song and beginning another. These effects are great for keeping a groove interesting. Sometimes just some movement in certain frequencies or little effect can be enough to keep the audience engaged without disrupting the flow of your songs. Now of course this rack has the ability to completely mangle your audio, so if that’s what the situation calls for, let her rip! I have found its true strength lies in a subtle dose. Have fun and enjoy!
AfroDJMac Free Ableton Live Pack #45: Casio MT-68. Created with Mike Longo.
Opening song “It’s What You Know” by Mike Longo
Download the Rack Here for Free: http://bit.ly/freesynth45
The MT-68 is very well equipped and makes good use of the potential found in the CPU NEC D 930 G (auto accompaniment CPU chip), which was built into many Casio keyboards. Besides 4 different bass and chord figures per rhythm pattern, 4 additional arpeggio modes are available. It even has functions comparable to a synthesizer’s ADSR envelope on the melody sounds, but I’m not going into detail about it for now.
The analog drum circuits sound quite thin, though. The bass also rather plays melodious sequences than real bass figures, but uses 4 different bass sounds. The 4 different chord sounds are warm and vary from elaborate rhythms to ponding, areal chords.
A new Live rack from AfroDJMac, enjoy:
I made some Ableton Live Racks using a Justin Bieber Keyboard Guitar toy. This is a download of four different device racks, a synth, drums, Justin Bieber Vocal snippets, and a Slice to Midi preset. The accompanying music was made using only the keyboard guitar as a sound source. Baby Baby Baby.
download @: http://bit.ly/freesynth44
This is a little jam with a couple of instances of an Ableton Live Instrument created with samples of a snake drum. The original snake drum had 6 notes. This instrument is spread across the entire keyboard, with some interesting artifacts in the lower and higher extremes. Some interesting macro knob mappings make this an extremely versatile little virtual instrument!
Download it here: http://bit.ly/freesynth42
My good friend Mike, singer/guitarist of NY rock band My Summer, has this cool percussive instrument that I believe is called a snake drum (at least that’s what it says on the bottom of it). Basically, it’s a hollow wooden box with little cuts in the wood. These cuts in the wood are struck with a mallet creating a musical tone. It’s a pretty simple idea that has probably been around for thousands of years and winds up sounding a lot like a marimba or wooden xylophone. It is severely limited in that it only has six notes, but it has a sound that transports you into some kind of ancient tribal ceremony. Mike asked me to show him how I go about building my own Ableton Live instruments, so we decided to sample this snake drum.
We mic’d it up with his brand new RE20 and went to town. The final instrument you hear is made up of all six tones layered on top of each other, which really thickens it out, and all of those layers really bring out the sound of the room we were in.
Once inside Ableton, I added some effects and controls that gave this instrument as much versatility as possible. The first two controls affect the FM Modulation. These allow you to seriously alter the timbre to all sorts of sonic extremes. Next I added a Redux, which at its most extreme setting, miraculously transforms this ancient instrument into something reminiscent of the the arcade in your average bowling alley in 1985. I’ve added reverb and a spread control for creating space and special effects. By playing with the pitch envelope macro knob, you can change the attack sound of the instrument from sounds similar to a steel drum all the way to bass drums and electronic disco tom toms. Finally, I placed a Ping-Pong Delay, set to repitch mode, for anyone who loves those warping stretch sounds of old analog delays.
Now because of the limited range of the original instrument, some interesting things start happening when you play the virtual instrument in the extreme high and low octaves. Drop down a few octaves and you have an incredibly heavy bass sound, similar to my Tuned 808 Ableton Pack, but with a certain organic character. Try playing around with the pitch envelop and you can achieve some awesome bass drum sounds. When you crank up to the highest octaves, these interesting insect like sounds start happening. I found some really far out sounds by simultaneously playing around with the FM Oscillator controls.
This is the real beauty of sound design. Such a simple instrument can be digitally mangled into something completely unrecognizable and out of this world. Mike and I spent sometime fooling around with the controls, and recorded the crazy noises we made and then resampled those into a drum rack. I’ve included this drum rack and called it “Snake Bites.” These are just some insane glitchy bits that were created with this instrument in a matter of minutes. You can see me play around with those in the video, as I trigger them with my Launchpad (which is painted red). Check out the video, all the sounds you hear are made with this instrument. I included the clips I created in the download so you can mess around with them for yourself.
Free Ableton Live Pack from AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher. u-He’s Zebra was programmed by Mark Mosher and the sampled waveform he created was used by AfroDJMac to build this Rad Ableton Live Device. Combined with some interesting effects and a layer of Ableton’s Operator, this instrument makes sounds from soft and gentle to fierce and violent!
Download the Instrument at: http://bit.ly/freesynth40
This week’s Free Ableton Live Rack is part two of my collaboration with sound designer and producer extraordinaire Mark Mosher. Using the same sample from the original Zebra Attack Rack, I’ve set this one up to be a bit less random and offer you more control over the different sounds. What permits the wavetable to be played as a melodic instrument is the very short loop of the sample. I’ve set up a control that allows you to alter the starting point of the sample, which lets you to severely alter the timbre and harmonic structure of the sample. There’s another macro knob that controls which portion of Mark’s wavetable you will be hearing. I’ve added a bit crusher, chorus and flanger, which can be added to taste. Finally I’ve stacked this synth with Ableton’s Operator. The device allows you to control the Operator’s waveform as well as volume. This will allow you to mix in another layer of sound until you achieve your desired sound. The resulting instrument is one that is dramatically different from the original Zebra Attack Rack, and is also one that can yield an extremely wide array of sounds. At one time soft and mellow and at other times, harsh and biting, I think you’ll find the Zebra Attack Rack II an exciting instrument to play with! Enjoy!
AfroDJMac is gearing up for Xmas so here’s a little treat from him
This week I created an Ableton Live synth especially for Christmas. My Christmas tree has lights that play little Christmas songs, so I sampled the sounds coming out of its tiny little speaker and created this instrument for Ableton Live. I hope you enjoy it!
Download the Live Instrument: http://bit.ly/freesynth39
I just put up my Christmas tree and put on some lights that play Christmas songs. The songs are comprised of very simple monophonic melodies, coming out of a tiny little speaker, but as soon as I heard it I was transported back to my youth sitting around the tree late at night. Naturally I had to sample it. So I put my AKG C3000 right up to the speaker and let it play. I selected four different notes to use in the instrument. The lights only play notes ranging just over an octave, so there’s not a lot of choice. From there I placed it into an Ableton Live Device Rack and went to town. I put some reverb and delay in a separate rack, inside the main instrument, to allow you to mix in some space without drowning out the original note. There’s an arpeggiator hooked up to the macro knobs, as well as Sampler’s Shaper control for some added grit. The different samples can be played all at the same time, three at the same time, two at the same time or just one, if you are a purist like me. I’ve also looped one of the samples so that you can play the instrument with some sustain; the original notes are just short bleeps and bloops. The result is a very lo-fi quaint little synth, but at least for me, it has a lot of charm.
My two friends in the states; AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher has put together this week’s Live rack, enjoy!!
Can´t wait until my next trip to the states
This week’s Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack is a collaboration between New York’s AfroDJMac and Colorado’s Mark Mosher. Mark provided the sound source from his u-he Zebra and AfroDJMac built it into an Ableton Live Instrument Rack. Awesome sounds!
Download the Instrument at: http://bit.ly/freesynth38
If there is one thing I’ve learned in the creation of my Free Weekly Ableton Live Racks, it is that the Ableton Live community is alive and thriving. Over the last 8 or 9 months, I’ve gotten the chance to interact, collaborate and learn from quite a diverse cast of characters. Among them are some of the very people whose instructions, posts, and videos I’ve studied in my quest to learn more and more about music production. It’s been very inspiring to speak to and work with people who have taught me so much. Among those people, is Boulder, Colorado’s own Mark Mosher. Mark is an electronic musician, sound designer, producer, and as I have discovered, all-around nice guy. As a way of giving back to the community, Mark has been heading up the blog Modulate This! on which he shares everything from Ableton Live Packs, production advice, gear reviews, and so much more. The first time I watched Mark perform live online, I was pretty sure he was a being sent from the future to share some outrageous new ways of producing and performing music. This week I am very proud and excited to share the first of what promises to be many Ableton Live Packs created in collaboration with Mark.
Paul Stretch is a great piece of software that allows you to stretch audio to absurdly long lengths. Follow AfroDJMac as he shows you some practical applications for this and provides you with three free Ableton Live Instruments to play around with!
Check out the full article and walkthrough over at: http://bit.ly/t0oeO7
New York-based producer, songwriter, guitarist, and live electronic musician AfroDJMac visits SonicScoop regularly to share his discoveries about in-the-box electronic music making. His focus is on creating instruments and effects with character and practicality for the live electronic musician. Be sure to check out the free Ableton Live Device Rack he posts every week.
The simple interface of Paul Stretch holds complex potential for sound design and effects.
Paul Stretch is a free application for Mac and Windows that allows you to do some serious stretching of your audio. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of small stretching you might do when matching two songs to the same BPM, I’m talking EXTREME.
Ever wanted to hear what a song might sound like stretched 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times (10^18)? Then Paul Stretch is for you. This software is capable of taking a 3-minute song and making it last well over five millennia! I seriously doubt any of us will be taking a road trip that would require a soundtrack of that magnitude, but it does open up some nice sound design possibilities.
“Hello, AfroDJMac here with a tutorial and free Ableton Live Device Rack for you! This week I give you an Roland 808 bass drum sample that can be tuned to play in key with your song or as a bass line. The Roland 808 has some great low end on it and it makes for a nice instrument to create earth shaking bass sounds. At higher octaves this synth makes for a nice electric keyboard like instrument #bonus! ”
The iconic Roland 808 drum machine is a staple in modern music. Each sound is loaded with character and can be found across many musical genres. This week I spent some time with samples of the heavy hitting bass drum. The result is a Free Ableton Live Device Rack that allows you to play the bass drum like an instrument. I’ve tuned the bass drum and spread it out over the keyboard to create a bass instrument that allows your bass drum to play in key with your songs and even play melodies. To help give it some punch, I have fortified it with an additional 808 bass drum sample and a sample made with Ableton’s Operator. These two layers add a more high end “click” sound to the bass drum notes, helping to round out the sound and add definition to the low end melodies. In the accompanying video, I take you through how I created it, so you can mimic this idea with any sample you like, and then explain how the device rack is set up. So get your subs out and get ready to shake the neighborhood as we dive in to some serious lo frequency madness!
Download the live set @ http://bit.ly/freesynth35
All sounds made with my Yamaha PSR-190 keyboard from the early 90s or so. Have fun with it and enjoy!
I like to think that there is a place for just about every sound or instrument, somewhere, in some song. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is or whether it’s top of the line gold or a bargain bin reject, sometimes things fit perfectly. I’ve found this to be true with a cheap RadioShack microphone, which barely qualifies as a nice toy, but actually records some nice room sounds for drum tracks. And another time with my far-from-classic Yamaha PSR-190. I got the PSR-190 shortly after starting to play guitar and was immediately amused by its built in rhythms and preset sounds that are nothing like the instruments they are named after. Its career in dust collecting was off to an impressive start. But as I grew and ventured off into the world of recording, I began to appreciate its character. I think I began incorporating it into some of my songs as its final test, failure meaning a swift trip to the Wednesday morning trash pick up or an adolescent reenactment of the final minutes of any good Nirvana concert (read: smashed to smithereens). Now I would never want to listen to a track composed entirely of PSR-190 sounds, but a layer or two often fit surprisingly well.
This week’s Free Ableton Live Rack is a drum rack made up of the Yamaha PSR-190′s awesomely late 80s-ish kit. There’s some really indispensable kick and snare sounds, and the toms… the toms are such a charming $80 attempt at Phil Collins that you have to love them. There were fourteen sounds in total, but to make things fit nicely on your MPC style pads, I modified a Kick and Snare sound, stretching them using Ableton’s Impulse instrument. I’ve included some FX to allow for some further sculpting. The video will take you through the particulars.