Handy DAW Tip: Cascading Plugin GUIs

So this one is super simple, but definitely helpful as a workflow enhancer. Applies to any VST-capable DAW.

It’s always annoying when bringing one plugin GUI into focus obscures another GUI and then you have to shuffle things about.

This tip applies when you have too many plugins open to fit them all onscreen without overlapping or when you’re not sure how many more plugins you might need to add in a project; it’s not needed when you have few plugins and enough screen space to comfortably them fit all.

So here’s the juicy tip: Start at the top right, cascade down-leftwards.
plugin GUI cascading (stairstep).PNG
You’ll want to create a stair-step pattern with the top-left corners of the plugin windows.
Each time you add a new plugin, add it to the bottom left, leaving space for the title bar of the previous.

By following this method, the top-left corner of every plugin will always be available to grab, making it super easy to switch between them at any time. Clicking to focus on one plugin will never fully cover up any of the others. Yay! Continue reading

Demystification: The Chain Fade Problem

So there’s this issue with fading between chains in a rack in Ableton Live which i haven’t heard much mention of. Perhaps you’ve noticed it?

Say you have a rack with two chains, let’s call them “A” and “B“.
1

Using the Zone Editors in the Chain Selector Editor of the rack, we’ll place A on the left (full at 0), fading out the other direction. Vice versa for B, placing it on the right (full at 127) and fading out towards the left.
2

Now let’s map the Chain Select Ruler to the first Macro.
3

Macro 1 will now give us a nifty fader knob between whatever processing we place on chain A versus whatever we place on chain B.

Nice …except for the problem. Continue reading

PerforModule Recommends: Ideal Peak Levels

Kind of like every human being has a height value, every audio clip has a peak level value. So what can we do with that information, beyond knowing that going above 0dB usually isn’t advised? In our eternal quest for ultimate audio quality, the inclination can be inherent to record loudly—as close to 0dB—as possible, and thereafter maintain that peak level. We fear that by mixing with track levels that are too quiet, we might be losing fidelity, some harmonic detail in the saturation floor or something.

While it is true that recording analog signals as loudly as possible without signal clipping to begin with will indeed minimize noise floor, the benefits reaped by maximizing peak level for individual tracks tapers off as you get closer to zero. At what peak level are audio sources louder than they really need to be? At what level are they too quiet, that they might need to be boosted excessively later? Using an algorithm based on the energy of how sounds stack together, i devised a set of go-to ranges for peak levels based on track counts. Since peak levels can vary fairly wildly based on content, you are given minimums and maximums (instead of single target values). Juicy details ahead… Continue reading

2 New Packs Now Available at Isotonik Sounds: “Spirit Beats” and “ADM AMBIENT”

As curator of Isotonik Sounds packs for Ableton Live, i’ve gotten the chance to preview some amazing material. It’s been a great honor to be tasked with pinpointing unique and interesting artists and nurturing their product development.    -animus invidious
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Optimizing a New Windows PC for Audio Production (w/Profanity)

Having recently acquired a new custom-built PC, various steps implemented to optimize its performance and usability were taken note of. While not an expert in such things, i figured to share these tips in case they may prove useful. Keep in mind that this guide is presuming that you already dabble in audio production and are upgrading to a new—from an existing—system.

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Isotonik Sounds Launches with New Free & Sale Packs (+bonus freebie!)

Isotonik Sounds has officially launched, a section at the Isotonik Studios webshop featuring instrument and sample packs for Ableton Live by various developers.

Each month, new free and sale packs will be made available. The first two packs are Crumar Multiman-S by noted maxforlive developer NOISS COKO and ADM DRUMS by yes, you guessed it, the acclaimed wizard of Live: AfroDJMac.

First up, what i know most of you are going to go for, the freebie…
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Ableton Live 10: New Feature Highlights

So i’ve been delving into the Ableton Live 10 Beta for a little bit now, did a couple of large mixes and some experimenting with it, and have accumulated a fair impression of how it differs from Live 9.

Ableton Live 10 ~ What’s to Like?

I’ll run over some of the things i’ve noticed in particular which stood out to me, while slipping in mentions of more minor program enhancements. Everything i explain below i will have confirmed personally with Live 9 and Live 10 side-by-side testing.
You’ll notice i completely ignore some new features. These are things i’ve either not tested yet, don’t care about, or would take too much time to dive into properly here. I not even touching on the new instrument or effects (yet…)
My overall impression of Live 10 is that they added in a lot of workflow improvements i didn’t know i wanted. Continue reading