When applying dynamic effects, we are rarely going to need the entire timing ranges available, depending on the tempo, right? The new Tempo Dynamics pack provides go-to racks with minimum and maximum values hard-wired to ranges most potentially useful, given the chosen tempo — avoiding values that are likely too fast or too slow to be helpful.
Want to limit, squish, groovify, level, expand, or gate something? Reach for one of these racks in the nearest available tempo, and with handy knobs available to fine-tune, then dial it in quickly without worrying about the numbers or graphs… all while retaining the human element of your personal touch still in place. The macro knobs are also useful for automating in an arrangement, say to let something breathe more during one section and then clamp down during another.
I started devising these effect racks back when Live was still on version 9, so I’ve been testing them quite a lot over the last few years. They can be quite handy!
• 23 Tempo Compressors ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments. • 15 Tempo Expanders ranging from 25 to 235 bpm in 15bpm increments. • 8 Tempo Gates ranging from 30 to 240 bpm in 30bpm increments. • 12 Tempo Gluers ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 20bpm increments. • 23 Tempo Limiters ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments. • Bonus for Live 11: 23 Tempo Multibanders ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments.
Since my son has now acquired Ableton Live 11 Intro, I thought it would be interesting to make a pack of effects that utilize only effects native to that iteration of the software. These include Audio Effect Rack, Auto Filter, Auto Pan, Beat Repeat, Channel EQ, Chorus-Ensemble, Compressor, Delay, EQ Three, Erosion, Gate, Grain Delay, LFO, Limiter, Looper, Phaser-Flanger, Redux, Reverb, Saturator, Tuner, and Utility. This is no paltry collection to smirk at! Quite a range of possibilities. But also — a nice change of pace, being arbitrarily limited in options according to what I am used to as a rack craftor. I saw it as an exciting challenge. At the end, I’m super proud of what I’ve come up with. Methinks I’ll definitely be using these racks in the full version of Live 11 Suite aplenty moving forwards.
The PerforModule Key Map Template for Ableton Live 11: mapping computer keyboard keys to as many potentially helpful functions as practical.
There are three parts to the template: •a Live Set pre-loaded with the recommended key mappings, •a Diagram showing color-coded key functions, and •a Spreadsheet listing custom-mapped and built-in key mappings, also explaining some quirks.
Mosey on over to this dropbox folder to download the Key Map Template Live Set, Key Map Plan Diagram, and Spreadsheet Guide. Read on for nauseatingly meticulous details below.
“WTF are Loudness Units?” you may ask. Well, they are simply a measure of loudness, just like decibels. One LU actually is equivalent to one dB. However, an important difference is that Loudness Units are “shaped” according to the human ear’s proclivity to hear certain frequencies more easily than others. Effectively, LUs tend to feel more consistent to our brains than dB will when measuring varying frequency content, and therefore LU meters are preferable to use (compared to, say, RMS meters) for assessing the overall loudness of music.
Below are shown six free LU (aka Loudness Unit) meters, listing features of each. The most important value when matching the loudness of songs is IL (Integrated Loudness), which is the average loudness over the entire course of given time (with very quiet material gated out).
These devices are available as VST effect plugins for any capable VST host (such as Ableton Live, for example).
It’s a set of free presets for Dither, optimized for the Metal genre.
They were made for the mastering of the upcoming metal album, Lust & Insecurity by Animus Invidious.
Noise-shaping dither algorithms are theoretically optimized to “bury” the noise in the frequencies you hear least, while avoiding so much in the preeminent tonalities (in this case, distorted electric guitars focused around 2.5kHz).
You can DOWNLOAD HERE and open the .fxp presets using your DAW of choice. If you happen to use Ableton Live 11, you can additionally access the .adg Racks which allow for more easy snapping-to or fine-tuning of the intensity value.
[Almost] all of the PerforModule sale packs (and some of the freebie packs) have been updated for Ableton Live 11 (finally)!
Primarily, this means that racks which had less than eight mapped macros (resulting in some blank controls) have been tidied up to make use of Live 11’s ability to customize the number of macros shown.
Occasional effect racks have also had some macro variations (aka presets) added to them.
The following PerforModule packs have all been updated for Live 11. If you own any of the sale packs, you can download the updated versions from your account at Isotonik Studios, either now or at any later date when you acquire Live 11.
This pack includes the bespoke Effect Racks from the 𝓢𝓾𝓹𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝔀𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓷𝓭𝓼 retro keyboard instrument pack for Ableton Live i released in collaboration with Brian Funk (but not the instruments), updated for Live 11.
As usual, care is taken to map parameter values cleverly and gainstage things sensibly so that these racks are highly usable in many situations. I also tried to come up with unique signal processing chains leading to interesting results, like 𝓓𝓻𝓾𝓷𝓴 𝓕𝓻𝓲𝓮𝓷𝓭𝓼 sounding like your inebriated companions trying to sing along with you very badly — or like 𝓣𝓱𝓻𝓪𝓼𝓱𝓮𝓻 giving a one-knob guitar distortion that scales from subtle overdrive to brutal metal fuzz — or like 𝓡𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓔𝓪𝓻𝓼 emulating… your ears ringing (perhaps to be used for film sound design) — or like 𝓢𝓱𝓮𝓹𝓫𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓡𝓲𝓼𝓮𝓻 performing the auditory illusion of constantly increasing pitch.
Remember that you can hover your mouse over device headers and macro controls to learn about what they do. Don’t fly blind! Or say screw it and go crazy with the random button. I’m not your parental unit.
I met Aaron Holstein (aka VibeSquaD aka Backpact aka the bassist/keyboardist from Zilla) at the 2007 Sonic Bloom festival in Colorado, where my wife Lore and i were supplying coffee and tea backstage for the artists. I remember chatting with them after their awesome set with Sporque (one of my favorite live acts to dance to ever which also had Ooah from the Glitch Mob on beats and Jamie Janover on percussion), wherein i mentioned noticing that a certain bass synth note they kept hitting happened to resonate with the stage, causing this extra delicious rattle. “It was a C sharp!” Aaron told me later backstage. I’ll always remember that.
So one day i got it in my head to figure out which of Ableton Live’s Effects are the best to use in parallel.
What is the criteria for this? Simply, which processes alter the phase of audio passing through them, either to the least degree, or in a nicely summable way.
Why does this matter? Because phase offsets, when summed in parallel with the original signal, will inevitably cause changes to the frequency contour. Sometimes slight amounts of this phase offset can add a nice creamy touch to the sound of things (and pretty much all analog gear causes it to some degree), but when being surgically technical like during the finalizing stages of a track, they are generally just not helpful.
An example of not altering phase at all is Live’s Compressor effect which is phase-neutral; it can be used safely in parallel with no unwanted frequency coloration whatsoever.
An example of altering the phase in a “nicely summable” way is Live’s Reverb. Technically, it’s altering the phase a whole bunch, but it’s doing so in a time-smeared fashion which results in far less likelihood of perfectly-lined-up frequency cancellations, and so, when at 100% wet, reverbs can be just fine to use in parallel, and are often preferred this way.
After carefully checking the phase response of all of Ableton Live Ten’s native Audio Effects, i came up with five distinct racks providing combinations of the most parallel-friendly native effects, optimized for specific purposes with maximal versatility of application.
While we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect or ideal FX chain order for all situations because it totally depends on context, i have eventually developed some general preferences for the order of effects in a signal chain. Recently updating all my templates for Live 11 has further honed my thoughts on the situation.
We can of course swap around the sequential ordering of effect devices, either for a specific intended result or as a matter of experimentation just to see if an alternate routing happens to sound better on given audio.
As usual when sharing my ideas, it is recommended that you not simply adopt the structure as presented, but rather that you test it out in practice and modify things over time to suit your particular style, keeping notes and updating your own templates as you go. Maybe you think the way i place transient shapers before compressors is idiotic. That’s totally fine!
I’ll share below my go-to effects order, and (most importantly)… WHY. While some of the choices are probably pretty unorthodox, none of them are arbitrary; they all have reasons. Are they bad reasons? Good reasons? Who knows. But i like to think they are built on logical rationale.
Keep in mind you’re seldom if ever going to need all these types of effects on any single track, but for times when you are using even two different processor types, some guidance as to their ordering might prove useful. Resist the urge to add more effects to a chain just because you can. The fewer processors required to get a sound how you want, usually the better.