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…

FREE: Crumar Multiman-S by NOISS COKO

Crumar.png
This is a SWEET little set of instruments multi-sampled from the Crumar Multiman-S Synthesizer (i know they sound good, because i beta-tested them).
The original hardware features 6 string voices which can be individually volume-controlled to create your own custom blends. The Ableton Live pack NOISS COKO has created for us features instruments showcasing each voice, plus an “ensemble” instrument with all voices.

My favorite thing about these instruments is their multi-sampling of each note individually, lending very rich, organic flavorings which stand out well in a mix.

Read More about the Crumar Multiman-S at Vintage Synth Explorer.

Crumar Multiman-S
Self-installing pack works with Ableton Live 9 or 10, Standard or Suite versions.

Grab it.

 

For Sale: ADM DRUMS by AfroDJMac
admdrums

The first in a series of ten epic packs, AfroDJMac’s “Grand Collection”, ADM DRUMS is an amalgamated, highly organized collection of drum racks, drum loops, and drum samples created by AfroDJMac from the start of his release history to the first half of 2018, now updated and reorganized into a self-installing Ableton Live pack.

Spanning content from a dozen different original premium ADM packs, this mega-collection allows you to browse among the vast selection of drum racks for jamming on or crafting beats, drum loops for layering or chopping, and drum samples for dragging-and-dropping to make your own custom drum racks.

Includes greater than…
>100 unique drum racks!
>1,000 unique drum loops!
>2,000 unique drum hits!

Everything is setup so that it integrates into Live’s existing library categories. So for example, you can browse the drum hits from within the existing Drums -> Drum Hits category inside the Live Browser. This makes designing your own drum kits super easy, and super fun!

Read Mark Mosher’s review of ADM DRUMS over at Modulate This for an in-depth impression from someone not personally involved in the pack creation. By the way, Modulate This is a really cool blog and resource for… well, you, most likely, seeing as you’re here now. Mark Mosher runs the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup in Boulder, CO, and you can listen to this interview of him on the Art + Music + Technology podcast.

You could also check out the Gearslutz Product Alert, if you’d like.

Yep, ADM DRUMS is a wee bit pricey at $76.50 (with current exchange rates). But when you think about what you’re getting and what it will do for your workflow, and the fact that many single plugins cost more… it’s sooooooooooooooo worth it!

ADM DRUMS
Self-installing pack works with Ableton Live 9 or 10, Standard or Suite versions.

Get it.

psssst, i heard a secret rumor that ADM Music Production Club Members might be privy to a special discount? Sshhh… don’t tell anyone!

 

But wait! We’re not done here just quite yet.

BONUS FREEBIE

(Live 10 Only…)
Here’s a rack i made while organizing my own ridiculous user library. I’ve always found it annoying how some kits are too quiet while many are too loud, desiring less level adjustment and other bullshit before jamming or composing. So i made an effect rack which is specifically designed to slap after the end of any and all drum racks and alleviate such issues. It’s particularly useful when hot-swapping between a bunch of different kits to audition them. I call it the “Drum Rack Endcap”. It’s also useful for some basic sculpting of said drum rack once decided upon, with carefully-calibrated low- and high-cut filtering and some tasty enhancement gimmicks. The thing has been gainstaged against pink noise for basically neutral default settings.
Available nowhere else.
DrumRackEndCap.PNG
Drum Rack Endcap (for Live 10+)
How to use:
Just slap it on the end of your drum racks. If a rack is too loud, it will take care of it already. If a rack is slightly too quiet, try using “Drive” to boost the signal by up to 4dB. If the drum rack is really quiet and that’s not enough, try clicking the “Comp” button in the Drum Rack Buss device to jolt it up. That’s all there is to it!
Tip: set the “low cut” and “low thud” parameters while playing through some medium-grade consumer speakers which don’t have much sub bass. This can help avoid making your kick drum too muddy by setting its fundamental too deep!

Click the image above or the words below and use the password to…

Grab it.

password: end

All PerforModule Sale Packs Updated for Live 10 (+ Final Live 9 Versions)

You can read the headline. That’s what’s up. If you buy a pack, you will have access to whichever version you need. If you own Live 9 now and later update to Live 10, you’ll be able to automatically install the update at any time just by dragging it into Live.

->Read about the final PerforModule pack updates at Isotonik Studios<-

Also, read on if you’re interested in the sale on “Guitaritis”…

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Testy Mastering / PMX FX Plus

Testy Mastering

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“Testy Mastering” is a pack containing an epic effect rack which contains the entire mastering workflow for obtaining a reasonably loud and balanced master or pre-master, mimicking my real-life Tasty Mastering workflow but just using Ableton-native devices. It can be used to effectively polish up your mixdowns for presentation online or for using to test master your mixes, realize their shortcomings, and re-mix before submitting to a professional engineer for final mastering. It contains different modules for specific purposes: Filtering, Surgery, L/R Groove, M/S Groove, LCR Saturation, Serial Limiting, and M/S Analysis. Macro controls are formulated to minimize unwanted side effects such as phase offset, etc, while providing a toolset for enhancing the perceptible audibility by massaging tone and dynamics of a mixdown gracefully. The pack also includes an “Unmastering” rack for restoring a touch of dynamics to completely flattened material as well as a Testy Mastering Template set you can open up to quickly prepare a fresh mastering session.

Testy Mastering Submodules
♥Filtering Module to cut unnecessary sub- and ultra-sonic content clarifying the lows and highs, inject secret “focus sauce”, and massage multiband width using the “M/S Filtering” analysis to make informed decisions. This module alone can transform a mix from “eh” to “wow”.
♥Surgery Module to EQ effectively with selectable bands deliberately bounded in scope and with resonances tied to gain to minimize possible negative effects of over-EQing and to retain the natural heart of the mix.
♥L-R Groove may help prevent peaks from one or the other stereo channel from reducing headroom for the full mix, also offering a unique wideness-enhancing “stereo link inversion” cross-sidechain feature which can make one channel react more to the signal from the opposite side; interesting for making a mix sound more alive rather than flatly consistent (for example, with “inversion” set above 50% in a mix with guitars panned to the right and violins panned to the left, whichever group happened to be playing loudest at a given moment would take precedence, slightly attenuating the other side more).
♥M-S Groove can be used to balance the dynamics between the central and peripheral sides content in relation to each other, for a fuller, more 3-dimensional sound if setting attack, release, and thresholds carefully to pulse with the groove of the song.
♥LCR Saturation is meant to be applied subliminally, not able to hear the effect of each saturator individually. But when you A/B it on and off, it adds a miniscule degree of additional “width, depth and clarity” (thanks ubk happy funtime hour for that phrase).
Set the frequencies by ear at extreme intensity, then dial back into subliminality.
♥Serial Limiting is meant to be used not for ear-blistering loudness levels but rather for a refined, tasteful, and workable procedure implementation which can be used to quickly dial in an acceptable final loudness level without being too extreme in amounts of dynamic squashing. Using multiple forms of limiting/clipping to finalize tracks has in our extensive tests been a most adaptable method for consistent end results on the widest variety of genres and dynamic ranges of source tracks. Depending on a song’s internal energy density, each of the different submodules will be set differently; there is no one “set and forget” setting which will work for most material and thus presets are eschewed. Best general practice is to set so that each limiting stage only very occasionally shaves off the tiniest pixel of gain reduction, other than the soft clipper, which can afford to trigger a bit more often.

Mastering for Loudness?
A huge confusion many of us have about mastering is just how loud to make a track. It’s always possible to push something louder at the cost of dynamic flattening and distortion, so how do we know how hard to push something? It is subjective, but by implementing the workflow outlined in-depth in the included Testy Mastering lesson file (particularly when applying the serial limiting module so that each limiter only occasionally shaves off <1dB) , you can confidently hone in on a reasonable  loudness level which will retain most of your natural dynamics yet be loud enough to compete alongside other streamed material; useful for quickly mastering a mixdown to hear its flaws more quickly for subsequent mix revision (thus the name “Testy”). It’s important to note that this is not an “automatic” or “artificially intelligent” mastering process, but one in which the true power is unleashed with careful setting of each parameter using your own aural instincts. Since Ableton’s limiter is not as transparent as some true-peak limiters which exist on the market, and since a couple of next-level processing options weren’t easily emulatable, if desiring extreme loudness (louder than say -10lufs integrated) we recommend using Testy Mastering for subtle pre-mastering and sending the resulting file to a professional mastering engineer for the final boost. Another approved procedure to juice up a handful more dB of loudness is placing an instance of your favorite, most transparent true-peak limiter vst after Testy Mastering as the very final effect (except for possible dithering). Keep in mind, however, that lufs-based loudness normalization protocols are becoming far more ubiquitous nowadays, as well as the streaming services which implement them, so making ultra-loud versions of tracks becomes less and less necessary. The Tasty Mastering recommendation is to save two final versions of every song, one dynamically mastered around -16 lufs (-18 to -14) for permanent archival and presentation through services which use loudness normalization (itunes, spotify, etc) and one pushed louder (-13 to -7lufs) for places that don’t (such as direct to CD).
Mastering for Performance
If you plan to drop any mastered songs as part of a performance (your productions or those of others), i’d recommend matching each (using ableton’s clip gain, non-destructively) to an integrated lufs of -16 and loops which are not full songs to -23. This will give a nice balance between energy and headroom to be able to stack layers into the master fader to deliver to the venue. This also reduces stress about whether some songs are louder than others in a set and makes the sound crew’s job easier.

 

PMX FX Plus

BRD_PMX-300_Cover

“PMX FX Plus” is a pack including audio and MIDI effect racks (+ one template instrument rack) designed for specific instrument types, including updates of ones originally included with various PMX-300 instruments as well as brand new effects.
Includes stuff…

for drums
Attack Room: enhance roominess as well as frontal attack of drums, making them both big and in-your-face

for bass
Bass Texturizer: overall bass colorizer for dull bass parts
Bass Octaver: lower octave enhancer focused on bass guitar note range

for brass
Brasher: enhance frequencies normally associated with harshness and pain

for mallets
Butterfly Tremolo: emulates air pushed through rotating valves of water

for guitars
Combo Amp: select between gain-matched amp + cab models
Funky Auto Wah: filter which is quite reactive to the input signal
12-String: emulates a 12-string guitar’s extra notes
Strumtain: strum effect for midi chord notes

for pads
Creamy PadWasher: washy cream for pads

for clavs
KeyPlunk: emulates the sound of physical keys dropping

for organs
Leslee Rotary: in-depth emulation of a famous dual spinning speaker

for experimental
MS TremoGlitcher: glitchy dimensionality

for pianos
Piano Reverb: moody chromatic tonal reverb

for plucked
Pluck Space: ambience designed for plucked sounds
Harpeggiator: experimental pattern generator

for rhythmic
Rhythmic ResoBumper: exploiting quantized filtration for fun

for ambient
Slowww: fooor looong spaaaces

for winds
Wind Pipe: emulates breathy humanlike timbres for pairing with digital woodwinds

for lead synths
Zoink Container: an instrument rack you drop an instrument into, with built-in filter that follows the note you play leading to an organically moving razor-edge focus

Animus Invidious on the AfroDJMac Music Production Podcast (+ new free effect racks)

I was super stoked to be a guest on the AfroDJMac Music Production Podcast. Here’s your chance to hear my actual, real-life voice(!) The sound quality on my side is not wonderful since i was recorded over skype, but whatexer. I had a great time chatting with Brian about random stuff… the conversation decided upon its own meandering path, touching on various topics including the crafting and sharing of Ableton Live racks, VST hoarding, my custom Elemental Mixing template channel strip database, workflow optimization, cassette processing, dynamic contrast between songs on albums, and even the Legend of Zelda (nerds). All in all it was a very invigorating experience and i definitely wouldn’t turn down being a guest again at some point in the future. I myself have quite enjoyed the other podcasts, as they contain a plethora of unconventional tips which are superb for kick-starting the creative juices.

Oh, and we also dropped a couple free audio effect racks for you to grab, including something i brainstormed up quite a while ago and finally implemented perfectly: ‘Dynamic Panning’ (compresses in one direction while it expands in the opposite for source-reactive width modification).

Check out AfroDJMac’s website to access the show.