Dumb Stupid Tip: Faster Right-Clicking

OK, so you know when you right-click on something to open up a context menu?
And then you move the mouse cursor to the item you want, and then you left-click the option you want?

Well, there is a way to do it a tiny bit faster. Maybe you already do it.

I found myself picking up the habit due to right-clicking to change macro colours so often. By saving a tiny little bit of time multiplied by a whole bunch of iterations, one can end up saving a substantial amount of time. Anything that streamlines workflow is useful, right?

So here’s the tip: Right Click and Release

WTF?

Instead of doing this:
right-click -> move mouse -> left click

Do this:
right-click (hold it down) -> move mouse -> release right-click

Doing this implements the menu option (in Ableton Live at least — not in all programs) with a single mouse click instead of with two mouse clicks, thereby saving you a precious minuscule quantity of milliseconds. For example, if you had to select a hundred boring context menu options, you’d be performing one hundred clicks, instead of two hundred.  Brilliant!

This trick does not work in all programs, but it does in Ableton Live, at least.

So yeah.

NOTE: if following this methodology, make sure that your index finger gets some extra exercise to compensate for its less active role going forward. I recommend angry pointing.

Dry / Wet Anomalies of a few Ableton Live Effects

Often, plugins will cause an effect they don’t tell you about, and you may not realize is occurring.

Knowing exactly what is happening to audio is valuable, because otherwise if we set up chains of effects we may think that we are resulting in a more transparent sound than we really are. Subtle changes to sound can stack up and add to quite audible differences—which if we don’t know the sources of may be difficult to diagnose and address.

Here’s an overview of some of the things some of Ableton Live’s stock effects do to sound passing through them, which you may not realize at first. Some of these quirks many of you will have gotten to know by ear already just by using the effects, in which case seeing the analysis graphs can provide some “aha” moments.

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“Go-To” Macro Arrangements for 16-Knob Racks in Live 11

Macro Placement Consistency.

~`~ Consistency in parameters assigned to racks is useful, for always being able to grab a certain knob for a certain result. For example, on the 8-knob racks of Live 10 and earlier, for dynamics devices like compressors or gates, i tend to place Attack and Release on Macros 5 and 6.

16 Knobs! Yay! …but also, Uh Oh!

~`~ Live 11 now has the ability to allow up to sixteen macros on a rack, which expands our abilities — but also makes things easier to become sporadic and messy by just mapping whatever, wherever. More knobs means more searching text with eyeballs. So therefore it seems helpful if certain controls are always (or almost always) in the same places.

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New series of $1 Racks for Ableton Live 11: “Zinglez”

𝒁𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒆𝒛 is a new series of individual one-dollar racks for Ableton Live 11 by PerforModule.

1 Rack = $1.


Simple and straightforward.
Just grab what the ones that entice you the most.
Ignore everything else!

Read about them below.

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Organize your User Library Like a Boss ~ Live 11 Style

 One of the most popular PerforModule articles to date is How to Organize User Plugin Presets Like a Boss in Ableton Using the Hidden Architecture and it’s understandable — it’s very helpful to be able to integrate one’s own presets into the browser’s organization structure. And it’s pretty simple to accomplish. Read that article for an in-depth rundown on the topic in which is also explored further customization options for the truly OCD, if you have the desire.
 Or just read on for a briefer summary…

~`~

 •Basically, if you place your User Library presets into folders with the same specific names as the built-in categories, those presets will now also appear in their respective category folders in the browser.

 •Further, you can yourself customize the system, adding your own bespoke categories. Read about that in part two.

 Live 11 Has updated the default categories, adding a handful of new ones which is good news to me, since i’ll be able to integrate more stuff with the built-in system. Some of the choices are a bit odd… but hey, whatever.

Click here to download the blank category folders, and/or copy the following lists for reference.

~`~

Instrument Rack (Sounds) Categories:

Ambient & Evolving
Bass
Booms
Brass

Cinematic
Effects
Exotic
Experimental
Guitar & Plucked
Mallets

MPE Sounds
Orchestral
Pad
Percussive
Piano & Keys
Strings
Synth Keys
Synth Lead
Synth Misc
Synth Rhythmic
Templates
Vintage
Voices
Winds

~`~

Instrument Categories:

For presets of Live instruments that have not been racked.

The same as Sounds categories but with the addition of…

Components

~`~

Audio Effect Categories:

Ambient Spaces
Amp Simulation
Clean Delay
Distortion
Drums
Filter
Formant
Hall
Instrument
Mixing & Mastering
Modulated Delay
Modulation & Rhythmic
Performance & DJ
Room
Space
Special
Vintage Delay
Vocal

~`~

Drum Hit Categories:

Bell
Bongo
Clap
Conga
Cymbal
FX Hit

Hihat
Kick
Misc Percussion
Ride
Rim
Shaker
Snare
Snare Articulation
Tambourine
Timbales
Tom
Wood

~`~

Midi FX Categories:

Drums
Experimental
Monophonic
Polyphonic
Rhythmic

~`~

 That’s it for today. Check here for a nifty list of all my audio production tips & tricks thusfar. More on the way!

New PerforModule Pack: “Empathy”

EMPATHY is a pack for Ableton Live 10+ Suite containing a handful of high-end effect racks designed to consistently improve a wide possible range of audio sources passing through them. Each rack is suited to a particular purpose, with easy-to-dial-in controls. Together they provide a robust toolkit for general mixing and mastering.

Contains:

Ultimatum: “The ultimate” audio effect rack designed by PerforModule, it’s a 10-step algorithm to magically improve both the tone and dynamics of any audio source in realtime.

The One’: One-stop shop for suave, go-to tonal adjustment of tracks in a mix, with low & high cut focus, “light shine” focus, surgical slice, l-r twist, and M vs S intensity.

Auditory Miximizer: The PerforModule twist on the infamous sonic maximizer, with tastefully optimized frequency contours and dynamic reactivity. Comes in 3 versions: stereo, L-R, and M-S.

Dilation Warder: Combination gate and expander for when you want to increase the dynamic range, tighten things up, emphasize punch, and add more of a percussive staccato feel.

~`~

Skip to the bottom of this post to check out a video overview of the Empathy by Brian Funk, or read on for a more detailed overview of each the included devices and what makes them special.

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Brian Funk’s Live Pack Archive — Powered Up!

Packification
So i recently helped our mutual friend Brian Funk reorganize his Live Pack Archive, a $10 massive grab bag of Ableton Live goodies assembled from the freebies that he’s been steadily churning out over the years, all the way from the very first pack in 2011 to the contemporary 200th. It’s a lot of stuff! Judging by the plethora of 5-star reviews of the product on gumroad, it seems like people dig it.

Ah, Convenience
Sure, you could go download all this stuff one at a time methodically blog post by post. However it’s much easier to just pay the convenience charge and get all the stuff in one bulk download. This collection has been on offer for a while now, but they were basically presented in a big pile of folders. Fun to scout around for sure, but not exactly optimal when it comes to workflow convenience.

Power Up!

Aha! See, now the collection is even more splendid, as all the devices come consolidated in two mega-packs with similar categories of sounds, effects, and clips sorted logistically for quick perusal and easy implementation directly from the Live browser (including signal previews). Find, grab, and use the stuff you want instantly. It’s very handy and nice. But… the price is still the same? What!? Crazy, i tell you!

Partake
Sound intriguing? Well then why don’t you pull up a chair, situate your ass real comfy, and grab yourself some.

Brian Funk’s Live Pack Archive 1-200.
click that▲
▼or that

[Pack 1 works with Live 9 or later, pack 2 with Live 10 or later.]

Synchronistically, this happens to be my 100th PerforModule blog post. Neato.

Peace, y’all! 😎

Beat Shaker for Beat Juggling

⠀⠀⠀I haven’t performed as a DJ in years, focused on raising my son and home studio work instead, but i was pretty active as one around the Colorado Springs area from about 2010 until 2014. One of the my favorite toys to use to manipulate beats live on my laptop was Alexkid’s Instant Haus, which “instantly generates drum patterns to craft into your own house track” (available free via Ableton). It’s great way to add variation to beats in an organic fashion.

⠀⠀⠀Well, i’ve been inspired lately because we now have available the freshest incarnation of beat juggling voodoo in the form of the 501k Creatives new Beat Shaker device, crafted by the very same Alexkid. It’s a similar concept, but greatly expands on the potential and flexibility.

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Freebie: “Golden” Multiband Presets

   Multiband Dynamics Processors. Such Beasts. So Much Power. So Easy to Abuse.

   During experimentation for a different purpose (making the “ultimate audio effect”… stay tuned), i got carried away and made “Golden” presets for a bunch of Multiband Dynamics plugins.

So what are Golden Multiband presets?
   I’m glad you asked. The basic idea is to sculpt an audio source to be less like white noise and more like golden pink noise. So what is golden pink noise? A modification of pink noise that is colored by the “goldilocks curve”.

   For most of the “Multiband Dynamics” type processors i own (see brief reviews of many of them in this recent post) i’ve crafted a “Golden” preset.

   Since most music follows more of a pink noise curve than a white noise curve to begin with, applying the full effect is far more likely to have a “warming, thickening” effect than a “brightening” effect, though it does depend on the particular source and plugin.

   However, you’ll notice that if you compare a golden multiband preset applied to an audio part — as compared to a similar, static EQ curve, that they feel less “murky” than they do “bulky”. The Pinker rack is included in the “Xtras” folder to test this concept with quick A/B tests.

   For evenly balanced to bright mixes, a golden dynamic preset can be perfect to smooth things out and add a dash of debonair; for mixes that are already leaning on the darker side, they can still be helpful for adding in a grounding touch of solidity— but in these cases should usually be used to a more subtle degree.

   I’ve fashioned such “Golden” presets for the following plugins:

~TB Broadcast*
~Brainworx bx_dynEQ V2
~Brainworx bx_XL V2
~ProAudioDSP DSM V3
~HOFA Dynamic Tilt
~Waves F6
~GVST GMulti*
~VoS Limiter6*
~VoS Nova67P*
~TDR Limiter6 GE
~
Ableton Multiband Dynamics
~TDR Nova*
~TDR Nova GE
~Xfer OTT*
~Klevgrand Pressit
~Newfangled Punctuate
~IK Quad-Comp
~Sonic Anomaly Quadracom
~Reaper ReaFir*
~Reaper ReaXcomp*
~W.A. The King
~Max for Cats TriComp
~Acoustica VioletCM
~Freeverb3 WindCompressor*
~Beatassist X-Press*

   Since each plugin has different functionality, the exact curvature varies between them (which gives them individual character). Some, for example, have no low- or high-cut capabilities and so retain more of those frequencies. The dynamic behavior of each also differs, so they may affect various material dissimilarly (especially the ones that have upward in addition to downward compression!).  What all the presets share in common, however, is a basic sculpting which is more likely to help than hinder your overall tone for consistent playback on different speaker types. The more you use them, the more you’ll get a feel for the unique quirks of each.

~`~

DOWNLOAD THE “GOLDEN DYNAMICS” PRESETS HERE
golden dynamics

   Provided both as Audio Effect Racks for Ableton Live 10+ (.adg) and as vst presets (.fxp for VST2 or .vstpreset for VST3), organized in folders by type.
   They load the same presets, but the Ableton racks are also hard-wired with some useful macro mappings for quick knob twisting of the most relevant parameters.

   You can either grab the zip file with everything in it, or you can only grab the specific presets for the plugins you own. I would probably recommend that latter strategy. There is also a pdf user manual which includes links to all the plugin vendors.

   When both VST2 and VST3 versions of a particular plugin are available, i’ll provide both .fxp and .vstpreset extension types, and the Live rack will load with the VST3 version, with sensible macros mapped for easy access. When no VST3 version is available, the rack will load the VST2 version instead.

USE WITH ANY DAW
   You should be able to use the .fxp and .vstpreset files with any DAW, as long as you have the given plugin installed.

Nifty Tip: I just recently realized that .vstpreset files can be dragged directly into a track in Ableton Live to load a plugin, just like any Live rack, which is super cool.

CAVEATS:

Designed for busses or the master channel more than for single tracks:
   Since the goldilocks curve upon which golden pink noise is based was formulated based on analysis of complete songs, these “golden” dynamic presets are not always appropriate for application on individual parts, suited more for groups or the master channel. But if you’re having problems with a certain track in a mix, one of them just might be the ticket.

Based on Flat as a Starting Point:
   If your mix is basically following a pink noise curve or leaning towards white noise (flat), golden dynamics presets tend to work pretty well at tasteful overall tone shaping. If your mix is already on the dark side with the top quite rolled off, however, they might make it too dark, in which case you may want to apply less of the effect, or add some top-end brightening to counter-balance.

Calibrated to -16 LUFS Integrated:
   These presets are designed to give a perfect frequency contour when applied to material which has been loudness-normalized to -16 LUFS integrated. Since dynamics processors utilize level thresholds, setting a base target level was essential. For optimal results, first make sure the audio feeding into it meters at or close to -16. You can still use the presets on louder or quieter material, but you might have to fiddle with controls to fine-tune the results to be optimal.
   Why -16LUFS? It’s my go-to loudness level for mixdowns and audio playback, giving a solid degree of punch with enough headroom for mastering. By getting in the habit of mixing down all of your songs to (and listening to all reference tracks at) -16LUFS (or whatever reference you decide upon), you can develop a more clear objective grasp of the relative spectral contours between them than you would when listening to tracks at erratically differing average levels.

You need to own the plugins!
   A given preset will only work if you have the corresponding plugin it uses installed in your system and recognized by your DAW. Don’t have any of these? You can fix that… the ones with *asterisks* in the list above are free!

   Interested in the “Goldilocks Curve” this was based on? It is contained within the “DynaMixing Ultimate” mega-pack for Ableton Live 9 along with a crap-ton of other carefully-crafted, highly usable effect racks.

   Interested in the upcoming magical device that adjusts dynamics and tone to make everything just wonderfully better? Stay tuned!

PerforModule Site Redesign

Main Page Navigation

You may have noticed, i’ve done a bit of a site redesign for performodule.com to make it easier to find stuff that you’re looking for. Now, there are handy thumbnails for individual posts, organized into four main sections:

Free Ableton Live Packs

Audio Production Tips & Tricks

Sale Ableton Live Packs

Releases & Reviews

Click on one of those to be teleported to a sub-page containing thumbnail links to individual pages for all available articles. Nifty!

Just below the three section links on the main page are blog entries in a linear stream, as before. So if you want to read the latest, just scroll down and see what catches your eye.

~`~

PerforModule.com: Sidebar

You can also find specific posts in several different ways: by Search Term, by Category, by Month, or by Tag (see the column on the right side of the main page, or, if you’re on a phone, scroll all the way down). If you remember reading about something previously you want to look up but don’t recall specifics, one of these methods might be helpful.

To get notified about blog posts as they are dropped, use the “Follow Blog via Email” field. I don’t have direct access to the addresses entered this way; they send you updates automatically.
If you want less frequent newsletters (1/month or less), scroll down to the bottom of the blog posts to sign up to the PerforModule mailchimp mailing list instead.

You can even snag the RSS feed if you’re old-school like that.

~`~

Be sure to check out the Free Packs section to see if there’s any you missed. Lots of new posts in the works! Keep your brains peeled.

~`~

p.s.
if you like drum & bass music, check out this amazing new album 170.2 by Phidippus from Denver which i mastered recently. It bumps hard!

107.2 by Phidippus on Spotify