So i found myself slightly annoyed that Ableton Live’s Ping Pong Delay effect always starts the first echo repeat on the left side. Sure, you could flip the stereo field after applying it to reverse the direction—but that also reverses the stereo field of the source audio. What if i want the source audio to stay the same, but have the echo repeats reverse direction?
Well now, it’s easy..
For this tutorial we’re going to posit an example scenario: a way to achieve the common practice of narrowing the bass content of a stereo track by scooping out the S channel’s low end—but this time, using analog gear instead of plugins. But what if we don’t have any M/S gear? Not to worry.
We could all use less “hmm, i wonder what this is doing exactly?” and more “aha, i understand exactly what that is doing!” moments in our lives, am i right?
Well, perhaps you have everything sorted out with absolutely perfect mental clarity at all times… but nobody that i know of does. The built-in perceptual capabilities of human bodies have limitations. Consequently, methods we can use to uncover and keep track of finer layers of detail to our perceptual input than normally possible can be quite useful for stepping outside our our usual—highly subjective and somewhat amorphous—human frame of reference.
When i look back on the last few years of my audio production journey, the one software tool which has proven the most valuable (well other than Ableton Live, obviously) has been a particular analyzer plugin. This blog post is definitely going to be promoting that specific product, so i’d like to point out that i am not affiliated with the developer in any way and this post is not endorsed. i just… really love it.
The plugin in question is the IQ Analyser by HOFA.
Continue on for an brief overview of a couple of innovative qualities that make this tool stand out, interspersed with some philosophy about the general usage of spectral analysis.
The IQ Analyser has lots of awesome attributes, but what makes it particularly extra nifty to me are two particular traits: The “Energy” Spectrum and “Difference” Mode.
Filter Circuits – Drive
We know that the new(ish) circuit models for Ableton Live’s Auto Filter effect add some tasty analog-modeled distortion, but what about their characters? Which of the circuit models adds the most aggressive distortion?
This is just a quick, simple tip.
If it takes forever to scan plugins every time you open Live (due to certain poorly-coded plugins taking longer than others and bottlenecking the process), you can set it up to skip plugin scan. Keep in mind that if you do this, you’ll want to perform a manual scan (from preferences) any time you install or update any new VST plugins.
How to do it?
Add “-NoVstStartupScan” to your options.txt file
But how to do that?
To familiarize yourself with Ableton’s options.txt, i will point you towards sonicbloom.net’s awesome article and series of videos on the topic.
That’s it! Live will no longer do a scan every time it opens.
Ever since i applied this option, the stupidly vast size of my plugin collection doesn’t adversely affect my workflow. Live startup time is way snappier. When i occasionally buy or grab a free plugin, i just run a scan after installing it. Every once in a while you might have to do a “deep” scan (hold alt while clicking the scan button) if something doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to.
Note that from Live 10.1 onward, the plugin rescan button is located in the new dedicated plug-ins tab in Live’s preferences, rather than under file/folder, as previously.
Hopefully this nifty tip is inapplicable to you, as that means your plugin scan is not bloated. However, for those of you that are having issues with slow startup of Ableton Live (or in case it eventually becomes an issue) this may be a viable solution.
Due to an increasing upcoming workload, we’ve decided to release the freeVST racks all at once, instead of in monthly batches as originally planned. That’s over four-hundred and twenty individual racks now available! Talk about an expanded toolkit.
These are “default/template” audio effect racks for many different plugins which are available publicly for free in 64-bit. You simply load any of these Ableton racks, and it loads its corresponding plugin (assuming it’s installed). Each rack includes help text which will be shown when hovering over macro controls.
Most of the plugins we have racks available for have 32-bit and mac versions as well; however, some are 64-bit or windows-only. Mac-only and AU plugin racks are planned in the future. FreeVST racks here will be updated occasionally to reflect developer updates. If you know of a free vst developer we missed or encounter any issues, please leave a comment.
ABLETON LIVE 9.6 required (Intro, Suite, or Standard).
Yes, you can even use all of these racks with Live 9 Intro!
SO my friend mobdividual lent me a couple of microcassette players in order to import an old microcassette tape i found. It turns out the cassette was the very same used to record samples on this classic record. Neato!
BUT THEN i decided to also record the sound made when the tape player was playing a blank tape through the larger tape transcriber. It’s a nice, warm, rich, subtle hiss and hum. By varying the tone and speed controls in a methodical, timed manner, and crafting a sampler rack to play slices according to their timbre, you have a variable instrument you can use to recreate a range of tonalities. For extra swag, you could, for example, match the root note of the hum (by ear) to the key of your song.
I also created an instrument which plays in-pitch with whatever MIDI note you play, allowing for tape noise which follows a melody, hybridizing past/analog and future/digital techniques.
Lastly, there is a “stop clicker” percussion rack which can be used for nice analog clicking noises when you need them.
These instruments are available absolutely for free via Subaqueous, who also makes a vast assortment of mysterious and useful Ableton Live tools, from MIDI tools for compositional purposes to crafty effects and exotic instruments, as well as some deliciously tasty music.