What does compression sound like?
What are compressors actually doing to our audio?
What does compression sound like?
What are compressors actually doing to our audio?
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.
The newest sale pack is here: “Bussification”. It consists of channel strip racks designed for placement on groups of tracks, auxiliary tracks, and on the master buss during mixing. Each macro control for each is specifically restrained in minimum and maximum ranges to exemplify the relevant characteristics of different types of instruments.
By grouping similar instruments in a mix and placing different Bussification racks onto them, each is given a distinct frequency character “home”, leading to a clearer and more vibrant overall mix when applied carefully. For each buss, decide upon a frequency to enhance, in particular, to help it stand out. You can sculpt the brightness and darkness to fine-tune the resultant tone, remove unnecessary frequencies with “tauten”, and infuse parallel saturation. There is a “juice” control which determines overall intensity of various parameters, parallel saturation calibrated uniquely for each buss type, and finally a knob for natural-sounding, sophisticated level automation which works by balancing various internal parameters.
Set up two return channels (CMD/CTRL-ALT-T), one for “Dirt” and one for “Space”. Solo them and send just enough of each channel in the mix to it to be able to barely hear. Use “Dirt” to add a bit of edgy presence for a less muddy mix. Use “Space” to emulate a nice room tone, helping to glue all elements together and cohesify punchiness. After balancing all track sends, unsolo the return tracks, reduce their levels to minimum, and slowly introduce them into the overall mix for added vibe and color. A next-level trick is to automate those levels to introduce more dirt and space during different song sections.
Place one of these on the master buss to subtly alter the overall character from digital neutrality to match the media of choice. These each have different controls. “CD” is for general-purpose, modern pre-mastering with an emphasis on the solidity of bass and the clarity of high frequencies. “Vinyl Record” adds in custom emulations of turntable rumble, stylus quality, and surface grime, also with RIAA pre- or post-equalization. “Cassette Tape” is equipped with a very nifty tape hiss generator which creates the hiss based on the original material as well as nonlinear subtle sub and air contour distortion.
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!
Combamps a whole bunch (30) of combo amps which are crafted to optimize Ableton Live’s built-in Amp & Cabinet devices to their utmost. These racks make it much easier to dial in your sound (combination of preamp drive, tone, envelope settings, biasing, and gain structure) without having to constantly adjust the output level to match as well. They also optimize your timbre selection options by providing many “dual” and even three “triple” racks, which combine and balance the tone of multiple amps. In testing, these multi-combamps have been much-appreciated for an expanded range of unique amp flavors, as you now basically have 30 unique amp models, instead of 6. All combamps have been gain-staged at multiple points in the signal chain using both Peak and LU matching with both “Strat”and “Les Paul” styles, as well as bass electric guitars. The dual & triple combamps are gainstaged with a system resulting in relatively balanced levels at all gain settings when using wide panning (so that one amp is not way louder on one side than the other one). Since every guitar has its own tone & envelope character, these values are guaranteed to be imperfect, but it should result in you only needing to make miniscule volume adjustments to fine-tune your ultimate sound.
Post Amp Compressor a simple compressor with settings calibrated ideally for taming an amp output’s transients.
Guitar Chords 35 presets for Chord based on actual human guitar fingerings.
Stompers 18 racks set up like guitar pedals, designed for use with a Combamp akin to a physical guitar routing setup. If you have a midi foot controller you can use them exactly as such. Includes…
Chopper Grooves 302 of them! Drop a Chopper Groove onto an audio OR a MIDI part, make sure your global groove amount is up, and hear it do its thing. Drop different Chopper Grooves onto different tracks… then when you turn global groove amount up… they all start chopping in their own way.
Harmonic Colorizer enhance harmonics using various different methods. By using different amounts of each knob, you can set up your own unique boost texture to help a part stand out against its various song elements, or use it to subliminally add a particular color to a submix or mix.
Overtone EQ (3 versions) EQ racks set up to select a target frequency, and then manipulate the harmonics based on that frequency. The Even & Odd version allows separate control of even & odd harmonics. The Even vs Odd will boost Even or Odd and attenuate the other (useful for hearing the difference between those types of harmonics). The Sculptor version is useful for manipulating each harmonic interval individually.
Undertone EQ (3 versions) just like the Overtone EQs, but these manipulate lower harmonics instead (not as common of an operation). They include the same 3 versions.
Harmonic Chord Presets these will add in MIDI notes based on harmonic intervals. Simple, but useful. Includes 2nd through 4th harmonics which each add only 1 note and also Coarse, Perfect, and Undertone versions which each add multiple harmonics.
Harmonics Extender (3 versions) MIDI racks which can be used to set (& automate) the amount of added harmonics. Includes Coarse, Perfect, and Undertone versions.
Sound Intensity by Energy (Utility Presets)
Sound Loudness by Sensation (Utility Presets)
Sound Pressure by Voltage (Utility Presets)
divide or multipy audio level by either “SPL”, “SIL”, or “Volume”. This is technical stuff. Check out http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-soundlevel.htm for more info. Basically…
-use SPL (voltage) division when you want to sum parts perfectly (i.e. 5 copies of something each divided by 5 SPL and recombined will equal the exact level of the original)
–use SIL (energy) for acoustic energy calculations. Like, let’s say you’ve got a really small sound, like a pin drop. Multiply it by 100 SIL to estimate the level provided by 100 pins dropping at the same time.
–use Volume (loudness) for the human perception of level.
So, to make something seem twice as loud, subjectively, multiply it by 2 Volume.
There are also included some racks to choose/automate which multiplier/divisor to use:
Note Range Setter (Absolute) define a playing range by setting the lowest and highest allowable notes
Note Range Setter (Relative) define a playing range according to distance from a root note
Note Range Blocker (Relative) set a sub-range of notes to block from being played within a range
Includes individual MIDI racks for a vast range of classical and folk instruments, as well as standard vocal ranges:
Brass 36 instrument ranges
Exotic 2 instrument ranges
Guitar & Plucked 58 instrument ranges
Mallets 8 instrument ranges
Percussive 5 instrument ranges
Piano & Keys 14 instrument ranges
Strings 15 instrument ranges
Voices 35 vocal ranges
Winds 88 instrument ranges
Simply set a note range before a MIDI instrument to allow it to only play notes within that range.
Two new premium packs for Ableton Live have been released, after extensive testing periods.
These are some of the most robust and practical stuff we’ve created yet!
All Premium PerforModule packs are self-installing, meaning that you simply drag them into Live and all the devices will now be in your library, categorized.
“One Knob Wonders”
Includes 64 different single-knob effects, each designed for a specific purpose.
They range from highly practical mixing tools to wacky, nifty performance tricks.
<- Click the link for more details.
Here’s a highlight of some my favorites from the set…
–Noisify: adds source-reactive noise and degrades signal
–FonePhilter: retro telephone tone with signal overdrive
–DownFilter Dirty: performance sweep utilizing Live’s new analog filter functionality
–GrainPitch Up: crude realtime pitch shifter
–Pianosator: “piano reverb” of chromatic resonances
–BassCream: velvety bass guitar process based on a classic pro studio workflow
–Shredder: scorching tone for hard rock/heavy metal lead guitar, easy-peasy
–Characterizer: adds mid-range richness and warmth
–De-Essify: de-esser which works like magic
–JuiceSnapper: aux buss finalizer / transient enhancer
–SuperUltraMega: Makes. Stuff. Louder.
–Chube: chorus to sound like going through a metal tube
–Breepitate: glitchy fun
–BrownLoop: loop and shift a clip down to half speed
–SeaShore: transform any audio into a pleasing surf wave
–PongFreez: more glitchy fun
–TapeFlange: emulates splitting the feed into an extra tape machine
Includes template racks used for splitting up any audio source into multiple chains by various methods.
<- Click the link for more details.
Useful for when you want to do things like
-apply different effects to different frequency ranges
-apply different effects to the left and right sides of a stereo file
-apply effects to just the mid or side channels for super easy m/s processing
-different effects chains which alternate based on a time interval
-effects applied separately to above and below a transient threshold
It also includes three “tri” devices pre-loaded with effects and a “behind the back panner” for an interesting phase-shift panning technique.
Telling you about the “Drum Enhancerz” Ableton Live pack by PerforModule.
<- Access the sale page by clicking on the drum head.
It includes racks which are calibrated for sculpting of specific drum elements. Included are…
Each rack includes 8 macro controls for sculpting your drum sounds with ease.
A few of the capabilities are…
-plush control for smooth cymbals
-smack control to add top attack to kicks
-smash: go-to overhead compression
-pitch-matched resonance for boomy toms
NEW free pack available via AfroDJMac: Vinyl Snackler
“Instrument with 128 Unique Analog Vinyl Noise Loop Samples.”
This is a sampler instrument which is designed to play a loop of background vinyl noise which you can select from 128 unique samples, each with their own character. Some of the samples are primarily background hiss, but some also have pops, clicks, and other artifacts which can be useful as percussion elements. Big thanks to the one and only AfroDJMac for hosting this device.
(It’s free! Go grab it!!)
PS…. if you are not already a member of the ADM Music Production Club, then you are missing out on a crazy-affordable source of insanely cool, high-quality, monthly awesome stuff delivered to your face. If you are interested in steadily building up your ableton library full of production and performance assets to be able to more quickly dive in to making your own bizarre unique sounds and developing your own twisted techniques, this is one of the most practical possible methods you can consider, especially if you’re a fan of the more odd and innovative side of things (which, if you’re reading this here now, i’m guessing you probably are).
Here’s a free effect rack. It allows you to chop up your audio, with a rate knob that fades between 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, and 1/32 notes, and avoids triplets. Or, the rhythm can be switched to “Triplets” mode instead. There is built-in extra gating for adjustable dynamics, an “LFO Type” knob to select between 4 different flavors of chopping including random, and an “invert LFO” switch which will make the chop come in where it was going out and vice versa.
Good for live performance, especially on sustained synth tones.
<- click image to D/L “Chopper”
Bonus shoutouts to ISOTONIK STUDIOS
The brain behind PerforModule has had the pleasure to delve into the “Modular Series” set of devices and wow is there some truly innovative and useful stuff in there! “Follow” adds some much-desired added functionality to clip launching, such as the ability of making a clip launch the next clip when it ends, no matter the length. “Smart” is a great multi-knob to map anything to anything, with the ability to set response curves. So you could for example have one knob that controls parameters in two or more different effects parameters in different tracks in your set, and one of them could ramp up then ramp back down while another just ramps up. Endless possibilities. “Looper” adds extra control to using the loop brace in arrangement view, and there are 3 super-wild glitch effects as well as more nifty gadgets. What’s super cool? If you get one of the Isotonik sets, you get lifetime updates to all the devices.
Check out “Follow” here: https://isotonikstudios.com/product/follow/
Francis Preve ( http://www.francispreve.com/ ) posted something which inspired me to make Glue Compressor- and Saturator- based limiter device presets using their clipper functions. I went ahead and made them as one-knob fx as there weren’t too many parameters to deal with. I also decided to make a device similar to the performodule “hybrid” compressors which can be used to compare between the 3 limiter possibilities (calibrated with matching settings) in one device rack, which is a real time-saver. That one also has control over fine-tuning parameters for fully robust usage.
How to use: place one of these devices as the final device on a master track for a final master. Turn up the “push” knob to the desired setting (maximum is +9db). Try to boost it while avoiding any unpleasant distortion. The final output will not exceed 0db.
I would describe the GluLimiter as rich, the SatuLimiter as meaty, and Ableton’s Limiter as straightforward.
For the Try Limiter: Set the push knob as above. Try the 3 limiter choices and decide which one fits the piece most appropriately. Try different settings for attack and release (including auto-release if desired), and you can set the final output from -.5 to -.2 db. One workflow method is to turn push all the way up so the effect is extreme, set attack and release where they feel the most natural and dynamic, and then turn push back down to the ideal value. Then choose the limiter type that has the favorite character at those settings.
(turning the “chooz” knob during playback can cause an unwanted temporary peak. If that happens hit “shift-spacebar” twice to reset your peak meters)
Get the single-knob GluLimiter:
Get the single-knob SatuLimiter:
Get the triple-auditioning Try Limiter: