How to Create Loopable OGG Files using Ableton Live and foobar2000 (+ Free Video Game Music)

During the task of making loopable OGG versions of the songs from my recently-released album, A Fresh Day, for my son to use in his RPGMaker game project, i figured i’d relate the process here, since it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of good info on the topic available on the web. The process outlined below is probably not the most efficient possible, but it’s been working consistently for me.

Isolating the Loop

I enjoy using Ableton Live for this due to the ease of moving around, zooming in and out, and editing the loop edges. Most of the available online tutorials feature Audacity, whose interface is terrible.

Open up a blank project and drop your track into the arrangement view.
Find the section you want to loop roughly by ear, using Live’s loop brace.

Zoom in to the start and end points of the loop, adjusting it and zooming closer and closer until you see individual sample dots. Place the start and end points exactly on sample points for the most predictable precision, and try to find a spot where both L and R channels land exactly on a zero-crossing (or as closely as possible). After you find what seem like perfect start and end boundaries, always test the loop transition by ear to make sure it sounds good. If you hear a click on the transition, try again!

A loop start set to a sample point on a zero crossing.

⚠️Note that Live has a bug where sets with many tracks placed into arrangement view may not show the sample points when you zoom in closely (something to do with memory limitations?), so if that happens, load fewer tracks.

⚠️TIP: If you are unable to find a sample point that lands exactly on a zero point around the area where you want a loop to start or end, find the closest one you can, then try to match the amount it is “off by” with the opposite boundary. For example, if the start point is a bit above zero, try to find an end point that is a similar amount above zero. This will also help minimize pops by preventing speaker cones from trying to instantly jump from one position to another. You could alternately ignore the sample points and just focus on hitting zero-crossings, but that may lead to an offset playback (and therefore a pop, depending on the waveform) when the OGG completes loops as cued by quantized sample timing.

Rendering Loop Length References

Create an appropriate temporary folder to store the files we’ll need to reference.

Select the loop brace you just created and hit CMD/CTRL-E to slice the intro, loop, and outro into distinct clips.

Select the Intro clip and render it, naming it as such: [songname] – loopstart.

Select the Loop clip and render it, naming it likewise: [songname] – looplength.

OGGifying

OGG files can be used in certain programs (notably the RPGMaker series iterations) to allow a BGM song to loop indefinitely, playing the intro the first time around only (a classic example of this technique being the Final Fantasy battle music). I can’t seem to find a robust list of applications that support OGG looping, but apparently Roblox is one them, at least.

You’ll want to convert your existing mastered WAV or AIF files to OGG. You’ll most likely want them at 44.1kHz and 16bit for maximum compatibility (as rendered out of your DAW, before conversion). I recommend foobar2000 for converting to OGG. You can get the OGG encoder for foobar here.

⚠️New to foobar? Check out the PerforModule article about foobar, with free theme.

To convert files in foobar, select them, right click, and choose Convert. The first time, choose the “…” menu option to create a new go-to preset for Max Quality Ogg Vorbis files; thereafter you’ll be able to quick-select that preset anytime you want to convert.

⚠️Note: some of the most recent batch of tracks i OGGified kept failing to loop properly. I eventually figured out that the tracks had to be re-converted at a lower “Quality” setting, and thereafter they looped properly. So if it happens to you that a track which should loop properly isn’t, try a lower quality setting!

Once you’ve gotten your songs converted to OGG, all you need to do is add tags to them. I recommend foobar once again.

Finding Out Sample Lengths

We need to find out the number of samples (aka sample length — not to be confused with sample rate) of the intro and loop clips we rendered. You can view this info for tracks loaded into foobar by enabling a custom field. To do so,

1. Right-click on the header area in foobar and select Columns > More.

2. Under Custom Columns, click “Add New”.
3. Give it the name “Samples” (or whatever).
4. Under Pattern, type “%length_samples%”

5. Hit OK and you now have a column showing sample length info for any track. Nifty!

⚠️If anyone knows of a way to see the sample lengths of clips directly inside Ableton Live, please let me know! Maybe a Max device can do it? It’s not a huge deal since we’re using foobar anyways, but would streamline the workflow a bit.

Adding Metadata Tags

Drop your sample length reference clips as well as the converted OGG(s) you want to add loop tags to. Select the OGG(s) and hit ALT-ENTER (or right-click and use the context menu) to open up track preferences. You can do this for a single track, or for a batch at once.

Double-click an empty field (or use CTRL-N, or the tools menu) to add a new field, name it as LOOPSTART, and fill in the samples value for the intro clip.

Repeat this process to create another field named LOOPLENGTH and insert for it the value of the loop clip’s number of samples.

Your OGG file now is tagged with the proper metadata of when to loop. Import the track into RPGMaker or whatever application you are using that supports OGG looping and test it out to make sure it works properly.

All done!

~`~

Oh, and Here’s Some Free Loopable OGGs

Download loopable OGG versions of all the songs from the album A Fresh Day by Animus Invidious. These i think would be most appropriate for a fantasy setting RPG in the vein of Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. But you can use them for whatever you want. Just make sure to attach proper credits if you end up using any of them in a released project. Users of RPGMaker2000 (rm2k) back in the day may recognize track 23, a cover of Yohta Kitagami’s Dungeon4.
You can also grab / listen to hi-res uncompressed wav files from bandcamp for free, if you prefer. Individual songs have descriptions on there where you can learn about their background history.

Some ideas for how to use tracks according to various fantasy roleplaying settings:

Overworld: Antares.
Battle: Souldance.
Mystic Library: Land of Dreams.
Dungeon: Mordgrim’s Lament.
Creepy Place: The Sleepers.
Tavern: Frizzid Hymtch.
Poison Swamp: Pensive Acquisition.
Orc Fortress: aushafc.

~`~

☮ Peace!
-Animus

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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Fayt EP Released

The Fayt EP

Sometimes i forget that i’m a musician. I spend so much time in Ableton Live but most of it is working on things for other people, or working on PerforModule effects or instruments, or refining templates, etc…

But i’ve somehow managed to get my shit together enough to finish off some tunes. It’s my first new music release since 2016!

The Fayt EP‘s basic theme is a journey through time, enacting your own story which is eternally burned into the record of existence and which you can never undo.

𝓕𝓪𝔂𝓽 is a 15-minute epic (built from a hypnosis-inducing fingerpicked guitar lick i wrote around age 16) which i’ve attempted various renditions of over the years, always falling short of my imaginings. The latest version is vastly closer to what i’ve always had in mind for it and is now presented in its “definitive form”. This lengthy piece meanders through various moods and styles, taking the listener on a mysterious adventure.

𝓒𝓻𝓾𝓶𝓫𝓵𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓡𝓸𝓪𝓭, also mostly written long ago, other than the lyrics and vocal melody which were more recent, has never before been released, and is in a more straightforward “rock n’ roll” style than typical for me. The idea is a road which is crumbling behind you with every step, forcing you to continue onward without the ability to go back. It features lead guitar by Dave Irmo, who originally taught me to play guitar back in the day.

Bandcamp for Bonus Goodies!

I recommend grabbing the music from bandcamp rather than some other service because you can download pure, high quality, lossless, 24-bit tracks, song lyrics are available to peruse, and artists get a higher proportion of the dough. And you’ll also get some super nifty free Bonus Goodies!

The bandcamp release of the EP (just $3) comes with extra bonus instrumental and 5.1 surround sound versions of songs, as well as (for the first hundred EP buyers) a direct download of the premium Guitaritis effects pack for Ableton Live 9+ Suite by PerforModule (worth $35!).

Here’s the HyperFollow page instead, if you prefer Spatoofy, Oople, or whatever: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/animusinvidious/fayt


15 Youtube Channels Worth Subscribing To

One of the cool things about the internet has been the decentralization of education that has occurred, in large part due to sites that allow people to upload and share their own content with viewers directly.

Back in the day, it was much more difficult to find resources for learning, generally being limited to whatever happened to be available at the local library. As a teenager, i checked out every book on guitar that my library had, and quickly ran out of resources for developing further musical understanding, having to resort to a very limited selection of magazines, instructional VHS tapes, tablature books, etc, to advance my knowledge.

Nowadays, there is no shortage of content being continually created and easily available for instant perusal via the web—so much, in fact, that the problem is now one of sifting through the vast amount of material available, to find what is actually worthwhile. If you just choose at random, the quality is likely to be of sketchy credibility. Rather than squandering my time copying people who are mimicking other people who are copying something they read in a forum, i’d rather focus on sources that will provide more a raw investigative slant.

So which Yootoobz does PerforModule officially recommend? And whyz? Read on to find out! (Headings are links to video pages.)

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Super Awesome Sounds

We’ve got a new pack for you, Super Awesome Sounds, featuring samples of the Casio SA-20 Keyboard. This was my first instrument as a kid and thus has a very nostalgic place in my heart, so i recently re-acquired one and went nuts sampling its 100 patches and making instrument and drum racks for ableton live out of them (plus audio effect racks inspired by them), using the amalgamation of my accumulated knowledge over the years to create the most refined PerforModule instrument pack to date.

The SA-20

Since it seemed to fit nicely with his existing collection which includes quite a lot of 80s- and 90s-esque sensibilities, i’ve teamed up with Brian Funk to release the pack. We talked about it as well as various other random topics on his show, the Music Production Podcast. Many thanks to Mr. Funk for having me on, always an interesting and insightful time.

There is a free version of the pack as well as the full version linked below, which can be currently had for just $6 by joining Brian’s Music Production Club this month (along with a bunch of other cool stuff). That’s a sweet deal! The MPC is a great way to acquire a constant influx of goodies into your inbox every month for a very accessible sum, so that even poor, cheap bastards like me can afford it. It’s rad! The price for Super Awesome Sounds is otherwise $15, itself a tubular deal considering the vast assortment of wonderful gadgetry it contains within.



Click to check it out at Brian Funk’s site.


Read ON FOR NERDY TECH DETAILS…

Array Mbira Pack by Sonic Bloom

The mbira (aka kalimba aka thumb piano) has a peculiar sound all of its own. I think they tend to sound pretty cool, with a distinctive tone that is reminiscent of some other types of instruments but not quite exactly like anything else.

But what’s this? The Array Mbira? It has four octaves, you say? Including multiple copies of the notes? Well, then. That’s sure nifty.

The Array Mbira


Madeleine Bloom, whose Ableton Live Tutorials i wholeheartedly recommend, has sampled one such Array Mbira and assembled the results into a series of 34 Instrument Racks for Ableton Live. There are only a small handful of Ableton Live instrument craftors whose work i’ve encountered that put in the depth of care that i consider the level of the adept, and Sonic Bloom is one such. I’ve had the grateful opportunity to give the instruments a deep look and am here to report on my findings.

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Final Brian Funk “ADM” Packs

Brand New Brian Funk Packs!

I’m happy to announce that the complete set of epic amalgamated Ableton Live device packs by Brian Funk are now available, bringing their total to ten. Includes:

AMBIENT
BASS
CHIP
DRUMS
EFFECTS
EXOTIC
KEYS
ORCHESTRAL
PLUNK
SYNTHS

“But what if i want ALL of them?” you ask. Not to worry—the Brian Funk ANTHOLOGY is available, allowing you to snag all of the packs at a greatly reduced total cost. Brian spent a ridiculous amount of time creating these devices in the first place over the years, and then i spent an obscene amount of time assessing, organizing, fine-tuning, and packaging them up into self-installing ableton live packs. The price for the full anthology might seem kinda hefty at first glance, but when you realize the scope of what you are getting, it’s actually an insane deal. (By the way, be sure to check out Brian’s awesome Music Production Podcast, if you haven’t yet.)

~`~


PERUSE BRIAN FUNK PACKS AT ISOTONIK STUDIOS

Progressive Energy Transfer

For the past close to a year, i’ve been working on recording and mixing a collection of original songs by Shavano, an 79-yr old piano player / singer who lives in the same mountainous, forested region of Colorado as me. He dwells in a house built with his own hands, which is powered exclusively by solar and wind energy, on an amazing property with stone-lined paths twisting here and there. It feels like something from a fantasy novel, a magical space that is totally separate from the rest of the world.

Shavano’s House.
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