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 Modular Synth 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

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.

“Bussification”

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.


(massive props to Joshua Casper for the above video demonstration!)

Group Busses
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.

Auxiliary Busses
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.

Master Busses
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.

Grab “Bussification” over at isotonik studios. Available now!

click on that

AfroDJMac Special Zone Collab Pack

Special Zone

Special Zone

As you may have noticed, i have random ideas all the time. It’s just a matter of finding the physical time to implement them. One idea i had which didn’t take super long to implement was to make effects based on the Special Zone (aka “Special World”, “Star World”) levels from Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. I grew up playing and loving NES and SNES and so get all predictably nostalgic over such things, as many people in my age range tend to (thus the almost-nauseating overpopularity of 8-bit retro throwback stuff currently).
I tossed the idea of effects based on the “special zone” levels at AfroDJMac to see what he thought, knowing that he’s somewhat into retro video game stuff too.

One thing led to another and another and… well, just that one thing, actually. It was pretty straightforward.

So now you have The Special Zone Pack for Ableton Live. <- Click that to go to AfroDJmac’s site to read about / grab.

Bodacious.

Super, super huge thanks to AfroDJMac for hosting this pack! If you browse around his site, you will find a near-limitless supply of amazing, weird goodies.

 

Handy Ableton Tip – Change a Macro Name After It’s Been Mapped.

Problem:
You may have noticed that after you map a macro knob to another macro, you can then no longer rename it either by clicking on it and pressing [CMD-R (mac) / CTRL-R (windows)] or by right-clicking it and selecting “rename” — the context menu option disappears for that macro =(
Image
Solution?
As long as you have at least one unmapped macro in the rack, click on an unmapped macro. Then press “Tab” until the macro whose name you want to change is highlighted.
You are free to rename it as you like now…sweet!
If the macro it is nested to is currently unnamed, its name will reflect the new change as well.

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I went a long time working in Ableton before realizing you can do this, so maybe it slipped under some other radars as well, so i figured i’d pass it along as a quick tip. If you make your own Racks all the time like me being able to rename a macro after it has been mapped if desired is quite useful.

That’s all for today… more heady packs in development.

Peace!