When applying dynamic effects, we are rarely going to need the entire timing ranges available, depending on the tempo, right? The new Tempo Dynamics pack provides go-to racks with minimum and maximum values hard-wired to ranges most potentially useful, given the chosen tempo — avoiding values that are likely too fast or too slow to be helpful.
Want to limit, squish, groovify, level, expand, or gate something? Reach for one of these racks in the nearest available tempo, and with handy knobs available to fine-tune, then dial it in quickly without worrying about the numbers or graphs… all while retaining the human element of your personal touch still in place. The macro knobs are also useful for automating in an arrangement, say to let something breathe more during one section and then clamp down during another.
I started devising these effect racks back when Live was still on version 9, so I’ve been testing them quite a lot over the last few years. They can be quite handy!
• 23 Tempo Compressors ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments. • 15 Tempo Expanders ranging from 25 to 235 bpm in 15bpm increments. • 8 Tempo Gates ranging from 30 to 240 bpm in 30bpm increments. • 12 Tempo Gluers ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 20bpm increments. • 23 Tempo Limiters ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments. • Bonus for Live 11: 23 Tempo Multibanders ranging from 20 to 240 bpm in 10bpm increments.
Since my son has now acquired Ableton Live 11 Intro, I thought it would be interesting to make a pack of effects that utilize only effects native to that iteration of the software. These include Audio Effect Rack, Auto Filter, Auto Pan, Beat Repeat, Channel EQ, Chorus-Ensemble, Compressor, Delay, EQ Three, Erosion, Gate, Grain Delay, LFO, Limiter, Looper, Phaser-Flanger, Redux, Reverb, Saturator, Tuner, and Utility. This is no paltry collection to smirk at! Quite a range of possibilities. But also — a nice change of pace, being arbitrarily limited in options according to what I am used to as a rack craftor. I saw it as an exciting challenge. At the end, I’m super proud of what I’ve come up with. Methinks I’ll definitely be using these racks in the full version of Live 11 Suite aplenty moving forwards.
This pack includes the bespoke Effect Racks from the 𝓢𝓾𝓹𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝔀𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓷𝓭𝓼 retro keyboard instrument pack for Ableton Live i released in collaboration with Brian Funk (but not the instruments), updated for Live 11.
As usual, care is taken to map parameter values cleverly and gainstage things sensibly so that these racks are highly usable in many situations. I also tried to come up with unique signal processing chains leading to interesting results, like 𝓓𝓻𝓾𝓷𝓴 𝓕𝓻𝓲𝓮𝓷𝓭𝓼 sounding like your inebriated companions trying to sing along with you very badly — or like 𝓣𝓱𝓻𝓪𝓼𝓱𝓮𝓻 giving a one-knob guitar distortion that scales from subtle overdrive to brutal metal fuzz — or like 𝓡𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓔𝓪𝓻𝓼 emulating… your ears ringing (perhaps to be used for film sound design) — or like 𝓢𝓱𝓮𝓹𝓫𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓡𝓲𝓼𝓮𝓻 performing the auditory illusion of constantly increasing pitch.
Remember that you can hover your mouse over device headers and macro controls to learn about what they do. Don’t fly blind! Or say screw it and go crazy with the random button. I’m not your parental unit.
So one day i got it in my head to figure out which of Ableton Live’s Effects are the best to use in parallel.
What is the criteria for this? Simply, which processes alter the phase of audio passing through them, either to the least degree, or in a nicely summable way.
Why does this matter? Because phase offsets, when summed in parallel with the original signal, will inevitably cause changes to the frequency contour. Sometimes slight amounts of this phase offset can add a nice creamy touch to the sound of things (and pretty much all analog gear causes it to some degree), but when being surgically technical like during the finalizing stages of a track, they are generally just not helpful.
An example of not altering phase at all is Live’s Compressor effect which is phase-neutral; it can be used safely in parallel with no unwanted frequency coloration whatsoever.
An example of altering the phase in a “nicely summable” way is Live’s Reverb. Technically, it’s altering the phase a whole bunch, but it’s doing so in a time-smeared fashion which results in far less likelihood of perfectly-lined-up frequency cancellations, and so, when at 100% wet, reverbs can be just fine to use in parallel, and are often preferred this way.
After carefully checking the phase response of all of Ableton Live Ten’s native Audio Effects, i came up with five distinct racks providing combinations of the most parallel-friendly native effects, optimized for specific purposes with maximal versatility of application.
It’s always been more of my mentality to try to figure out how to make optimal use of what i have on hand — even when flawed — than to try to find immediate replacements… from using a TI-83 calculator to code as a teenager (since that’s what i had access to), to learning how to mic two small guitar amps to sound amazing rather than try to buy bigger amps which i didn’t have space to store. Whether or not this is the optimal way to be, it’s been pretty ingrained in me over a lifetime of dealing with less-than-ideal equipment and environs, figuring out how to increase functionality past apparent limitations, and squeezing every drop of valuable usage i could garner out of existing gear.
This BCR-2000 MIDI Controller i have happens to have a top row of encoder knobs which act all wonky, sending out their values all slow and choppy and making them pretty much unusable as MIDI controls. However, each knob does have a set of LED lights, and it is possible to send messages to those lights to make them move.
By using a couple of MaxForLive devices in Ableton, i have it set up so that the 8 knobs each provide a VU-meter type experience in reaction to whatever’s playing in Ableton Live. Now they aren’t useless! Yay!
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.
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.
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.
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 Empathy by Brian Funk, or read on for a more detailed overview of each the included devices and what makes them special.
⠀⠀⠀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.
While we’re going through some crazy times right now, it has been heartwarming to experience how humans have upped their compassion game in response to shared crisis. I’ve seen more freebies and crazy deals going on this past week than any other time i remember, which seems because people want to help each other, share and be nice (well, not so much a certain political faction in the usa who seems to prefer that regular people suffer as much as possible. But that’s another topic). With graciousness and care for their fellows is how humans should act, rather than trying to take advantage of each other sleazily—which happens all too much.
In this spirit, i am offering up my super secret stash of “Sweetie Pies”—a small collection of effect racks for Ableton Live Suite 10, each crafted to address a specific need in a sweet manner. These are highly practical yet fun racks with the primary purpose of “getting stuff done”.
i WAS planning on releasing this pack eventually anyways once it grew a bit more, but to expedite the process of getting you the goodies, i’ve decided to simply omit the not-quite-finished devices, give everything a good once-over, and release the pack for free as it is now.