New Years 2023 Freebie: “Introspection” Pack.

Effect Racks for Live Intro.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ ‎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.

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-> Download the Introspection pack for Ableton Live Intro, Standard, or Suite <-

Read about the process of the device creation below.


The Research Phase: Planning the FX.

…Wherein I try to figure out a cohesive game-plan for a brand new set of racks.

Brainstorming notes for the Introspection pack.

‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎The first step was listing out the effects on paper and pairing them up, with the basic premise of using each effect one time in order to showcase their general capabilities. Here’s what was envisioned:

Auto Filter (bandpass) + Erosion.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ I thought that it might be cool to match up Erosion’s frequency focus with a bandpass filter, to supplement each other. Why not? Since so much can be done with Auto Filter, I didn’t want to get lost in a rabbit hole. This keeps the purpose very intentional.

• Auto Pan + LFO.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ How nifty is it that Live Intro comes loaded with LFO? I didn’t know that before. I experimented a bit with the idea of using the LFO to add a new dimension of movement to Auto Pan, struggled for a while, but then honed in on a wicked way.

• Beat Repeat + Looper.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ As the previous, It took a while to find “the way” to implement the concept, which in this case was to combine Beat Repeat with a Looper to make it more interesting. A devious glitch machine was fashioned. Making an exception to the “one device per rack” rule for the pack, a Grain Delay device was also added in order to use its pitch-shifting capabilities for extra fun.

• Channel EQ + EQ Three.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ I figured — since Live Intro doesn’t come with EQ Eight — why not try to make a “more robust” EQ Rack? Fiddling around with the combo, I found it to have a sweet bonus capability which is a pultec-like result when boosting and cutting the same frequencies using the mid-frequency bands of both the classic EQ Three and the newer Channel EQ. More on that below!

• Chorus-Ensemble + Phaser-Flanger … (Chorus + Phaser + Flanger).
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ I started making the Introspection pack in Live 10, in order to have versions for both Live 10 and Live 11 available, as I try to do when feasible. However, Live 11 has evolved Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger, into new beasts: Chorus-Ensemble and Phaser-Flanger. I started making the rack for Live 10 first. The rack I came up with using the legacy Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger devices turned out so nifty that I decided to not also make a more differenter Live 11 version. This makes it extra cool I think for Live 11 users who may not be used to using the legacy versions of the classic “modulation trio” of effects, providing quick access to them.

•Compressor + Gate.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ During development I sat on this combo last. Tried to make a Tightener rack. It was lame. Came up with a better idea! The Gate sits in the sidechain signal that a compressor listens to, and uses the built-in sidechain filtering (soloed) to create an ultra-frequency-sensitive compressor!

• Delay + Reverb.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ The classic combo. How to make it unique / interesting? Ok. The classic query: does reverb sound better with delay before it, or delay after it? Sometimes either. I decided to use a delay plugin instance to pre-delay the reverb in a special manner. And then a post-reverb, longer feedback delay instance to augment / spaceify the reverb. Have both and eat it too. A reverb sandwich with delay for bread.

• Grain Delay + Redux.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Dunno what’s gonna happen here, but know it’s gonna be crazy. Basically what happened: a delay that can be really crunchy and smeared — not all that crazy in fact, but definitely purposeful, especially for textural sound design.

• Limiter + Saturator.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Placing a saturation device pre-limiter seemed like an obvious choice if the goal was “how to make Limiter more powerful and exciting?”

• Channel EQ + EQ Three + Auto Filters (lo & hi cut).
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ EQ Seven ended up more like a unique weird tone box; not really a full-fledged EQ. I felt there may be something more helpful to offer Live Intro users for general surgical EQing tasks. The idea here is if someone would want to robustly EQ material using native devices, they are probably going to go for all of these effects, and want dedicated controls, for maximum flexibility… so that’s what it provides. It’s the only one that has sixteen instead of eight macros.


The Development Phase: Building the Racks.

…Wherein I start putting together the pieces, choosing mappings and adjusting value ranges, all the while testing the audio results and functionality (both by ear and with before/after analysis) over various assorted loops. After many revisions and fine-tunings, ultimate versions of the devices are settled upon, and macro help info text is composed for each device header and macro control. Read below for info on each.

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• Auto Filter (bandpass) + Erosion = Filtrosion.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Tone highlight / sweep FX device using an eroded parallel bandpass filter.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ This simple idea turned out pretty rad. Use Poke to add in the Filtrosion spike as a parallel effect. Fine-tune the exact Hz value that is affected with Freq, from 300 to 18k (unfold the rack to see the value — or better yet, adjust it solely by ear). The audible effect of Width depends on the Mode. Spice things up with LFO and/or Envelope Modulation, and alter its behavior with Mod Wiggle.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Use this effect subtly, set to enhance specific frequencies of different instrument parts like you might an EQ boost, helping them to stand out in a cluttered mix… OR go extreme, with wild automation for crazy fun sound design. You could use Filtrosion to temporarily transform any sound into an “uplifter” or “downlifter”, for example, by automating frequency sweeps fading in and out. It’s a delicate beauty, or a raging beast, or both — whatever you need it to be.

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Auto Pan + LFO = Revolvotator.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ This dual-action stereo tremolo revolves as it rotates, adding a new dimension to the traditional Auto Pan with controllable oscillation of the LR offset. Think of a normal rotary panner like two moons orbiting around you, opposite each other. Think of this, on the other hand, like those two moons orbiting around a third moon, which is orbiting around you! Or something.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Amount is like a dry/wet control. Turn it up to hear the effect in action. Offset Amount determines how much the phase alignment between the L and R channels is modulated, for the dual rotation effect. Dialing in various values for each of the two Speed controls leads to endless rhythmic combinations for creamy stereo width modulation. Offset Swing skews the timing of the supplemental LFO for a more swung or syncopated feel. Smooth vs Skittery will make the panning more unpredictable and also more abrupt as you turn it up, which can leads to pops and clicks on some material and thus is usually reserved for more experimental purposes. The device opens by default with extreme offset rotation settings so that it is easy to hear for dialing in, after which one can reduce the Amount knobs to taste. Doing so automatically adjusts output gain slightly, but if you need a touch more, use Volume Recover.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Note: While you can — technically — set the timing values to be beat-synced, this is not usually as much fun… since imperfect timing alignments between the rotations are often the very thing that provide that special element of dreaminess we so desire.

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Beat Repeat + Looper = Glitch Grabber.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Grab stuff! Glitch it! Wacky expanded edition of Beat Repeat, adding in bonus capabilities for bizarre glitch shenanigans.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ 1. Use the Looper‘s big button to capture a loop of playing audio during a live jam.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ 2. Adjust Grid to glitch the audio in realtime as it plays. Leave at certain values and/or move it around as you go. Snap to zero to turn glitching off.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ 3. Adjust the other macros to mess with the way the repeats are played back. Ideal with a MIDI controller, so that you can alter multiple controls simultaneously.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Think of the Glitch Grabber as Beat Repeat in “Super Saiyan” mode. In the past, I’ve generally only used Looper during live performance (usually with guitar). However, this rack opens it up for experimental usage in the studio for sound design as well. During production, resample glitched-out snippets into separate tracks to generate raw audio material for arrangement composition. Or use it during performance, but be careful about coming back on-beat after going down a crazy wormhole! You can still use most of the controls even without using the Looper button, but by grabbing a loop you gain access to two additional fun and dangerous functions: Speed and the Reverse toggle. The Repeat? control is a switch; turn it on temporarily to “grab” a specific beat to emphasize by repetition, while adjusting other controls still causing interesting effects.

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Channel EQ + EQ Three = EQ Seven.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Simple rack set up for easy “Push-Pull” EQ workflow.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ In order to fit everything onto eight macros, and for convenient workflow, the frequency adjustments have been distilled to one control, which has been carefully calibrated so that EQ Three and Channel EQ’s mid bands are perfectly aligned with one another. EQ Three’s mid band (labeled Mid B) is more rounded, with both a more broad peak area, and yet steeper Q edges. Channel EQ’s mid band, on the other hand (labeled Mid A), is more “triangular” — poking more precisely to a specific frequency, but also, at the frequency edges, tailing off more gradually. This means that you can’t really say that either of them are more narrow or wide than the other… at the focus point, EQ Three is wider — but at the outer edges, Channel EQ is wider. If you boost and cut the same frequency with them, they do not cancel out, but create an interesting contour. For example, by boosting Channel EQ’s mid band and cutting the same frequency with EQ Three’s, you get a little poke at the chosen frequency with a bit of a ripple effect, dipping the immediately adjacent frequencies (due to the EQ Three mid band’s more rounded shape). This so-called “push-pull” EQ technique can be a great way to highlight certain tones whilst curtailing the total amount of added energy and headroom reduction. For this reason, EQ Seven‘s dual mid bands are set to the same frequency, but you can adjust their gains independently. MidA moves about 150% more energy than MidB does, so if matching them, adjust dB values by that percentage. The other macro controls show the frequencies they affect, namely 80Hz Low Cut (toggle), 160Hz LoShelf, and 3k HiCut / ShelfBoost. The Variable Lo and Hi Shelves will adjust the frequencies below and above the chosen mid band frequency, respectively. By adjusting the various shelving options carefully, one can also achieve “pultec-like” effects.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Since it’s not obvious at a glance what’s going on with these interactions and they are delicate to balance, I’ve figured out some tasty “push-pull” setups using careful frequency analysis and provide the following nifty cheat sheet for engaging certain desired behaviors (also saved in the racks as Macro Variations). The Focus Bump and Adjacent Bump variations are meant to be used with variable frequency of your choosing; the other variations, however, are less adjustable, being only balanced at the shown freq macro values (namely: 33 and 78). To get two instruments in a mix to stand out from each other, place Focus Bump on one instrument, set to a chosen freq value, and place Adjacent Bump on the contrasting instrument, set to the same or a slightly lower frequency value. Thud Reducer could be useful on non-bass, non-drum instruments and Mud Reducer for lessening the dreaded boxy tone from pretty much any home-recorded audio. Upper Mid Bite happens to enhance a frequency that is perfect for making distorted guitar or synth tones sound more gnarly, and Bright Antiharsh might serve as a nice contrasting counterpoint to that.

SetupChannel EQ Band & dB ValueEQ Three Band & dB ValueAudible Result
Lo AntiThud160Hz LoShelf +12dBVariable LoShelf -11dB (freq 33)bottom end bump w/ 120 dip
Lo AntiMud160Hz LoShelf -5dBVariable LoShelf +6dB (freq 33)bottom end bump w/ 300 dip
Focus BumpMidB +6dB (any frequency)MidA -4.5dB (any frequency)focus boost 180 to 13k; adjacent dips
Adjacent BumpMidB -5.25dB (any frequency)MidA +4.5dB (any frequency)focus dip 95 to 12k; adjacent bumps
Upper Mid Bite3k HiCut / Shelf + 7.5dBVariable HiShelf -8.25dB (freq 78)top end dip; 2.5k hi-mid bump
Bright Antiharsh3k HiCut / Shelf -5.5dBVariable HiShelf +6dB (freq 78)1k mid dip; 4.5k bump; >14.5k hicut
EQ Seven “Push-Pull” Cheat Sheet

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Chorus + Flanger + Phaser = Triple Liquid.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Classic modulation effect trio, sympathetically integrated.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ This rack is a reliable go-to for when you want to add modulation to something, but are not sure what or how. The first three macro controls — Phaser, Flanger, and Chorus — each implement their respective effect, with evocative default parameters that immediately elicit the characteristic flavor of the device type chosen. You can alter the overall vibe with the Tone, Reso, and Wave controls. Add a degree of source-reactivity to the Phaser and Flanger with the Tone Envelope Mod control. Mix and match how much of each of the three effects to blend in with each other.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ A couple of things about Chorus: The C Width macro affects its stereo width. Certain settings can make a chorus device sound more like a flanger and this objective has been intentionally sought out and cross-mapped; by turning up the Flanger control, the Chorus module morphs more towards the audio process of flanging. Thus, combining the Flanger and Chorus knobs together results in the formation of a “Super Flanger” (well deserving of two exclamation marks)!!

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Compressor + Gate = Focus Compressor.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Highly selective compression engine.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ It’s a compressor which allows you to squish down based on very specific frequency content of the material it’s listening to. You can already set a compressor to be frequency-selective using its built-in sidechain EQ, so… what’s the point of this? It’s even more frequency-reactive than ever before. Plus the sidechain focus can be gated, for choosy intentional character response. Want a compressor to ONLY compress when a certain timbre strikes? It’s now more doable than ever. It’s not quite the same as a dynamic EQ or multiband compressor, because it ducks the whole signal whenever it’s triggered. It’s unique, and potentially very helpful. Setup is a breeze, with instant auditioning of the focus frequency and gating isolation behavior. Switch Focus Listen on to isolate and listen to the trigger signal. Adjust the Focus Freq, Reso, and Gate macros to isolate exactly what you want the compressor to be reacting to. Bold Reso values are recommended for a more blatant effect. After honing in on the desired offending frequency, turn Focus Listen back off and adjust Press to increase the amount of potential compression. Select between a Tight or Punchy mode — Tight will curtail peaks more abruptly, for a more controlled sound (optimal for the purpose of controlling wayward level); Punchy will allow transients to breathe and restore release in a less linear manner, for a generally louder, more aggressive sound (possibly more well-suited for enhancing groove & vibe). You will probably want to adjust Press after switching between modes, because they hit differently.

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Delay + Reverb = Spaced Verb.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Reverb Sandwich.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ -> Pre Reflect provides custom enhancement to the reverb’s initial onset, coordinating a tempo-aware pre-reflection along with the reverb’s built-in pre-delay and early reflections parameters. Bigger values sound like there’s more distance between the listener and the nearest reflective surface. Try to set it so that the reverb fluctuates in groove with the beat. Verb is the main parameter to determine how much reverberation diffusion sound is evident. Post Delay -> provides further echoes tailing off, resulting in the feeling of more connected areas branching off from the listening room. Spread increases a sensation of stereo width and Mass alters the apparent size of the sound-generating object and inclusion area, leading to lusher, longer decays (but without messing with the groove timing). Tone provides effortless sculpting and Swirl adds some subtle modulation, helpful for emulating environments that include non-uniformly-shaped and/or non-static surfaces and objects. After dialing in all your values to taste, you may wish to use the Wet Mix knob to blend in some dry signal with the now-diffused effect signal chain.

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Grain Delay + Redux = Grit Delay.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Lo-fi, pitch-shifted, ducked Delay.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ G-Delay Level will bring in the grit delay layer. Delay Decay increases both the decay time and the feedback amount; macro settings of 18 or higher generate tempo-synced echoes, while below that (the “flam” zone) it switches to using raw milliseconds. Crush destroys bits, and at maximum switches to the hard decimation mode. Downgrade simultaneously reduces sample rate and grain size. Pitch transposes the delay repetitions, while Flux adds randomness to the pitch and grains for a more scattered sound. After all of this, there was still something missing… and so an Antigate was incorporated which adds ducking capabilities using an inverted gate. Setting the value carefully according to the material passing through it lets you add breathing space by tastefully dropping out the delay signal during louder moments. This can be especially useful when Crush is bumped heavily which can greatly reduce overall contrast. The more you turn up AntiGate, the more it listens to the pre-redux signal (using built-in parallel sidechaining), helping to retain a musically rhythmic behavior despite any transient obliteration caused by the Redux effects.

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Limiter + Saturator = Loudifier.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Make stuff louder.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ It’s so dumb, it’s brilliant. Slowly turn up Push until things start to sound definitely a little fuzzy. Reduce the Push dial a little (maybe by 5 or 10). Now, turn up Tuffness Mode until at some point suddenly it becomes very obviously too fuzzy. Lower the value by about 20 from there (to back down one mode). Finally, reduce Push another slight touch, just to take the edge off. You should now be left with a tasty degree of loudness at this point, threatening the boundary of what is considered polite.

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Channel EQ + EQ Three + Auto Filters (lo & hi cut) = EQ Nine.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ A robust equalizer encompassing Live Intro’s tonal shaping tools.

‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ This is meant as more of a fully-featured tone-shaper than EQ Seven quite amounts to. Since Live Intro doesn’t have access to EQ Eight, providing the ability to tweak as many frequencies as possible — as easily as possible — in that version of the DAW seemed a worthwhile endeavor. Sixteen macro controls in total are provided, split across two sections. Section B is first, followed by Section A. While as surgical as is manageable, I’d still think of it more as an “analog EQ” than as a “clean parametric digital EQ”, since it’s not flat at default settings and is somewhat quirky.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Section B includes a clean digital HiCut Filter followed by an instance of EQ Three. Why a HiCut Filter as the very first process? As mentioned in the PerforModule Effects Order Recommendation blog post, removing ultrasonics prior to anything else reduces the likelihood of unpleasant digital aliasing being generated by harmonics-altering effects later in the chain (such as EQ Nine‘s output circuit drive, for example), and so is an advantageous workflow when seeking to generally maintain a pristine sound. Use the Lo-Mid & Hi-Mid Split macros to determine which frequency zones the Variable Lo & Hi Shelves and the Mid B bands will affect. Changing these values will certainly change the phase response and can also alter the frequency contour at certain settings… even without altering band gains! You have more control than EQ Seven here, which is also more unpredictable when randomly sweeping knobs around. The energy of Mid B wholly depends on the frequency settings — with a wide berth between low and high, Mid B acts like a plateau filter, creating a flat boost or cut area between the extremities. Steep Slope?, when turned above halfway, will switch both the HiCut and the EQ Three band splits into doubly strict designations, for more intense frequency separation (and also more phase shift).
‎‏‏‎ ‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ Section A includes an instance of Channel EQ followed by an output LoCut Filter with analog Circuit Drive enabled. Like with EQ Seven, the nonadjustable bands helpfully name the affected frequencies directly on the macro. The Mid A band is adjustable from 120 to 7.5kHz and can be used to highlight or attenuate a specific target frequency in a tasteful manner. The LoCut Filter being last in the chain allows for cleaning up any DC offset generated by previous processes. There’s also included a Filter Drive macro for saturating the heck out of weak signals that need some extra vitality. Use Lo Circuit/Slope? to alter both how steep the low cut filtering is, as well as the specific analog filter model applied (at maximum also switching on the Channel EQ 80Hz LoCut Filter). Adjusting this can change the sound greatly and afterwards may require further tweaking of LoCut Freq and LoCut Reso.
‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎You can easily swap the serial order of Section A and Section B by drag-and-drop, if for any reason you prefer the LoCut Filtering and Circuit Drive to take place before the HiCut Filter.

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Ableton Live 11 Key Map Guide & Template by PerforModule

The PerforModule Key Map Template for Ableton Live 11: mapping computer keyboard keys to as many potentially helpful functions as practical.

The Template

There are three parts to the template:
•a Live Set pre-loaded with the recommended key mappings,
•a Diagram showing color-coded key functions, and
•a Spreadsheet listing custom-mapped and built-in key mappings, also explaining some quirks.

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Mosey on over to this dropbox folder to download the Key Map Template Live Set, Key Map Plan Diagram, and Spreadsheet Guide. Read on for nauseatingly meticulous details below.

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Dither Presets for Metal

(intro)

It’s a set of free presets for Dither, optimized for the Metal genre.

They were made for the mastering of the upcoming metal album, Lust & Insecurity by Animus Invidious.

Noise-shaping dither algorithms are theoretically optimized to “bury” the noise in the frequencies you hear least, while avoiding so much in the preeminent tonalities (in this case, distorted electric guitars focused around 2.5kHz).

Download

You can DOWNLOAD HERE and open the .fxp presets using your DAW of choice. If you happen to use Ableton Live 11, you can additionally access the .adg Racks which allow for more easy snapping-to or fine-tuning of the intensity value.

⚠️ You are also going to need to grab the free TB_Dither_v3 VST2 plugin if you don’t have it already, which has been graciously set free amongst a slew of other awesome legacy TB plugins.

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Parallel-Friendly Native FX Racks for Live 10+: “ParallAux”

Which Effects Work Best In Parallel?

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.

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>DOWNLOAD PARALLAUX via Isotonik Studios<

FREE! Requires Ableton Live 10 Suite +

>Download ParallAux PDF Manual<

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PerforModule Recommends: Effects Order

While we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect or ideal FX chain order for all situations because it totally depends on context, i have eventually developed some general preferences for the order of effects in a signal chain. Recently updating all my templates for Live 11 has further honed my thoughts on the situation.

We can of course swap around the sequential ordering of effect devices, either for a specific intended result or as a matter of experimentation just to see if an alternate routing happens to sound better on given audio.

As usual when sharing my ideas, it is recommended that you not simply adopt the structure as presented, but rather that you test it out in practice and modify things over time to suit your particular style, keeping notes and updating your own templates as you go. Maybe you think the way i place transient shapers before compressors is idiotic. That’s totally fine!

I’ll share below my go-to effects order, and (most importantly)… WHY.
While some of the choices are probably pretty unorthodox, none of them are arbitrary; they all have reasons. Are they bad reasons? Good reasons? Who knows. But i like to think they are built on logical rationale.

Keep in mind you’re seldom if ever going to need all these types of effects on any single track, but for times when you are using even two different processor types, some guidance as to their ordering might prove useful. Resist the urge to add more effects to a chain just because you can. The fewer processors required to get a sound how you want, usually the better.

Scroll to the bottom for a handy cheat-sheet!

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New series of Single-Purpose Racks for Ableton Live 11: “Zinglez”

𝒁𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒆𝒛 is a new series of individual one-dollar racks for Ableton Live 11 by PerforModule.

Simple and straightforward.
Just grab what the ones that entice you the most.
Ignore everything else!

Read about them below.

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New PerforModule Pack: “Empathy”

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.

Contains:

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.

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Skip to the bottom of this post to check out a video overview of the Empathy by Brian Funk, or read on for a more detailed overview of each the included devices and what makes them special.

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Freebie: “Golden” Multiband Presets

   Multiband Dynamics Processors. Such Beasts. So Much Power. So Easy to Abuse.

   During experimentation for a different purpose (making the “ultimate audio effect”… stay tuned), i got carried away and made “Golden” presets for a bunch of Multiband Dynamics plugins.

So what are Golden Multiband presets?
   I’m glad you asked. The basic idea is to sculpt an audio source to be less like white noise and more like golden pink noise. So what is golden pink noise? A modification of pink noise that is colored by the “goldilocks curve”.

   For most of the “Multiband Dynamics” type processors i own (see brief reviews of many of them in this recent post) i’ve crafted a “Golden” preset.

   Since most music follows more of a pink noise curve than a white noise curve to begin with, applying the full effect is far more likely to have a “warming, thickening” effect than a “brightening” effect, though it does depend on the particular source and plugin.

   However, you’ll notice that if you compare a golden multiband preset applied to an audio part — as compared to a similar, static EQ curve, that they feel less “murky” than they do “bulky”. The Pinker rack is included in the “Xtras” folder to test this concept with quick A/B tests.

   For evenly balanced to bright mixes, a golden dynamic preset can be perfect to smooth things out and add a dash of debonair; for mixes that are already leaning on the darker side, they can still be helpful for adding in a grounding touch of solidity— but in these cases should usually be used to a more subtle degree.

   I’ve fashioned such “Golden” presets for the following plugins:

~TB Broadcast*
~Brainworx bx_dynEQ V2
~Brainworx bx_XL V2
~ProAudioDSP DSM V3
~HOFA Dynamic Tilt
~Waves F6
~GVST GMulti*
~VoS Limiter6*
~VoS Nova67P*
~TDR Limiter6 GE
~
Ableton Multiband Dynamics
~TDR Nova*
~TDR Nova GE
~Xfer OTT*
~Klevgrand Pressit
~Newfangled Punctuate
~IK Quad-Comp
~Sonic Anomaly Quadracom
~Reaper ReaFir*
~Reaper ReaXcomp*
~W.A. The King
~Max for Cats TriComp
~Acoustica VioletCM
~Freeverb3 WindCompressor*
~Beatassist X-Press*

   Since each plugin has different functionality, the exact curvature varies between them (which gives them individual character). Some, for example, have no low- or high-cut capabilities and so retain more of those frequencies. The dynamic behavior of each also differs, so they may affect various material dissimilarly (especially the ones that have upward in addition to downward compression!).  What all the presets share in common, however, is a basic sculpting which is more likely to help than hinder your overall tone for consistent playback on different speaker types. The more you use them, the more you’ll get a feel for the unique quirks of each.

~`~

DOWNLOAD THE “GOLDEN DYNAMICS” PRESETS HERE
golden dynamics

   Provided both as Audio Effect Racks for Ableton Live 10+ (.adg) and as vst presets (.fxp for VST2 or .vstpreset for VST3), organized in folders by type.
   They load the same presets, but the Ableton racks are also hard-wired with some useful macro mappings for quick knob twisting of the most relevant parameters.

   You can either grab the zip file with everything in it, or you can only grab the specific presets for the plugins you own. I would probably recommend that latter strategy. There is also a pdf user manual which includes links to all the plugin vendors.

   When both VST2 and VST3 versions of a particular plugin are available, i’ll provide both .fxp and .vstpreset extension types, and the Live rack will load with the VST3 version, with sensible macros mapped for easy access. When no VST3 version is available, the rack will load the VST2 version instead.

USE WITH ANY DAW
   You should be able to use the .fxp and .vstpreset files with any DAW, as long as you have the given plugin installed.

Nifty Tip: I just recently realized that .vstpreset files can be dragged directly into a track in Ableton Live to load a plugin, just like any Live rack, which is super cool.

CAVEATS:

Designed for busses or the master channel more than for single tracks:
   Since the goldilocks curve upon which golden pink noise is based was formulated based on analysis of complete songs, these “golden” dynamic presets are not always appropriate for application on individual parts, suited more for groups or the master channel. But if you’re having problems with a certain track in a mix, one of them just might be the ticket.

Based on Flat as a Starting Point:
   If your mix is basically following a pink noise curve or leaning towards white noise (flat), golden dynamics presets tend to work pretty well at tasteful overall tone shaping. If your mix is already on the dark side with the top quite rolled off, however, they might make it too dark, in which case you may want to apply less of the effect, or add some top-end brightening to counter-balance.

Calibrated to -16 LUFS Integrated:
   These presets are designed to give a perfect frequency contour when applied to material which has been loudness-normalized to -16 LUFS integrated. Since dynamics processors utilize level thresholds, setting a base target level was essential. For optimal results, first make sure the audio feeding into it meters at or close to -16. You can still use the presets on louder or quieter material, but you might have to fiddle with controls to fine-tune the results to be optimal.
   Why -16LUFS? It’s my go-to loudness level for mixdowns and audio playback, giving a solid degree of punch with enough headroom for mastering. By getting in the habit of mixing down all of your songs to (and listening to all reference tracks at) -16LUFS (or whatever reference you decide upon), you can develop a more clear objective grasp of the relative spectral contours between them than you would when listening to tracks at erratically differing average levels.

You need to own the plugins!
   A given preset will only work if you have the corresponding plugin it uses installed in your system and recognized by your DAW. Don’t have any of these? You can fix that… the ones with *asterisks* in the list above are free!

   Interested in the “Goldilocks Curve” this was based on? It is contained within the “DynaMixing Ultimate” mega-pack for Ableton Live 9 along with a crap-ton of other carefully-crafted, highly usable effect racks.

   Interested in the upcoming magical device that adjusts dynamics and tone to make everything just wonderfully better? Stay tuned!

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