Abletonalies – a New era
Santa brings a big collection of third party toys for our Ableton Live. A pack of instruments plus instruments inside packs … and that’s not all.
by A. Arsov, Jan. 2015
It’s a new year and a time for new challenges. This time we will cover some really exiting tools and sounds, so let’s start with the one that deserves a special attention. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing …
Sample Magic – Magic AB
The only way to make solid master is to compare your song with other similar songs from the same genre, but I assume you already know that. We all compare mixes during the mastering stage, listening to suitable songs from the same genre and comparing them with the song we are working on at the moment. But that’s a time consuming task, demanding a great deal of attention switching tracks in and out in the DAW and changing this and that. Well, it’s not any more. Magic AB is a dream-come-true plug-in. I watched video clips first, getting the impression that it is a bit complicated, but after installing it, I realized how dead-easy it is to use. You just need to install it after your mastering plug-ins, loading few similar hit songs in the free slots inside the plug-in and then just pressing A and B button for switching between your mix and the reference mix or mixes. I assume that you have a million different tools for your production, but I guarantee you that this one will definitively make you a better producer – period. Magic AB can be yours for €44.44 EUR.
Cableguys – VolumeShaper 4 – FilterShaper 3
At first I thought “what this could be good for?”, but after seeing the video “Hands-on-with VolumeShaper 4” from Computer Music magazine, I’ve changed my mind. What seemed to be a useless plug-in has proven to be a more-than-useful multi-functional tool. As you can freely draw volume and LFO curves in wave editor, even separately for selected frequency range, this one becomes a secret weapon for taming kicks by fine-tuning ADSR envelopes for the low end and then setting different values for attack on higher frequencies. It is also an indispensable tool for improving or even removing some parts of a drum loop or for making crazy gated patterns from a pad, letting the low end be constant while adding mad patterns just on the high end. It comes with a nice set of presets, so it is not difficult to find a perfect starting point, and that’s only the beginning of volume madness. VolumeShaper 4 will cost you €30 EUR.
Filter Shaper 3
I also started watching the “Hands-on-with Filter Shaper” video for this one, realizing after almost fifteen minutes that during all that time we are listening one long musical loop in the background that is manipulated live in the video explaining all the functions on the fly. My bullshit detector always warns me when the same loop goes over and over lasting too long (my maximum tolerance is about eight bars), but it happened that I didn’t noticed that during all the changes that Filter Shaper implemented to the manipulated material. The plug-in offers separate windows for the left and right sides of the sound signal in which you can draw independent filter curves, going absolutely mad in all details. Filter Shaper 3 is a life saver. Instead of adding more new elements to your arrangement, you can simply tweak your loop in real time making havoc out of just a few elements. An absolute stimulatn for all those “I’m out of inspiration” moments. That’s also a reason why the price is a bit higher than for most other things presented in this column. It is €69 EUR.
How To Make Electro House In Ableton Live 9 Like Bassjackers, Henry Fong, R3hab, Deorro & Firebeatz – that is the full name of an Ableton live project that you can buy from a YouTube site.
Time Zeithgeist doesn’t have a home page, but the project is so well done that you definitively can learn plenty of useful things from it. This is a pearl between many other projects – highly recommended. It costs only €7.49 EUR.
Spectral Textures by Ableton
This one is included in this article because it simply is too odd and interesting to skip. It is an Ableton Live pack containing out-of-this world sounds. Various metal and wood objects are processed with some reverb and delay, a bit of programming magic, and we get an industrial, atmospheric library that is perfectly suitable for cinematic purpose, but it can be a real life saver for all sorts of down-tempo, chill-out, industrial or other atmo-oriented types of music. You can recognize the source of most of the sounds, but they still sound very original and very appealing and unique. “Can” and “tin” at their best.
Half of the library was compiled from field recordings (er … more dumpster or factory than Mother Nature), and the second half is compiled from processed sounds from various synthesizers. It is absolutely one of those “before aliens attack” libraries. This one is too odd to skip. All these sharp, attacky can sounds will cost you €39 EUR.
Autobeat from K-Devices
Autobeat is a very interesting beat-editing Max for Live MIDI editor. Load any drum rack, program a pattern in the AutoBeat eight-step sequencer and AutoBeat will add slight variations during the time based on how you set a velocity-like parameter for each step in a row for a selected hit. If you set the parameter to a maximum value, then this hit will be played in every cycle of the repeated loop. If value is lower, there’s less probability that the selected hit will be triggered inside a loop.
Each voice, hit or drum element, has a few additional editing options along with the randomization factor, and you can also choose between various random modes. It take some time to get a grip on all of this, but after you get the idea, AutoBeat proves to be a nice tool for adding variations to the main rhythm. The best thing is that you can simply drag the pattern with all variations to a free clip window at Ableton, compiling MIDI elements for your drum track. AutoBeat works nicely also with a melody elements and not just a drum elements. Price is €29 EUR.
Skinnerbox – Time & Timbre
This is a Max for Live drum machine with some unique features. It’s one of those instruments that can convince you that your investment in Max for Live was not a bad decision. Actually, Time & Timbre reminds me of Tremor from Fxpansion, a very powerful drum machine. It comes with a very flexible six-channel step sequencer in which you can set various time measures for every implemented drum element, constructing beats with your imagination being your only limit. Time & Timbre also provides five drum modules with powerful set of controllers, among them four LFOs that can be connected to control any parameter on any other Ableton Live plug-in. You can even tune your drums, in the absence of more inspired ideas – there is a random button that still produces usable results (not always the case with such buttons)
All the above features are just a good beginning. Making out-in-space polyrhythmic rhythms is just a matter of few clicks. Filtering, reverse, shifting, making mad rolls, you can then store them in one of the 64 patterns divided into one bank. This is absolutely the most impressive instrument I have seen lately. If you can’t make any decent music with Time & Timbre, then maybe it is time to change your hobby, picking up embroidery or something similar. This amazing instrument could be yours for just €39 EUR.
Function Loops – Vocal Loops Only 3
This one consists of 1.2 G of pure, uplifting vocal phrases, simply begging to be used in your EDM production. Vocal packs are definitively the strongest part of the Function Loops company. They also sell all kinds of other sound packs and synth presets, but their vocal packs really stand out of the line. In a next issue we will represent more vocal packs from this vendor.
Vocal Loops Only 3 is a vocal pack bundle, compiled from various best-selling vocal packs released in 2014. A number of short vocal snippets, one-shot samples, various words, vocal loops and even complete vocal tracks, all come in two basic variants – dry and wet. You just need a scissors and good musical background, everything else is already here. Vocal Loops Only 3 costs $29.90 USD.
That’s that for now. See you in the March issue with new packs, new tools and new sounds – all for you and all for Ableton Live.