Abletonalies – July 2014 (a small EDM toolbox for Ableton Live)

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A new set of small editions for Ableton Live can make you a better EDM producer. As long as they are cheap enough that we can afford it, let’s go for it!

by Alex Arsov, July 2014

Time for new Ableton Live additions. Digging a bit deeper in the Ableton zone, I found some new toys that helped me to become a better electronic dance music (EDM) producer. My main goal is to find tools that can speed up the production process, helping me to achieve better results in less time. After all, time is money, and money is something that most of us are a bit short of. So, less is more, and the wallet is the limit.

Abletunes Selektor

(http:/www.abletunes.com/product/plugins/selektor)

In the previous issue, I wrote about some templates from Abletunes. This time I found something even better, a plugin that can speed up working process with Ableton Live (actually it is a VST plugin, so it works with almost all DAWs).

For $35 USD or about €26 EUR , you will be able to browse through your one-shot samples in real time, previewing them in the context of a song. A true life- and time-saver when you are searching for the appropriate Kick or Snare or any other element of your drum kit.

There are even additional slots for saving a few samples that you think that could be appropriate, allowing you to search further and then decide later which one will be the final one.

It looks simple, even so simple that I had overlooked it, even when I visited the Abletunes site for the first time, but now Selektor is preloaded in all of drum tracks inside the drum group in my main working template. It works.

Dance MIDI Samples (DMS)

(http://www.dancemidisamples.com)

This is a site where you can get a nice number of Ableton templates, sound packs and synth presets, along with a nice amount of free stuff, like some MIDI chord progressions, or even some cool templates, loops and construction kits.

I chose a few playable Ableton templates, along with one big Trance Ableton set containing a great number of harmony progressions, lead MIDI lines, loops, effects and similar stuff.

The advantage of all those templates is that all templates use only Ableton Live instruments and effects.

DMS Uplifting Mainroom House for Live will bring you a good masterclass of how to layer various sounds to get a big House sound. This uses three synths that I had never thought to choose separately, but together they build a powerful Trance / House sound. A great combination of two basses, where one covers mid range while the other one rocks the house with its sub components. Add a cool drum element combination along with some interesting automation, and you get a nice reward for that price (approximately $34 USD or €25 EUR).

DMS Jump Up DnB – Same price as above, an excellent and powerful combination of “Drum&Bass” drum kit along with drum group rack, and a nice and dangerous layered bass sound combined from four different synths that cover all frequency ranges. A very useful school of Drum&Bass. Actually, all you need in addition is one single vocal shot, and there you go!

Deep House Vol. 3, another template with the same price, brings you a nice Deep House set where you can learn that making Deep House is not so easy as it sounds. A million small details that make up this simple-sounding sound flow are actually compiled from various different off-beat elements that are bouncing around a straight four-on-the-floor rhythm. Along with all those percussion elements there is also a nice off-beat deep bass. This one is not so much about automation; it is more about layering. A very cool layering.

Swedish Electro House Vol. 1 (about $34 USD or €25 EUR) is so simple and so complicated at the same time that I have to solo every track to see what is going on. Very clever programing and a bunch of good filter risers. It uses really clever combinations of various not-so-obvious instruments that give a very good result at the end.

DMS Trance Library (approximately $68 USD or €50 EUR) is a bit more expensive, but filled with all sorts of things that you’ll need to make a good Trance or EDM song. A lot of loops, samples, and instruments for Ableton Live, along with a great number of epic chord progressions, arp’d phrases, and effects. All in all, for that money we have a gigabyte of material that can serve our needs for the next year or two. A pretty much essential library for all Trance EDM masters.

Plugin Boutique – Big Kick

(http://www.pluginboutique.com/product/69-Generator/879-BigKick)

VST Kick instrument is one of those essential tools that is absolutely a must. OK, you can never get enough various kick things and toys, so there will be more such tools in this column. This one brings you everything you need for about $68 USD or €50 EUR. It offers you absolute control over all elements of your kick.

In the upper corner you have an Attack part where you can choose from one of the various attacks that actually define the character of your kick. There is also an additional group of genre-related attacks that cover most of the modern production needs from Dubstep to Hip Hop, classical Dance EDM and so on. If that is not enough for you, than you can even load your own samples.

The middle part of the user interface is reserved for body of the kick, where you can fine-tune all elements of the kick along with the most-desired Note drop-down menu where you can select the root note for the kick tail, tuning the whole kick to a song key.

Both Attack and Body parts offer all the controllers that you will ever need for changing the attack, decay, and body. There are also Curve, Filter and other similar essentials. In the Attack part there is also a nice pair of Next and Previous buttons which allow you to change attacks on the fly.

The bottom part of the user interface is reserved for a big volume controller, an additional edit knob that opens a new array of controllers in the middle part of the user interface, allowing you to go way deeper in choosing velocity, drive width and other parameters that you may need.

Considering the overall sound, all implemented controllers, and a view window where you can follow all the changes you made, it should prove to be one of the best for what will be spent (approximately $68 USD or €50 EUR) for your production.

(P.S. Just a few days before release date a big update was announced, bringing plenty of improvements, new options and new sounds – a classic example how the best can be made even better.)

MODE Audio

(http://www.modeaudio.com)

A relatively new company that offers a surprisingly good small collection of high-quality samples. Among all the tutorials, FL Studio packs, sample packs and Massive patches, I chose a few Ableton Live packs.

The Hyper Beats Ableton pack offers you ten different drum racks buffed out with all sorts of sounds. The strongest point, along with the high quality of the presented samples, is that every kit contains sounds that are totally different from all other kits. So, you basically get ten different general drum characters. Add to that three different effects racks that can be used for various purposes (again having unique characters), and you will get more than just a nice pack for about $15 USD or €11 EUR.

Atomic SFX is the next Ableton Live pack where you can get almost all the rises and falls that you will ever need for your EDM production. For approximately $32 USD or €24 EUR, it is one of the most useful collections of sweeps and bleeps that I have tried lately.

Analog Experiments, same price as above, totally different story: The weirdest collection of synth loops that will cover all of your nightmares. If you are involved in any sort of film music, then this collection is screaming out your name and inviting you to spend a few of the best-sounding, worst moments of your life. Unmissable for every Friday the 13th.

Klang, being a bit cheaper (about $26 USD or €19 EUR), offers a nice collection of various non-percussive percussion elements. A bunch of chair, guitar bag and other “beat-them-with-a-drum stick” objects, ideal for making your Deep House song even more unique and original.

To be continued.

That’s all for now. In an upcoming issue, new Ableton adventures. EDM or bust. On a tight budget of course…

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