Abletonalies – May 2014

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Alex Arsov begins a journey to discover the whole micro-cosmos of various toys and tools developed for use in conjunction with Ableton Live in an ongoing series of such coverage.

by Alex Arsov, May 2014

A few months ago I got Ableton Live. Thanks to various Sadowick tutorial video clips I’ve mastered Live in less than two weeks, become a bit addicted and decided to explore a bit deeper to find if there are any “on a tight budget” additions that could improve my working skills or that could make some significant impact on my production.

After spending some quality time googling around, I discovered the whole micro-cosmos of various toys and tools dedicated specifically for this DAW, finding that some of them are definitively a “must have”, while some other are maybe not so essential, but are so adorable, that it would be pity to let them lie forgotten deep down in a google zone.

I rolled up my sleeves and put my nose even deeper finding more and more interesting things, so I’ve decided to start a new series of articles under the common name Abletonalies, covering all this goodies. So, let’s start with the first one.

Abletunes

In my research I came to the Abletunes site. ( http://abletunes.com ) 

They are selling some Ableton Live templates along with some sample packs offering additional Live-related stuff. At first I downloaded their free templates that can be found under the Blog menu on their site.

There is also a free racks pack with 26 top and versatile uplifters (tipical rising sounds that we can found in almost every new dance production) racks made with Operator.

On the left side of the Blog window you will find a link for other free templates. There is a pack with a few simple templates along with one production template. I modified this production template adding several additional things, changing this and that, and now it is my main template for most of my late production. In other free templates you can save some combination of sounds or effects for further use, or just learn something from those combinations by seeing how it is done. In the San Tropez template, which is one of the free templates, you can find a fine, up-to-date lead synth line made with Sylenth 1. I spent some time figuring out how it is done (which automation is used) and now I’m ready to make something similar in my production. Nice and very useful.

For the first column I chose five old template packs. They told me that newer templates are much more advanced, but I chose those older ones as I’ve found some interesting moments listening demo clips. I I didn’t know how they are done, so I decided to focus my attention on those. In the future, there will be some newer ones. Until then …

The first is an Electro House template named Stripes. It brings you a combination of a few layered synths for leads and bass making a huge dance wall-of-sound creations. I’ve also learned a trick or two from a drum rack. For $29 USD, you get an insight into structure, all automations and the wall-of-sound technique. I simply dragged the whole synth group to my instrument user library since this one really contains nice combination of plucked and classic Trance saw sounds. Ditto for distorted bass group. Last time I spent more than hour to find four synths for layering together. Now I can just drag a group and start playing being a new Nicky Romero, or even better. 😉

The next one is a Dubstep template named Recall. It will cost you same amount of money as previous one. With this template you will learn how to make Dubstep bass with Sylenth, combining few different layers to get more versatile and vivid bass line. There is also a handful of cool synth patches and full arrangement, representing you how to build theme, how to use automation, effects and other small elements, that sounds good but are not so easy to figure how it is done. Recall also brings a nice mastering chain that I use it with a few further modifications for all my projects.

Secret Of Taj Mahal is another dubstep template with very clever use of two Operators for getting almost Skrilex bass lines using the Autofilter Live effect with one Operator and LFO inside the other Operator – very clever and very simple but effective.

High Voltage by Felix Luker will teach you how to get nasty sound movements in Electro house arrangement with some Live internal effects. I always thought those things are made with some special programmed synth patches, but nope – all you need is a few additional effects and good measure of automation. I have to say that all those clever solutions are worth every penny, having such project is like having a tutor near you explaining you how some things are done. This one also brings a nice wall of leads and basses made with Sylenth 1 combined with internal effects, ready to use in another of your projects.

Escape by Filip Mentes is another Electro House template (actually they have all sort of genres and subgenres at Abletunes, those templates were my choice.) Inspiring combination of piano and classical Electro House synthesizers with arp-ed notes that you can hear a lot in a many current hits (no matter that this is not so new template), aggressive layered distorted basses with some cool builds and bleep sounds, automation and some nice drum patterns.

There are some similarities in those templates, so buying all templates from the same genre will not open a heavenly gate for you. But if you choose a few different templates that are not far from the sound you are after, then those templates could have a big impact to your production. It is far more than tutorial video clips, because in a template you can always isolate a particular track, analyze what particular automation does, try some other combinations. In the end, you can see how particular parts of the song are made, and how some breaks, uplifts and other things have been accomplished.

Uppercussion – Vocalisms

The next one, a really cool Live addition, I found on the Uppercussion site: 
( www.uppercussion.com )

They are offering various beat packs, but one especially drew my attention. It is Vocalisms – a huge collection of a vocal percussions zipped in one pack.  

$49 USD later I’ve loaded some kits in the Live arrangement window and spent some quality time toying with them. There are plenty of various hits in every kit, even much more than I expected. 

Vocalisms represents a clear and present oral danger. Well recorded, even better sounding with so many elements that you can use in isolation or in combination, layered with normal drum kit of your choice. 

Visit their site, listen to the demo, and you will soon get an understanding of what I’m talking about. 

How to Make Electronic Music

Not exactly the Ableton Live related site, but How to Make Electronic Music (http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/) offers some great kick samples that I use heavily in my production.

Synthmaster Player

At Kv331audio (www.kv331audio.com )/ you can get one of the best synths on a tight budget that money can buy. I have a full version of Synthmaster and it has become totally indispensable in my Live production. This synth offers much versatility and highly recognizable sounds suitable for any sort of contemporary production. I have most of the top synthesizers that are currently on the market (missing only NI Massive) but this one became my main electro tool lately.

So, for just 30 EUR you can get a Player version, containing 600 presets at your fingertips. You can’t edit them as you can in a full version (and there are many more presets in a full version), but even with those diminished features, it is still a Cadillac in the world of VST instruments. Those 30 EUR can more or less put your production on a whole new level.

To Be Continued …

In a next issue, we will dig even deeper, trying to find some new, not-to-be-missed little things that can push your production even further.

By A. Arsov

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