Abletonalies – November 2014
Check out a new set of various editions for Ableton Live along with beat tools, vocal packs, some free goodies and two sets of sounds for our beloved Sylenth 1.
by Alex Arsov, Nov. 2014
Indian summer has left us behind, so we finally have some additional time during those rainy days to dig deeper into our beloved DAWs, finding some more new, useful and attractively-priced tools, packs and other remedies that could make our life with Live even more joyful. But enough babbling – it’s time for action.
Nicky Romero Kickstart by Cableguys.
This is a very ingenious tool: a sidechain compressor simulator. It’s a plug-in that you can put on your track and it will duck your signal in a tempo-synced signature interval that you can set in a plug-in general window. You have one big mix knob for setting the level of “compression” and number of various “compression” curves. Choose a time signature and off you go (it can be even triggered through MIDI if you are not into four-on-the-floor).
I thought that I’m sufficiently well-equipped when it comes to a “sidechain field” and that I don’t really need a tool of this type. But after spending two minutes with Kickstart, I changed my mind. It is dead easy to achieve great results, far better than you can get by just tweaking settings on your beloved sidechain compressor.
Cableguys made this plug-in in cooperation with Nicky Romero, so it is fancy, very effective and very cheap. It will cost you €10 EUR or $15 USD.
Samplemagic have a really impressive number of Sylenth, Massive and Machine patches (at least register to download some excellent and free Sylenth patches, compiled from few of their patch packs). Included are Ableton racks, MIDI files and sample packs, a great number of things for all sorts of modern electro, EDM, Dubstep and similar synth based genres and subgenres.
They have an abundant number of sample packs, but I was curious about vocal samples this time, since good vocal phrases can always put your instrumentals closer to the charts.
White Label Dance Vocals 1, 2 & 3 are three from eight vocal packs, costing €23.81 EUR or $30.41 USD per pack, while Dance Vocal 3 is a bit cheaper (€21.31 EUR or $27.19 USD)
Vocal 1 & 2 brings around 160 vocal samples and phrases while Vocal 3 will bring you 102 vocal samples, phrases and hooks. All samples are very uplifting, divided into groups being key- and tempo-named. One way or another, if you are a Dance/ EDM producer, it is fairly essential to have some good vocal packs. One word is worth 1000 pictures and at least 3000 notes. Putting a vocal phrase in any instrumental song will make a significant difference.
Percussive Techno will bring you a 292 percussive loops, synth lines and effects along with 325 one-shots for €21.34 EUR or $27.34 USD, while Latin Percussion with 282 loops and one-shots open a whole percussive heaven for €15.03 EUR or $19.25 USD.
I found these two packages pretty irreplaceable for those “middle 8” parts in arrangement or long breaks in EDM songs, not to mention how many of these loops can add that summer feeling in your House arrangement. I use percussive loops in almost every song, in a break before the climax or simply to inject a new life in a loop somewhere in a mid-part of the song.
There are even more various sample packs, from excellent kick samples to all other drums, percussions, synths and sounds to the genre specific effects, but I decided to try the three Ableton Racks.
Ableton Magic Racks – Mix Essential, Creative FX and Mixing & Mastering.
Mix Essentials is $16.01 USD, while other two are $20.87 USD each.
All three packs use only internal effects and tools. Mixing & Mastering covers some essential needs in that regard, cleverly joining some common techniques without going overboard in detail. My mastering rack is totally different than the one used here, but if you are a novice, those tools could be the perfect solution for achieving some normal mastering results just tweaking a few knobs getting instant results. The same goes with other mixing elements from this rack. If you are a novice in music production process, then actually all three packs are just right thing for you. Mix Essentials offer some tools aimed for channel use. (The first Mixing & Mastering rack is more channel strip oriented, where you can control mainly a group of instruments and not separate ones.) You could find some interesting solutions for Kick, Snare, Synth and percussions while Bass Toner presets could serve as a general effect rack for all non-bass and kick instruments. Again, this a bit too general for professional users, but at the same time, it could be a life saver for novice producers. The third rack, Creative FX, offers some tools that even more advance producers can use. I found myself toying with this rack until my wife asked me if I could stop making all these odd noises. In the end, we have a clever use of many internal effects that I never devoted enough time to in order to better appreciate previously.
In a next issue we will take a closer look at the Magic AB plug-in from the same developer, an excellent plug-in that is a truly live saver during the mastering process.
8DM offer a “try pack”: samples and loops from eight EDM libraries; Animalix (Big-Room), Dubstep Vol. 1, Dubstep Vol. 2, Electro House Vol. 1, Electro House Vol. 2, Progressive House Vol. 1 and Progressive House Vol. 2. There is three GB of material all in all, offering 1870 samples, and they are absolutely free. All you need to do is to register and to add this Trypack to the cart and it will be all yours.
Why did they do that? The reason is simple. 8DM is a part of 8DIO company, which I know from the old Tonehammer days; 8DIO producers are masters of sampling, one of the best in the market. In downloading this Trypack, you will realize that for yourself and maybe you will be compelled to buy some of these reasonably-priced, top-sounding 8DM libraries.
This 8DM EDM packs represent just a small part of 8DIO product range, which includes orchestral, ambient, percussion and other sort of instruments and sound libraries. Take some time and you will be surprised, as you will be with those fourteen various kits and loop combinations.
So, price is $0 USD/ €0 EUR. Take it and run.
Brian Funk, better known as AftoDjMac is giving away a new free sample pack almost every week. All in all, at the moment there are more than 100 free packs on his home page, some of them are really great – actually all of them; you just need to find some that suit to your taste and needs.
I also enjoyed his Two minute Ableton Live tips video tutorial series, where you can learn some interesting things whether you are a novice or pro Ableton user.
Brian also has some sample packs and racks for sale, where for the price of a coffee you can get packs and racks that obviously take more of his time to do than the freebies (containing more presets or are simply far more detail).
One way or another, I’m a regular user of his free packs from my day one with Ableton Live, so if it happens that you haven’t heard of his offerings, now it is the time.
SynthMaster Player in No Brainer Deal
One of the best virtual synthesizer could be yours for just $9 USD. Not the full version of course, but still – 800 presets, access to all essential parameters you will need during your production, and an easy-to-use browser. This deal will last until January 1st, so don’t lose a minute.
SynthMaster doesn’t require any dongle, it sounds fantastic, and it is ideal for any genres in need of unique-sounding presets. And if that is not enough, you can buy additional sound banks directly on the SynthMaster home site – and yes, they work also with Player version.
So, don’t think about it – just do it. Available at:
After you buy SynthMaster, it is time for some extra beats. I discovered this excellent free EDM preset bank from G0ko, that could make this awesome synthesizer even better.
Download it here:
Wave DNA Liquid Rhythm
Usually we don’t write about the things that cost over $100 USD in this column, but this liquid rhythm thing from Wave DNA is so integrated with Ableton Live that would be pity to ignore it (of course if you have Max for Live installed, then that as well). For $129 USD you get the full version of the plug-in that has the ability to change notes inside your MIDI clip. This is some kind of MIDI beat maker, containing great number of patterns with a wonderful ability to change and mingle those patterns on the fly. All in all, this is a very complex and versatile plug-in, so I’m still in the learning process, trying to figure out what can be done and what cannot be done with this all-around MIDI beat maker. It is even somewhat of a sample player, since it comes with a preloaded set of various drum kits.
The main issue with Liquid Rhythm is that it can recognize MIDI names, offering you an appropriate set of patterns for every external kit element that you load in your MIDI clip in Scene wiev. So feel free to load your favorite kit and start toying with Liquid Rhythm.
If you still don’t know what it is all about, there are plenty of video tutorials on the Wave DNA home page, so take your time and educate yourself.
Dance MIDI Samples
I didn’t intend to write about Dance MIDI Samples in this issue, but they’ve released two new Sylenth 1 preset banks and one of them is so up-to-date that it would be pity not to present it in this issue, since it might happen that it will be dated by the time of the next issue. Actually this Sylenth 1 Plague Big Room Leads brings only 25 patches, but the fact is that they are those ones that you can hear in some top-of-the-pop Beatport Big Room charts at the moment. Every Big Room producer knows that those sounds are changing every other month. So, now is the time.
Of course, you can’t do wonders with just 25 leads. You will need some additional EDM banks for completing your job. So, here is one fresh one, covering all additional sounds that you will need. A collection of 140 fresh presets, also very up to date, but not so hot. These are not hot like the Big Room Leads pack, but still very useful and very up to the task. A Bigger Than Ever – Sylenth 1 EDM Edition Vol. 2
That’s enough for this issue.
There will be more… sun after the New Year.