ILM music making thread for techno and other Ableton/Reason/Reaktor/whatever based questions and chat

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So there isn't really a thread to discuss electronic music making generally, at least not that I could find. So use this thread to discuss problems you're having and also to post things you have made maybe. If anyone is making house/techno I'd love to hear it, and I'm sure people would like to hear what other ILMers are up to.

Also any general links to good resources on Ableton and other programmes would be good.

Ronan, Monday, 12 March 2007 13:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I just got Ableton and Reaktor this week, I've been messing about a bit but have no idea what I'm doing really. Any good books or beginners guides? Maybe the Ableton DVD?

Also for some reason my midi controller only seems to play presets on half the keys at a time, depending on what I set the "transpose/octave" button to. Wouldn't you ideally want to be able to play all of them, or is it just as handy to record everything and flick up an octave when you need to? Just seems kinda dumb that half the notes do nothing, or else make Ableton do other shit (despite the fact I haven't got it set to "remote)

Ronan, Monday, 12 March 2007 13:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I Make Music may be your friend here. I'm pretty sure there was Ableton discussion there.

Masonic Boom, Monday, 12 March 2007 13:21 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm still tinkering and getting to grips with Reason. I get so far and then I hit a bit of a dead end whenever I make tracks - that or I end up messing them up irreparably. Not being proficient with a midi keyboard doesn't help as I end up putting each note in by hand and it's really fiddly.

the next grozart, Monday, 12 March 2007 14:31 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm the same way with Reason. I can program rhythms fine, but attempting to put melodies on top of them is a giant pain in the ass and I get bored/frustrated very quickly and quit, and when I come back a day or a week later, I have a whole new idea to get bored/frustrated with.

unperson, Monday, 12 March 2007 15:20 (sixteen years ago) link

otm. i find rhythms quite difficult to do in the redrum app because you can't see where the other instruments are when you're programming in a beat. I'm used to old school trackers though where you can see everything that's going on in a sequence.

I'm okay with the redrum thingy though - at least I can do that.

the next grozart, Monday, 12 March 2007 15:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I kind of hate Redrum and Reason, but I recently started working with a dude who's great at it and I'm pretty impressed with what he's able to do.

Jordan, Monday, 12 March 2007 15:42 (sixteen years ago) link

you might want to check your controller to see if it isn't set to a split keyboard patch.

Display Name, Monday, 12 March 2007 15:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I meant Matrix, not Redrum.

the next grozart, Monday, 12 March 2007 15:47 (sixteen years ago) link

if you're starting out, i strongly reccommend you try using a program like fl studio. it's especially good for learning the basics of sequencing, automation etc. it has a big user friendly interface; the piano roll for instance is perfect for programming melodies and stuff, and you can literally get a beat going within minutes of opening. this can be a hindrance perhaps but if you have ableton as well then that opens up endless possibilities. here is some housey stuff i made with fruity, i've just started out so they're not great but they might give you and idea of what fruity can do. the biggest frustration is things sounding flat and unprofessional, i guess this is a symptom of using cheap plug-ins and wav files and stuff. once i've mastered ableton i intend to build up some analog hardware, and some monitors. another big stumbling block i've been hitting recently is finding good kick drum sounds. can anyone reccommend a good vst drum synth for creating drum samples?

rio natsume, Monday, 12 March 2007 16:02 (sixteen years ago) link

oh and here is my brother's tunes, he uses the same set up as you ronan, alongside hardware like an sh-101 and a rack mounted 808/909 emulator thing. the tunes are hard techno, not really my thing but you can hear how much better they sound by virtue of the analog equipment he used.

rio natsume, Monday, 12 March 2007 16:10 (sixteen years ago) link

attn A&R folx, sign my tracks and give me lots of money k thx bye

Display Name, Monday, 12 March 2007 16:37 (sixteen years ago) link

BassISM is great for kick drums

Chewshabadoo, Monday, 12 March 2007 16:48 (sixteen years ago) link

What's the consensus for the best software for mixing? I know I know - Ableton - but is there anything else that's set up more specifically to really just be a mixing/beat-matching thingie, as a replacement for sadly absent turntables?

Tracer Hand, Monday, 12 March 2007 17:59 (sixteen years ago) link

people alwazs say traktor but i still haven't installed it.

as far as getting rolling with ableton, i found the tutorials, at least for beat-making and general setup, to be surprisingly well-written and easy to follow. i haven't gotten to the sequencing part though

jergincito, Monday, 12 March 2007 19:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Abelton is imho the most well designed music software product on the market. It is powerful but it still has a very quick workflow.

Display Name, Monday, 12 March 2007 20:59 (sixteen years ago) link

How do I make new and decent sounds for Reason? The sounds that come with it are fine but I feel a bit like a cop out if I use them.

the next grozart, Monday, 12 March 2007 21:49 (sixteen years ago) link

dick around with it for a while, you'll find something you'll like

latebloomer, Monday, 12 March 2007 21:55 (sixteen years ago) link

How do I make new and decent sounds for Reason? The sounds that come with it are fine but I feel a bit like a cop out if I use them.

google subtractive synthesis and see what happens...

Display Name, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 01:25 (sixteen years ago) link

can anyone give any advice regarding adsr envelopes? like if i wanted to program a slow cut-off sweep for example how would i set the knobs?

rio natsume, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 01:31 (sixteen years ago) link

This is the first result of a google search for "subtractive synthesis":

ATTACK - Immediately upon pressing a key, the envelope "opens" from zero to full. This is controlled by Attack time. An Attack time of zero means the envelope goes from zero to full instantly (ie sharp attack). Increasing the Attack time means that this will happen more slowly.

for realz, google is your friend.

Display Name, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 06:05 (sixteen years ago) link

I'd use Reason as much as possible. I wouldn't be a fan now of Cubase even though it can take good sounds and make them great. It's effects are superb but it can be such a pain getting things to work together etc. Reason is a lot more userfriendly and I like being able to set something up very quickly to at least try out an idea. For samples at the moment I'm using Adobe Audition but will soon have Soundforge up and running.

kv_nol, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 12:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Ronan - there is something mad wrong with your midi keyboard. All the black and white keys should play musical notes as default. You would have to program them to do other stuff (such as trigger clips, etc.)

Does it have some presets that you have accidentally got it on? I have an M-Audio O2, which has a number of settings for different software packages. It's possible yours has something similar and is set up as a controller rather than a keyboard or whatever.

I have Reason (2.5) and Ableton (but use them mostly just to sketch ideas out for the band I'm in.) I found Rewiring them together really complicated, but now I know how it's actually absurdly easy, and I can now use the wonderful Ableton arpeggiator with the equally wonderful Reason Subtractor synth. Unfortunately this leads to me spending blissed out hours holding down one chord and messing with the filters, adsr envelopes and lfos and so on and not getting anything done.

The ableton tutorials are the best tutorials of any piece of software, EVAH, and are really worth doing The operator one really opened my eyes as to how subtractive and fm synthesis work. The Reason manual is pretty good too, especially the Subtractor, and you can get going designing your own sounds from scratch pretty quickly. The Malstrom I find baffling, however, and I can't get my head round the loop chopping thing (Dr rex?) either.

The relationship between the two Ableton windows (session and arrange) makes my head hurt sometimes and I'm useless at warping things, if it gets it wrong. Any advice on that would be good.

Jamie T Smith, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 13:23 (sixteen years ago) link

Ableton is also HEAVY on the memory!

Jamie T Smith, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 13:28 (sixteen years ago) link

In reply to an early question, Teaktor is a hell of a lot of fun to use, it helps if you have a decent midi interface for fiddling around with knobs although you can map most commands to the keybaord, or if desperate just use the mouse. The later option is quite restrictive as you are only able to tweak one thing at a time.

There are a few issues with stabilty on version 3, but it's slowly getting better, and the on-the-fly looping allows you to make some creative mixes in a similar way to Ableton.

But it's real strength is that you can just drop in almost any audio file and just start mixing straight away - just like decks - except it means most of the time you don't have to worry about the boring beat-matching pare.

Chewshabadoo, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 13:34 (sixteen years ago) link

Ableton is v logical in how it is set out, the tutorials are good, and the dvd is good. it can be heavy on the cpu, hopefully this is less of an issue with dual core. Its well laid out and clear. Ive never really used a heavyweight like Protools.

What is your issue with warping, Jamie?

I haven't used Operator, I don't really know what it does!

Not a fan of Reason. Probably just a personal thing

Reaktor has a huge amount of possibilities, it will probably take a long time before you really manage to use even a fraction of its capabilities, especially if you go under the hood. But its a worthwhile path and its not unfathomable at the beginning, like i had imagined it to be. Like other NI stuff its cpu heavy again. Looking forward to using this with dual core soon

I think Reaktor was maybe originally more intended as standalone than plugin(?), but it does work v well as a plugin now (esp with Ableton). The main problem you will probably find is when you want to use a Reaktor sequencer (eg for a drum machine), its not always quite as simple as you might like it to be

As far as i can see there really aren't the same kind of tutorial resources for Reaktor that there are for many of the other softwares out there. Theres a reasonable amount of scattered stuff on the web, and the actually ok, and you can actually make good progress just fiddling, but a DVD tutorial for this would be grand

maricopa john, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 14:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I got my midi keyboard working by changing the drivers. Windows was using some weird driver that wasn't right, despite the manual for the keyboard saying Windows XP would automatically recognise it. I also have an M-Audio O2.

Ableton hasn't been too slow yet, occasionally it'll take a while to open up an instrument or something.

Ronan, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 14:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Warping whole tracks (after they've been autowarped):

If the start is on the wrong beat, how do I fix that?

If it has just screwed it up, I can't do it manually. Talk me through it. What are the 'warp straight from here' and various other commands?

If there is a part of the song (where the beat drops to half-time or something) that is wrong, but the rest is right, can you fix just that one bit?

If there is a track with a hundred warp markers, was it just loosely played, or has Ableton gone mad? If there is a track with just one, does that just mean it was created electronically at a strict tempo, or ditto?

Can I alter the tempo (and so DJ) with a track without warping it, so you preserve the original feel. If you turn warp off on the clip, it plays independently of the track tempo, but can you just have one warp marker at the start point or whatever?

Erm, some other stuff. I think I should probably muck about warping short samples to get the feel of how it works first.


Yours, an idiot.

Jamie T Smith, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 14:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't use Ableton as a dj tool so i haven't warped a whole track, only short samples.

Have you used Audacity? I use it to get a sample to be the length i want and to start and end in right place. Otherwise can you not drag the first warp marker to the correct place in the track, so it will start from there

I'll look at warping a whole track when i get home (whats the track that has a million markers? i'll try it with that). Warping short samples might be a good way of seeing how the markers work more clearly though, try that

maricopa john, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 15:12 (sixteen years ago) link

the various warp markers and 'warp from here' points mean yes you can alter different parts. this is much clearer on a short sample where you can see what is happening more. Try a short break from a track, move the markers around. You can make a clip sprint for 90 meters and then dawdle for the last 10

maricopa john, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 15:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Thanks. I'll dig out something that auto-warps with a gazillion markers. I can't remember one offhand, but it was a funk track.

Jamie T Smith, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 15:33 (sixteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
this is gonna sound like a really stupid question, but how do i record eg. a vocal in ableton without it also recording the backing track onto the vocal track? thx.

rio natsume, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 01:24 (sixteen years ago) link

create a new audio track. CTRL+T

arm that track and record into it. You can have as many as your computer can handle.

xpost rio nat

Display Name, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 02:00 (sixteen years ago) link

sorry is that to me? i know how to record, but i wanna be able to record the vocal track while hearing the backing track without it recording into the vocal track. so i have 2 seperate tracks. this must be possible right? or is it just a case of recording the vocal along to the metronome and then lining it up with the backing track?

rio natsume, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 02:28 (sixteen years ago) link

I used to try to produce trance music...frankly

its very hard to do T_T

wesley useche, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 03:01 (sixteen years ago) link

this is gonna sound like a really stupid question, but how do i record eg. a vocal in ableton without it also recording the backing track onto the vocal track?

Umm ... is the input on the vocal track set to "resampling?" It should just be set to whatever device/input you're using for your mic.

nabisco, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 04:17 (sixteen years ago) link

How do I use Reaktor inside Ableton?

I am not sure where to tell Ableton that Reaktor is, or if that's how it works....any tips?

Ronan, Monday, 9 April 2007 20:17 (sixteen years ago) link

OK help:

for some reason when running from my mixer to ableton on the comp to speakers, there is a delay. a notable delay that makes blending between records impossible, bcuz the headphones are several steps ahead of whats coming out of the PA. Is ableton whats slowing this down? Or is it just because i'm running it into the mic input? Is there a way to uh undelay it? help help help

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 20:31 (sixteen years ago) link

(headphones being plugged into the mixer, obv)

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 20:32 (sixteen years ago) link

It's probably latency w/Ableton, maybe see if there are latency settings you can adjust to compensate?

Jordan, Monday, 9 April 2007 20:51 (sixteen years ago) link

i'm @ work right now so i can't check but if anyone else knows they can help out too

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 20:55 (sixteen years ago) link

rio natsume: try wearing headphones while recording the vocals. also be sure that ableton's input routing is correct. the microphone should be on it's own audio channel, it should be armed and should not be sending or receiving audio from other audio channels.

deej: are you using asio drivers? they will drop your latency to like under 30ms. also: plug your headphones into the pa if that's possible.

ronan: you have to set up ableton to rewire reaktor so you can treat it sort of like a vst. i've never done this so i can't really explain how.

there are some really good tutorials for ableton on youtube, but also some very shitty ones as well. see if you can spot which is which!

The Macallan 18 Year, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:10 (sixteen years ago) link

i'm not sure what asio drivers are. i can't plug the headphones into the pa, tho, at least not in the current home setup

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Ok, this isn't a "for some reason" problem, it's just latency -- it's always there, and your goal is to minimize it.

What sort of audio interface are you using? (Like the physical input that's plugging in to the computer.) This is usually where the latency comes in -- the time it takes the interface to convert the sound to digital and actually feed it in to the software you're using. Better interface = less latency, for the most part.

The audio preferences for Ableton have latency settings, and you want to get them as low as you can without the sound breaking up; it'll play a test tone, and you can nudge the latency down until that breaks. (One tip here = set up the sample rate each step is using so that they're all the same, and no unnecessary conversions are going on between mixer / interface / drivers / software). There's also a whole tutorial in Ableton that walks you through checking your latency time and having the software compensate for it when recording.

nabisco, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:25 (sixteen years ago) link

cool thanks

right now its an audio cable to 1/8th going into the mic/line in on my laptop. If thats what you mean by interface? whats a better interface there? i'll go through the tutorial when i get home

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:37 (sixteen years ago) link

You can definitely reduce your latency to negligible amounts with ASIO. Just takes installing a driver package and then doing some minor tweaking. You can select the audio drivers using a pulldown menu in Ableton's preferences menu.
SIO offers a relatively simple way of accessing multiple audio inputs and outputs independently. It also provides for the synchronization of input with output in a way that is not possible with DirectSound, allowing recording studios to process their audio via software on the computer instead of using thousands of dollars worth of separate equipment. Its main strength lies in its method of bypassing the inherently high latency of operating system audio mixing kernels (KMixer), allowing direct, high speed communication with audio hardware.

I use ASIOx, it's abandonware but they work the best for me.

The Macallan 18 Year, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, you don't have any kind of preamp, Deej?

Jordan, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, deej, so you're just using the factory soundcard? Do you know if it's a decent one or not? Obviously most laptops are going to come standard with a fairly cut-rate soundcard, so unless you customized with something decent, that's probably your main problem.

If this is something you spend much time on at all, I'd recommend looking for a decent-quality audio interface. Plenty of workable ones are in the $99-$250 range -- for that price, you can get a Firewire or USB input box; and for a little more, you can get a full mixer that plugs in via USB or Firewire. There are also PC-card interfaces that are marketed at DJs -- usually less features, but faster. If you feel like investing a little, any of these things will cut down your latency, probably clean up your sound (with better pre-amps and gain staging), give you more direct control over input levels and types, and ... well, someone sells one for nearly every purpose, so you can find something with features that suit you. Just drop by a music store, browse around, and ask someone.

nabisco, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:54 (sixteen years ago) link

cool thnx very much everyone
this shit is an expensive hobby

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 21:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Is a preamp something I will need in addition? or is that overlapping with what nabisco's talking about

deej, Monday, 9 April 2007 22:02 (sixteen years ago) link

informal survey: how many of you do full-track listens of your work in progress far more often than is healthy? *raises hand*

Mackro Mackro, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:34 (fifteen years ago) link

oh I wait until it's finished and rendered to disk and then I listen to the goddamn things over and over and over in iTunes like a pathetic fanboy. I hardly ever listen to a track all the way through before it's done

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:37 (fifteen years ago) link

I think because the only way I know a track IS done and no longer in progress is when I can listen to it all the way through. otherwise there's going to be something I have to stop and fix.

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:41 (fifteen years ago) link

I try not to listen to things too much at one time. It distorts your perspective.

The trick is to get the general idea down and then let it sit for a couple weeks. I find that I make better decisions when I have a bit of distance from the music. It doesn't feel like it is mine anymore and I don't have any ego/emotional attachment to the music.

It is the same reason why you don't mix a record immediately after tracking.

Display Name, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:57 (fifteen years ago) link


This thread makes me glad I'm in a heavy live playing phase.

Jordan, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Sometimes sitting around mixing or feeling guilty for doing something else while I should be editing tracks is about as fun as writing college essays.

Jordan, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 22:59 (fifteen years ago) link

struggling to find a good bass sound for a discodancepop track, can anyone recommend a good thick rich one built in to ableton, or as a vst?

thelightshineson, Sunday, 23 March 2008 20:56 (fifteen years ago) link

the operator DX100-alike is a good start. chorus/saturator/delay is all on you

El Tomboto, Sunday, 23 March 2008 21:21 (fifteen years ago) link

thanks tomboto.

another problem - ive got a 2 sec sample up as a midi clip. playing at c3 gives the original sound but when i go to d# the increase in pitch makes it speed up so its 1.5secs or so. how do i get it to increase in pitch but remain the same length? can ableton do this or is it something i need to do in an external sample editor?

thelightshineson, Monday, 24 March 2008 15:29 (fifteen years ago) link

can anyone reccommend some fm soft synths, i'm looking for some tasty bell sounds

r1o natsume, Monday, 24 March 2008 15:35 (fifteen years ago) link

if you just drag your sample into an audio clip instead of playing it back as a hit in impulse or whatever it'll let you stretch it, pitch it, and I think 7 has also allows pretzel knots

El Tomboto, Monday, 24 March 2008 16:32 (fifteen years ago) link

lol can't write today. too early for me

El Tomboto, Monday, 24 March 2008 16:33 (fifteen years ago) link

r1o n.: operator. operator. operator.

El Tomboto, Monday, 24 March 2008 16:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Native Instrument's Massive has some amazing sounds on it, great layout too.

thelightshineson, Monday, 24 March 2008 22:28 (fifteen years ago) link

asked about this on here: what drum machine did prince, sheila e and colonel abrams use?
but i figure here is probably better, is the Linn LM-1 available for ableton?

and if not as a kit to load up directly is it straightforward to convert a bunch of wav samples of the linn into a drum kit?

NI, Wednesday, 26 March 2008 16:46 (fifteen years ago) link

the linn lm-1 isn't available for ableton as far as i know. i can email you the lm-1 soundbank if you like?

stirmonster, Wednesday, 26 March 2008 17:49 (fifteen years ago) link

aw damn, is there some legal reason why it's not? but yes the soundbank would be great, thanks a lot! ( nicheian AT gmail dot com )

NI, Wednesday, 26 March 2008 17:58 (fifteen years ago) link

I like the ILM threads where peeps are still dead helpful.

Raw Patrick, Thursday, 27 March 2008 00:03 (fifteen years ago) link

ok i made a remix and im pleased with the sounds used and the layout but the resulting mp3 sounds dreadful when set next to proper songs. how do i make it sound so much louder, bigger, cleaner, crisper, sharper? i understand this is all in the mastering but what are the main things to work on? i keep hearing about compression being very important. anyone know of a good online guide to mastering an mp3 in ableton?

s.rose, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 13:54 (fifteen years ago) link

for starters, you don't master an mp3.

Jordan, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 14:19 (fifteen years ago) link

for seconders:

The Macallan 18 Year, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 14:27 (fifteen years ago) link

for thirders, compression and mastering might make your final mix louder, but if the mix is crappy then it won't help it sound clear/clean/etc.

Jordan, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 14:33 (fifteen years ago) link


Spend time learning how to EQ. That is how you make things sit in the mix


don't work with pre-mastered audio when you are just starting out. It is a bitch you make all that sit in a mix correctly and then try to master it again.

Make some of your own loops and try to get them to sit in a mix with nothing but EQ. Don't mess with compression and limiting just yet.

Don't worry about making it huge or loud, just make it sound decent in the first place and go from there.

Display Name, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 19:38 (fifteen years ago) link

EQ in the master channel is for mastering engineers trying to deal with something that's already mixed down IMO. when I've got every part of all my signal chains two clicks away in live I just go back and adjust the filters on things etc etc.

my mastering channel usually just has the Apple AU multiband compressor with some custom tuning, preceded by a very dry Saturator with barely any drive at all.

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 20:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Anybody else ever stick their hand out in front of their monitors' bass ports to check if the drums are doing what you want them to? My speakers are too close to me to really be able to hear the long wavelengths right

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 00:03 (fifteen years ago) link

the correct volume of air displacement being very necessary for proper jacking of the house obv

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 00:05 (fifteen years ago) link

I have done that a bit but it doesn't really help that much. The thing that really helped me the most was making friends with the people that run the local dance club and a set of DJ with their own rental sound system.

There was a time where I used to wait outside of Plush and walk through the doors the second they opened. The staff was very cool with letting me play a few different mixes of my stuff on the system full blast before people showed up.

I recently played my first live set off a laptop through a set of 1500 watt mackies and that was a nightmare. The last time I did a set was in the 90's and I was using hardware through a mixing board and there was a great deal more control. I made the mistake of rendering and mastering my loops ahead of time and dumping them into a playlist. This really hamstrung me because I did all my mixing and compressing on a set of alesis monitor speakers and I lost a lot of control over the sound because of this.

I also did not have a decent set of monitors and this made doing a live mix a hell of a lot more difficult.

If I have learned anything from the experience it is to not even mess around with multi-band/single band compression. I think my life would have been a lot easier if I hadn't compressed the shit out of everything.
It sounds great at home, doesn't sound so great through a system. That is the big thing, learning how your music reacts to big systems. Your studio monitors are not an accurate representation of what will happen in the real world.

I think the real key is a residency at a club and weekly refinement of your material.

Display Name, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 01:23 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

i dunno bout that. club systems are rarely accurate. club rooms normally sound pretty horrible when they're empty. the 1500 watt mackies you're talking about were probably those active pa speakers, they make most music sound shite.

to everyone talking about compression and crap like that, unless you're using it as a special effect, why bother with it? if stuff is coming out too quietly, especially if you're working with soft synths, it'll be your synth programming and layering thats rubbish, work on that. a quiet weedy kick drum won't become big and fat with some compression, you need a new kick drum! or two!

i don't even think about eq and compression until i've mixed everything down to individual audio tracks. and even i'd only use them very carefully. the only time i'll compress something is when i want it to sound warmer, so i stick it through an external valve compressor and record it back in.

the only way you'll get that big studio sound is if you go to a big studio and work there with the outboard equipment. it *is* possible doing it all digital but you'll need a fairly flat room and a decent amount of controllers to play with. you really need to be hands on, ears on, eyes off when doing that sort of thing.

for monitoring i use some studio monitors and a sub. this is also the system i use for listening back to any music. if you can listen to, and enjoy good sounding music on your system, you should be able to mix to that same standard. i used to mix on a pretty average hifi that i knew had this sweet spot where if i turned it up enough it would distort in a pleasant way and i could hear everything and it sounded nice. so when i mixed i just made sure my tracks did the same thing

use as many outputs from your soundcard as you can. route into a mixer.

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:17 (fifteen years ago) link

...when playing live, don't do any mastering or mixing, use raw material and mix it live.

(pressed submit too early!)

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:23 (fifteen years ago) link


El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I have to admit I love the idea of compression as a "special effect" in 2008. this is what happens when you raise kids on Justice

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Anybody else ever stick their hand out in front of their monitors' bass ports to check if the drums are doing what you want them to?

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:40 (fifteen years ago) link

describe to me what wavelength means, subwoofer man

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:41 (fifteen years ago) link

or maybe you just mean people who make music in bedrooms shouldn't post here

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:41 (fifteen years ago) link

i dunno if i get what you're on about, need some sort of lol/zing filter on ilx. but the justice sound you refer to surely does use (over) compression as a special effect. earlier i was on about people using it on all of their sounds to make them louder/better. its like what happened when reverb went digital. 'just stick some reverb on it'.

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:45 (fifteen years ago) link

well, the wavelength is the length of the soundwave. most decent pa systems can reproduce 35hz fairly okay which'll be about 10 meters.

challenging opinions, listening with your hands

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:48 (fifteen years ago) link

I suppose you could say in that case that I use compression as a "special effect" but when you're saying "get a new bass drum if you need to compress your current bass drum" to me that's just two completely different ways to skin a cat, both perfectly valid.

I can't imagine how many tracks I have that sound absolutely dire compared to modern production that still sound just fine on a house sound system. You can mix most things just fine without a lot of heavy effort in the final mastering and polishing process and they come out okay as long as you don't have OCD.

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:48 (fifteen years ago) link

listening with my hands is easier than walking out of the room with the loop playing to see how much boom vs punch is coming through

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I mean I still eventually do the latter but work smarter not harder right

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:52 (fifteen years ago) link

yeh, but with a lot of modern music volume and impact of sound are important, i was just trying to say that jumping for the compressor isn't necessarily the best first step. now that mixing is such an integral part of the writing process the old 'fix it in the mix' idea needs even more careful attention.

yeh re: house systems, and big pa systems in general. when mixing at home i struggle with blending old and new music, dong the same mixes out, it all sounds alright.

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 22:58 (fifteen years ago) link

sometimes I wonder if the biggest problem with pro monitors, esp. the bi-amped super-fine-tuned models most people use now, is that they inspire tinkering and twiddling beyond what's necessary because they're TOO flat and accurate.

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 23:08 (fifteen years ago) link

i never got that walking out of the room thing, works for getting levels between stuff okay, but surely you're just hearing the characteristics of your room? like yr room will be acting as a big sub?

i don't really worry too much about kick / bass stuff really, sometimes there are disasters but you can filter and listen or spectrum analyser and watch to see whats going on down there. i just want all my kicks to sound more crackly and warm. nice trick i learnt recently was to stick an envelope follower on the kick and have a pitched down turntable rumble follow the envelope of the kick. filter the turntable sound it till you get the nice bits.

recently set up a pa system with a kick stage, subs designed to cater for the kick drum which was really interesting. managed to get a nice balance between the bwoooommyyy sub freqs and the rattle yer bones kick drum.

(every post is a xpost)

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 23:09 (fifteen years ago) link

yeh, i guess if yr a sound geek you'd want to tinker forever. like ooh, i'll just modulate this little 10Hz band on the hi hats to give them more life.

whereas if you were listening on an old hi fi, you'd be all like lets run this shit through another distortion pedal.

ever since i bought my studio monitors my sound has gone more villalobos and less loosefingers or whatever.

Crackle Box, Thursday, 24 April 2008 23:16 (fifteen years ago) link

i never got that walking out of the room thing, works for getting levels between stuff okay, but surely you're just hearing the characteristics of your room?

A really deep familiarity with how other people's music sounds when you leave the room tends to work as your control group / triangulating point with this

nabisco, Thursday, 24 April 2008 23:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I figure carl didn't exactly run the secret tapes of dr eich through any THX-compliant rig, if you get my meaning

El Tomboto, Thursday, 24 April 2008 23:26 (fifteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

So I've gone on a bit of a gear spree over the last couple years, and I can say with certainty the piece of gear that I like the least and that I'm now considering selling is the Ableton Push 2. When I started getting back into Ableton, I found it all very awkward clicking around on the screen and I thought I'd be well served by getting away from that with the Push. A couple years later and I'm still clicking around and barely touch the Push. Pretty much the only thing I use it for is banging out little synth melodies, and I could do that just as easily on a cheapo midi keyboard. It's a beautiful piece of gear but has always felt very unintuitive, and the more proficient I get in Ableton, the less purpose it serves.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Wednesday, 19 April 2023 02:37 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Uh oh, now there's a Push 3, including a standalone version with its own processor, RAM, storage, and battery that you can get for a cool $2K. The non standalone is about half as much and looks nice with pitch bend and expression built into all of the pads and a few other neat add ons. I'm not rushing out to get this but it does seem like a solid upgrade, so maybe someday.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 23 May 2023 12:52 (six days ago) link

Oh hell yes, been waiting for this since Live 4.

Agnes, Agatha, Germaine and Jack (Willl), Tuesday, 23 May 2023 13:21 (six days ago) link

waiting for what? ableton in a box?

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 23 May 2023 14:15 (six days ago) link

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