Want to learn about digital signal processing and synthesis?
Stop by our laboratory on September 9th for our workshop on Digital Signal Processing and Synthesis with DJ and audio engineer Ed Guild! The workshop will focus on Ableton and Cycling ‘74’s collaboration, viagra buyMax for Live, unhealthy which is a great way to start learning about digital signal processing and synthesis techniques.
Ed Guild is a designer, audio engineer, and technologist. He got his start in the Boston music scene 15 years ago as a VJ for underground DJ events and local jambands playing the rock club circuit. Ed joined up with a few bands to project visuals during their shows. After VJing for a number of years he started to absorb new roles as an audio tech in the underground dance music band, Psylab.
A friend introduced him to Cycling ‘74 ‘Max’ and everything changed. Max is a visual programming environment used for building audio/visual applications. Having limited programming experience, Max allowed Ed to learn how to build digital signal processing (DSP) he wanted for live performance without writing a single live of code. With Max he was able to build a live performance drum sampler, audio effects for a trumpet player, and audio-reactive DMX light controllers for Psylab’s epic live shows.
In addition to all the native instruments and FX, purchasers of Ableton’s Live 9 Suite also get access to Max For Live. While some might be tempted to take the addition for granted, Max For Live is a powerful tool that gives you access to a community of users and developers making incredible programs that integrate seamlessly with Live. Today we’ve brought you a list of 5 really innovative Max For Live plugins that you can start using in your projects and live sets right away!
The Schwarzonator was designed with all the non-musicians in mind. It adapts incoming MIDI notes to the selected musical scale automatically, just in case you hit a bad note. It was designed by Berlin Electronic/Jazz legend Henrik Schwarz (who is coming to Together 2016!) to help him stay in key when improvising since he isn’t a trained pianist. A simple but powerful tool, it can help even the least coordinated be more expressive with their playing.
The Schwarzonator II automatically fits notes to a selected musical scale by transposing any MIDI notes that you play, making it easier to play and improvise with other musicians. The latest update now allows users to easily create their own scales and chord progressions, and even upload them to the web.
The Schwarzonator II also comes with a companion device, called ‘Little Brother,’ which applies chord changes from the Schwarzonator II onto other tracks. Download them here.
Described as a “a modular euclidean rhythm builder”, Polyrhythmus is a little intimidating, but with fascinating results. The developer, Bennniii, made a long demonstration video to demonstrate what you can do with it, which you can watch below. Download Polyrhythmus here.
This device is designed to help with transitioning between BPMs, whether in a performance or in the arrangement of a track. It transitions from one tempo to another over a set time interval, either up to 20 seconds or 8 bars. Its creator, Yehezkel Raz, made a video explaining it:
Tempo is available for free download, just put “0” in the price field.
This device was made to emulate the bass drum synthesis of the classic TR-808, but with a few new additions like FM, Distortion, and the ability to adjust the tuning envelopes for a snappier attack. With the key-follow mode enabled, it can be used as a percussive FM synthesizer. You can watch Subtle Sonic’s demonstration video below, and download AnalogKick here.
Though it’s the only one on the list that will cost you money, MouthBreather is a one-stop-shop for adding warmth and grit. “Warm” Mode enables a lowpass filter, “Air” a highpass, while the “crunch” knob distorts the sound to hell. Mix in the result via the dry/wet knob to add more texture to your sounds. Check the video below for a demonstration, and purchase it here.
Over the last few years Ableton Live, the Digital Audio Workstation that we teach in our music production program, has grown into one of the most popular and innovative tools for making music. However many are unaware that a couple decades ago Ableton founders Gerhard Behles and Robert Henke developed another piece of software, a step sequencer called the PX18. The two would go on to use the PX18 extensively while performing as the duo Monolake, and drew plenty of inspiration from it when designing the first permutations of Live. It only takes a single glance at the GUI to see the obvious connection between Live and the PX18, and in many ways the PX18 can be looked at as a prototype of Live.
A commonly repeated misconception, in fact, is that Live was prototyped in Max. While that was later true of specific devices like Operator, Live was written in C. The prototype, then is really the PX18.
The PX18 is still a functional piece of software, available for download here, though it hasn’t been updated since around 2001, so it is far from the most advanced option available. Despite being outdated as a step sequencer, the PX18 is also incredibly valuable as a window into the imagination of two extraordinary artists. Henke and Behles used the PX18 to sequence nearly all of their Monolake tracks between 1996 and 2002, and its use and development helped them to hammer out the ideas that would become the basis of Ableton Live.
More or less all rhythmical Monolake tracks from 1996 – 2002 have been sequenced with the PX-18 and a lot of inspiration for the way how Ableton Live deals with ‘Clips’ and ‘Scenes’ came from our experience with the PX-18. This version here offers the functionality of a single track of the original PX18.
The creativity and drive to produce their own tools is something that sets Monolake apart from other artists, and is at the core of their philosophy as artists. While Gerhard is now kept busy full-time as CEO of Ableton, Henke still performs as Monolake, and takes pride in programming his own laser shows, such as Lumière II shown above, which he performs using his own self-designed tools and self-written software. This passion for programming and technology started early on in their lives and continues to define their work, and for Henke, it seems nostalgia presents simply too much temptation sometimes…
If you’re interested in learning more about Ableton Live, make sure to look into our music production program, which will take you from programming your first drum loops and basslines all the way to producing your very own finished track! Contact us for more information!
Mitchell Owens, Mmmmaven Instructor will discuss the new Max for Live device, BeatSeeker, has opened up a new avenue for live performers to sync their Live sessions with the “push and pull” of a live drummer. However, BeatSeeker is capable of much more than just syncing your sessions tempo to a drummers groove, it can read any rhythmic audio input and adjust your Live sessions tempo accordingly.
During the workshop we will explore BeatSeeker and its functionality, as well as some basic synthesis in the context of a modular synthesizer environment. Then we will explore the possibilities of syncing a Live session with an ever evolving modular synthesizer patch.
The Effects you Don’t Use in Ableton Live
Damian Silva, Mmmmaven instructor will give an overview of most unused effects in Ableton Live including Corpus.