EXPERIENCE THE MMMMAVEN RECHARGE LOUNGE AT TOGETHER 7

Brian Kane's Roomba Paintings will be on display this year.
Brian Kane’s Roomba Paintings will be on display this year.

With Together five days away, the excitement over the surefire amazing sets and artists is building around Boston. But where can you go when you’ve danced yourself clean?

Amidst all the thumping subwoofers, you should take time to recharge your batteries and learn more about the technology and culture behind the music at Mmmaven’s Recharge Lounge.

This series of FREE events will be held at Mmmaven’s office and will feature a wide array of events and lectures that you want to miss. The full line-up can be found on the official Together schedule, but we wanted to take some time to highlight a few of the events you can experience.


AMERICA & THE NETHERLANDS: A HISTORY OF DANCE MUSIC
A conversation with Mark Van Bergen (author of DUTCH DANCE)
Mon, May 16, 6:00 PM > 7:00 PM

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Join the conversation with Mark Van Bergen, author of Dutch Dance on the history and international origins of electronic dance music in party culture both in America and the Netherlands (1970-present).


INNOVATIVE ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENT SOUND CAPTURE W/ YOUR HEAVEN®
Wed, May 18, 7:00 PM > 8:00 PM

A live demonstration of the Your Heaven® Close-Up® Mic System, an affordable product that allows you to easily integrate acoustic instruments like guitars, strings and drums into your music. With a unique combination of both the isolation needed for live performance and the fidelity you’d normally only get in a studio, you can amplify, record or sample beautiful acoustic instruments live, right on stage as you perform – with no feedback or cross-talk problems. We’ll show you how to use it with acoustic guitar, electric guitar and drums. We will also demonstrate how the Your Heaven® Close-Up® can be incorporated into both the production and live performance setup of an electronic musician, to be processed and used as a trigger source for midi instruments.


THE ULTIMATE DJ CONTROLLER – DENON DJ MCX8000 WORKSHOP
Thu, May 19, 7:00 PM > 8:00 PM

Denon DJ Project Manager Jason Stout takes you on a guided tour of this year’s controller of controllers, the MCX8000. In his presentation he’ll walk you through Denon DJ’s Engine software, its integration with Serato DJ, how to seamlessly mix between multiple sources on the fly, and all the unique features on the hardware control surface.


LINK TOGETHER- LIVE LINK JAM SESSION w/ PUSH 2
Fri, May 20, 5:00 PM > 6:00 PM

Whether you are making music with Ableton Live or any one of a host of IOS apps, Ableton Link enables you to play in time with other musicians over a network. In this session, Ableton’s Ben Casey gives you the lowdown and introduces some of his favorite Link compatible apps.

We’ll conclude the session with a live jam featuring Ableton and Mmmmaven instructors.


ABLETON PUSH SAMPLE CHALLENGE
Fri, May 20, 7:00 PM > 8:00 PM

For this session we invite you to bring along a vinyl record of your choice. Ableton’s Ben Casey will demonstrate how to sample it, chop it and turn it into something new in just 45 minutes using the sampling workflows in Ableton Push 2.


MUSIC CREATION WITH NOVATION CIRCUIT
Sat, May 21, 1:00 PM > 3:00 PM

This workshop is a general overview highlighting what Novation’s new Groovebox / Step Sequencer, Circuit, is capable of and how it can be used in various scenarios such as standalone, with external gear (demonstrated with Novation Bass Station II), and with a DAW (demonstrated with Ableton Live).

7TH ANNUAL TOGETHER RECORD FAIR
With Bob Diesel & Very Special Guest

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Come dig for vinyl straight from the collections of some of Boston’s most renowned selectors with an appearance of Bob Diesel and a very special guest…

SYNTHESIZER PETTING ZOO
Sun, May 22, 12:00 PM > 4:00 PM


On Sunday, May 22nd Together Boston is celebrating the synthesizer era by holding a “petting zoo” inside the Mmmmaven Project labs 12pm until 4pm we will be displaying a wide array of synthesizers, MIDI controllers, and DJ gear. We welcome music lovers of all ages to stop by and try out the gear.

And this isn’t even the full line-up! You can find that here.

These events are sure to be informative, engaging, and at times, even entertaining! Whether you want to get your hands on classic vintage synths, learn about the latest Ableton tech, or just go crate digging, the Mmmmaven Recharge lounge has a little bit of something for everyone. And did we mention it’s all free? So take a well-deserved break from your grooving during Together and stop on by.


Does any of this sound interesting? We host free workshops on similar topics every single Friday right here at our school in Cambridge. If you’re looking to go one step further though, we also offer classes on DJ’ing, Production, and Synthesis. Feel free to reach out to us with any and all questions!

Kids Make Music During April Break!

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It’s April break here in Massachusetts, which means the kids are all at home and looking for something to do! So, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival, Mmmmaven hosted a workshop all about Ableton live. Taught by our masterful teacher Damien, this workshop focused on exposing children to the creative powerhouse Ableton can offer young aspiring musicians and producers.

From the moment the kids got into the room they all flocked to the glowing pads of the APC40’s. Without learning a single thing they popped on headphones and instinctively started button mashing.

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Lots of smiles and “hey mom, check this out!” were in the room as they began crafting their own loops. Once everyone had calmed down, Damien explained to them what exactly they were doing. He had preloaded the program with a host of loops so they could get to making music faster. After explaining how to control volume and stop clips, he once again let them loose to create. The kids spanned a wide range of musical talent and interests.

From the methodically musically trained to the button mashing mad men, they were all enthralled by the instantaneous music making that Ableton offered them.

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To add to the madness, Damien then introduced them to effects, and how to record their songs. The students then spent the rest of the workshop perfecting their tracks, and dubbing over their tracks to add effects and finishing touches. From there, the students exported their projects and gathered around the mixer to listen to everyone’s final project. Some were finely tuned minimal loops while others were whacked out distorted filtered chaos.

My personal favorite quote of the day was one young boy who created a wild cacophony of sound and exclaimed “I turned the volumes all the way up! You know I’m a crazy man about music!”.

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After seeing the delight in their child’s eyes many of the parents then inquired Damien about how they could purchase the software, and if we had any further workshops coming up. All and all the workshop was a success, and the kids seemed to leave inspired to continue on their musical journey. We were more than happy to offer them the opportunity and to participate in the Cambridge Science Festival.

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If you’d like Mmmmaven to offer a workshop for your kid or class, feel free to contact us! We also offer a music production summer camp, perfect for kids of any age looking to learn how to make their own music in Ableton. Visit our website to see a full listing of all our class, camp, and workshop offerings.

6 Ways To Start Using Ableton Racks Now!

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When comparing DAW’s, Ableton’s rack feature stands out as a powerhouse differentiator. Many producers are unaware of the expansive capabilities this simple feature offers to the creative process.

Here are six ways to start using racks to improve your production and creativity now!


1. Build Your Own Instruments

Why use just one synth? Build large complex sounds by stacking synths on top of each other. Turn that piano into a piano pad! All you have to do is grab an instrument rack, and start stacking away.

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Note: You can control the volume of each synth to achieve that sweet spot of balance.

2. Run Effects in Parallel
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To do this in another DAW is an exercise in complex routing. In Ableton it’s a simple as dragging in an audio effect rack and stacking effects. Similar to instruments, you can adjust the volume each effect. What this is doing is running the clean (unaffected) signal through each effect. So each effect is receiving a dry and clean signal instead of the normal chain of effected signals.

Note: You can build effect chains in series, and then stack them in parallel. So you can crunch up a chorus with distortion but still get reverb from the clean signal. Go wild!

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3. Nest Those Racks!

This is where things start getting whacky. You can put racks inside racks. WHAT?! Right!? Why would you wanna do this? Well suppose you want to switch between two large instrument racks or audio effect racks.

Instead of switching the whole track, just switch within a rack that contains those racks.

And within each nested rack instrument can be an audio effect rack! This process is called “nesting” or “grouping” racks. All of this applies to effect racks as well.

All you need to do is select the rack in question and press Command + G. This should open up a rack above your current rack. This sounds complex but trust me, it will make sense once your try it yourself. Racks on racks on racks on racks.

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As you can tell, things can get pretty crazy pretty fast, but the richness and flexibility of sound you get is worth it.

4. Utilize The Key Zone

Want to play a bass with your left hand, and lead with your right hand? Well by clicking into the key zone window you can select the part of the keyboard where a specific instrument will be sounded. Great for live performances and songwriting. Just click and drag the key zone selector over the correct areas of the keyboard for each instrument.

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Note: You can get weird with it and set key zone parameters for nested racks. Imagine the control you could get! One area on the keyboard could be a certain instrument rack, and then within that key zone could be multiple instruments from within that rack. The possibilities are virtually endless.

5. Utilize The Velocity Zones

Only want a certain synth to play when you smack a key real hard? Or do you only want strings when playing very softly? By using the velocity zone window you can control which sounds at certain velocities (how hard you hit a key). Exactly the same as the key zones except with velocity instead of notes.

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6. The All Mighty Chain Selector

The hidden gem of racks. The chain selector is a control that determines when an instrument is active, all dependent on where the chain selector is.

Why would you use this? Well, suppose you’ve got a whole bunch of instruments in a rack and want to move between them quickly. You can midi map the chain selector to an external controller and then easily flip around sounds.

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You can also just scroll through it using your keyboard’s arrow or mouse. Whatever works best for you! The point is to take all of your expertly crafted racks (nested or otherwise) with velocity and key info, and control it all with the chain selector.

Note: Overlap chain selector areas to blend rack sounds

For even more info on the chain selector check out this video below!

Curious to learn more about Ableton production, or found any of this confusing? Then take one of our classes and get one on one information from our fabulous teachers. Or stop by for one of our free workshops every Friday here in Boston! Here at Mmmmaven we are dedicated to teaching you what it takes to become a top notch DJ or producer. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

Bentley Brings Mmmmaven To Campus

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While mostly known for their business program, cheap Bentley University flexed it’s creative side last week by having us here at Mmmmaven host a free workshop about Ableton.

Held in their state of the art media facility, order instructor Mitchell Owens (aka Subalias) led fifteen Bentley students through a crash course on what it takes to make music in Ableton.

While everyone in the room was a business major, store the group consisted of a wide array of musical backgrounds and interests.

From beat makers looking for a refresher, to newbies dipping their toe into making music for the very first time, everyone left satisfied.

The workshop began with Mitchell taking the group through the history of recording, synthesis, and DAW’s. Starting with the gramophone, Ownes succinctly and entertinainly told the history of the analog to digital revolution, and how we ended up at Ableton.

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From there, the class began by learning the basic layout of Ableton, and its overall purpose and place in the musical word. Even for a longtime music veteran such as myself, Mitchell’s presentation was both engaging and insightful. After all the talking was done though, it was time to make some noise!

Starting with how to use audio clips in session view, the class searched through the core Ableton library to put together clips into a coherent musical loop. Following this, the lesson dived into how to use MIDI and built-in instruments to create your own loops and sounds.

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Throughout this whole process many students asked questions specific to their own interests. From the simple to the technical, Owens fielded questions masterfully, helping everyone along to enjoy making music. The workshop ended with free work time where the group could continue developing their projects, or just ask questions about the music industry/life as a musician in general.

It was an insightful discussion covering topics such as the value of Ableton, copyright and sampling etiquette, and what it’s like living in Allston.

Overall, it was a productive, educational, and fun two hours. The Bentley students left with with what seemed like a renewed fervor for the arts, and will hopefully continue their musical journey. We were happy to spread the good word of Ableton! Thanks to Bentley for having us and all the students who attended.

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If you’d like Mmmmaven to do a workshop at your school, or are interested in learning more about production, check out our website or shoot us an email. Our workshops are an example of what a typical class might be like, and are a great way to get exposure to music production on your campus!