Use the Impulse Time parameter in Ableton Live.

Ableton Live - Impulse Time

Here’s an easy technique that I use often to add tension to a chorus. I create an instance of the Impulse drum module in Ableton Live and load in a kit. In this example I am using a free kit called “Cassette 808″ which is available for download at goldbaby.co.nz. Next, I create a my drum pattern. Inside Impulse I adjust the individual drum volumes, pannings and filters for each of the samples. I then dial back the Time parameter to -38%. The Time parameter affects all the samples inside Impulse at once. Cutting back the overall Time percent makes each drum each shorter and tighter. I like to keep my drums tight like this during the verses of my songs. I then automate the Time parameter to +30% when the chorus hits. This adds a sense of excitement and power to the chorus. You could use this method instead or in addition to adding rides or open hihats to a chorus (which creates a similar feeling). It’s also a good idea to automate the Time parameter further at key points in your arrangement. For example, if you want to focus on the last word of a verse try dialing the Time parameter to -90% for just a few syllables.

“The Time control governs the time-stretching and decay of all samples, allowing you to morph between short and stretched drum sounds.” – Ableton Live User Manual

Don’t stop playing with the Time knob there. Try duplicating your drum channel by hitting COMMAND-D. Now Pan your duplicated channel all the way left or right and turn the Time parameter to +100%. Cut the bass out of your new channel and you have a nice new color poking at your listeners ear. You could keep your new fully Time lengthened channel Panned Center and throw an Autopan plug-in on it. Why not also add a flanger or distortion? It’s great fun duplicating and adding effects to channels.

Here is an audio example:

Are you using time stretching as a songwriting element?

3 Comments

  1. I love impulse… Drumrack would fully replace it BUT….

    Master Transpose is a good feature on Impulse that unfortunately wasn’t well thought out when mapping a master transpose to a Drumrack via macro.

    Detune a few samples on Impulse and then do the master transpose. Everything gets detuned without any parameter jumps.

    Now take just 2 samples for the purpose of this rant…detune only one say 10 steps up (will go to 74 if im correct)…now map both on both samples “transpose” in each cell to a macro to act as a master transpose. DETUNE IT ONLY ONE STEP down on that new master transpose macro… the detuned sample instead of being tuned to 73 will go down to 63…fuckin parameter jump.

    Reply

  2. Interesting point.. I didn’t notice that before. I have tons of drum plugins but Impulse is so fast and easy.

    Reply

  3. Love the ableton tips – please keep them coming!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>