There are a few ways to very easily get sidechaining going in Ableton Live. Sidechaining triggers a compressor on the master bus or channel using a kick from a different channel. This causes a pumping effect ala Daft Punk. Used subtlety it can make sure the sharp transients of you kick always sit above the mix by itself. Live’s built in Compressor has sidechaining and you can also simulate the effect using Autopan. The Point Blank Music School has a nice free Max For Live drag and drop device available to download: click here. If you have Max For Live why not grab it? Take a look at the video above for the demo.
“Point Blank instructor and course developer Daniel Herbert has created this Max For Live custom auto sidechain plugin for use in Ableton Live. Watch the video to see how it works, what makes it unique and and how to set it up.” – pointblankonline
Here’s an obvious but useful tip that will work in any DAW. What if have an external hardware device that does not allow Program Change control? How will you remember what preset you were using for a specific song? Easy: Name the clip or channel the patch number.
I’ve been using this method with my new Jomox Mbase 01. As you see above the clip is named r31. One thrilling things about the Mbase 01 is how the massive kicks really pump any sidechains. Lately I will have more than just one channel being sidechained. When this is the case you can’t freeze or render the kick without after re-sidechaining everything to the new rendered kick. This is why I just keep the Jomox “live”.
I’m happiest when creating songs for fun. Music that doesn’t have to fit anyone’s expectations. Constantly those recordings are my best. Remixes fall in the “oh man why am I doing this” category. I really pull my hair out trying to bend someone else’s vision into my own. For the most part if a song is great to start with it won’t need a remix. Sure there are super rock or melodic songs that need to be made into club hits but most of the remixes I get offered are already electronic.
Today I’m remixing a guy named Satronica. He’s one of my good friends from New York. He’s working on an album for Lenny Dee’s Industrial Strength Records. The song titled “Revenge Plan” is vocal heavy. The way he sings is pretty weird, almost an Arab chant style. I’m still trying to figure out how to mash the vocals into a tight grid. I may end up cutting each word up and throwing it into Reason’s NN-XT.
Because the vocals are so strong I don’t feel the need to keep his original music so I fired up some new toys and here’s a clip of what’s on the machine today.Keep in mind it’s just the synths and basic beat at this point. Purely amateur time so far:
The kick is Jomox Mbase 01, the main synth is the Voice of Saturn being sidechained with the key using Ableton’s compressor, later I add in another two copies of the Voice of Saturn channel but detuned left and right. The lazer zap’s are from an Audiorealism ABL. The drum roll is D16’s Drumazon and Devastor also sidechained with the Mbase 01. The snare is loaded into Native Instrument’s Battery 3 and if from a freebee disc I got with Computer Music magazine a few years ago.
It’s not nearly where it will end up but I thought you’d like to check in on the process. Writing this post gave my ears a few minutes break.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a bassline pump using Ableton Live 7 and the built-in Auto Filter plug-in.
Step one. Create an Audio or Midi channel and put a kick drum on it. Use an audio loop or any drum machine plug-in like Ableton Impulse or Native Instrument’s Battery. If your not using an audio loop then make a one bar pattern with four kick drums on it.
Step two. Create an Audio or Midi channel and put a bass sound on it. You can use a virtual instrument like Ableton Simpler or Fabfilter’s Twin or an audio loop. Make the clip loop and have your bass sound mostly solid without breaks in the volume.
Step three. Add the Ableton Auto Filter plug-in to the bass channel and click the small right facing arrow next to where the plug-in is titled “Auto Filter”. This opens the the Sidechain options.
Step four. Click where it says “Sidechain” to turn it on. Where it says “Audio from” click and from the drop down menu select the Kick Drum channel.
Step five. See the knob titled “Envelope”? Move that knob to the left until it reads approximately -75.
Step six. Staying inside Auto Filter plug-in you will now adjust the filter. Grabbing the yellow circle which controls the kHz and Q of the filter simultaneously and drag it to the left. As you drag you will start to hear the filter open and close.
Congratulations you are now Sidechaining in Ableton Live 7. Now you can further tweak the sound. Try moving the Release knob to the left. Try the high pass filter by clicking second button from the left under the filter grid display. Try using other sounds instead of the bass. The Ableton compressor and gate also have sidechain capabilties and the routing mechanism is the same.