Ableton Live And Half A Challenge

As soon as one challenge ends, another one begins – and Valentine’s Day marks the half way point of this year’s RPM Challenge. Are you loving it so far?

Stick With What You Know

Nantiploop Studio (Dublin)

This year I’ve upgraded both my laptop and desktop computers with new operating systems and new Solid State Drives, but I’m still using Pro Tools 8 and Ableton Live 8 (whilst strongly considering adding Logic Pro X to the Nantiploop Studio arsenal in the not-too-distant future).

Usually a DAW upgrade provides a variety of new tools and processes for creative inspiration, but sometimes it’s good to just plug into an environment you’re already familiar with so that you can simply get on with making music, without spending hours figuring out how new features work (though that can also be a lot of fun and often leads to interesting musical outcomes in itself).

Getting More From Your Live

Live is a particularly intuitive DAW, but there are still plenty of pitfalls that need to be watched out for. One of Live’s most compelling features is its ability to instantly warp samples to fit in with the tempo of your existing project; however, when warping audio, it’s advisable to tweak the results manually to improve the results.

If you’re looking for some even more extreme timestretching, try the free PaulStretch program for instant ambient epics…

Frequency Asked Questions

Another classic production pitfall is throwing too many layers into the mix, without taking into account their frequency distribution. Each track/element should occupy its own part of the frequency spectrum, with as little overlap as possible with other sounds.

If you could have only one production tool, the best to choose would probably be a high-pass filter. If you’re recording a lead keyboard part, for example, there’s probably no point having anything below 200Hz on it, as this will be fighting with the kick and the bass. As always, each part needs to be evaluated both on its own and as part of the mix, but in general, most tracks will benefit from some sort of high-pass filtering – the threshold frequency will vary depending on the content.

For a bit more information on frequency distribution, check out this previous post where I use a crude theatrical analogy to illustrate the point… Music Production Mistakes – Fat Actor Overlap


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