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Combining instruments and effects into a single device

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Combining instruments and effects into a single device

Layering synth and sampler parts in most DAWs requires multiple tracks. Let's take a look at how Live racks can be used to combine multiple instruments and effects into a single device capable of delivering complex sounds on a single track. So there are existing presets that are instrument racks. If I go up into the Instruments category here in the Live Devices browser, you will see that there's an Instrument rack folder right here at the top. I'll go into one of these subfolders, and I will grab one of these presets and drop it out here.

Combining instruments and effects into a single device

Layering synth and sampler parts in most DAWs requires multiple tracks. Let's take a look at how Live racks can be used to combine multiple instruments and effects into a single device capable of delivering complex sounds on a single track. So there are existing presets that are instrument racks. If I go up into the Instruments category here in the Live Devices browser, you will see that there's an Instrument rack folder right here at the top. I'll go into one of these subfolders, and I will grab one of these presets and drop it out here.

And I know that this is a rack because I see the macro that's part of this, and we'll talk about macros in a later video. And if I click on the Show/Hide Chain List--actually in this one, there is only one virtual Instrument; there are probably more effects that are part of this if I drag this over. Yeah, we can see that there is a Reverb and Chorus. But these Instrument racks can also include multiple virtual instruments. So let's go to this first MIDI track, and I'm going to drag an empty rack into the Drop MIDI Effects area on that track, and then from there, I can go down and choose some presets.

So I'm going to go into the Electric category, and let's grab this Keys 4-AM. Let me show the list again. So I see the Keys 4-AM, and now I can add multiple virtual instruments or effects down here by dropping in them in that area. So let me scroll down. Let's see. I will go into Operator and into Synth Pad and click on Snow Pad preset and drag and drop that into the instrument rack. So now, I've got two virtual instruments happening simultaneously. And if I hold down some keys, we should hear the sounds. (Music playing.) I see signal coming out both of those, so I know that they're both working.

Now I can mix these together by using this Volume feature here, and I am going to bring the pad down in level so that I hear more of the Key-Roads sounds and less of that overall pad. (Music playing.) Now if I want, I can hear those individually by either muting one of those, so there's just the Keys part now. (Music playing.) Or I can solo them as well by clicking on this button over here. So now I should just hear the Snow Pad sound, (Music playing.) which is much softer because I mixed it down.

I can also pan those right, by dragging up, and left, by dragging down, so you should now hear one on one side and one on the other. (Music playing.) Actually let me take that solo off. (Music playing.) There you go, and you can see in the meters, it's only coming out one side on both of those. I am going to move over to this instrument track that I have got here. Let me record-enable that one. And I have got actually three parts loaded on this one, so we're a little bit further in here. So I have got the Roads part again, and I've got an Operator patch, kind of mellow, and I have got a kind of Strings thing that's mixed in.

Now one of the things that's different about instrument racks is I get these two other areas that we didn't see in the video on audio effect racks. So, one of those is for a Key Zone Editor. Now I get these bar graphs that define which notes on the keyboard are going to trigger these sounds. So I, for instance, could locate the Road so that it's down here, just up to C2, and then this next patch could take over at C2 and go to C3. I am just moving my cursor to the edge of those bar graphs and dragging. And I could grab this last one and make that at about C3, all the rest of the way up.

So now if I play down here on the bottle of my keyboard, I'm triggering only the Road sound, and you see signal only in the Roads meter here. If I go up on octave, I am in the next patch, and up another octave. Since I have got both of those a little bit overlapping, it's actually triggering both of those sounds. Again, this narrower graph that's on top will allow me to set fades. So these are a little bit overlapped, more like this, I could set a crossfade by dragging on that narrower bar graph on top, then on the one below, dragging that over to the right, so that you can see that those are now crossfading between each other.

So when I get right there on that C2, down below that, you can see that I am triggering both parts. Okay, let me make those-- all back over here. I need to drag that. This way we can go on, and we can check out the Velocity settings. So a similar area is this Velocity Zone Editor. Now I can set what patches are triggered out of these three sounds here by how hard I hit the keyboard.

Let's make the Roads go up to about 80. Then I will take these other two, I will select their names so that I can do them together, and I'll drag those over to 81. Okay, so now that I have the velocity zone set, I should be able to hear just the Roads part when I play softly, and when I play the keyboard harder, I should trigger these other two presets. Let's give that a shot. (Music playing.) So I play it lightly. Then I will play a little harder. I will get the other two presets. (Music playing.) Now that might be a really good thing to use, for instance, when you have got a bass preset, and you want to only have that in the low range of the keyboard. And then if you have got more of a piano sound or pad sound or string sound, you might want that only in the upper part of the keyboard.

But let's take a look at how we can add effects to an instrument rack as well. Now, let me hide that by clicking on the Hide button, and I'm going to hide the devices as well, because I want to see this area over here. So let me click over here in the Live Devices browser, and I am going to close these by pressing my Left Arrow key, because I want to get down here, and I want to see the audio effects. So if I open that up and scroll down, you can find something like a reverb that I might add to all three of these effects.

So if I grab, for instance, the Concert Hall and drag it over here, what happens is a signal will pass through the track, the MIDI signal, and then it will hit these three presets and trigger the sound, and then the audio will flow out of all three of these and then through the Concert Hall. Now whenever you use something like a Delay or Reverb where you've got a DryWet setting and use it on a rack, in this case, you need to make sure that you dial in the amount of the effect that you want; otherwise, you are just going to get all reverb. So let's play a little bit and let me dial that in. (Music playing.) Okay, that's okay.

And in other cases, you may want to add an effect that only affects a single member of the group. So I am going to go into my Audio Effects again. Now let me find a Chorus preset, and I am going to drag and drop that only on the Roads. So in this case, what's happening is we see that I've got the Roads patch here, and then next to that, I see the Chorus effect. And if I drag that over, we can see that that's where the rack ends, meaning that this effect is only on that particular preset as part of this rack.

It's not affecting the other two presets. Let me close that by double-clicking on the title bar, and let's drag that over so we can see a little bit more. So we can see that I have got the Key- Roads preset selected, and that's in here. That's been minimized. And then I see that effect, and then the rack closes. And then over in this other area, I still see the Concert Hall, but that's situated so that as the signal passes out of the rack, then it hits the Concert Hall. So I should be able to solo the Roads part, and we should hear that with Chorus.

(Music playing.) Let me turn off the reverb, so we don't hear that. (Music playing.) And now if I solo the operator and undo the Roads, you can hear that there's no Chorus on there. So creating interesting combinations of sounds and effects using Live racks seems simple, and the possibilities are endless. Experiment and have fun!

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 17049 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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