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Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.
It's likely that you'll find third-party effects in virtual instruments that you'll want to add to your Ableton Live projects. Some third-party virtual instruments are very sophisticated and allow you to route their audio outputs to multiple tracks. Let's take a look at how you would set this up in Ableton Live. Okay, so I've get a MIDI track here. I'm going to go ahead and load a plug-in on there. I'm now in my plug-in devices, which would be my third-party devices. I've got some audio units--Apples and Spectrasonics and so on so forth--and I'm going to grab Omnisphere and drag it onto the MIDI track. It will take just a second to load. Okay. And there we go. And I'm going to load some presets into this particular plug.
So I've got the first slot selected. I will click the file browser, and let's grab keyboard. Lets check out that sounds like. I'll grab that one. Then I'll click third slot, and let's get one more. Okay, now if I click on the Multi button here, I'll see that I've actually loaded these three presets into different slots. And over here on the little header at the beginning, I can see that this little setting here tells me that MIDI channel one is assigned to this one, MIDI channel two to this one, and MIDI channel three to that one.
Okay, let me close the plug for a second. So if I play on the first track that I've got created here, I should hear the sound that I load on the first slot in Omnisphere. (Music playing.) Okay, so I only hear one sound. Now, I am going to create two more MIDI tracks. Command+Shift+T on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+T on a PC, and I've got two more MIDI tracks. What I need to do is route my output over to Omnisphere, so I'll go to the MIDI 2 chooser, select Omnisphere, and then on the separate subset MIDI channel, I'll put the second one on Channel 2 and the third one on Channel 3.
So if I put this track in record, I should hear the second one. (Bass playing.) And the third track, the third sound. (Choir singing.) So I've got all three being accessed from my MIDI tracks, but you'll notice that each time I play the audio is actually coming out the first track. So what I need to do is I need to create a couple more audio tracks that I can use as returns coming back from Omnisphere. So I'm going to go back into the plug, and to do that I'm going to click on the track. And when the Omnisphere plug-in shows up down here in Device view, I can click on this little gear to actually open the plug-in window.
Sometimes that takes a second. You have to be patient. So on each one of these presets, I've also got an output setting. And the first is currently set to A, and if you look down they are all set to A. That's why they're all are coming up that first track. So I'll set the second one to output B and then next one to output C. Then I can close the plug again. Now, I'm going to select that second MIDI track, and I'm going to create an audio track next to it, and that's can be Command+T on a Mac or Ctrl+T on a PC. And I can come down now to the Audio from, and I want to set that to get the audio from Omnisphere. So I'll choose Omnisphere as the device, and then I'll choose Omnisphere 3-4, and that's going to equal the Outputs B. Outputs A are actually coming through this first track.
Then I'll select this third MIDI track, and again, I'll create another audio return track and set its device input to Omnisphere, and then choose five and six, which is going to be the Output C coming from Omnisphere. Now, to actually hear these, I'm going to need to put these audio tracks in Input Monitoring. So if I record-enable the first track, I should hear that piano-- (Piano playing.) and I do. If I record-enable the second MIDI track, I should hear the second preset.
(Bass playing.) Good. And the third track, the third preset. (Choir singing.) So some advantages to these setup is now I can do my mixing here in Live. If I want to add reverb, just bring up my sends by clicking on the Sends button, and then I can add reverb by bringing up a little bit of level, and then I do have a reverb located over here on the return track. Additionally, if I want to EQ any one of these tracks, all I need to do is add a plug-in on its audio return.
So, for example, on this Bass track, I can go into my Device browser, come up and find a compressor, and drop that on the track. So the MIDI that I play will then be send to the plug-in that's sitting over here on his first track, and the audio that's returning from this MIDI will route through this second audio track and then through this compressor. So you can see that I've now got five tracks going for these three different presets. And that's only three of the eight that I can load in Omnisphere, so that could get rather messy.
So one of the things you might want to consider doing is actually selecting these tracks by clicking in their title bars and then right-clicking and choosing Group Tracks from the contextual menu. That way I'll have one track that controls the overall output coming from all of these presets in Omnisphere, and then when I don't need to see this I can actually fold the tracks down into the group, so I'm only looking at one track. So now that you know how to set up a multiple-output virtual instrument in Live, you can add your favorite third-party plug-ins to your next Ableton Live Project.
And thanks to Eric Persing and my friends at Spectrasonics for allowing me to use Omnisphere as part of this demonstration.
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