Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Utilizing instrument racks, part of Ableton Live 9 Essential Training.
Layering synth and sampler parts requires multiple tracks in (INAUDIBLE). Let's take a look at how Live racks can be used to combine multiple instruments and effects capable of delivering complex sounds on a single track. So let's start by just taking a look at an existing preset instrument rack. So, let's go in the Instrument category. And down to Instrument rack now open that up, lets go down to Pad I will just choose the first one and put that on the first track. So I see the marker here the beginning and I see the rounded edges so that I know I am in a rack.
When I click over here I can see the two chains that are set up and when I choose the first one and go over here to the right I see the bracket of another rack. So let me click the Show High Chain list there, so I've got something called Snow Pad. And when I actually go inside that I've got another rack. And when I look at what's there, pull that over. I can see that there's a chord plug-in. It looks like we're transposing the pitch that you play up a fifth and down a fifth, and then I finally see the actual virtual instrument. Looks like we've got an operator here, and then over on the right edge of that, well, I can see outside this rack it looks like there is a reverb and a Ping Pong delay, that all of these chains are passing through. So let's go back over here a little bit, an I'm going to solo, the, first side just so we can hear what's going on there.
(audio playing) So I'm playing one pitch. (audio playing) And I can hear the transposition up and down the fifth. Now lets take a look at the next one. So I'll select that, and when I select that, I can see that. There's also a nested rack inside of this one. And it looks like we've got two things going on. I've got this star shower. And I see another operator virtual instrument. And if I click the bottom one. I can see that there's another preset an a different virtual instrument there. Now inside each one of these, I can see it looks like there is an arpeggiator effect.
An so I've soloed that chain, an now I'm going to solo the first instrument that's inside that. And I'm going to hold down the note, I'm going to hear what that's doing. (music playing) So again, I held down a single note it's being arpeggiated at 16th note. I can see that it's being shifted one time up an octive. Now when I click the lower one there's another arpeggiator. This one set at an eighth note. And it's also set to shift and transpose up one time an octave.
And lets hear what that sounds like. (audio playing) And when I turn all of that on. And hold down a note. What do we get? (audio playing) So a really beautiful complex sound. Let's see how we can do this from scratch. So let me disable that. And I'm going to go back up in here to the instrument rack, and I'm going to drag and empty rack on top of this second midi track. So we see the outside edges of this, and I'm going to go back into my instruments now and I'm going to add a couple of virtual instruments. So lets grab electric and I'm going to go in there and lets get just a simple electric piano sound.
So I'll drop that in. And then so that I could add a second one inside this rack. I'm going to show hide the chain list by clicking on the button. So I can see that I got one chain there. And while I'm at it, I'm going to go ahead, I'm going to go into the Audio Effects category, and I'm going to add a chorus to that. So I'll just grab the default chorus and I'm going to drag and drop it. Now notice that I can put it right inside that bracket next to the virtual instrument. So let me just play a chord, and let's hear what we got.
(music playing) So a single virtual instrument playing through a single effect. Now, let's go back over and I'm going to go back into my instruments and let's close this one up. So. I'm going to press my left arrow. Close that category, and let's go into Operator, and into the Pads Area. And I've already searched out and found one that is called Slow Sweep so I'm going to click and drag that preset. Now I'm not going to drag it on top of the existing chain.
I'm going to drag it in the area below that and that will add a second chain. So if I solo that one and play a chord, (audio playing). We can hear that sound. And that's detuned just a little bit too much to my taste and I can see its probably on the second oscillator so I'm going to pull that down a little bit so its not quite so drastic. (audio playing) And I'm doing that because I want it to be more in tune with the rhodes patch. So let me unsolo that, and let's hear both of them together.
(music playing) So you can here the rhodes has the attack and then this pad actually kind of sweeps in and fills in the back end. Again within the chain itself I've got the ability to set the levels differently. So, if I want the rhodes a little louder and the other pad to be a little bit softer I can pull that down and do that. I can pan them to different speakers. I can go one left or one right. Right now, I actually kind of like them together so I'm going to leave that alone. If I want I can deactivate one of the chains from playing by clicking on that button.
I can solo the two of them separately if I want and if I am unhappy with one of the presets that I'm using, I can actually click this Hot Swap button. And that'll take me right back up into the instrument area where I can double-click another instrument or a different instrument preset and exchange that for the preset that's currently here. Now I'm happy with that, so I'm going to go ahead and close that out and get out of there. In the last movie when we talked about Audio Effects racks, we saw the Chain View where we could set up separate ranges that would activate the different chains to play, or make sound.
Now in this one I'm going to click one of the other areas. Let's take a look at the Key Zone editor. So again we get these bar graphs. But this time I can actually see the keyboard above here. And what I can actually do is very quickly set up zones. So that in one area of the keyboard I'm actually going to the rhodes. And in the other are I'm going to trigger the pad. So for example, I'll move my cursor on the edge of the bar graph for the road sound and I'm going to drag that over and let's put that right around middle C. And then, I'll drag the pad and I'm not going to go all the way to middle C.
I'll just go a little bit lower than that. Then I'm going to move my cursor up on the skinnier bar graph, which will allow me across way that and I'll pull that one that way and then I'll do that same thing on the one below that. So now when I play down in this zone as I approach C3 I'll actually move from the road sound up into the pad sound. So let's check that out. (music playing). So there I'm on c2, now E, and I'm just getting road sound. And now when I move up a little higher, (music playing), can hear the road start and the other finish. And if I move up another octave, (music playing) , I'm just getting the pad sound. All right.
Let me get rid of all of that real quickly cause I want all that stuff to sound and let's take a look at the velocity zone editor. Again, we get the bar graphs but now I can set ranges in terms of velocity and that will be how hard I hit the keys. I can actually trigger one or the other sound or both. So again I'll set the roads to be on the soft end. Let's make that to about 80 and I move the Crossfade. So I'm going to have to grab that and pull that back over.
And again I'll try and Crossfade those. As I play very softly, I should hear just the roads. (audio playing) And as I hit a little bit harder, hear both and then when I really hit it, I only get the pad. Okay so all that can be really useful specially if you gotta base sound that kind of been a one hand and a keyboard sound may be in your other hand and you're trying to play both parts simultaneously on the same track.
So I'm going to hide that and now we can see the instruments again and before we finish I want to do one more thing. I want to add a reverb, this is actually going to effect both of these. Now if you remember I added a chorus before that was only on the rhodes part and lets just check that out. So, I've got the rhodes plugin. I see the chorus. When I drop down to the pad, I only see the pad plugin and I don't see any effect over there. Now, if I double-click on the title bar of this pad I can close that down so I can see this area out here, which is outside the rack. So I'm going to go back into my Audio Effects area and I'm going to drag down and grab a default Reverb and stick this out to the right. And so, at this point when the media signal hit's this rack, it goes in and it hits both of these devices, in paralell.
On the rhodes side, it's going to go through the rhodes plug in. And then it's going to go through this chorus. I'll minimize those. And when it goes through the pad, it's only going to go through pad plugin, but as both signals leave the rack, they'll go through this reverb. The only time you put a reverb directly in line the way I've done it here, you're going to want to make sure that you set your dry/wet percentage so that we get a combination of both the dry sound and the wet sound. And so let's check out what that sounds like. (music playing) We can actually probably drop that so we get a little bit more dry sound with the wet sound. So creating interesting combinations of sounds and effects using live (INAUDIBLE) is not only possible in live, its intuitive and its easy to use. Experiment have some fun.
- Choosing the right gear to use with Ableton
- Setting audio and MIDI preferences
- Optimizing performance
- Loading, playing, and moving clips
- Exporting clips and devices
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Quantizing with grooves
- Editing pitch and note duration
- Understanding EQ and filters
- Recording real-time automation
- Looping audio
- Creating beats with Impulse
- Creating drum racks
- Introducing Max for Live