How the Drumsynth works in Ableton Suite 9

Great interview at Sonic Bloom with Christian Kleine, creator of the DrumSynth Max for Live device.  Lots of things I had no idea about, such as:

There are currently 13 different devices. The important (kick/snare/hi-hat/tom) as well as the exotic (Kplus and FM) are all represented. “Kplus” is called this way because here the “Karplus-Strong” synthesis is used – David Zicarelli (CEO of Cycling ’74, the creators of Max) jokingly said that this was also the best and only purpose of this synthetic form… Basically, most important for me, next to the sound, was a very dynamic control using velocity data – therefore, this section is quite extensive in every device and almost every parameter can be played dynamically.

Great stuff.  Be sure to check out the screenshot of the inside of DrumSynth, especially if you’ve never seen an intimidating Max Patch before.

▶ Imogen Heap + Deadmau5 = An Imogen Heap song

Hmm.

When I saw that Imogen Heap appeared on the new Deadmau5 album, I thought maybe to expect possibly a Deadmau5-ish song with Immi’s vocals.  Instead what we got was simply an unreleased Imogen Heap song.

Can anyone tell me what exactly Deadmau5 contributed to this track?  OK – let’s say he’s versatile and wants to give Heap what she wants (minimal drum jitters, piano chords – the usual Imogen stuff) – why not add in the Deadmau5 stuff too?  There isn’t a single other Deadmau5 song that sounds like this – to the point where this sounds so much  like one of Heap’s songs and so little  like one of his you start to wonder how well the collaboration went.  I imagine something like this:

DM: Hey I was thinking about adding this hard house beat…

IH: Nope

DM: So maybe I use organ and side chain it off the other…

IH: Nope

DM: So what about…

IH: Hey remember that one time I won a Grammy for best sound engineer?  Step aside son.

Imogen proceeds to open Ableton and program a Max for Live patch that turns Joel into an actual dead mouse via the “loadmess” command and simultaneously erasing his hard drive every time the gain reaches .99%.

Sigh.  Anyway, here’s a cool music video Imogen they made for this song:

The Best Ableton Push Review

Courtesy of DJ Tech Tools:

“The buttons are a lot more playable than I thought they’d be”

The video makes it look less like a rubber pad and more like some sort of kevlar-headed piano key.  The triple finger gesture he does with the drum pads is pretty convincing – I haven’t tried one of these for myself yet, but those pads look like a decidedly higher-end product than the older APC and LaunchPad offerings.

▶ Push Envy -Hacking the Novation Launchpad to do Scales

After rewatching the Ableton Preview Event video, in which Dennis DeSantis gives a great demo of the Push’s scale mapping capabilities, I decided to see if I could mimic this on my Launchpad using Max for Live.

With the help of some of the Novation tutorials and a little inspiration from the MaxforLive.com repository I figured out how to place a diatonic major or minor scale on my User 1 mode. The grid goes stepwise on the X axis and in diatonic 4ths on the Y axis. The lighted pads represent the tonic note. The layout is exactly like the one shown in all the push videos, although the lights aren’t accurate when the key is changed. Like I said, it’s a hack. And a dream.

I’ll post more details on how I did this later if anyone is interested. In short, it isn’t pretty, and it isn’t a workflow I’d probably use in practice. But it did let me make this cool jam:

What kills me is how fast it is to play scales. Just by learning a simple finger pattern I can play multiple octaves of scales or modes. I can also do sequences (of the music theory variety) and chord blocks very easily. I can’t wait to try this kind of thing on a device that’s actually designed for it!

Audio to MIDI in Ableton Live 9 vs. Melodyne

Oliver Chesler has an interesting look at the Audio to MIDI feature in Live 9.  He compares it to Melodyne, actually:

Whatever you think of the results as much as I love Melodyne and use it it’s not a feature built into Live therefor one step away from instant. I also don’t think you can Audio to Drums like you can in Live. The real killer feature for Audio to Midi is my own whistling or humming to create parts and ideas.

Of course, it can’t affect the audio signal with the MIDI analysis like Melodyne can, so it seems more of a songwriting tool to me.  Either way, he made a cool video demonstrating the difference between the two:

Via Wire to the Ear.

In-Depth Ableton Push Review

Required reading for anyone wanting lots of details and macro pictures of Push.

In summary:

But the Launchpad and APC40 now feel more like experiments in comparison to Push. The new, sleek black controller is the most complete hardware Ableton has ever released, the first to properly carry the Ableton name. In look, feel, and function, it really seems the first time Ableton has expressed their vision of hardware the way Live originally did for software.

Via Create Digital Music