I’ve been working on my LP in Ableton for almost two years (!!!), but today, I’m excited to announce I’ve released my first mixtape. Why a mixtape, and not the album? Well, aside from a vocal sample I snagged for the intro, they are essentially one in the same. That is, the track selection and order are there. But instead of releasing 10 standalone tracks, one after the other, properly mixed and mastered, I was keen on getting this project out. Hear the mix below and read the steps I’ve taken to reach this critical, yet very personal, milestone.
Yesterday I received an email from Native Instruments suggesting I download and try their free STEM Creator tool (ironically[?] showing Ableton on the screen). After watching their YouTube video, I got to thinking, do I even need this? The truth is, I really don’t. I produce my tracks in Ableton, and if I need to bounce isolated track stems, that can be easily accomplished from a drop down menu in the Export Audio dialog. Most of us produce in layers anyway, so if I were to ever perform my original productions live (sigh, one day), my elements are already split into independent tracks with associated clips.
However, if I produce my own tracks and intend to publish and share them with NI Traktor users, this creator tool could be quite valuable. Although not truly necessary, I started thinking about how Ableton might be further enhanced by supporting STEM format, and where I see real potential.
I recently subscribed to the “Your Mix Sucks” series by Marc Mozart, and learned loads of tips as to how to get a great mix in my home studio. One such tip suggested inserting a track-level “gainer plugin” instead of moving the default track volume fader. Skeptical, I decided to try this technique in Ableton, and the results have completely changed my workflow.
I got into a controller conversation with a friend tonight. He and I have a similar Ableton setup, including Push and the first-gen Akai APC40. Given the new analog synth he was adding to his studio, he and I debated whether he could ditch the APC, and continue using Push only. It definitely got me thinking… thinking I don’t see ever parting with my APC. Here’s why.
In the first half of this series, I covered the importance of using Ableton’s Session View and Mixed In Key to creatively identify your mashup’s backing and supporting tracks. I also gave some tips for getting your raw material ready, and setting up a new Ableton session. We’re now switching gears from DJ to Producer mode, and I’ll be sharing specific Arrangement editing and mixing techniques I use for creating well-constructed, and well-mixed mashups.
There are a few situations where it’s better to walk into your local music store, to get your hands- and ears-on that piece of gear you’re considering, prior to purchase. Whether you pick it up there in person, or find it cheaper online, at least you’ve got yourself a better understanding of the build, feel, and quality of that next purchase – before it arrives.
We’ve all spent days on YouTube watching Ableton videos – tips, training & walk-thrus. But with its right side “recommended / related” video list, I find myself getting easily distracted, ending up down a rat hole. What I’ve done here is collected the videos that have made the biggest difference for me with regards to using Live, learning new DJ methods, sound design tools & compression, bettering my workflow and processes, and hearing how the pros do it. Over the years, these videos have, without a doubt, boosted my Ableton DJ, producer and remix game. If you’re just starting out, or continuing your mastery of Ableton, I believe you, too, will find these to be priceless.
When I stumble on a good mashup during an Ableton session, I just want to capture that shiz and share it. Mashups force you to split your roles to both DJ and Producer, making Ableton the ideal environment to play. On one side, you can be highly experimental and responsive in Session View; on the other, you’re editing and mixing down the arrangement. Here are some tips to help you get mashing in Ableton.
I don’t get any kick-backs from SoundCloud to promote their service, but I do find it to be one of the easiest and most valuable ways for DJs and producers to distribute their beats and mixes. Plus, I personally discover loads of new and emerging music on the daily. Here are some tips for maximizing your SoundCloud experience.