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APC40: Still the best Ableton controller

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.

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    When packing for a recent gig, I noticed I was carrying way too much shiz in my bag. I was familiar with the venue's booth, but something always tells me to be prepared, just in case. Bad cables, missing adapters, poor lighting - who knows? I splurged on a dedicated MONO EFX 365 bag. It comfortably seats my…
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    I was in my buddy's studio, and noticed his Push's grid focus rectangle, aka Clip Matrix, in Session View was outlined in blue. Mine was green. WTF? First thought: it was the skin I was using. Nope. And after digging around, I finally found the solution. It's very simple, but oh so easily overlooked. Although they cannot be…
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    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…

How I Mash Up – Part 1

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.

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    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…
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    Take your DJ sets to a new level by learning to mix tracks of the same, or complementary root key. Mixed in Key is an affordable solution that scans your library to detect the key (and energy level) of each track added. Using the Camelot wheel, which is the same as the Circle of Fifths clock face, transitioning…
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    If you DJ in Ableton, chances are you'll be spending a significant amount of time warping your tracks. There are some great YouTube videos out there, but I thought I'd share my techniques. Using these steps, my newly added tracks are typically ready for prime time in just under a minute. Make sure your Warp…

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