Ultimate Ableton Live 9: Part 5 – MIDI & Audio Effects
For years I’ve been teaching Ableton Live in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Ableton Live can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn’t be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I’ve used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.
This is Part 5: MIDI & Audio Effects
This is a really deep class – tons of content, tricks, and tips. I’ll go through all of the Ableton Live Instruments in this class, with considerable detail on each one. We will also talk about synthesis tricks and tips, getting most out of your samplers, and tons of production tips. Topics include:
- MIDI Effects
- Chord MIDI Effect
- MIDI Effect Racks
- Note Length MIDI Effect
- Pitch MIDI Effect
- Random MIDI Effect
- Scale MIDI Effect
- Velocity MIDI Effect
- Audio Effects
- The three types of Audio Effects
- ALL Ableton Audio Effects (and how to use them!)
- Simple Delay
- Ping Pong Delay
- Filter Delay
- Grain Delay
- Beat Repeat
- EQ Three
- EQ Eight
- Auto Filter
- Dynamic Tube
- Frequency Shifter
- Glue Compressor
- Multiband Dynamics
- Auto Pan
- External Audio Effect
- Vinyl Distortion
I will be making 6 (six!) complete classes in order to bring you the most comprehensive manual on Ableton Live production techniques ever created. Each class has Sets, sessions, and experiments for you to try on your own and follow along with.
And of course, once you sign up any part, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts of this class. You will not have another opportunity to learn Ableton Live in a more comprehensive way that this.
J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.
He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.
Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:
Welcome & Overview
Welcome to the class! This video is just a quick overview of what we will be talking about in this class.
First things first: We need to understand the difference between MIDI Effects and Audio Effects.
Our first MIDI effect is the arpeggiator - it was probably the most widely used MIDI effect we have, so pay attention!
Next up is Chord - a way to generate harmonies automatically.
We've seen a few different kinds of Racks in other classes, this is the same basic concept, just with MIDI Effects.
In this video we look at the Note Length effect - a quick tool to adjust the duration of all our MIDI notes in a clip.
Pitch! Transpose your MIDI notes in this quick effect.
One of my favorites - give some life to your MIDI clip by adding some random elements.
One of the most powerful MIDI effects, and most complicated. With this we can change the sound of an entire passage with a single effect.
Altering our velocities is great, but check out some of the random functions in here to make your MIDI clips sound a little more human.
There are three main types of Audio Effects - In this video I'll explain the difference, and why they fit into these three groups.
Time-Based Audio Effects
Time-based effects are mostly delays and similar effects, but there are a few surprises.
First in our list: Simple Delay. Pretty much just what it sounds like!
The Ping Pong Delay is a little more complicated delay.
More complicated still, this one is sort of three delays in one.
This is your first granular effect - these are a little more complicated, but with a little practice it will be clear.
A classic chorus effect! Nothing too fancy here!
The Flanger effect is a favorite for builds, and guitar players in the early 90s.
Ok - this one is important. You are probably familiar with Reverb, but let me explain to you the details of what Reverb is, and how to use it.
One of the oddities here - this is a sort of a glitch plugin. It is fantastic for making beats and dense textures.
This is primarily for live performance, but can have some uses in production as well.
Frequency-Based Audio Effects
Frequency-based effects are primarily EQ, and filter type effects. Again, there are a few surprises in here.
A very simple EQ! Nothing too fancy here - but this little effect is super useful.
A little more complicated EQ - this one is much more useful for production.
Time to get a visit from our old friend the LFO.
Simulate classic instrument (guitar) amplifiers with this list of amps.
Nothing goes better with the Amp simulator than a cabinet simulator!
Things are starting to get a little more complicated now!
A tube amp emulator, for that warm distortion sound.
Now we get serious with distortion.
A transposer, with a little more under the hood.
Even more distortions!
A Phaser is a way of playing with the phase of our signal. I'll show you how this works (and what that means) in this video.
Emulate the sounds of classic video games with this effect.
Another complicated one - but really powerful on percussion sounds (my personal favorite!)
A little more warmth.
A classic vocoder (not an autotune!)
Dynamic-Based Audio Effects
Dynamic Effects (effects that alter our volume in various ways) are some of the most abstract effects, and therefore they tend to be harder to understand. Stick with me in this section and we will get them all sorted out.
Compressor is the most fundamental dynamic effect. Most of the other dynamic effects are variations on the compressor.
The Glue Compressor is new in Live 9, and is a subtle (sounding) effect that helps tie things together.
This effect keeps our signal from going to high - we set a "ceiling," and we don't let anything go above it.
Take a 3-band EQ, add a compressor to each band, and you have a Multiband Compressor.
Kind of an upside-down Limiter - when the signal is loud enough, the gate opens. If it isn't loud enough, the gate is closed.
A bit of an oddity here, but panning is a way of adjusting the volume for each speaker.
The Other Audio Effects
If you want to take the signal out of your computer and into another effect (like a guitar pedal) this is the way to do it.
Want that classic vinyl crackle? Slap this bad boy on a track.
This is a visualizer: It shows us (with our eyes) what we are hearing (with our ears).
I love this plugin for programming samplers. I'll show you the trick in this video.
This plugin is exactly what it sounds like: A utility to help us with some common audio clip problems.
Thanks for hanging out with me in this class! Just a few quick final thoughts before we end.
You've come this far... maybe you are willing to go a little further...
In Ableton 6 we are going to start talking about putting all of these together in some audio effect racks. These are super powerful, especially for DJing and performing. Here is a preview from Ableton 6 on how these work.
There is so much more to learn!