While not directly related to making music, this little utility f.lux has been a blessing for me in the studio lately. It automatically changes the colour balance of your screen to be ‘warmer’ at night, which much easier on the eyes. It took me a little getting used to but now I can’t live without it. Free for PC, Mac, Linux and jail-broken iOS.
f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.
Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.
***ATTENTION PEOPLE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE IMAP MACRO CONTROLS ***
Download and use this alternate Maschine template: http://goo.gl/a8C3D This template does not need the IMAP script so no need to set ‘Maschine-IMAP’ as a control surface. The downside is the knobs will not automatically snap to the correct value, instead it will ‘pick-up’ like a standard midi controller (depends on your settings).
MEGAMaschine is my Maschine template for Ableton Live. It has been designed to give you hands on control for the functions that will facilitate a good workflow while you’re jamming out your tunes. It leaves out many of the functions of other templates so that you focus only on what matters most while you’re composing. Note: There have been some minor changes to the button layout since I made this video.
All features are on just 2 pages, no endless menu-diving
8 Macro knobs to control any Ableton Live rack, automatically mapped using Live’s IMap feature
Buttons to navigate devices/racks to assign Macro knobs
Buttons to control the parameters of the currently selected track, e.g. Arm, Mute, Solo, Volume, Pan
8 buttons permanently mapped to locators in the Live project for easy navigation
Easily change the currently selected track with the ‘VOLUME’ knob
Navigate Scenes with the ‘TEMPO’ knob
A Sends page for 6 knobs to control Sends A – F
Transport controls including Play/Pause, Play/Restart, Record, Overdub
Handy buttons for Undo & Redo, to switch between Sequencer and Arrangement views, and to bring up the Maschine plugin window
Buttons to navigate and fire/stop the currently selected Scene or Pattern, allowing on the fly mouse-free recording
All pads are reserved for MIDI notes, and group buttons for changing octaves, no confusing hidden features on pads
3. Unzip the file and install the Maschine template by dopening it in the Controller Editor (File > Open Template…)
4. Install the IMap script by copying the ‘Maschine-IMap’ folder to the appropriate User Remote Scripts folder for your OS. In Windows 7 Ableton’s User Remote Scripts folder is at ‘C:Users[USER NAME]AppDataRoamingAbletonLive [VERSION]PreferencesUser Remote Scripts’. On a Mac it is something like ‘Macintosh HD>Users>[USER NAME]>Library>Preferences>Ableton>[VERSION]>User Remote Scripts’. (NB: This folder may be hidden, do a google search to find out how to show hidden folders in your operating system)
5. Open the MEGAmaschine template project in Live. Go to Options > Preferences > MIDI/Sync and set it up like this:
6. You’re done! Test that your IMap macro knobs are controlling the racks in Live, and that all the other track control buttons are working. If you find MEGAmaschine useful, please head over and throw in a few bucks for my latest release ‘Remixes 1′ featuring my competition winning Icebird remix and Australian MCs remixed with my future styles. Or if you are low on coin, enter $0 and still get the tunes for free.
***ATTENTION PEOPLE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE IMAP MACRO CONTROLS ***
Download this alternate Maschine template: http://goo.gl/a8C3D This template does not need the IMAP script so step 4 above is unnecessary and you do not need to set ‘Maschine-IMAP’ as a control surface. The downside is the knobs will not automatically snap to the correct value, instead it will ‘pick-up’ like a standard midi controller (depends on your settings).
Use the ‘VOLUME’ knob to select a Track
Use the ‘TEMPO’ knob to select a Scene
Use ‘SAMPLING’ button to bring up the Device Detail area
Use ‘SNAP’ and ‘AUTOWRITE’ buttons to navigate devices left/right
Use the 8 knobs (knob page 1) to control the currently selected device/rack
Use the 2 knobs left knobs for Volume and Pan, and the other 6 (knob page 2) to control the 6 sends of the currently selected track
Use the ‘CONTROL’ button to select the Maschine track
Use the ‘STEP’ button to trigger the metronome, and the ‘SWING’ knob to select the clip quantisation
Use ‘BROWSE’ to open the currently selected track’s Automation lane
Use the 8 buttons across the top to jump to the 8 Locators in the Live template project
Use the ‘SCENE’ button to fire the currently selected Scene, and ‘PATTERN’ to fire the currently selected Clip, and ‘PAD MODE’ to stop the currently selected clip
Use ‘PAD MODE’ for Next Clip, and ‘NAVIGATE’ to stop the currently playing clip on the selected track
Use ‘DUPLICATE’ to un-arm every Track, ‘SELECT’ to arm the current Track, and ‘SOLO’ and ‘MUTE’ for the currently selected track
Use ‘GRID’ for Sequencer/Arrangement view
Use the left ‘<‘ and right ‘>’ for undo and redo
‘RESTART’ for Play/Restart, ‘PLAY’ for Play/Pause, ‘REC’ for Record, ‘ERASE’ for Overdub
‘NOTE REPEAT’ to go back to the arrangement
Watch my Workflow Tips video to learn how to use MEGAmaschine effectively (syncing Maschine and Live, Locators, etc.)
Refer to the controller editor:
This is what the Ableton Live Project looks like:
Changed ‘BROWSE’ to bring up the device detail, and ‘SAMPLING’ to select device
Changed ‘STEP’ to fold/unfold tracks in arrangement view
Changed Scene select to ‘TEMPO’ knob (having Track/Scene select on knobs next to each other makes sense – thanks to Citizen for the suggestion)
Added clip quantisation to ‘SWING’ knob-LP/HP filters in the EQ8 Rack now only activate when the knob is turned (thanks to Zarkov for the suggestion)
Added dummy bars to maschine vst, Group H (can be used to easily keep Maschine in sync with Live, using Loop Scene, without the need to adjust the lengths of
the patterns you are working with)
Added utility rack for volume automation (I find it best to use the Utility Gain to make volume automation, leaving the Volume control for trim)
Removed master track selection (unnecessary, just use ‘VOLUME’ knob to a select track)
Changed Sequencer/Arrangment view to ‘GRID’ button-Removed Scrub Left/Right ‘<‘ and ‘>’ buttons and replaced them with Undo/Redo (I found scrub was uselss, it makes sense having Undo/Redo with transport controls)
Changed Clip fire/stop buttons – ‘PAD MODE’ fires the next clip, ‘NAVIGATE’ stops clips on selected track
Added un-arm all to ‘DUPLICATE’ button (useful to un-arm tracks before recording automation)
Added keyboard shortcuts for locators, number 1-8 (handy for navigating Live when in Maschine mode)
Added metronome on/off to ‘STEP’ button
Changed Sends page to also include Volume and Pan controls for currently selected track, now only sends A-F (to free up other knobs)
Added Location buttons to Sends page, as well as Macro page (so that they are always handy)
Changed ‘NOTE REPEAT’ button to ‘back to arrangemnt mode’
Removed Device Select button (unecessary, can just use Device Left/Right buttons ‘SNAP’/’AUTO WRITE’)
Changed ‘BROWSE’ button to ‘expand automation lane’ (useful for recording automation into arrangement view)
Well I was going to have a series of posts to help people build their own “Dirt Cheap Software Studio” but this guy beat me to it. And done a pretty nice job. And I would’ve never got around to it anyway.
Using Reaper with a nice selection of free plugins, this little download contains everything you need in a free software studio, and because Reaper runs off a thumb drive it’s portable!
There’s a few free VST plugins that I would class as must-haves that didn’t make this list, so I’ll follow up with a few blog post + links some time soon.
* Note: Reaper isn’t exactly “free”. The evaluation version is uncrippled, and unexpiring, but after 30 days you should buy a license, which as I have mentioned before is dirt cheap! You’ll no doubt want to support the development of such a great piece of software, fork out the cash and feel good about yourself.
I’ve put multi-samples of my childhood piano up on Freesound.org. This is the piano that I first learnt music on when I was 6, it’s very old with ivory keys. I decided to sample it when I was back at my mum’s one holidays so I could take it anywhere I went. Now I share it with the internet for free.
Freesound.org is a database of sound files uploaded by the freesound community, all licensed under a Creative Commons license. This basically means you can download and use the sounds for free, you just have to attribute the source. I didn’t upload my samples to freesound because I care about attribution, but just to support and promote this great project. There’s thousands of sunds to download, from field recordings to synths and instrument recordings. Some are very professionally made, and others (like mine) are recorded using more modest set-ups.
My childhood piano, an old German upright. Recorded using a Studio Projects B3 condenser mic through a Presonus TubePre into an Akai MPC1000. Mic’d from the top with the lid up, closer to the bass end. The piano is old and slightly out of tune, with a crack in the soundboard. The only processing was with AnalogX AutoTune to tune the samples, which did a very good job. Sampled 3 notes per octave so each sample only needs to be tuned + or – a semitone to span the whole range (except for one octave where the key was busted). It is a dark and moody sounding, a lot of character but in now way “pristine”.