Ableton Live : Exploring Drum Rack | Creative Strategies | Sampling | Berklee Online | Erin Barra


[MUSIC] Drum racks and live are super powerful and customizable and live approaches them in a way that other DAWs don’t often. It gives you a lot of freedom to process inside of the rack. So, let’s take a look. I’ve got a drum rack with four samples living inside of it right now. I’ve got [NOISE] a kick, a clap [NOISE] and two iterations of a hi hat. They’re dropped onto cells which are correlated to MIDI notes and you can see them inserted on the left here as well where they are in terms of a linear grid or a piano roll, and I can play them from [NOISE] this digital version of the device or if I have a MIDI controller, I can play them from there as well. So, whichever cell is currently selected, if I click this device button, it’s going to show it to me and as I click through them, I can see the different samples. If you notice, the sample is actually inside of a simpler. So, each of these cells currently is holding a simpler device. We’ve looked at simpler before. I can do any adjustments or manipulations that I want because it’s its own device. So, this is one device to hold many devices. Next up, let’s open the chains. So, each of these devices exists on its own chain which can hold additional devices like audio effects, MIDI effects. Right now, they just have a simpler on each of them and I can go through and select the chain, and I can see the device that is currently inserted on it or any series of devices. I can also unfold the track title here and see things displayed vertically if I’d like. You can see, if I pulled this track fader down, I’m also adjusting the volume parameter here because they are one and the same. So, each of these chains has a volume control, panning, track activators, solo buttons. Just like a track, it’s called track parameters. I’m going to drop an audio effect in here so you can see how this works. So, let’s pull this EQ three and I’m going to just drop it on the clap. So, there’s a few ways to get this done. I can just drop it right on the cell. If I select the clap and I scroll down, you can see here, the EQ three exists now. I’m going to solo this so we can just hear the EQ happening. I’m going to launch this pattern. [MUSIC] So, I’m affecting just the clap in this instance and I’m going to unsolo this now and this MIDI sequence has a kick and a snare inside of it. [MUSIC] So, you can see that only the snare was being affected and it’s inserted directly after the simpler device and it’s on its own chain, right? At the end, there’s this additional parenthetical phrase. So, I can grab this and put it at the other side of this parentheses and then both the kick and the clap are going to be affected by this EQ three. [MUSIC] Versus putting it back on the chain with the clap. [MUSIC] The way I like to think about this is just arithmetic or parenthetical phrases. If you’re doing a math equation, the things that exist inside of the parentheses needs to be summed first. So, I’ve got my closing parentheses here and this chain will be summed before anything at the end here or vice versa. Everything’s going to be summed inside of the parentheses and then run through what’s happening at the end of the chain. Since MIDI effects come before virtual instruments, if we wanted to drop a MIDI effect down here, it would just go straight in before the simpler device. So now, this chain contains a MIDI effect and a simpler device. Take this out for now. So, in addition to processing things in serial which is just like dropping an audio effect as an insert onto a track, I can also do things in parallel inside of a drum rack. So, this is happening here, I can open up the send and return functions. This little S and R become visible to me when the chains are displayed. So, oftentimes, you want to put a little reverb on a lot of samples that are inside of a drum rack or maybe you’ve sliced MIDI in this instance. So, I’m going to go and just grab a reverb device and drop audio effect here. Now, you can see I have “send a” showing up. So let me open this up. I’m going to turn this all the way wet, which is what you want to do when you’re processing something in parallel. I’m going to play the second pattern which has the high hats, this snare or it’s a clap and the kick playing. [MUSIC] So, as I play this, I’m going to turn up the amount of Sunday and you’re going to hear this reverb in action. So now, the clap and the high hats have reverb on them but the kick does not. So, it’s an internal serial and parallel processing functionality directly inside of a drum rack. Additionally, you can do some pretty elaborate MIDI routing as well. Take this off so we’re only looking at these four chains. You can see, I can affect what MIDI has received or is actually being played. But perhaps more interesting are these choke groups. So, I can have one sample choke another if I’d like. I can put them in the same group and then they will all choke each other, meaning it’s going to stop the sample from playing. So, I’m going to put this snare and the high hats all into choke group one. I’m going to open the patterns. So you can see, there’s some significant overlap like here’s some hi-hats playing and there’s a snare below. It’s going to affect the way that this pattern is being played. [MUSIC] A lot of those snares didn’t come through because they were being choked off by these high hats. So, this is a nice way to create an internal relationship between samples as it often happens with high hats. If you’ve got a number of different samples that are all really similar, you’re trying to create more emulation of a real drummer is going to play the stick in a different place on the cymbal all the time creating so many different stick with variations and you want them all to have a relationship with each other because they’re coming from the same virtual cymbal. If you will, you can put them on the same choke group and get some really interesting results from that. So, I’m going to quickly just go back to the way things were and take all this away. So, we’re not looking at it and I love this about this device where I can just kind of show and hide whatever it is that I want to see. The last thing I’m going to show should make pretty clear sense already. If I can just drop a simpler device directly onto a drum rack, it would make sense that I could drop any other device on there as well. So, I’m going to go into instruments and I’ll just drop an instance of operator right here. Let’s see what happens when I play it. [MUSIC] I’ve got up here sine wave and that’s actually what’s being reflected in this device as well. I could create a much more complex sound if I wanted to and I can actually just fix the pitch as well. Something you see a lot are instances of external instruments which is a device that’s going to allow you to send MIDI to a piece of external hardware like an analogue synths and receive MIDI and audio. So, a lot of times when people are working with external hardware, they need to use external instrument and they can still use it inside of a drum rack. So you get all of the awesome power processing power of the rack right with your analog gear as well. So, there’s a lot to this. Drum racks are much more complicated than they might seem off of the bat and there’s so much of that can be done right inside of this one device. [MUSIC]

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