The beautiful thing about software is that it’s flexible. You can reconfigure an entire live rig on the fly. But it’s still necessary to channel that flexibility into consistency, especially playing live. Reuse the stuff you need most so it’s always there. And train your hands and muscle memory so you can play fluidly.
Savages – the Chicago/Dallas duo of Ted “TJ” Pallas and Alexandra Hartman – have shared their go-to channel strip full of all their favorite tools. And while they were at it, they recreated a unique EQ.
PLAYdifferently’s Model 1 mixer takes a different approach to EQ. The best way to describe it is as an “isolator” – designed for dialing in specific frequencies. Created by Richie Hawtin and Xone mastermind Andy Rigby-Jones, you can see the marriage of Rich’s fine-tuned approach to sound sculpting with Rigby-Jones electronics and design chops.
Here, it’s delivered as a set of macros, using the built-in Auto Filter so it’ll work with any flavor of Ableton Live. Now, this is hardly a replacement for the actual mixer. Those filters don’t sound the same as Rigby-Jones’ creations, for one. And the conveniences of the mixer are a separate thing.
But this is all a reminder of how useful it is to encapsulate sonic tools in channel strips for live and DJ use. In fact, I’m thinking about running with this idea but substituting some custom Reaktor filters. And it’s still enough to play with. (In fact, what I noticed was that I needed to practice with this just to get some technique together.)
TJ and Alexandra aren’t the first to recreate this. You can read a detailed tutorial from May by DJ Soo for DJ Tech Tools:
That’s a good guide, too, if you don’t know how to create the sort of rack TJ and Alexandra have here.
And a nice channel strip
Speaking of encapsulation, I found the channel strip just as useful. It’s all about reuse: having a spectrum to check on what’s happening on a channel, useful effects, and an EQ.
So, use as-is, free. See what you like and don’t like. Then set about making your own dream channel strip.
Hungry for more freebies? Why — here’s a Lemur template from Savages for controlling that swanky new step sequencer in Traktor 2.11, in case you’ve got an iPad but no controller:
And for a very select audience, a Lemur template for the wonderful Axoloti hardware: