Ableton quietly made the Push pads way more powerful

Ableton Live 9.6.2 is here. Apart from a slew of bug fixes and some improvements to how the Link connection indicator works, there are a lot of improvements to Push, via software and firmware – even down to details like making the potentiometers more jitter free. That’s all well and good. But the important thing is that some of these small details could really change the way you work with Push for the better. The big one: you can now copy and paste clips to any slot on the Push, just by touching the pads. It’s a little thing, but …


Make DJ Charts from Traktor, and More Free Playlist Tricks

If DJing with vinyl leaves traces in our memory, recollections of physical handling of album sleeves and crates, then for digital DJing, we must rely on data. Traktor DJ is quietly noting everything you do as you play – at the gig, in the studio. The key is how to do something with that data. The coolest trick came last month from our friend Tomash Ghz – he of the superb Digital Warrior, among others. (Very keen to get back to my desk in Berlin to muck about with the latest step sequencer there, but I digress.) Tomash has whipped …


Cheap Tape Saturation Hack: Delicious Distortion with a Tape-to-CD Adapter

What a lovely coincidence that tape, originally a recording medium, works beautifully for distortion and saturation. Whatever the reason, tape saturation is a popular effect. If you want subtle, pristine saturation, there are various meticulous models of high-quality studio equipment. That was one topic in our interview earlier this week with Universal Audio’s Dr. David Berners. (UA’s model is intended to model the entire multitrack tape deck, so quite a bit different.) There’s also, on a much gentler budget, a simple saturation effect in the US$79 Harrison Mixbus, intended more for the saturation behavior on main or submix buses than …


ffmpeg Video Conversion Recipes: Building on Your OS; Splitting Video, Audio

Compact cameras like the Kodak Zi6 (or my shiny, new, optical image-stabilizing HD Zi8) sure are convenient. They also do some weird things with their video and audio encoding. ffmpeg to the rescue. Image (CC-BY) Ofer Deshe. I freaking love ffmpeg. This command-line utility, backed by one of the most versatile video engines anywhere, can convert from just about anything to just about anything. It’s free, it’s more compatible than anything I’ve seen, it’s absolutely robust, and it’s also really, really fast. It’s just the thing when you encounter a video file that’s causing trouble, or if Apple just (cough) …


Ableton Live 8: Group Clips with Track Groups

If you’re using Ableton Live 8, you’ve hopefully already discovered the joys of Track Groups. Track grouping is a welcome feature in any DAW, but in Live, the mixer-centric Session View can easily get unruly with endless columns of vertical tracks. I wanted to share some discoveries about Track Groups, including what I thought was a big realization about how they worked with clips that turned out not to be as exciting as I thought. To group tracks, select multiple tracks first (click one, then shift-click the last one), right-click (ctrl-click on Mac), and choose Group Tracks. The result – …


Korg Kaossilator 4-Bar Loop Hack

Intrigued by the Kaossilator, but annoyed by hearing two bars over and over and over and over…? Our friend David Battino has the solution, and while it’s a simple trick, it wound up being the deal-maker for buying Korg’s cute little “dynamic phrase synth”: What loosened my credit card was a secret hack Korg revealed during fact-check: If you power up the Kaossilator while holding down the Tap and Loop Rec buttons, the loop memory doubles from two bars to four. That may not sound like much, but it gives you time to set up tension and release; I find …


Gustavo Bravetti Show Us How To Glitch out Ableton Live

If your musical production sense tends to gravitate towards the clicky, minimal, and weird, you will appreciate the results you can achieve with Ableton Live by employing a few well-placed tricks. Gustavo Bravetti–the Uruguay-based producer / DJ / maker / tinkerer / entrepreneur we interviewed last year–walks us through his process of glitching out Live with a few tweaks, namely some well-placed volume envelopes, using follow actions and legato and then adding swing to groove-ify the whole thing. Ed.: Okay, this isn’t necessarily helping Live shake its reputation as just this — a wonderland for glitchers. You really can make …