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Sound Design: Building the Palette


Ableton Tips and Tricks


Lesson Info

Sound Design: Building the Palette

This is the sound design segment and we're going to talk about building the palate with sound design and this interactive uh these interactive sounds and how they a relationship that they form with each other and and how you can build a diverse palate so that they all sort of have their own character and they and they sound good in the mix there's good contrast uh we're going to start off with uh with tone and synthesis we're going to make some base and kick drums with operator from scratch we're going to do some lead sounds like something you might play like a, um a melodic riff like maybe like a pentatonic solo or something like that with uh we're going to do some passion like some soft cords some some sort of like thick harmonic sounds um we're going to look at the electric piano, which is one of lives fairly new instruments that they have they've added and it it's it's an incredible uh uh modeling of an electrical electric piano and it's very simple and easy to use uh, we're going ...

to look at some bell and resonant tonal noise um with believe it's collision and then there's also strings and bowed sounds and that's another one of able tunes instruments, that's tension we're going to talk about special dynamics and a little bit more about um you know, making things wide and narrow and giving the motion through the space so that they sit in their own spot and we talked about using ella foes and automation to do that and phaser and flame jer effect, those are some audio effects enable son flynn jer is essentially a phaser ones just born drastic and has quite a really wild character to it. We're going to talk about adding harmonics like with distortion and subtract of effects. So first off we're going to take a look at an oscillator and we're going to talk about the different period wave forms so gonna go over here just I'm gonna create a middie track and drop an operator in from our instruments, okay? So this song that we're currently working in this in a different key, so we're just going to change the key real quick and we're working in c minor go back to the device, ok? So the four period way of farms are the the classics, the sign, the saw, the square in the triangle and what these shapes referred to is basically the the harmonic structure of the sound and they each sort of have their own amount of harmonics and we're going in our example we're looking at operator and we're going to start here with one with one of us later and the cool thing is we can actually span through the senate on looks like I don't have to click to do this for some reason so as I'm just using the arrow keys to sort of check out all this if you take a look at this this is a way for the way from editor and operator it actually shows you which additional partial harmonic so um these these air more complex tones and they're actually adding partials or additional sine waves and harmonics to the sound to create these other tones right um these air called composite wave forms so basically I can add and partials and operator ah I basically illustrate my own uh sound with partial sonically uh on what I did there is I actually clicked I mean I went to sixteen partials instead of thirty two or sixty four more details basically mohr harmonics so in operator there it's basically three kinds of sentences it's it's known as an fm synthesizer meaning frequency modulation and the way that works is there's there's two zx basically two signals routing together there's a carrier signal and a modulator signal and the second signal is the modulator and in this view here, if they're vertical that means their frequency modulation and you'll notice that summer vertical and some are horizontal like this one and what's happening there is that means that and these you see these colored squares and these represent the operators or the oscillators a b c and d and I just turned sea off the accidents pop that back on and this is essentially the way that these some before their amplified and when their frequent set to frequency modulate their basically multiplying each other's frequencies and then amplifying and there's all kinds of weird wild distortion originally fm synthesizers in the nineteen eighties like the casio dick seven which is like total sort of game changing synthesizer for music um they were based completely on sine wave partials excuse me sign wave sign away of oscillators that were modulating each other and there wasn't actually a lot of filter and either not a lot of subtracted census is like if you want to make a sound frequency modulator to sign waves or um or however many times it was you know you could get and ah and make this sound that way what operator has incorporated is the ability to use mohr it's used composite wave forms and other shapes and in tones to frequency modulator each other for a form or wider variety of sounds and and with soft sense that was revolutionized uh so you have the option of doing some different routing where they're actually additive strictly additives of meaning they all some equally or different operators are oscillators frequency modules each other and others are just simply additive in the mix right? So um I'm just gonna go teo so this would be currently we have I'm just going to dio when you do a saw sound and and with another I'm going to do a square because they're pretty distinctive sounds ensuring that went up on us either to ah you can hear the kind of bigger grit details and the song but not much through that so the thing about a square has all these harmonics that air taking up tons of bandwidth in the signal and uh that's a really tough sound to mix if you want space to be for there to be space for other sounds um so uh additive wise it's tough to hear both of those um but if I can change that algorithm for frequency modulation it's a really wild distortion it gets really crazy when you start playing with the tuning on you can you can automate the volume level like with your lfo you can go in here civilian be trainer lfl on changed it turned the pitch routing off what you want turn the amount up and a lot of times I feel like it's a lot I'm going to change this from a saw in the first house later for the for the carrier signal to be a sign because right now it's happening is the saw in the square just like competing and you know it's it's just distortion and it's a mess right and which you know distortion and craziness could be good sometimes it's got this place right now, we're modulating, we're modulating uh, this sine wave with a square, so I'm going to change it to a saw, which is just kind of like, uh, wieters a little bit wider space on the harmonics and actually feels a little bigger, like a little bigger sound particles or whatever have a nice you can also start subtracting from this with filter, and that would give you something from like a attractive style of synthesis so waken change it so that these first two oscillators air still frequency modulating, but the additional oscillators air just adding in right? So what we would dio is find the algorithm with a and b or the yellow and green on top of each other and the others on this side, so instead of doing I don't, I don't really get that analytical with fm synthesis, athm centers of this show crazy that it's best just to do it by ear, and so if I want to change the tone quickly, we'll try changing the algorithms, so let me let me I'm going bring that filter back up so we can actually hear the difference there it is just a way for you, so if if I need us if I like what I've got, but I need a fairly drastic change in tone, I'll start by just seeing if I can try different algorithm for the way that those air something so I'll go into this panel here which is at the down in your amplification their volume and tone and time so, uh the time we could talk about this thiss panel real quick the volume is overall volume tone this controls like how much of these upper harmonics there are nicks since there's since this is ah soft sent and you're generating tons of these crazy harmonics I feel like towards the end of my process with like really buzzy sounds whenever there's like death ring like conversion mp three or that kind of thing I feel like that's the first thing to go is those textures upstairs in the upper harmonics so one thing you can do is kind of back off of that a little bit with this tone dial so it's sort of access like a almost like a low pass filter it sort of shaves off those upper frequencies so that there's basically not as much there to sort of get uh you know, all hacked apart by mp three compression or whatever. So, um yeah, so basically you can switch between fm and additive synthesis and all the while using this attractive filtering um and operator is awesome because it runs very lightly on cpu power that's probably one of my favorite things about it you know, it's. Great. It does the job for simple sound effects, like sub base, which is basically just a sign wave, um, or saws or squares, and has some nice glide function and that kind of thing. It gets the job done quick and it's. The user interface is fairly easy use, but the the diversity of frequency modulation synthesis is. So while you can get so many tones and harmonics through that distortion, that it's a really versatile something.

Class Description

Ableton Live is the most efficient platform for electronic music production for djs, producers and sound designers. DJ and producer, Andrew Luck will take you through some of the coolest, and most commonly overlooked, features in Ableton Live.

In Ableton Tips and Tricks, Andrew will walk you through sound design using Ableton Instruments, mastering both Sampler and Simpler to bring real-world audio samples into your production. You’ll also learn about some of the less intuitive features of Session View including, Impulse, Clip Launching and Slice to MIDI.

If you're a new Ableton user and are ready to start using the platform like a pro, Andrew Luck's tips and tricks will help you brush up on those next-level skills.