Music Production in Ableton Live 9: Part 5 - Synths, Samplers and Racks | Tomas George | Skillshare

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Music Production in Ableton Live 9: Part 5 - Synths, Samplers and Racks

teacher avatar Tomas George, Music + Audio Production Instructor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Welcome to this Class

    • 2. Synths Intro

    • 3. Synths Explained

    • 4. Instrument Rack

    • 5. Macros

    • 6. Simpler

    • 7. Sampler

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About This Class

In this Part 5 class of my Ableton Live 9 series, we can through some of the Synths, Samplers and Racks in Ableton Live 9 on screen with me Tomas George.

We cover the topics -


Instrument Racks

and Sampler

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Tomas George

Music + Audio Production Instructor


Hi, Tomas here. I'm a UK Music Producer, Audio Engineer and Composer I've been producing and writing music now for over ten years. 

I have a MMus Masters Degree in Music Production and a BA(Hons) in Music Composition.

I really enjoy creating and editing all types of music, but I especially love teaching it online.


See full profile

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1. Welcome to this Class: Hi there. It's Thomas George, and welcome to this class music production in Able to live now in part five, which is all about synths, samplers and racks. So this is a part five class. If you're brand new to able to live nine, I do recommend going back and checking out parts. Want a four? However, you can always skip these and have a look at this class. If you want to learn all about simp samplers, Iraq's so in this class, we're going to have a look at the instrument rack. Matt Crows simpler on sample, So join me in this class if you want to learn all about synths, samplers and racks in ableto live nine. 2. Synths Intro: Hi. This lecture is a brief overview off synthesizers in ableto So we've actually got quite a few cents that come of ableto we can access thes by going to instruments here for this example. Let's go on analog. So we can even double click it or drag it to a midi track. Or we can have a look at some of the presets that come with the synthesizer, access the presets. Just click on this arrow here, and then we can audition some of these sounds. So I've got all different types. So there's base brass effects, guitar and blocked pad piano and key strings. Simply, please simply leads since miscellaneous, simple rhythmic voices wins. Okay, let's just try base everything. Audition these by just clicking on them, and it will play a sound from the seventh as long as we've got this had failed on here. So just scroll through these how I'm actually going toe. Just choose the default one. I'm just going toe drag on this muddy track. Now we've got a load of different things here. It might look a bit confusing if you're new to see emphasis. I'm basically just going to give you a quick overview of what some of the things actually do. So we start off here with the oscillators. So we have different waves, so we have a square wave or sawtooth wave noise. This will give a different Santo are synthesizer. Then we have the octaves say, for example, we drag it there. We can put it back to the default by just it in the delete key semi tones de tune, so semi tones will change it via semi tones. Rather, inactives de tune will put it slightly out of tune. This is quite good. If we're layering more than one Simpson weaken, do tune one or both of them to kind of create a larger chorus style effect. We also have a filter here so you can choose the filter type. Low pass means it basically cuts out. The highs on allows the lows High pass means it cuts out the lows and allows the highest band past week and create our own bands on. Just allow this sound Onda. We can choose the cut off. This is the cut off frequency on the cut off. We can choose what frequencies we want to actually cut out resonance. This is quite interesting. Residents will basically Busta Frequencies at the point we're cutting off. And then we've got the amplifier, which is the pan. So the left to right speakers or headphones on the volume, the level. We also have another oscillator here, so we could have two oscillators on at the same time. But this is just a basic overview off synthesis. The next lecture. I'm going to go into more details about this synthesizer here, analog. 3. Synths Explained: Hi. This next lecture is continuing, looking at synthesizers and synthesis. So we're gonna have a look at this. Unlocks IMF again because I do believe once you get your head around synthesis and synthesizers is quite similar and all the over Simpson and you can work out what to do, as long as you know the basics, offs, emphasizes and synthesis. So I'm just going to record in a quick midi part now so it can actually show you how changing these parameters actually effects are sound. Okay, Just going toe, command a nuke. Want ice? Maybe just make these a bit longer. Okay? Great. And of asleep, it's on a loop and get back to that of a tab here. Obviously, Octave will affect the active. Let's have a look at the different oscillators, so the different shapes will give a different sound. Obviously, the noise sound create a lot of noise. Sore tooth will give a sharper sound on the sign. A waiver give a smoother sound square wave would give kind of a more plastic sound. Let's go back to the sine wave. Semi tones will obviously increase in the semi tones. You'll notice that part of it is still playing the root, and the other part is gone up in semi tones. That's because Oscillated two is also on that we have our Slater one Onda oscillator to Let's just look at oscillator one. For now, thing is the sign wife soar to for a lot Sharper square wave on the noise So D tuning is great when we're using both oscillators. Just show, you know, so the both at the same time, and it gives a richer figures out. There is no D tuning. It would sound like this. And with the D tuning kind of a chorus bigger, richer sound. So hit delete to put it back to where it waas on Let's turn off Oslo to then we have the filter here, so low pass will basically allow the low frequencies but cuts off the high frequencies so you can choose where we want it to cut off on the residence. Basically, boost the sound wherever waken Here, the resident note change drinks. You create some kind of weird strange sounds just with messing with their residence, which is pretty cool. So low pass cuts at the low high pass cuts at the high, and we have been passed notch where we can kind of create our own bands as well. Amplifier who need amplifier to make a sound been no sound changed If you wear headphones now, this might sound a bit crazy, so panel change the planning's level. It's obviously way over. Stuff here. Live abroad. Then we have LFO, So LFO is a low frequency oscillator. We can basically use this to control of a sounds. So it's kind of too low, really, to here with human ears so we don't actually use it to control the pitch. Use its control over sounds. Weaken. Control it in hurts or a note value. I prepare a note value. Let's try 1/4 notes your notice as well. Whatever we click on this will actually change to whatever is last like Tom. So let's click on the cut off. Let's use LFO one here, this moving every quarter Note. Knife smoove up to triple eight tonight. Let's go to the pan. We're gonna have this control by LFO one also, and you'll hear the panning moving in our ears now at the rate off. One dotted note. 60. Let's change it to 1/2 note and you're here. The panning move every half notes so you could make some really cool and interesting sounds with LFO. We also have noise here. F one basically means it's gonna play through this us later enough to means this oscillator way have color, which changes the sound of it too. So we can have 50 50 or we can have F two or F one. You might want to have a small amount of noise. Just add a bit of grip. Let's turn on us later to so previously I de tuned while they're Slater's. Let's do to us later to on this concave a really big rich sound so we can actually separates the L A. Foes as well. LFO One effects are Slater one Mela foe to effect so you can set them a different rates as well. So let's set Oslo 22 at 1/4. Notes. Change the filter here. Let's change the padding as well. Waken creates a really cool interest in size of this. Let's go back to our MIDI controller so you can create some really cool, interesting sounds, so I wouldn't just rely on the presets try and learn how the sound actually works on what the dials actually do. Then if you do go back to the presets, you can easily just change them around and create your own custom sounds. We can save this by hitting this button here, and it just comes up here under analog under the user library. So I just call this test one. And now we can go back to the user library, go under instruments and log, which is the symptom test one. Drag this on here. This will bring up the symptoms that way. Just made. Okay. So I hope you're starting to understand synthesis and how we actually shaped the sound through our different synthesizers. So thank you for watching this lecture, and I'll see you in the next one. 4. Instrument Rack: Hi. This lecture is now about inch mint racks. So inch mint racks actually allows us to stack more than one interest mint together. This is really useful for life performance. If you want to switch between instruments really quickly with your MIDI controller or if you wish to actually layer multiple instruments at once, it's really simple. To do well we have to do is drive the investment rack into our media instruments. Or alternatively, you can open up management here and then just hit command and J. And this will add this bracket on the outside, which turns this into an investment rack. So we can click on these buttons here. This what I built the macro, and this one here will open up their instrument rack on this one here will open and close our synth. All we have to do is drop another investment on here. So let's get collision. Drag this in here and now we've got collision. Andi unlock. So it's similar to the drum rack. We've got a few different things here, So we've got key so basically on their midi controller, this is playing. But if the analog on the collision, you can see the information going in here. So what we could do is just have the analog where it's low on the collision where it's high . So this is their collision. This is the UN look for go up swaps to collision and then to analog so we could play a baseline with that left hand. Let's make this about higher. Actually, it's kind of a bit too low, so we could do that kind of thing so we could have one hand playing a bass part. For example. In another hand, playing more of a lead line could also change the velocity. So let's just But these both all the way for you Click on velocity. So now the analog will play when it's took softly on. The collision will play when it's hit hard. So I've got a MIDI controller here, so I'm just gonna press it softly. It's plays the analog, and I'm gonna hit it hard. You can see up here, plays a collision you can just see here. We can create cross fades as well with a drag this over so this will cross fade between them to So if you play around this area it will play a cross fade. Let's try and get that. There's a cross fade. We can also insert his cross fades on the notes here. This could create an interest in effect, going over. We have chain. This is very similar to the drum rack here. We can actually sign this to a MIDI controller, So I've actually got a MIDI controller here called the Oxygen 25. And in the middle of this midi controller there's a large dial that goes up. But the first thing we need to do is actually set up our MIDI controller. So let's go to Preferences. And here is my MIDI controller. Make sure track is on a remote because we want to control able to move this so we have to do is map this by hitting the Midi because it's the midi we want to map, not the key. The key is for the physical keys on your keyboard So the numbers and the letters But the midi is for our midi controller So we can even hit command m or hit this mini But in here and basically anything that is blue, we can map, So I'm just going to click on this and then move this style on my media controller. And then I'm gonna hit this midi button again. And now I'm moving this with my MIDI controller. So I want the unlock to play when it's all the way down on the collision to play when it's all the way up. So performing live I could quickly swap between the two. So let's go back to Velocity on. Just set this back to Oh for both of instruments. Let's go back to key and set this all as well. So now it's only dependant on this switch. Online media controller, okay and chain. So I want zero that let's give it a bit more space. So 0 to 8, which is towards the bottom. I'll give it a bit more space just in case I banged it all the way down. So zeros 24 and then from about 100 toe 127 So it's towards the bottom. It will be the analog and towards the top it will be the collision. So let's hear this. So this is the collision on look, and we can even drag this over and create a cross fade between the tea like, say, Okay, let's say this. So this is great when performing life we can ADM or than this many instruments as well so it could have in the middle could be another instrument at the ends. Maybe even move a few of these dolls around also to patch these up. So this allows us to actually perform on one keyboard and not have to go into able, turn and switch between the different instruments. We can just a dialogue and a MIDI controller, and it'll switch between the different instruments. So for live, this could be really, really handy. So this is basically how we can use the instrument track in able to life. 5. Macros: Hi. In this last year, we're going to have a look at Mac Rose. So macro is basically allow us to control Mawr on one parameter in our investment rack. We can open up the Macron's by hitting this button here. And then we will see these eight separate dial's at the moment that all grade out, we can move them, but it won't actually do anything yet, so I've just dragged into analog instruments the default at a muted noise guitar synthesizer. So it's really easy. All we have to do is find the thing we want to actually map to the macro control. Click and go to map to macro one. So macro warm or now control filter one cut off frequency. Let's go to the other analog synths. I'm also going to map this cut off one filter frequency. We can rename the macro hit in command and are I just call it puts off. So if we're life and we wanted to control the filter, frequency would have to open up the sim, find out whether filter frequency is, and then drag it up with a macro. We can easily just change this off one dial we can even have the instruments and the racks closed. So all we see is the macro. So for life performance, we just know that this is cut off, so it could be a lot easier to do. We can even map this to our MIDI controller. What we have to do is hit, commanded em. Click the cut off macro that I renamed, then just move a dial on Amity keyboard. This will appear, and now when I move this dial, it will move the macro. So I'm just going to hear a note on my medic keyboard on This is playing both off the Simpson on. When I move this dialogue, thats will increase the cut off frequency. We don't have to do this with just macro when we can use any of thes Mac Rose so we could have them control any of the parameters on the synthesizer. It's really easy to set up. There's one interesting thing we can do as well. If we open up the Midi mapper, we can hit control and click and invert this. Now let's hit Commander them. So I'm actually moving the dial up now, and it's going down on the cut off E. I personally prefer it's not inverted. Then it'll make a bit more sense visually to May, but you're free to experiment and try all different macros. But for live performance, this could really help. You don't necessarily have to have the same thing as a macro that have tohave frequent seasonal. This emphasizes. You could have some strange, interesting stuff like Octave one as well. Could be a map to cut off one so we never remove this Now. It will also remove the octave you so you could make some experimental stuff alive as well . Let's map the do tune. Also, I'd probably rename this to cut off, too. They may be f pitch mad. Okay, that's also map the pan just for fun. We can go into the other synthesizer a map, this one also. So you really come up as many things as we want into macros. And like I said, it's really handy for life performance. So it's still this and live performance of that Macron would have to find all the different effects and then maybe a map of them to separate control this and move them all the same time. of Macron's weaken. Just map alta $1 on up and just move. Or really easily. So this lecture was all about macros. I hope you found it useful. I'll see you in the next lecture. 6. Simpler: Hi. This lecture is about the simpler. So we have a simpler Onda sample er in ableto. So if you go to instruments, we can see them here. Simpler and simpler, you might be thinking, What's the difference doing the simpler in the sampler? Basically a simpler is a simple version of a sampler. But there's one main difference with one main difference is the simpler can only load one sample at a time on a sampler colored more than one. I'll be talking about the sampler in the next lecture, but for now, let's just have a look at the simpler if we expand it here. We also have some presets so we can have a listen to these presets and audition these. So these are ones made by a Bilton. We're just going to start off with a blank some plus, so let's go to samples on here. You can use own samples that don't have to be the able to Oman's. You could even record your own voice saying certain stuff and chop it up or record something called found sounds. So, for example, thistles may hit my desk. You could recall this on, then turned this into another sample or make drum kits out of certain sounds. A fridge door is great for a kick drum. Banging a wall can be a great for a kick drum or hitting a table could be great for a snare . And so it doesn't necessarily have to be pre recorded drum sounds or pre recorded vocal samples. That can basically be anything that can turn into an instrument. So let's click. Unable to Oman's. First of all, we've got all these ones here. Some of these have notes next to them. This is for the sampler. More than this simple er. You'll find out all about that in the next lecture. Let's choose this one. We can change the start of the sample on the end point of the sample. I could just have the start of it, and this automatically transpose, is the sample. So if I play on my Midi controller now, I'm just going to play, etc. Thats will play at C or G plate G or C octave above. You could hear it changes pitch so we can play in different rhythms on different notes. You could double it or half it. Let's go through and find something that has a bit more of a pitch. Let's just scrolled out and find something that is a bit more pitched. Egypt, Let's hear this. I quite like the sound of the drum at the start, so you can just gave free. And just to sample this trump up, I'm going to change this and half it. What's so? And then we also have the I. D. S and R, which stands for attack, decay sustained and release. Attack is basically how long it takes to actually get to the sound. So if I have a slow attack or high attack, it won't get to the side of straight away. If have fast attack, it will quickly get to the sound. The release is basically look of let go of the note now, and it's still actually playing good how long the note is held for. So if we have a short release or along the release, some playing the same river on my media keyboard or a really long release, Okay, Several acute frequency. So we have a filter here as well. So this is cutting out love. The high frequencies resonance way also have what marriage is here, so you can change. It's a different war, notes. She would give a different sound as well. So let's try texture. I have used a few of the D. A. W's where the sample in is nowhere near as easy. ALS efficient isn't able to do a quick sample. We just have to open up the simpler and just drag in. An audio really is super easy. So this is basically the simpler. We also have different modes, like one shot on slicing. But this is basically an overview off. Simpler. The next lecture. We're going to have a look at sample, which is kind of a more complicated version of simpler where it can use a load of different samples. 7. Sampler: Hi. And now we're going to have a look at the sample instrument. So the sample A is basically a more complex version off, the simpler. So if we go instruments, but you can click on the sample here if we hit this drop down arrow. We have all different presets that we can choose. Well, we can actually audition these. There are some really good ones, actually, but let's just drag in a blank wall. So here's a sampler. It's all blank. What we have to do, first of all, is drag in a sample. This doesn't have to be one of able to the samples. It can basically be any bit of audio. But for this demonstration, I'm going to drag in a sample. I want to use something that's pitched, so I'm just going to search through here and try and find something that's got a pitch. Dark thoughts. Okay, let's dragon this one C one dot thought it says See one, because down here, we've got the root key ableto or the sampler doesn't actually know what notice is. It's just the weight Pictures is from relative pits. So if it knows what see is or see one it can pitch up. So this see isn't a correct say it's the wrong active. So let's put this down to see one, okay? And that's the pitch that's intended so we can change the start point of the loop on the end point of the leap. This is kind of a one shot mode with this arrow here. So when I hit it holding down the key now and it stopped playing for change it to this plays a loop continuously and we have boomerang mode, which means it plays a loop and it plays from the end to the starting in the start to the end and so on and so forth like this. Of course, we have the loop start so we can do it like this instead of Dragnet. But I person like to drag it so confined exactly where once and then never need to tweak it , always tweak on here. The rest of the sample, though, is very similar to any kind of synthesizer, so we also have a filter on the attack and decay release and sustain the modulation. So this is all similar to synthesis. But now we're going to have a look at those owns. This is what really makes a sample a standout. So the zones, when we hit it, open up a new window, and this basically allows us to have more than one sample at a time. This could be super super useful. One way that's quite popular in a lot of electronic music at the moment is sticking in the vocal part in the sample and chopping up into different sections. So, for example, the sea could have the singer, so oh, on the E flat could have the singer's saying. G says O G. Uh huh. So each one of these notes could be a different phrase of the vocal to make a ref of the vocal sound. If you have a listen to someone like D. J. Snake, one of his most popular songs, Lean On that uses a sampler from Mableton. I'm pretty sure he did it this way by chopping in some of the vocal sounds on moving the different syllables around to create a different rift with different sounds in the sampler In ableto. Another reason why these symptoms have different numbers is basically for the sampler. So see one means the note that's recorded as a C one c two means never recorded is a CTO. All the way up to C five is basically then there that was recorded. The sample and the simpler will transpose our notes. But after a few octaves, it might not sound like the actual simple the investment anymore form or organic instruments, like a cello or piano. If you picked you up, say, five actives, it's not really gonna sound like a piano anymore. So we need to have more than one recording of this at different pictures and different octaves to make the sound more natural. So let's just put on C two of dark thoughts as well on when we play our midi keyboard, it actually plays both the notes that's due to these green lines here. So this basically means and a friend have to see to will be this here on anything before CT will be the sample above. So I'm just going to play in now. So this is dark thoughts CT. This is the C one. Let's try something completely different. Okay, so I'm gonna pitch us up NF in after see free. Well, bay, this note. Obviously, this is the percussive sound on This is the synthesizer. This can be grateful life performance. Also, if you're using one mini controller and you want it to control more than one sound, you could just load them into the sampler. Play these sounds just on one keyboard. A lot of sounds like piano or strings that actually have different velocities loaded as well as different keys. So we click on Velocity here. This basically means NF in after or before a certain velocity will play. So this percussive sound we'll only play if it's on a low velocity. So basically you're only play. If I hit the key lightly, you can see here the velocity. If I hit harder, I can do now. I'm bashing the keys really hard. It's not gonna play that softer. It will play, but the other two samples if I play hard or soft, these numbers here are the velocity, which go from 0 to 127 27 is the maximum media velocity. Let's change this one, so I only play if I hit hard. Let's change this one also, so these were only trigger if I hit hard so I'm gonna hit the keyboard self now and you can see here it's about 40 40 50 60. But now I'm gonna hit really hard. It comes fruits. This is really useful if you have more than one sample loaded into the same key, but you want them to trigger a different velocities so you could record a piano really soft on it will trigger the soft piano or piano really hard, and it would trigger the hard piano. So I'm gonna move all of these. So wherever we plan the keyboard, no wonder velocity it will actually play. So let's look at the velocity. So, basically, if I play soft, it's going to play this percussive sound. And if I play hard is going to play this synthesizer so soft, it's the progress of sound and heart. It's a sense, so this is really great. If you have multiple sounds or samples at different velocities, you can load them in here. You could even use this for life so you could have a certain pad sound, for example, when you play soft and you could have say um or percussive sound like a kick drum when you play hard We also have this button here. We can assign this to an external controller. So, for example, we could have a dial's. So wherever we switched the dial, it will play certain sounds and switched it back. It will play over sounds, so this might be quite useful. If you're doing like a D J live setting, you wanna switch a knob or switch a dial or a fader, and then it might play piano. He switch it back, might play strings, and if you have to dial in the middle, it play piano and strings. We'll talk about this when we go into midi mapping later on. But these are basically the different options we have in the sample, which are really, really useful. It really is just so simple. Just dragon samples in on quickly. You can manipulate these. Like I said, I have used over D. A. W's with a sampling is nowhere near as good as able terms. This is really is one the best features of a Bolton. How easy is to actually sample. We literally just drag drop, and it's that easy