Using Ableton to prevent GAS

I find that most of my GAS wants tend to be Eurorack modules and after a while I realise I can come up with an approximation of them using Ableton Live Suite. I thought it might a useful idea to share these and see if others can add any more tips.

Rene - Snake by Maxime Dangles

Like the original, can get both a note quantised output but also another output that you can map to any Live parameter. The Elphnt video below shows it in its full glory.

Clouds - Mutated Texturiser by Timo Rosendal

This Clouds clone may not fill a Beads shaped hole in your studio but it certainly mimics the smear of the original module well. Also there is an Alt version which mimics the Parasites firmware. Rumours of an Alt-Right version that disables plug ins with a black GUI are false.

Varigate 4/8 - Probability Pack by Sonic Factions

The Melodic Probability and Rhythmic Probability tools would be awesome free devices on their own and certainly fill a Malekko void. Add in the fact that they have excellent Push and Launchpad integration and you get three other cool tools in the bundle seals the deal.

nb. BeatLab Academy does the best Ableton device videos on YouTube IMHO…check his out for the full sales pitch on Probability Packs.

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This seems a good place to repost @Xylr’s message in the Ableton Live thread last November, detailing the use of Simpler to emulate MN Morphagene. I’ve been meaning to try this but keep forgetting.

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I need to experiment with PitchLoop89 to mimic the Phonogene sound. I am sure you can get similar lovely digital artefacts when reducing the bandwidth to 10k but I think firing grains is trickier.

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I have learned that my compulsions to buy stuff are not related to how I make music, even though they have been mostly directed towards music equipment. It must have a deeper root cause, because when I am 100% content with my studio setup, I will suddenly develop a keen interest on bike helmets or something. :wink:

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This is such an amazing idea for a thread and I am 100% here for it - all day, every day & at least twice on Sundays.

Thank you!

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Following this thread too.

Ableton is incredible if you put some time into it. I played a longform improv show with my friend a few weeks ago - I had my full 7U eurorack case, and he brought his laptop and two midi controllers, just some faders, pads, & knobs.

He had Ableton set up with some field recordings and some max patches he made with which to process them, and the stuff he was doing legitimately had me wondering what the hell I’m doing with all my hardware. It’s ultimately a workflow preference (or maybe it’s just familiarity if I’m being honest) but yeah, I was super impressed.

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At this point I’m pretty deep into both Ableton and Eurorack, and wouldn’t want to part with either… in addition I’m into iOS devices, and the intersection of the three platforms is beyond amazing…

The real challenge for me going forward is how best to tie them together into an integrated system… along with my guitar/pedals of course!

Thank goodness I’m not trying to gig with this hybrid monstrosity :sunglasses:

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I see that Ableton has a ton of instruments and effects in it, as a plus (big plus) a convolution reverb in it with many IRs. It can provide many happy hours in composing and producing. Just for me it’s hard to find any laptop based things inspirational after 6-10 hours of day job

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Yeah I totally get that. I am lucky in that I don’t have that restriction. My problem is that I find myself wanting to spend a fortune that I don’t have on Eurorack when I have all the tools I want in the ways I mentioned in the first post. I certainly don’t mean it as a knock against hardware but an approximation of it using Ableton.

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What a great topic. Quite timely as well. I’ve been clawing myself out of a bad cycle of window-shopping for gear to ‘solve’ problems. Just recently I have been using Ableton in a different context to help with this.

What’s helped is changing up the ergonomics that I’m used to with Ableton: A touchscreen Windows tablet and TouchAble Pro at a shallow kickstand angle make it remarkably “hardware-like”, and it blends in well amidst other gear. Using it to patch the holes in my rigs – real or imagined – has done wonders.

It is just enough removed from the usual Ableton-on-laptop feel that it’s a fresh experience for zero extra dollars and a lot less grump.

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Great point, I love using Touch-able with my iPads…

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It’s far from cheap but my solution to that was to get a Push 2 and it definitely helps to alleviate that “sitting at a laptop for business and pleasure” feeling somewhat

As mentioned (I was too quick to reply before reading the other posts!) Touch-Able is another solution, although I only managed to get it to work with PC via direct USB connection. Maybe now I have a MacBook Pro it will work with that wirelessly. I should try it (although it feels like I’m being unfaithful to Push to even think about it…)

also, starting to use ableton in fullscreen was a game changer to me. it went from being another running app i compulsively alt + tab in and out of, to becoming a dedicated in-the-zone music computer. such a minor change but with huge effect!

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I think the best way, for me, to escape that ‘I’m using the same machine I use for spreadsheets right now’ feeling is to eliminate as much setup as possible. Templates and racks. Anything that keeps you making music rather than clicking around.

I have recently been GAS-ing for a few loopers (and actually I bought Volante but hear me out!). This led me to discover a workflow I really I like…

Create a few return tracks (as many as you want, I do 3 or 4 usually). Put a delay on each one (I’ve been using Valhalla in quartz mode), set the feedback to 100 and zero out anything that will degrade over time—if you want to (mod depth, for example), and then mix up to 100%. Give each delay a unique delay time (3 sec, 7 sec, 16 sec). Then duplicate those delays and right click to enable sends so that you can send a delay to its own clone/parent/another delay.

Create some sound and start sending it to any of your delays.

Add fx racks after the delays and start messing with your loops. When you have something you like, send it to another delay to print the fx.

This is really open ended, but hopefully not too confusing. It’s a really fun, fast way to work with loops. With the right midi mapping, this feels very live and hands on. And it is probably a lot more suited to my needs than I would be able to address by buying ANY looper.

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I generally try to connect Touch-able via USB cables rather than wifi, it just feels more stable to me conceptually…

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I should revisit it, I think. Maybe it could actually be used in tandem with Push.

Without wishing to go off topic - I have a similar setup to you in that I have hardware, Ableton and iOS setups that I’d like to integrate into one unit and one possible stepping stone to that was an audio interface I recently picked up:

https://www.iconnectivity.com/products/audio/iconnectaudio4plus

It’s discontinued but a new model has replaced it which I believe offers similar functionality (it replaced the USB-B ports for USB-C, which appears to be the main difference)

Essentially it allows you to connect a Windows or Mac device and an iOS device simultaneously, enabling both devices to have access to the devices connected to it (MIDI and audio) as well as passing audio between them without any additional connections being required. I haven’t set it up yet but I’ll let you know how I get on once I have done.

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I am familiar with the iConnect stuff, very cool. My “problem” which I am grateful to have, is that I want to connect 3 iPads of varying ages, two iPhones, and a first gen iPod Touch. A few don’t do Link, but most do. So, I figure I am happy enough with link to keep the timing together, and just need to run audio out from the iOS devices, except when I want to process audio (from modular mostly) through an iPad (Aum, Borderlands, Samplr, etc…)

I’m in a space/cash situation where I would like to figure out how to take advantage of what Live and iOS can do very well, and have the modular mostly do stuff that it does well… So, probably a lot of sequencing and granular stuff in the box (mac and iOS) and oscillators, filters in the modular… Except I have a lot of other functions in the modular and often don’t really feel like booting up the mac or hooking up iOS, so I also like doing stuff totally in the modular… First world problems for sure…

At the end of the day, my top priority is achieving meditative flow states, which I am finding the modular particularly effective for…

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I was bored at work today, so I decided to iterate and improve on this idea of replicating Morphagene in Live.

So, introducing Macrame:
Macrame.alp (335.5 KB)

Requires Live 11 Suite, will make a Bitwig version if someone else doesn’t get to it first.

A 6-Reel, monophonic sample player, with almost everything everyone loves about Morpagene, only I lied at the beginning of this sentence and it can have about 127 simultaneous reels and be as polyphonic as your heart desires. Go Nuts!

Each macro in the rack has info text, and this being Live you can see exactly what everything does (most things do a lot of things) It’s set up so as soon as you load in some samples it’ll [Todd Howard voice] “Just Work” and be extremely musical.

All credit to @Xylr for making the original rack device - My contribution was new control routing, new sampler defaults, modulation, and just making things look collected.

If you wanna add more reels, just do the following:

Summary
  • Duplicate a blank reel (important so that the modulation is pre-routed, otherwise it’ll just take a sec to copy values form another simpler)
  • In the ‘Vel’ tab of the ‘Reel’ rack, right-click and ‘distribute ranges equally’
  • If you wanna go above 8 Reels: Duplicate the ‘Mult’ device at the end of the chain.
  • Unmap ‘transpose’ from all the slots on the 1st Mult.
  • Map any of the newly free lanes to the second mult you created, and add in the ‘transpose’ mapping to the new reels you’re making.
  • Repeat/cascade as needed to mult out the one signal to multiple Simplers.
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Can’t wait to dig into this! From the looks of it you took my pretty half-baked approach and made something genuinely usable! Thank you for sharing!

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@Xylr I played with your version for a few minutes this weekend while my kids screamed behind me and thought I could certainly have some fun with it. @nkozi your version looks bonkers, I’m going to give it a go this week. Thanks for sharing.

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