Thursday, 19 April 2012


Recently, I managed to get my hands on Ableton Live 8 – a versatile piece of music production software - mainly in order for me to carry on making my mixtapes.

Prior to this I had been using Sound Studio 4 to make my mixes – which now in retrospect (having played around with Ableton a little) seems like utter, utter madness. The reason for this is that Sound Studio is really just an audio editing tool – used for the recording and/or mastering and editing of audio files such as podcasts. The way in which I managed to use its rudimentary cut and paste editing, fades and EQs to make hour long DJ mixes for this long is crazy.

The most ridiculous part was the beat matching. For every track, I had to measure out the length of time it took to play 4x8s (or sometimes 8x8s) and then compare it to the length of the next track, then adjust the pitch accordingly. I basically did it using just cutting and pasting and comparing NUMBERS. If the beats started to clip you knew you were slightly out and had to go back and do the whole thing all over again. This meant keeping multiple versions of the same mix in case something went wrong.

Not only that but the latest version of Sound Studio I was using kept doing odd things at random when saving or exporting the track. Sometimes there would be loud clicks or pops that appeared randomly for no reason. Other times the volume would suddenly drop out for no reason and then sheepishly normalise again over the course of a few seconds. Having to check each version of each mix and constantly go back and manually fix these things each time was maddening. Not only was the online support for Sound Studio virtually non-existent, but I was using the software for something that it was never designed to do – so there was no troubleshooting on the net at all.

Anyways, back to Ableton.

Ableton has multiple tracks so you can copy and paste and loop all you want, with as many simultaneous tracks as you want.

Ableton can warp tracks to the correct BPM automatically (provided you tell it where the first kick drum is and check its still correct somewhere towards the end of the track) – making beatmatching a doddle.

Ableton allows you to change volume, EQs and effects on each track as much as you want and also in real time.

Not only that but Ableton can be used for sound editing/mastering, music production, sampling, live DJing, connecting up to MIDI controllers and much much more - its so versatile!
Whilst it was a little tricky to pick up at first, with the help of my friend and some online tutorials I was away.

So you can look forward to some more DJ mixes coming from me soon - this time using Ableton! In the meantime, if you haven't already you can check out any of the previous mixes I have done by clicking HERE.

Happy listening!

19 April 2012

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