Monthly Archives: July 2004

Soundfonts in Live (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a tutorial on how to use rgc:audio’s sfz family of soundfont players in Ableton Live 4.0. In Part 1 I covered how to use the free VSTi sfz soundfont player and a GM font with direct multiple MIDI inputs. The output of the free version of sfz is a single stereo out which is very limiting because it means all the instruments are being routed into a single audio track in Live.
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c. layne is “Song of the Day”

One the most talented singer/songwriters I have ever had the privilege to work with, c. layne, posted “how soon i forget” to the garageband.com site (no relation to the Apple software) and it won immediate praise and has been chosen to be “Song of the Day” this upcoming July 25. I don’t really know the significance of this but c. certainly deserves the recognition. That and money.

c.’s home setup is pretty weak so I’ve been working with him to put his music into a setting that is much more favorable to his brilliant composition and performance skills. He sent me the vocals and some instrumental tracks for “how soon” a while ago and I disassembled it, added my (now) trademark funky pizzicato treatment and produced the version he uploaded to garageband.com. That version was done entirely in FL Studio (a.k.a. Fruity Loops) using various soundfonts I’ve collected over the years.

I also stole the vocal tracks and created the Russian chorale remix of “how soon” that closes my Chronic Dreams album called “How Soon (Minsk Mix)” which just goes to prove that a great song is a great song (is a great song) in any damn context.

N.B.: The streaming version of “how soon” on garageband.com is a Real Audio stream and really, really sucks. If you can download the MP3 I highly recommend you do.

Soundfonts in Live (Part 1)

The VSTi soundfont player rgc:audio sfz (for Windows) plus the new release of Ableton Live 4.0 is turning out to be a fantastic pairing thanks to solid engineering on both sides. (A new bismark bs-1 for OS X was just released but I haven’t tried it in Live.)

Adding soundfont playing to Live is a welcome development and through Live’s new complex but powerful virtual cabling this setup is the environment to beat in terms of fun an productivity.
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More or Less Blackmore

It’s entirely possible that 70′s rock guitar god Ritchie Blackmore has done some sessions or proffered samples to some combination of DJ Food (god knows I’ve sampled “Hush” more times than I care to admit) but my gut tells me that Ritchie’s inclusion in this listing on the DJ Food page of all music guide just proves the AMG database engine to be on par with their web design prowess. (Hint: black + more != blackmore)

Ableton in Beta: It Just (Fucking) Works

All I ever want from a software upgrade is that all the stuff in the marketing goo just (fucking) works. All I ever get is disappointed. But the clouds have parted, flowers are growing and birds are singing because I’ve been using the beta of Ableton Live 4.0 (b11) for several

Test Drive

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hours and every single new feature I tried “just (fucking) worked.” No crashes, no blips, no screeching halts. That this beta software stayed up and running for several hours is a world’s record — in fact this beta is proving to be more solid than many released music software products.

I created a quick and dirty project that exercised some of the new features (click on Vincent to hear my first take at some midi/audio recording).

I love FL Studio (Fruity Loops) for lots of reasons but recording live tracks and manipulating audio files in general is a pain and hurts my creative flow. This alone has driven me into the arms of Ableton’s Live, which by comparison makes capturing and recording audio in FL feel like cheap toy-ware.
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Free DirectX/VST Bridge

I finally find one: For the few hosts out there that are VST-only (like Ableton Live) there is now a free virtual plug-in rack that hosts DirectX plug-ins. When I initially downloaded this plug-in it had troubles in Live but after I contacted the developer at vb-audio he was quick to fix it.

The completely free, unrestricted version hosts 4 plug-ins but you can assign as many racks as you want to any number of Live tracks. You can load and re-order simply by dragging them around and you can persist racks across multiple projects. (Automation is a natural next step and if a wink-wink-nudge-nudge from the development staff is worth anything then it’s coming soon.)

The plug-in goes the other way as well allowing Direct-X only hosts to load VSTs although that is something easier to find n the market place, including ones that handle virtual instruments (VSTi) which ffx4/16 don’t cover.

There’s also a free WinAMP version of the 4-rack.

The mega-16-rack version is available for 100 EU at the link above but the version that works in Live hasn’t been uploaded so you might as well test things out with the freebie version and if you love it, upgrade.

Worst. Soundfont. Ever.

If you’re thinking of purchasing Sonic Implant’s brass soundfonts, that’s fine… but you better stock up on clothespins because your speaker will start smelling up the bedroom right quick.

In my never ending quest for good, blasty R&B horns sounds I just spent $19.95 on what turned out to some pretty weak ass synthy “horn” fonts. Serves me right for not trusting the free stuff.

A Mash Clinic: “Too Many JDs”

ACID Pro masher Jools puts on yet another clinic in how to mix-mash with “Too Many JDs” (13 Mg).

Track listing:

Pearl Jam – Arc
Groove Armada – Coast to Coast
TLC – No Scrubs
Ian Brown – The Gravy Train
D’Angelo –Brown Sugar
Jakatta – The Other World
Goldfrapp – Hairy Trees
The Cardigans – Erase & Rewind
Elliott Smith – Because
Aim – Cold Water Music
Gotan Project -Vuelvo al Sur
Annie Lennox – Don’t Let it Bring You Down
Prefuse 73 – Point to B
David Bowie – Man Who Sold the World
RJD2 – Since We Last Spoke
Madonna – Get Into the groove
Break Machine – Street Dance
Gershon Kingsley –The Horror

Other extended mixes here: Jools’ Long Mixes