Tag Archives: Ableton Live

Let There Be Loops

If it’s Thursday then there must be another excellent Reaktor video tutorial from Brent Kallmer at BluewaterVST. This time around, Brent looks at rendering loops from Reaktor grooveboxes, which sounds simple at first blush but Brent takes you deeper into some of the tools and options available to you when hosting Reaktor in Ableton Live.

Says Brent:

In this tutorial, let’s take a look at how to bounce individual parts of a groove from Aerobic and SineBeats—two stunning REAKTOR grooveboxes. Both are drum synths (they synthesize drum hits rather than playing samples) and their penetrating, glossy sounds are ideal for techno and glitch (or anything else that needs a synthetic touch).

Great stuff! I think the grooveboxes in Reaktor 5 are some of the most under-appreciated and under-used tools out there, mainly because people just don’t know what to do with them, and as Brent says, sometimes there are just too many options. Rendering loops this way is a great strategy to narrow things down and get something going.

More on routing Reaktor in Live: multi out audio UPDATE: VST works too, not just AU

Reaktor has flexible audio out ports – you’re not limited to stereo, and you can take advantage of that in Live.

Fire up Live and load the Reaktor AU (UPDATE: VST version will work too). Load the Aerobic ensemble, and in the lower right corner, turn on the “out” switch. This will enable multi-out for Aerobic, so each drum unit can be routed to one of four stereo pairs.

Then go to an audio track, select audio from your Reaktor track, and select either the pre or post FX for the first stereo pair, or one of the three others.

This means you can apply effects to each stereo pair by routing them to different tracks.

But what if you don’t want to use Reaktor’s outputs in pairs? Let’s say you’ve built a crazy custom ensemble with a mono sampler, a sine, a square and a saw wave, and you want to route them individually to the first four outputs. What you can do then, is use Live’s mono track insert effect to choose either the right or left channel exclusively.

So there ya go – easy flexible routing. I’m not sure why it won’t work with the VST version of the plugin, and I’m too bushed to fire up Windows and find out if it works properly there. Are there any Windows users who’ve tried this?

UPDATE: turns out routing with the VST plugin version does work properly after all. I think I had the monitor setting wrong in the receive track. Sorry for the disinformation! Remember to turn off the track activator for the track holding Reaktor, and if you want the first stereo pair, choose pre or post FX in your target track, not post mixer (that would be the muted signal).

Routing Reaktor MIDI in Ableton Live with a dummy track

I’ve always been annoyed with the way Live disappears the MIDI out menu of a track the instant you drop in an audio effect or instrument. It makes it difficult to route Reaktor’s awesome Spiral instrument, for example, to another instrument track. Or to send LFO controllers from Reaktor to an instrument. You can do it by selecting the Reaktor track as the MIDI in on the destination, but then you lose the ability to also control the instrument from a keyboard or control surface.

Farting around this evening I noticed that you can kludge around this limitation by creating a dummy MIDI track as a MIDI bus:


Notice that the MIDI Bus track has its inputs set to the Reaktor5 track, but also to the Reaktor5 instrument in that track. The MIDI Bus track has its output set to the next track, which has an instrument rack. That doesn’t tie up the MIDI from dropdown in the instrument rack’s track, so the track still accepts note and control information from a control surface or keyboard, or what have you.

The other important point is to set monitor to “In” for your two target tracks.

Maybe this is a well known workaround now but a year or two ago when I googled for solutions I found only complaints and no fixes. I hope this helps somebody else because it sure opens up possibilities for me!

Frame 0.3 beta – download

I’m crossposting this from Lambent Studio because people are asking about it in the thread below, and Reaktor Tips gets more traffic; I guess I’ll post Reaktor related stuff here in the future, where people expect it to be. 🙂

Here it is.

Tada! The initial release of the Frame looper, made to emulate the realtime-manipulable start and loop points of Ableton’s Simpler instrument. It’s a powerful and convenient way to play with samples, which makes the dearth of samplers that can do it so shocking.

Frame Beta 0.3 from Peter Dines on Vimeo.

In this clip I’m alternately adjusting start and loop points by clicking and dragging on the waveform, and using the knobs. The knobs can be mapped to MIDI controllers or (better) the high-res knobs on the Kore 2 controller. Initially I had tried to do this with the sample loop module, but that caused clicks because of the lack of crossfade / ramping. Eventually I hit on the idea of using a grain cloud module with grain overlap set to one – so the single grain, in effect, is acting as a loop. And the great thing about the grain cloud module, unlike the grain resynth, is that the grain can be arbitrarily long.

When I interviewed Phil Durrant, one of the things that came up was the lack of a split library in Reaktor 5 – there were only “premium” bells and whistles ensembles, and no simple, easy to modify examples. Frame is an instrument that tries to do just one thing, and do it well, with a clean easy to modify structure.

Read the notes in the instrument properties and tooltips. If you have suggestions for improvement, let me know, unless your suggestion involves sticking a reverb macro in it. 😉