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(Modulate This) Ableton Ableton Live ableton live 10 Synth: Zebra 2.x

Spending More Time on My Music Laptop & Dusting Off Some Original Presets for Synths like U-HE Zebra 2

I find I’ve been spending more time making music and sound with my laptop while in isolation than with hardware. Of course I’m still making music and sound with my Elektron boxes, but I’m just noticing the laptop is getting more use in my day-to-day.

Perhaps it’s because I can just take it anywhere in the house and wherever I end up sitting becomes my creative space. While in the past I might have used my iPad for this sort of thing, I find I’m on my iPad more for reading books, blogs, news and connecting with people so the laptop seems like a break. Topsy-turvy times for sure but a good reminder of the the amazing sonic arsenal of tools that sits within most of our laptops.

As you’ve probably seen in recent posts I’ve been spending a lot of time with Ableton Live and Push 2 along with all of Live’s devices and instruments. Over the years though, I’ve created 100s of presets for some amazing virtual instruments.

So I’ve started a new project to dust off some original presets for Live and other commercial synths and get all the sounds out of the archives and back in play on my laptop.

I just restored my collection of original Zebra presets. Here is a short video from my Instagram of a sound that is quite Krell-like. I’m just holding a single key 😀.

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(Modulate This) Ableton Live namm

NAMM 2019 Saturday: Tune in to Universal Audio Live Stream at 2pm PST to See Huston Singletary Presenting on SINGULARITIES

More NAMM 2019 news.

Presentation and Live Stream

My friend Huston Singletary from Ableton will be doing a presentation today on SINGULARITIES sound design/sampling presentation today (Saturday January 26th) at the Universal Audio booth at 2PM PST. This will also be broadcast on UA’s live stream https://www.uaudio.com/namm which also has a live chat.

SINGULARITIES Free Live Pack

Singularities is a free Ableton Live Pack which you can download from here.

It’s filled with sounds from vintage synths and works with any version of Live 10.

Huston has put a lot of love and experience into recreating the quirks and nuances of classic gear for the Pack’s 40 Instrument Racks, with a focus on using onboard Sampler and Simpler features (like filter envelopes and key tracking) to allow expressive and realistic playback reminiscent of the original hardware.

On top of these instruments, there are plenty of MIDI clips to start ideas, and two retro-sounding Drum Kits. So this is no pair of novelty socks – you’re likely to use the sounds again and again.

Related Links

Check out AfroDJMac’s interview with Huston here where he goes into details on creating this pack.

Last but not least, follow Huston on Instagram where is sharing awesome videos of synth jams and work in progress.

Categories
(Modulate This) Ableton Live namm Sound Design

NAMM 2019 Saturday: Tune in to Universal Audio Live Stream at 2pm PST to See Huston Singletary Presenting on SINGULARITIES

More NAMM 2019 news.

Presentation and Live Stream

My friend Huston Singletary from Ableton will be doing a presentation today on SINGULARITIES sound design/sampling presentation today (Saturday January 26th) at the Universal Audio booth at 2PM PST. This will also be broadcast on UA’s live stream https://www.uaudio.com/namm which also has a live chat.

SINGULARITIES Free Live Pack

Singularities is a free Ableton Live Pack which you can download from here.

It’s filled with sounds from vintage synths and works with any version of Live 10.

Huston has put a lot of love and experience into recreating the quirks and nuances of classic gear for the Pack’s 40 Instrument Racks, with a focus on using onboard Sampler and Simpler features (like filter envelopes and key tracking) to allow expressive and realistic playback reminiscent of the original hardware.

On top of these instruments, there are plenty of MIDI clips to start ideas, and two retro-sounding Drum Kits. So this is no pair of novelty socks – you’re likely to use the sounds again and again.

Related Links

Check out AfroDJMac’s interview with Huston here where he goes into details on creating this pack.

Last but not least, follow Huston on Instagram where is sharing awesome videos of synth jams and work in progress.

Categories
(Mark Mosher Music News) (Modulate This) Synth: Largo

Waldorf Largo is Back in My Rig (No Dongle Required Now) + Video of Original Krell Patch for Largo

It’s baaaaaack. Yes Waldorf Largo is back in play in my Ableton Live rig. To celebrate this, I’ve just published a short video of a Krell patch I made called “Cold Space” using Largo with a little inspiration from the Krell channeling themselves through Dr. Morbius.

Look Ma – No Dongle!

A big thanks to sound designer Empty Vessel who tipped me off that that Waldorf had changed their licensing scheme to use activation rather than eLicenser.

I logged into my Waldorf account and went to https://waldorfmusic.com/en/my-software and sure enough – there was an option to to convert the the Syncrosoft License Key. Looks like they made the change back in 2016 so I’m late to this party – but better late than never.

Ironically, I ALMOST recycled the the case that had the Largo CD and contained the Syncrosoft key this week! That would have been super sad – so thanks Empty Vessel!

largo-sounds-newechoRediscovery of Original Presets

I bought Largo back in 2011 and pretty much stopped it within a year because of the dongle buzz kill – and at the time I had a Blofeld. After I reinstalled Largo yesterday I remembered I had made some original presets for it. I dug through my backups and found 40+ original presets including “Cold Space” which is in the video above.

 

 

 

Here is another example of a preset I put on soundloud back in 2011. It shows off the awesome comb filter and FM on the Largo. I have the filters setup in “Serial” mode. Filter 1 is a comb filter which colors the sound and Filter 2 is low pass to control brightness.

Largo vs Blofeld

largo-vs-blofeld

Since were on the topic of Largo – I wanted to mention that there are differences between Largo and Blofeld. Largo some unique features such as sub-oscillators, 256 vs 25 note polyphony, and an awesome 6-stage chorus to name a few. See my blog post, and corresponding mind map for a more detailed look at Largo vs Blofeld.

___
Mark Mosher
Synthesist & Multimedia Artist

Artist Site: NewEcho.com
Electronic Music Tech & Production Blog:  ModulateThis.com

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(Mark Mosher Music News) (Modulate This) Ableton Live Live 10 Synth: Ableton Wavetable

“Dark Star 01 MM” Original Preset for Ableton Live 10 Wavetable Synth (beta)

ableton-10-wavetable-dark-star-01-mm

I’m just getting going with some sound design sessions on Ableton 10 Wavetable synth. Here is an early draft of one of my first patches. Also makes use of the wonderful new Echo device. Watch a video here.


Mark Mosher
Composer, Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Multimedia Artist
Boulder, CO
MarkMosherMusic.com
ModulateThis.com

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(Mark Mosher Music News) (Modulate This) Boulder Concert Events Guest Appearances, Interviews, Awards Live Performance Live Recording

Video of My Guest Solo Performance with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra Event at CU Atlas Institute

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had the incredible honor of being invited to perform with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra on March 18th (Related Blog Post). For those that couldn’t make it her is a live video recording from the “Boulder Laptop Orchestra BLOrK performs with guest Mark Mosher” event (Facebook Invite).

The video features my original solo improvisational piece “Tonalities from Orbit” which I was invited to perform to close out the night with the ensemble. Earlier in the program I performed interactive visuals for 7 pieces for the ensemble.

The video is live and audio from a Zoom Q4N.

Program Notes

Tonalities from Orbit” is an original structured improvisational piece inspired by the ground breaking work of Louis and Bebe Barron – who in the 1956 provided the soundtrack to the seminal Scifi film Forbidden Planet.
The hand-built circuits they used to create the “electronic tonalities” of this film pre-dated the modern synthesizer and were limited to oscillators (producing mainly square, sine, & triangle waves), ring modulators, overdriven tubes, reverb, and delay (done with tape manipulation).
Informed by these limitations, and using only a Nord Lead 4 synthesizer, Mark created 14 original and expressive “circuit states”. In this performance he will play and morph between these states as a framework for the piece as he brings his version of the Krell to life.
The performance will be complimented with Mark’s real-time visuals using only live camera input as a source with audio-responsive automation.

Photos and Program

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(Modulate This) Performance Videos

“Tonalities from Orbit #3” – Channeling the Krell with an Improvisation on Nord Lead 4

“Tonalities from Orbit #3” is a video recording of a live interactive soundscape and visual improvisation performed at the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup October 12th, 2016 at Globe Hall in Denver. It’s performed using only a Nord Lead 4 with custom patches from INIT and Resolume using live camera input with no pre-recorded sequences.

The theme of this meetup was “The Sound of 50’s SciFi: Theremins and Circuits” where Victoria Lundy did a lecture on Thereminist Sam Hoffman  who’s work is synonymous with the iconic SciFi sound. I did a talk on the work of Louis and Bebe Barron to create electronic tonalities for the groundbreaking film “Forbidden Planet”.

After the lectures, Victoria and I each did a performance illustrating some ideas from the talk. In this video I’m using the Nord Lead 4 to to channel the Krell.

Enjoy,

Mark Mosher
Composer, Sound Designer
ModulateThis.com

 

Categories
(Modulate This) Synth: Zebra 2.x Videos

Video: Original Zebra 2 Patch – Computing for You Now

 

zebra-2-patch-computing-for-you-now-cover

This is a follow up to my previous post,”Winter Projects with @uheplugins Zebra 2: Sound Design, New Max for Live Device, and Refining Lemur Patch“. In the video embedded below I offer an example of a patch I’m working on for Zebra 2 called “Computing for You Now”.

As you’ll see in the video, this patch is made up of a fairly large number of modules laid out in all 4 lanes of the main grid. The patch makes extensive of use of of all 4 X/Y performance pads including use of the pad to modulate effects parameters as well as the crossfading between lanes 1,2,3 and lane 4.

Leave a comment if you dig this. Many more videos to come so subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more. Also let me know if you’d be up for a patch library.

Mark Mosher
Composer, Sound Designer, & Consultant
www.ModulateThis.com

 

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(Mark Mosher Music News) (Modulate This) Ableton Ableton Live Cycling '74 iOS Lemur Max for Live

Winter Projects with @uheplugins Zebra 2: Sound Design, New Max for Live Device, and Refining Lemur Patch

zebra-synth-max4live-lemur-sm

Winter is here in Boulder, CO. This time of year I tend to do a lot of sound design work next to a nice warm fire :^) I traditionally pick one synth to focus on and create patches from INIT. This year I picked an old favorite, U-He’s Zebra 2.

I’ve already got 70+ patches I’ve created throughout the years and a custom Lemur patch I made for the iPad. I’ll be focusing on adding expressive control to the existing patches and making new ones.

I’m also working on a Max for Live device that will allow me to modulate commonly used CCs such a Modulate, Aftertouch, Breath, as well as 4 X/Y pads without having to have a hardware controller. This will allow me to test these patches without having to pop open the Zebra interface which is quite handy for couch potato sessions.

Future Sound Set and Controller Bundle?

Perhaps I’ll package all this up into a bundle later on in the year. If you’d be interested in this, drop me a note through my contact form. You can also subscribe to Modulate This! by email if you want to following along in your inbox.

Past Works with Zebra 2

For now I’ll leave you with a few past songs I’ve created using Zebra 2.

“The Knowing and the Dark Mirror” from my album Fear Cannot Save Us.

4 Instances of U-HE Zebra using patches from my library Outpost Airlock which you can download for free here. Performed on Ableton Push 2.

Sonic Encounters Podcast 014 – “Replicant’s Lament“.

More details on this piece here.

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(Modulate This) Musique concrète Synth: Absynth

Absynth Sound Design Experiment – Non-Linear Radioactive Soda Can

Radioactive soda can

I recently did a post where I manipulated the sample of the sound of a pen striking a half-full can of soda with Ableton Push and pad pressure. In this post I used the same sample, but this time with Absynth. You can listen to the experiment on Soundcloud here or in the embedded player below.

The recoridng starts with the original sample just to illistrate the starting point. I built an Absynth preset with granular synthesis to manipulate the play head plus grain size. I use the Aetherizer effect to further manipulate the signal with a comb filter with feedback. I achieve non-linearity by setting the sample start envelope to "Loop" which causes the sound to keep re triggering and playing through the grains and filing up the Aetherizer's buffer. When played at certain pitches, this non-linearity feedback results in a Geiger counter-like sound. All that from a coke can strike :^) A play the preset with various notes to show how different the harmonic content is as it feedback at different frequencies.

I've become quite handy with Absynth, so if there is some aspect of Absynth you'd like me to do a post on, leave a comment.
 

 

Mark Mosher 
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
 
http://www.markmoshermusic.com 
http://www.aiwinter.net 
http://bouldersynth.com (meetup)

Categories
(Modulate This) Synth: Predator

Predator Synth Tip: Morphing Effects with LFOs

A stand out feature of Rob Papen’s Predator compared to many virtual subtractives on the market is that it allows you to modulate effects parameters via the various mod matrix slots with very few or no artifacts. I came up with a few examples below with some sample audio at the bottom of the post. You can also MIDI map these parms and modulate in real-time.

Smoothing the Gator

image

One of the Gator parameters is "smooth” which allows you to round off the sharp edges of the Gate. Even cooler you can modulate smooth parameter to rotate from sharp edges to round edges.

  1. Set LFO2 as a source and set “1 SMOOTH” as destination. The “1” indicates the effect is in slot 1 of 3.
  2. Crank the “smooth” param all the way up. This smooths the gate.
  3. Set LFO2 to sine and a slow speed.
  4. Turn the modulation knob for LFO2 all the way to the left. When you press a key, the LFO will modulate the smooth param back to 0, so a squared off gate. As the LFO cycles, you’ll hear the gate smooth out.

Modulate Delay Length

image

This same idea will work with effects like delay times. I modified this preset to use LFO 1 to modulate the delay “LENGTH” of a Mono Delay in slot 2.

Audio Sample

Get Creative
These are just two very basic examples to inspire you. Experiment with LFOs with different shapes at different speeds, with using different sources like envelopes or arp velocity. Also, some other synths that come to mind that offer the modulation of FX params are Alchemy, Absynth, or Zebra 2.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

http://www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Categories
(Modulate This) Synth: Absynth Synth: Predator Synth: Saurus Synth: Zebra 2.x workflow

Sound Design and Workflow Tip: Make Better Use of the Stand-Alone FX Versions of Your Virtual Instruments

image

When I’m producing I use a lot of Ableton Live’s built-in FX. I do this because a) I like them and b) they adhere to the same workflow in everything else in Live so I spend more time making music. Of course sometimes I also want to use a third-party effect for variety or to take advantage of a cool feature. The down-side is that they all have unique workflow and you may find yourself scratching your head a bit rather than making music.

One way to have your cake and eat it to is to make more use of the effects within your favorite virtual synth as stand-alone processors. For example, in my rig, Absyhth, Rob Papen Predator, Slayer 2, Zebra 2 (Zebrify) all have FX only versions of their plug-ins allowing you to route signal through the FX processor sections of these synths.

The advantage of this is your synth chops can now be applied to your FX work and you can get more unique sounds in less time.

The Soul of a Synth in the Effects Processor

In many synths, it’s hard to separate the effects processor from the soul of the synth. Absynth for example has some very unique effects such as the wonderful Aetherizer which is used heavily in many factory patches. By using it as a processor on another synth or audio source you can combine the unique sonic character of the input with this wonderful granular effect.

More on External Input

Want to use your audio input as a modulation source? Both Absynth FX and Zebrifiy have envelope followers. Zebrify also has a pitch follower so you can map the pitch of an incoming signal back to synth parameters.

Below is an example of  my Theremin routed through an audio track in Ableton live with Zebrify in the device chain. As I slowly pitch up on the Theremin, Zebrify processes this signal with two comb filters and modifies the pitch of these filters with a step LFO.

Modulation Mania

Another advantage of using FX from your virtual synths as processor is that most modern virtual instruments are structured to make heavy use of modulation and a modulation matrix. This offers a lot of possibilities for automation and real-time control that often aren’t possible with many stand-alone FX processor plug-ins or even FX in your host.

Unifying Color

I also sometimes apply effects from a single synth FX plugin to all tracks (or a group of tracks) in a mix to help unify the palette of the piece. For example, in my recent track Ambient Drone track “Orbiting Miranda”, I used one instance of Absynth and three of Tone2 Saurus and then used Rob Papen’s Predator FX to do multi-effects with automation on every single track. One of the effects I used is a comb filter which nudged and shifted the timbral character of these synths more towards a center of color I wanted for the piece.

Download MP3 of “Orbiting Miranda”  here.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=109433115/size=medium/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/t=5/transparent=true/

Presets to Get you Started

When you load the FX only version of these synths, you’ll see factory presets dedicated to just the FX parameters. Jump in, route audio through, and poke around. I was personally blown away at what is possible.

Maximizing Your Investment

I’ll close this by saying you’ve already invested money and time into learning these instruments. If you’ve not explored the use of the stand-alone FX capable plugs in your rig , your really missing out.

Happy producing – and workflow FTW!

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html
www.ModulateThis.com

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(Modulate This) News

AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher Zebra Attack Free Ableton Live Pack

I'm excited to announce I just finished a collaboration with NY artist AfroDJMac who's been "crushing it" by releasing an Ableton Live Pack every week for 37 weeks! It's week 38 and we collaborated on "AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher Zebra Attack [Ableton Live Rack #38]."  What a great honor to be part of his series. 

mm_fm_motion_linear_cropI used U-HE Zebra 2 to make original harmonic content from INIT. I ended up with a patch that generated 1 bar FM wave sequence. Each wave was created in real-time by modulating FM with a stepped LFO with each step at a 16thnote at 120bpm to accommodate slicing into a rack. I resampled, and then handed off the samples to AfroDJMac. He racked them up in Ableton Live's Sampler and created an entirely new performance instrument based on the harmonic content including the ability to select a wave or sweep through the wavetable with an LFO!

AfroDJMac did a very detailed post on the rack including some production notes and screen shots of my work. I’ll included the video below but direct you to his post for the details and the download links. Enjoy and let me know what you think of the rack :^) For more of my sound design work visit patchlab.modulatethis.com. For more on AfroDJMac, see links at the bottom of this post.

Watch embedded video

AfroDJMac Links:

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

Categories
(Modulate This) Ableton Live Packs

AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher Zebra Attack Free Ableton Live Pack

I'm excited to announce I just finished a collaboration with NY artist AfroDJMac who's been "crushing it" by releasing an Ableton Live Pack every week for 37 weeks! It's week 38 and we collaborated on "AfroDJMac and Mark Mosher Zebra Attack [Ableton Live Rack #38]."  What a great honor to be part of his series.  

mm_fm_motion_linear_cropI used U-HE Zebra 2 to make original harmonic content from INIT. I ended up with a patch that generated 1 bar FM wave sequence. Each wave was created in real-time by modulating FM with a stepped LFO with each step at a 16thnote at 120bpm to accommodate slicing into a rack. I resampled, and then handed off the samples to AfroDJMac. He racked them up in Ableton Live's Sampler and created an entirely new performance instrument based on the harmonic content including the ability to select a wave or sweep through the wavetable with an LFO!

AfroDJMac did a very detailed post on the rack including some production notes and screen shots of my work. I’ll included the video below but direct you to his post for the details and the download links. Enjoy and let me know what you think of the rack :^) For more of my sound design work visit patchlab.modulatethis.com. For more on AfroDJMac, see links at the bottom of this post.

Watch embedded video

AfroDJMac Links:

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

Categories
(Modulate This) Guest Appearances, Interviews, Awards Interviews

The Tables Are Turned. My Interview on Sound Design Live Podcast “Turning Technology Into Performance”

markmosher_sounddesignlive_interview

I was recently interviewed by Berkeley, CA Sound Designer Nathan Lively on his podcast Sound Design Live which has over 10,000 followers! This was a nice turn as I’m normally the one doing the interviewing :^).

You can read the original post “Turning Technology Into Performancehere, listen to the full 26 minute interview using the player below, or download the MP3 here.

In the interview I offer a lot of behind-the-scenes notes on: how I got started with electronic music, Modulate This! Blog, sound design work on Patchlab, working with tangible interfaces such as AudioCubes, social media for artists, and a discussion of my open knowledge 9 Box method which is being used as the basis for a K-6 electronic music lab in a Denver Metro school.

https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F28321888&g=1&color=1bcf28&show_comments=true
Turning Technology Into Performance by Sound Design Live

Thanks to Nathan for taking to time to interview me and making me LOL multiple times during the interview. It was a blast! If you want to learn more about Nathan visit http://www.nathanlively.com.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

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(Modulate This) News

Using Ableton Operator to Generate Fixed Frequencies To Tune Samples by Ear

image

I’ve finished programming the racks for the upcoming sound library. I’m going through each instrument and tuning any samples that have pitch to concert pitch. I like doing a first pass by ear which requires a reference pitch.

A quick way to do this generate a fixed pitch for reference is to use Ableton Operator.

  1. Click the Fixed button for Oscillar A
  2. Turn the Freq knob to the desired pitch. Mouse over the number below the knob and type in the frequency you need.
  3. I then create a midi clip that plays a note. I start the clip, then can navigate away to other tracks.

Here is a handy article on Wikipedia for Piano key frequencies.

Mark Mosher
www.ModulateThis.com