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electronic MUSICIAN

Learn Power App | Ableton Live 8

By Craig Anderton | February 1, 2012

Objective
Take existing drum tracks or loops and apply downward expansion to impart a more percussive character.

Background
Live''s Multiband Dynamics is a very powerful processor that, while typically used for compression, also provides useful expansion effects. Applying downward expansion to a drum part can tighten up the sound, reduce ambience, and add a more percussive quality.

STEP 1

Drag the Multiband Dynamics'' Reduce Ambience preset (it''s the closest preset to what we want) into the drum track''s Track View Selector.

STEP 2

Turn off the High band (the Low band should already be off) to convert the Multiband Dynamics into a single-band expander.

STEP 3

Click on the Below block''s right edge, and drag the bracket cursor left or right so the block edge is just above the drum part''s peaks.

STEP 4

Click within the Below block; the cursor turns into a double arrow. Drag down to increase the expansion amount.

STEP 5

Cymbal decays will sound choppy, so click on the T (time) button, click on the lower orange number field (release time), and increase the value until the decay sounds smooth.

TIPS

  • Step 4: Drag up all the way for the extreme, compressed drum sound used by ''60s groups like The Beatles and Traffic.
  • Step 5: After dialing in the basic sound, revisit the Below block setting (step 3) and fine-tune the desired amount of expansion.

 

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