COMPuTEr MuSiC / ISSUE 184 noVemBer 2012 182 / oCtoBer 2012
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Construct killer DJ sets in Ableton Live
> reviews / 2caudio b2
When is a reverb not a reverb? When it’s a “spatial processor”. Marketing BS or technological innovation? Let’s find out… 2CAudio’s third and most advanced algorithmic reverb B2 (VST/AU/RTAS) utilises twin reverb engines (based on their Breeze plugin) that can be configured to create a wide range of internal processing structures. It slips in neatly alongside its stablemate Aether as a highquality alternative, different both structurally and algorithmically, and targeted equally at those who like a high level of control and those who are happy just to exploit an impressive library of over 670 presets. The top-left corner of the GUI houses buttons for changing views and switching between the two engines, A and B. To the right of these are the three main graphical displays, which show reverb time, the effects of the damping and EQ controls, and an input/output graph for either the Attitude control (see the box below) or the dynamics section. Engine A’s settings are shown in blue, while engine B’s are green, so both are always visible in the main displays. Below the displays lie the Size and Time knobs, which determine the size of the virtual space and the reverb time in milliseconds. The Geometry section contains parameters affecting the shape of the reverb tail’s amplitude envelope, and there are additional controls for adjusting density and diffusion, the rate and depth of modulation from the built-in LFO, and knobs for setting the Damp, EQ and Attitude parameters. There’s a Balance slider for setting
the mix balance between the two engines, and a dynamics section featuring gate and compressor effects. A handy global limiter also acts as a soft clipper and saturator, beefing up the sound and keeping levels under control.
Call an ambience
B2’s modular, dual-engine architecture facilitates the creation of complex combination effects within a single instance of the plug-in. While Aether takes a more ‘traditional’ approach to reverb, in B2 you can enable or disable individual components as required, a structure that not only allows great sonic control, but also maximises CPU efficiency. Strolling through the Dual Engine presets demonstrates some practical applications of this system. Some, like Aether, use one engine for early reflections and the other for the longer reverb tail; some deploy totally different reverb effects in each engine, arranged in parallel; others use both engines in series. A further category reverses the stereo channels of one engine, for a discrete, fourchannel reverb capable of generating amazingly wide stereo effects. As you’d expect from the makers of Aether ( 156, 10/10) and Breeze ( 167, 10/10), B2 sounds fantastic. Lose yourself in the endless library of presets (accessed via a slick, filterable browser) and it doesn’t take long to realise that this is a spectacular plug-in capable of
Attitude adjustment Two of the standout features that really make B2 the powerful beast that it is are the Attitude and Cascade controls. The Attitude knob adds non-linear distortion to the signal, with an available selection of four different placement modes and 33 distortion types. The Cascade slider enables adjustment of the engine routing. With the slider set at 0 the A and B engines are arranged in parallel, while at 100 they’re fully in series, the output of engine A feeding the input of 96 / Computer musiC / November 2012
engine B. At all points in between, a mix of parallel and serial routing is established. This means you could take an input signal into the A engine, use Attitude to generate extra harmonics, cascade the resulting effect into the B engine, then add more Attitude to this sound, for extremely complex distortions and intermodulation. Although the Cascade control is also found in Aether 1.5, the results are unique to B2, thanks to its two identical engines (Aether’s engines are different to each other).
producing an incredibly broad range of effects, from subtle mastering ambiences to zany distorted echoes, via sumptuous large halls and everything in between. Whether you’re using it for music production or sound design, B2 delivers anything you could ask of it. With so many excellent presets included and an architecture that enables truly microscopic editing, not to mention the dynamics section, the Attitude control and that great-sounding global limiter, 2CAudio have come up with something that really is very, er, spatial. Web www.2caudio.com Contact Via website
Alternatively 2CAudio Aether 156 » 10/10 » $250 Also from 2C, another super-high quality ’verb with deep features VirSyn Re lect N/A » N/A » $169 Hybrid reverb that combines early reflections generated by impulse responses with algorithmic tails
Verdict For Fantastic sound Enormous degree of control Two independent reverb engines Built-in limiter and saturation effects Massive preset library Against No tempo sync for delay effects or LFO modulation No 64-bit support on OS X as yet More than the sum of its parts, this amazing dual reverb will blow you away
OFFLINE MIXING IN ABLETON LIVE
You don’t need to know how to DJ to make awesome DJ-style mixes, thanks to Ableton’s miraculous DAW
Download the videos and tutorial files on your PC/Mac at vault.computermusic.co.uk
Originally a tool for arranging samples on the fly, Ableton Live has evolved into an endlessly flexible DAW, suitable for everything from producing complete tracks to DJing. One task that it’s particularly adept at is creating DJ-style mixes “offline” – that is, at your own pace, without the pressure of a real-time performance. While some turntable traditionalists might not approve, this sort of mixing has a long history, dating all the way back to the taped “megamixes” of the 80s. The advantages of offline mixing are many. You can make your mixes absolutely perfect in terms of arrangement, tune selection, timing, EQ and volume tweaking. It’s a very different vibe to the rough and ready feel of a live mix, but working offline enables the production of beautifully crafted mixes that listeners will enjoy time and time again. Making your mixes using a computer rather than decks has other advantages, too. By producing them on your laptop, you can make good use of time that might otherwise be wasted – lengthy train journeys and rainy lunch breaks fly by when you’re working on a bangin’ mix! Another bonus is that, if you have the patience, it’s possible to create mixes at a level of intricacy that wouldn’t be possible live, giving you the ability to switch
“Lengthy train journeys and rainy lunch breaks fly by when you’re working on a bangin’ mix!” between genres with ease and even blur the lines between mix and mash-up by deeply processing and editing tracks, not to mention throwing in disparate acapella vocals and samples. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to warp and mix tracks seamlessly in Ableton Live. Even if you’ve a Live novice, you’ll be making amazing mixes before you know it! If you don’t have Live already, then you can download the demo version for Mac or PC from www.ableton.com. Videos of the tutorials are provided on the DVD, and we’ve even provided the two bass-heavy house tracks used in them in the Tutorial Files folder, so that you can follow along step by step.
focus / make music now < > Step by step
Pitchshifting effects with Polar Warping a track in Ableton Live and Pulsar
Files video tutorial
Before we can make a mix in Live, we need some music. If you’ve got the paper version of the magazine, copy the Tutorial Files/CM Focus folder onto your hard drive. If you downloaded the files from our Vault system, they’ll already be on your hard drive. Load up Ableton Live – if you don’t have it, the save-disabled (but otherwise fully functional) demo version can be had at www.ableton.com.
By default, Live automatically warps longer tracks, although it often doesn’t get the warping exactly right. Select the clip and its settings will appear in the panel at the bottom of the interface. There are warp markers all over the waveform and the Warp button is illuminated – Live has indeed warped the track already.
Consequently, the higher metronome note that indicates the first beat of the bar is out of the sync with the track. Let’s fix this. Drag above the waveform display in the sample editor to zoom in on the start of the track. You’ll see that beat 1 on the timeline is aligned with the second beat of the track.
Live’s Session view is great for DJing live, but for making mixes offline, the Arrangement view is the place to be. To switch to the Arrangement view, press Tab or click the button in the top right hand corner.
Live will automatically timestretch clips to fit the project tempo. Turn the tempo up to 130bpm, so that’s it’s closer to the original tempo of the music we’re using, by dragging the Tempo parameter in the top left hand corner of the display.
Right-click the small grey triangle (a transient marker) above the first beat (at the extreme left of the waveform) and select Set 1.1.1 Here. Drag the transient marker above beat 1.2 to beat 1. The beats and the metronome should now be perfectly in sync.
The Arrangement view will be familiar if you’ve used just about any DAW: tracks are stacked vertically and the playhead moves from left to right as the tracks play back. Drag Push It Higher. mp3 into the Arrangement view.
Click the Metronome button to the right of the Tempo, so that it illuminates. This will help us work out whether or not Live has warped the track correctly or not. Play the project back by hitting the Spacebar or clicking the Play button. We can hear that the track is playing at the correct speed, but Live hasn’t placed the first downbeat correctly.
Turn the metronome off. You might notice that the quality of the audio is a bit off. This is due to the timestretching being applied the track. We can remedy this by changing the Warp mode (currently set to Beats) to Re-pitch. This has the side effect of increasing the pitch of the track, which is now being resampled rather than timestretched.
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> make music now / > Step by step
Fixing warping problems
We’ve warped the track, but if you listen to the breakdown section that starts at bar 9, you’ll hear that the slight timing fluctuations caused by the warp markers make the pitch of the track inconsistent, resulting in a less than perfect-sounding vocal performance!
> Step by step
That won’t do at all, so we need to tighten up the warping manually. Right-click beat 1’s warp marker and select Warp from Here (Straight). This warps the track from just a single warp marker, maintaining a fixed tempo throughout, which eliminates the pitch fluctuations. This only works with sequenced material that doesn’t vary in tempo at all (which is fine for most modern dance tunes).
Live will again guess the tempo of the track correctly, but it won’t get the positioning of the first beat right. Repeat the same procedure as before: Set 1.1.1 on the first beat, then select Warp From Here (Straight). If you like, you can set the Warp mode to Re-pitch, but as the project tempo is 130bpm anyway, this isn’t strictly necessary.
We’re doing fine in terms of timing, but playing two loud tracks over the top of each other like this results in the master output clipping. The easiest way to deal with this is to turn both channel’s levels down to -6dB.
To ensure the timing of the warp is correct and does not drift towards the end of the song, zoom in on bar 104, which is the last bar of the beat section, and drag the transient marker so that it sits exactly on beat 104. Turn on the metronome and play the track back. It’s perfectly in time, with no dodgy-sounding tempo changes!
Mixing tracks together
Now that we’ve got one track perfectly synced, let’s add another. Move Push It Higher so that it starts on the first beat of the project, then drag Vortex.mp3 (by Cubs, aka Features Editor Tim Cant – hear his latest releases at www.soundcloud.com/timcant) from the CM Focus folder onto the second track. Live will automatically turn this from a MIDI track to an Audio track.
We want to mix out of Push It Higher by bar 89, where the half-speed section kicks in. The intro to Vortex before the breakdown lasts for 16 bars, so drag Vortex over so that it starts on bar 73. When you play back from bar 73, you’ll hear the tracks play back perfectly in sync.
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Live now gets the tempo of the track slightly out, at 130.26 rather than 130bpm. To set it straight, zoom in and move the ‘boom’ on the last beat of the track to beat 193. Now this track is synced up correctly. Let’s hear what the two tracks sound like when played together.
This makes our mix a little quiet, but we can get some volume back by putting Live’s Limiter effect on the Master output and turning the Gain up a bit. The gain reduction meter will show you how hard the gain is working. Let’s leave the Gain at 3dB for the moment. You may well find that you get better results using a third-party mastering limiter.
focus / make music now < > Step by step
Making a smoother mix with automation
In the mix with Cutline
So far we’ve got two tracks playing in sync with each other, but it’s not exactly a silky smooth mix, and the tracks aren’t in key with each other. We can use volume and EQ automation to make the mix sound much better. Add a Utility effect to the second audio track.
Click the Gain parameter on the Utility effect and its automation lane will appear on the track. Double-click the envelope where the breakdown begins, at bar 89, to create a breakpoint there at 0dB. Next, double-click the envelope at the start of the track, at bar 73, and drag this breakpoint down to -35dB.
Genre-hopping bass music boffins Cutline have amassed a following of over 30,000 Facebook fans, thanks in part to their excellent promotional mixes, which are made in Ableton Live. We caught up with them for a chinwag. : Why do you make promo mixes in Ableton Live? CL: “For us, making promo mixes in Ableton is great because you have so much control, especially over things like tempo and musical key. We mix lots of genres, so being able to mash up an electro house track with a dubstep track and keep everything in key is vital for us. We also make little mash-ups to switch tempos during our live sets, which works really well.”
This makes the second track come in much more smoothly. The section of the mix after bar 89 doesn’t sound great, and we’ll get much more impact if we’ve mixed entirely to Vortex by that point. Drag to select all of Push It Higher after bar 89, and press the Del key to delete it.
Add an EQ Three effect to the first audio track, and click the GainMid dial to bring up its automation envelope. Double-click at bars 85 and 89 to create automation breakpoints, and drag the one at bar 89 down to -12dB, so that the mids get gradually attenuated over the four bars preceding the breakdown. With Live’s EQ Three, we can mimic the sort of brutal EQ cuts that are possible with a DJ mixer.
: How would you make a mix differently offline than in a live setting? CL: “The main difference is probably that you can take a lot more time when you’re offline, getting every sound and mix perfect. We found that trying to replicate that level of perfection when DJing wasn’t much fun. Now we play live off USB drives, simply because it’s easy and compact, but we know you can achieve amazing things when DJing with Ableton, if you put the work in.” : What tips do you have for people making mixes in Live? CL: “Try not to get frustrated that Ableton is incapable of finding the first beat of a track accurately! Seriously, though, just try to make the best of the technology. You can really do some interesting things with Ableton. Mashups, tempo changes, edits… all of these things are just a few clicks away.”
The mix is sounding smoother, but the beep from Vortex is still clashing with Push It Higher. Add an EQ Three to the Vortex audio channel, and this time set the mid level to automate up from -12dB at bar 81 to 0dB at bar 89. This helps make the clash less obvious.
A good way to help the incoming track have more of an impact is to take out some of the bass in the previous track. Select the first audio track and click the GainLow parameter on the EQ Three effect. Set the automation envelope to go from 0dB at bar 85 to -9dB at bar 89.
: What makes a good DJ mix? CL: “For us, it’s about keeping things interesting all the way through. There’s a definite flow and rhythm to a Cutline DJ mix, which generally translates in our live shows, too. The most important thing is to represent who you are and what you do to the best of your ability. Then let other people worry about whether it’s good or not.” Find more about Cutline at www.facebook.com/cutlinemusic, and check out their tracks and mixes at www.soundcloud.com/cutline. November 2012 / Computer musiC / 79
> make music now /
Dealing with tempo drift Generally, dance music that’s been created using nothing but electronic/ software instruments and sequencing will be easy to warp, as the tempo won’t drift or change, and the arrangement will probably stick to a rigid structure. Older tracks can be much more challenging, for a number of reasons. Tunes created in older sequencers (or without a sequencer at all) can drift quite drastically in tempo. This can be compounded if they’ve been ripped from vinyl, which can introduce its own subtle tempo fluctuations that you wouldn’t notice when listening to the track in isolation. Also, older tracks are more likely to have sections of irregular length, which can be confusing to mix. So, how do we deal with tracks like this? Let’s take an example of a dance number created before the advent of the software-based studio. Controversy by Prince is based around a standard 4/4 rhythm with no tempo changes or sections of irregular length, so Ableton Live will guess its tempo correctly, and it’ll sound okay when played back along with Live’s metronome. However, if you attempt to mix it with another track, you’ll notice that the warping isn’t perfect. The track will sound loose and ragged – surely not what Prince intended for his super-taut grooves! The most straightforward, though long-winded, solution to this is to play the track back along with another tune, or Syncing 16ths.wav in the Tutorial Files/CM Focus folder. This tight drum loop will highlight warping imperfections in a way that Live’s 4/4 metronome won’t. Adjust the timing of the errant beats yourself, and eventually you’ll have a warped version that will sound great in the mix! Note that tracks with a swung groove will obviously veer heavily away from rigid 16th-notes, so bear this in mind when warping. When working with tracks that drift in tempo, you may find that using the Re-pitch Warp mode introduces audible variations in pitch. The only way around this is to go with another mode. In the case of older tracks, Complex Pro will almost certainly give you the best balance between glitch-free timestretching and maintaining the transients of the original. When it comes to tracks with irregular numbers of bars – or in the case of a track such as Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You, where the timing completely disintegrates in places thanks to crazy tape editing – the solution isn’t so clear cut. We suggest cutting out the sections that deviate from the regular eight-bar groove, and using fades if necessary to splice the remaining sections of the track together in as seamless a manner as possible. Not an easy task, though.
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> Step by step
Six top tips for making mixes in Ableton Live
As well as volume and EQ, filter automation can be another useful tool to help you make slickersounding mixes. Whenever you automate a parameter, though, remember to return it to its default value after the mix, so that’s it reset for the next track on that channel. Either that, or use a new channel for every track you add.
Sometimes Live will detect a track’s tempo at half or double its actual speed. To correct this, use the Halve Original Tempo (:2) and Double Original Tempo (*2) buttons in the Clip editor.
Sync by tuning
If you’re having real trouble getting Live to correctly guess the tempo of a track, a quick way to get it roughly right is to turn off warp mode, then use the fine tune control (Detune) to get the track as well sync’ed as possible. Turn warp mode back on when you’re done. Live will ask you if you want to add warp markers to keep the current timing. Select Yes, then fine tune the warp markers manually.
Sometimes, when two tracks are broadly in sync, there may still be slight audible drift. You can fix this by turning off snap (Cmd/Ctrl+4) and manually shifting the next Warp marker of the track that’s drifting to get the transient back in line with the beat grid. Remember to make sure the part of the track after the Warp marker you’ve moved is still in time!
You can use Live’s pitchshifting in any Warp mode apart from Re-pitch to get the pitch of one track in key with another. However, this will cause increasingly unpleasant artefacts the further you take the audio away from its original pitch. If possible, try to organise your mix so that the adjacent tracks are naturally sympathetic to each other, thus avoiding the need to pitchshift anything.
A crucial part of making a good mix is working out which tracks will work together well. The most efficient way to do this is to warp all the tracks you want to use, then audition different combinations to hear which mixes sound best before arranging them. You can then fine tune the arrangement and automation to get the slickest mix possible!
AuriA Grab your iPad and join us as we explore the innermost secrets of this miraculous go-anywhere DAW When Apple first released the iPad, our dream of a truly professional handheld DAW looked like it could finally become reality. Well, it might have taken two-and-a-half years and two generations of hardware to happen, but WaveMachine Labs’ awesome Auria has made our dreams come true at last. As we surmised in last month’s review, it really does turn your iPad into a portable production powerhouse, with just about everything you need to record, edit and mix professional-sounding tracks. Sure, there have been other iPad apps that could record audio (and some that do MIDI, too, which Auria doesn’t yet – it’s scheduled to in a future update, the developers say), but Auria is the first to offer certain things that serious desktop composers have come to expect. Things like VST plug-ins from names we know and trust, including WaveMachine Labs themselves, FabFilter and PSP Audioware. In fact, the latter are responsible for Auria’s superb ChannelStrip and MasterStrip sections, one of which can be found on each and every mixer channel. Other headline features include full automation, support for multiple simultaneous audio inputs, plug-in delay compensation, pitch correction and comprehensive audio editing. Obviously, there’s a lot going on here and, truth be told, although the interface is very well designed, it can be a lot to take in, particularly for the novice recordist taking their first steps in music production.
Whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned pro, we’re here to help you get started with Auria. We’ll take you step-by-step through the recording process, showing you how to use many of Auria’s most powerful features. We’ve been putting the app through its paces since its release, and have already completed several full productions on the thing. Yes, it really is possible, and the software itself sounds truly incredible. We’ll show you plenty of the tricks we’ve learned about it in the process, including how to get the most out of it given the CPU restraints of its host device. We’ll show you how to record, mix, freeze and automate your tracks, and how to get them out of Auria and into the ears of your ravenous fans. So grab your iPad, slide to unlock, put up a mic (or four) and let’s get tracking!
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download Download this article’s content on your PC or Mac at vault.computermusic.co.uk
November 2012 / Computer musiC / 49
> make music now / the
guide to auria
Interfacing Auria Recent updates to iOS have included support for USB2 class complaint devices via Apple’s Camera Connection Kit. WaveMachine Labs have taken full advantage of this by giving Auria the ability to record multiple input channels simultaneously – assuming, of course, that the attached audio interface is both compatible and up to the task. Therein lies one of the first hurdles for the iPad multitracker. While there are loads of USB2 interfaces out there, not all of them are classcompliant. Any device that requires any sort of driver, for example, is a no-go. And devices that require USB power may also not work, though you can possibly get around this using a powered USB hub. Keep checking www.auriaapp.com/ Support/auria-audio-interfaces, where the developers maintain a growing list of interfaces known to work and any peculiarities you might expect. There’s also an equally helpful list of interfaces known to not work with Auria. We’ve tried a number of interfaces. Our first candidate was Alesis’ purpose-built iO Dock. It
> Step by step
Want tons of inputs for Auria? You can use up to 18 with the Focusrite Scarlett 18i6
worked, with a minor hiccup or two here and there. However, it provides only a pair of inputs, so while it might be perfect for most tasks, we found it less than fully qualified for, say, recording a drum kit. We’ve recommended Alesis’ Multimix 4 USB in the past, and it still works, even if it has been superseded by the iO Dock. For most of the walkthroughs in this feature, we used Lexicon’s Omega, an affordable desktop interface that offers four inputs, mic preamps, MIDI and input monitoring.
If you’re truly serious about using the iPad for professional recordings, or you simply need more inputs, you could plump for a more elaborate interface, like Focusrite’s Scarlett 8i6 and 18i6, the Lynx Aurora 16, or RME Fireface UCX. While we’re on the subject of compatibility, we should point out that some users have reported problems using third-party Camera Connection Kit alternatives, so our advice is to stick with the Apple original. It’s rather overpriced, certainly, but it “just works”, as they say.
First steps with Auria
Auria has no synthesisers, samplers or any other instruments, nor any way to trigger them as of yet. This is pure audio. However, we can grab some synthy stuff from another iPad app via AudioCopy/ Paste. Here we’ve copied a short arpeggiator jam we made in the superb Sunrizer synth.
While you’re in the Settings menu, take a look at some of the other things you can adjust. You can, for example, adjust mixer quality, activate auxiliary delay compensation, activate record monitoring, adjust SMPTE frame rate and much more. We activate record monitoring and set the metronome to play during recording.
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Now we launch Auria. It opens to the mixer window of the last project we worked on. We go to Menu and select New Project. This brings up a dialog in which we can title our new song, choose the sample rate and the number of tracks we think we might need to start with. We choose 8, but we can add more later.
Tap the X in the upper-right corner to return to the main screen. That would be the mixer, then. However, we’ll be spending a lot of time in the other main view: the editor. You can access that by tapping the waveform icon, upper-left. Now, tap Edit and select AudioPaste from the drop-down menu.
Since our prerecorded audio features an arpeggiator pattern, we’d like to match Auria’s tempo to it, so that the bar and beat divisions line up correctly. We know that the initial patch was recorded at 95bpm. Go to Menu and select Settings. Tap the Tempo setting and enter your desired tempo in beats per minute.
Our recording is pasted to the General Pasteboard, so we roll through the AudioPaste dial to select it. If you’ve used a different method to copy your file, select that one. Incidentally, you can also import audio via iTunes. Once we’ve got it, we hit Done and our wave becomes visible in the main window, starting at the playback head position.
the > Step by step
guide to auria / make music now <
OK, we’ve got our clip in (if you haven’t made your own, you can import ours – SynthArp.wav - via iTunes or Dropbox, etc). Let’s have a listen. Tap the Play button in the transport up top. It doesn’t begin until nearly a second in. We need to edit it. First, though, tap the time display in the upper-left and change it to Bars:Beats.
We also need to trim the end of the file. We can use Auria’s Snap function to automatically snap clips and/or the playback head to a specified multiple of the beat or time division. The Snap menu just above the clip is currently set to None. Change it to Bars.
Zoom out a bit further and select the clip by touching it. Go to the Edit menu and select Duplicate Clip. A new copy appears adjacent to the first. There’s a bit of a click at the join, though. Let’s zoom in and investigate.
We need to trim the beginning of the audio clip. This is detailed work, so we zoom in very closely, both horizontally and vertically. This is done by pinching in the usual way. Now touch and hold the tiny arrow at the lower-left. Touching it selects the clip, and holding brings up a larger grey arrow. Slide your finger to the right to trim the file as required.
Now we can simply tap the ruler at 5:1 (bar 5, beat 1) to jump the playback head to that point. Because we’ve already matched the tempo to that of the clip, we know that it should match up perfectly to the same spot in the pasted audio. Have a listen to confirm, then put the cursor back to 5:1 and tap the clip to select it.
The problem is obvious. The end of the first clip isn’t completely silent before the next one starts, causing the audio to glitch. We can fix that by fading out the end of the clip. Touch the upperright corner (the small grey arrow) and drag down and to the left to fade out the very end of the first region.
Once you’ve edited the clip to the very start of the wave, pinch the screen to zoom back to a manageable perspective. We still need to move the clip to the start of the song. Touch and hold the clip until a red border appears around it. Now move the clip to the left until it starts at the very beginning of the song.
Select Split from the Edit menu to split the audio clip at the cursor position. There’s a blue outline around the first region and no outline around the later, shorter region. Tap the shorter region to select it. Now return to the Edit menu and select Delete Region. The shorter clip vanishes.
Zoom back out and double-tap the Stop button to return the cursor to the beginning. Now tap the Play button to check out your handiwork. Much better! We only faded the first clip, so either repeat the procedure for the second, or delete it and re-duplicate the initial edited one. Duplicate it a few times.
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> make music now / the Conservation society If you’re a first-gen iPad owner, Auria might well provide the push you need to upgrade. Even so, newer iPads still only provide so much power, and high track counts, multiple plug-ins and high quality audio will leave your tablet gasping for air. Experienced desktop producers will be old hands at eking maximum performance out of an overladen CPU, and many readers will doubtless have used track freeze functions to free up some juice. Auria can do that, too, but there are other ways to reduce the strain on your iPad. First, if you’re not working on your final mix, shut off 64-bit mixing in the Settings menu. You can disable effects, too, while recording. We can take a few cues from old-school hardware engineers as well. For example, we can record our effects on the way in – Auria can do this with its inserts. We can also bounce submixes down as single tracks to free up tracks and CPU power. Assigning tracks to Groups and processing them simultaneously can help, as can deploying your reverb and delay processing as auxiliary effects, using sends to feed multiple tracks to them.
guide to auria > Step by step
3 > Step by step
Tracking in Auria
Now that we know how to import and edit audio, let’s record some of our own. Tap Menu and choose Input Matrix. The available inputs are shown across the top – our interface gives us four – and tracks are displayed vertically. Assign inputs to tracks by ticking the circles. Incidentally, bounces or submixes can be made by selecting L/R as inputs.
Before we record, we’d like to practice along with a looped portion of the song, so we set locators at the start and end of the section we want to loop. This is done by tapping the ruler above the tracks in the Edit window using two fingers, one at each desired point. The locators appear and the section is highlighted. Choose Loop from the Counter menu to activate looped playback.
Tap out of the Input Matrix and open the Mixer. Tracks are armed by tapping the Arm buttons at the top of each channel. Here, we’ve armed tracks 2, 3, 4 and 5, each of which have been assigned to inputs 1 through 4, respectively. To adjust the input level, tap and hold a channel’s Arm button and select Set Record Level from the menu.
Now we’re ready to record. We tap Record and Play in the transport and we’re off. As you’re recording, the tracks will turn red. After recording, Auria will process and save the new audio. Recording can, of course, be undone. Here, we’re tracking our four inputs, one each for a kick and snare drum, and two for overhead mics.
Editing multiple selections
Disarm the channels (you can also do this in the Edit window, but you’ll have to zoom in vertically to access the button). Once you’ve recorded your tracks, name them by tapping the blank strip at the bottom of each Mixer channel. Back in the Edit view, we listen to our recordings (you can import ours, if you like).
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Forgive our amateurish drum tracks – we didn’t have a professional drummer at our disposal for this session! Anyway, we’d like to split and duplicate just one section. To do that, we need to select multiple regions. This is done by tapping the track icon up in the top-left corner and selecting the tracks.
We think the drums sound best between bars 9 and 13, so we snap the cursor to bar 9, beat 1. From the Edit menu, we select Split, then delete everything before bar 9 and select the remaining regions. We place the cursor at bar 13, beat 1 and repeat the process. Tap the little track icon again to return to normal selection.
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Mixing and applying effects
Let’s loop a busy section and go to the Mixer. We hard pan our overhead tracks left and right, and adjust the levels of each track to taste. Soloing the kick drum, we hear some bleed from the snare, and the level’s a bit flaky, too. Tap the FX button at the top of the track. The ChannelStrip appears. Tap the Bypass button to activate it.
Close out of the kick’s FX and solo the snare track before opening its FX. Isolate the snare using the Expander. Now, exit out of the ChannelStrip and scroll to the Master channel. Tap the Aux FX button, then the topmost slot to add an effect. Add the Convolution Reverb. Crank the Reverb’s Mix knob.
Let’s try some automation. We can do this in real time, manually, or both. Scroll to the Synth Arp channel in the Mixer and activate the W button. Now, play the song from the beginning and increase the value of the track’s Aux 1 knob gradually to bring in some reverb. Bring it out before the drums kick in. Stop when you’ve got it.
The Expander section on the left is our first stop. We activate it by tapping the EXP button at the bottom. We activate the -24dB button, and crank the Threshold up. The Ratio is slammed up to GATE and we turn the Rel(ease) down, along with the Range. That cuts out all but the kick.
Close the FX and the Aux FX. Scroll back over to the snare channel and turn the Aux 1 knob up until you can hear the reverb processing the snare drum. Nice. Un-solo the channel to hear the whole song. Not bad, but as you can see, our CPU meter has shot up quite a bit…
The track will automatically switch to Read mode. Back in the Edit view, select Aux 1 from the track’s drop-down menu. You should see a blue automation line. Select any handle on it by touching it to move it, delete it, etc. New handles can be added by tapping and holding.
Now we activate the high frequency roll-off by tapping the button in the upper-right of the EQ section. We use the knob to the left of it to reduce all the highs above a certain frequency, getting rid of the pedal squeak. We activate the Compressor section and adjust the Ratio and Output gain to smooth the levels.
We can reclaim some CPU cycles by freezing a track with lots of processing – the kick, specifically. Tap the kick’s FX button to bring up the strip again. Tap the snowflake button at the right of the fader to freeze the track. The ChannelStrip will darken to show that it’s frozen.
Finally, mix your track and export it via the Mixdown Menu item. You can send it to a new track, Dropbox and/or SoundCloud as a WAV, AIF or MP3. Obviously, this is only the start of what you can do in Auria. Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment.
November 2012 / Computer musiC / 53
Published on Nov 8, 2012