In last week’s tutorial I focussed on one of Ableton’s undervalued secret weapons – Overdrive. This little distortion effect has so much power and potential that I wanted to continue showing this off and create a little mini series of tutorials for you. This week we look at a really cool way to add distorted delays to a lead melody. This technique is super simple and can really help you to add some interesting character, movement and definition to your lead melodies and synth lines in your music.
Okay so in the last tutorial, we looked at how powerful Ableton’s overdrive effect is and we looked at shaping err sounds so they either cut right through the mix or they sit better and gel with the other sounds in our track. Now if you haven’t watched that video I recommend going back now and making sure you check it out because I go through all of the parameters and how to quickly dial in the results you want with overdrive. So assuming you’ve already got that one under your belt, let’s dive into this tutorial where we’re gonna look at how to spice up a lead sound using a combination of overdrive and delays. So here’s our music example [Music]. And you can hear we got this wicked lead melody sound [Music] and we’re gonna be sending this to a return track. So let’s look at the setup on the return. Get yourself a spare return and load up overdrive and Ableton’s delay. So in the last tutorial, I showed how to dial in your settings so won’t go into detail on this but I’m going to point out a few things that I’ve done. First up we’ve got the pre-filter only working on the high mids and I’ve done exactly the same with the delay as well so it’s not delaying anything that’s happening in the low mids and the reason for that is often lots of delays in the low mids muddy up your track. So you’re gonna want to dial this in to taste but I wanted to focus on the high mid, get the crunchiness there and not interfere too much with the other sounds I’ve got going on elsewhere in the frequency spectrum.
The delay itself very simple ping-pong to give us some width a bit of feedback on there 56%. Both of these effects are set to 100% wet so we’re only getting the effect signal. And then the big deal is of course how much drive and tone we want. So let’s have a listen to what happens if I ram the send all the way up. So this is maximum send. That might be easier in this view for you to see. Maximum send is now going to the overdrive [Music].
So you use the combination of the drive and tone to dial it in the sound that you want and the next step is just to turn down your return. Now I like to start with it about minus six so when I’m dialing in that Tambor using the drive and tone controls I don’t get any super loud volume spikes coming out of it. But what this now means is I’ve got a volume and a tone but I’m happy with it maximum send and then I can then throw this and mess about with it accordingly without ever ending up with something super loud that I don’t want going on in my track.
And that’s it we’re now ready to play. Now I personally like to jam things in just to get a feel for where I want the delay to be happening and then I can always tidy up afterwards so it sounds something like this [Music].
I mean that getting some really nice tones and delays coming out, then you can of course go in and adjust it or if you’ve just got a feel for it like I have. You might want to draw stuff in so I got a feel that I kinda like this note, maybe not full. This one sounded pretty cool full blast. Definitely like what was going on the end here and so on and so forth and we could just experiment until we get the sort of tones that we want. So in context, here it is now with these extra delays [Music]. Very cool stuff! So there you have it. Another simple technique for this wicked little overdrive device.
If you enjoyed the tutorial, you want more of the same then make sure you hit subscribe so you’re always kept in the loop and remember to grab yourself a copy of air completely free ebook 101 Ableton Tips for House and Techno producers. It’s got loads of resources in there, loads of tips, beautifully produced book. It’s got loads of links to videos for you as well. There’s a ton of cool stuff to get through finishmoremusic.com/101ebook so that’s 101 ebook. The link is of course also under the video for you.
All the best take care until next time happy music making!
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