View Full Version : Am I missing something?

03-10-2012, 02:27 AM
So I picked up a new APC40 and a Alesis Q49 tonight after trading in some old speakers I had sitting around.

I'm currently using Ableton along with them, and am becoming familiar with the basics of the layout and such.

What I am not getting, I guess, is how one makes a song from scratch via the keyboard and APC. I look on youtube for videos, and everyone makes it look so simple with loops loaded into the APC so they just hit a button when they want that particular sound or instrument to come in. Are there packs out there to download to do this? Or are people making the loops, and adding them all together... I guess I am just not getting this part.. haha

I have been playing with Massive and the Q49, and can record in Ableton... but afterwards I don't know what to do with it really. I know learning all this isn't going to be over night... but is there a good beginners tutorial out there I can watch or read?

Andrew B
03-10-2012, 02:34 AM
Start with the built-in tutorials.

I'm assuming that in the videos you're watching people are just launching clips with the APC. The loops are either made by the producer, or are purchased samples or loops. The APC isn't very conducive to production, it's more of a live performance tool. You just have to assign sounds to clips in session view. I prefer arrangement view for songwriting.

Everything can be done with just a mouse, but it's nice to have a MIDI keyboard to screw around with ideas for melodies.

03-10-2012, 09:07 AM
If you want to be making sounds from scratch, I would suggest messing around in Operator.

Its not too hard to figure out, you can create any sound you desire with it... nearly.. you can also string instruments with an instrument rack with lets say... analog ;).

That right there should keep you busy...

What I do is get my desired tone, then macro and midi key all the knobs that do the most to my sound, lfo rate/amount, frequency, pitch env, spread , transpose, resinence, it takes alot of messing around but once you map them all, slowly tune in to a sound you desire moving one knob, slowly.. to where you like it, fine tune it and if you want to get a cool effect, mess around with your pitch envelope(shift-tab from your operator(IN ARRANGEMENT VIEW) you have to have a midi clip present with sound to do so) and try altering your pitch env to get a different pitch...

it honestly is all dependant on what you are looking for in sound, if you want some more in depth help, send me a message on DJF and I can show you a couple things (I am not an amazing producer, im new.. but learning quick)

http://soundcloud.com/eth-lizee/the-french-way-part-1-original will give you a quick idea of some of the sounds I have done in operator.. its truly nothing amazing yet.

03-10-2012, 07:06 PM
Right now my big thing is maybe not having a decent drum sequencer... I can play with massive and get some dirty sounding synths, wobbles, ect... but I am lacking that simple bass snare combination in the back ground.

What are some good sequencers/VSTs I can use in correlation with my APC and Q49? I have a Mac so Fruity Loops is out(no I'm not running parallels.)

I was at Guitar Center today and found 2 software packs I thought looked cool, RIG Urban, Pulse, and even the Playa Production Pack with Redman or whoever on it. I'm really not into one sound, I love hip-hop,electro,house,dubstep... but I think I need a drum machine of some sort to get me going..

03-10-2012, 07:33 PM
You have ableton so you have drum racks. The built in drum racks are awesome. There is also nerve and geist if your looking for a vst oriented for drum programming though

03-10-2012, 07:38 PM
I'm still new to Ableton, not sure if I mentioned that. Where can these drum racks be found?

03-10-2012, 07:40 PM
The manual will tell you all about it.

03-10-2012, 07:59 PM
I found operator and Drum Rack on the side but they are only the sound files, no virtual instruments or anything.. hmmm I'll keep looking

03-10-2012, 08:33 PM
I would suggest just messing around and figuring it out, the drum rack can hold sample single shots, which are good to use for your drums, once you get it established you should look into parallel compression on your drum kit... it helps alot.

03-10-2012, 08:35 PM
lots of it has to do with using the proper effects to get the sounds you desire, a little bit of reverb and delay can go a LONG way when it comes to production.

03-10-2012, 09:34 PM
dude i rarely use my keyboard so i sold it, i mouse everything in or put a bunch of chords in slots and play them in session and record into arrangement with my apc. best analogy would be like this, a digital designer doesn't need a wacom tablet to become a good designer - they need better knowledge of the program (ie all things adobe) and a basic understanding of how to make art.

03-14-2012, 10:03 AM
So I finally figured out a bunch watching people make songs on youtube.. if you use Drum Rack or Operator, or any other built in instruments or tools... you have to drag them over and create a new track. Once you do that, then you can load your sound samples. It was TOO simple and I obviously wasn't getting it. haha ;)

And you guys are right, you will rarely use a keyboard, but occasionaly it comes in handy. I couldn't pen in a specific beat I wanted, but could tap it on my fingers all day long. Once I did that, I cleaned up the timing and it was in there...

Now I just need to figure out how to get songs converted into acapellas and do some sampling.. ;)

03-14-2012, 02:19 PM
The APC functionality can be expanded using scripts, check this out http://www.nativekontrol.com/apC_Series.html (there are videos showing all it could do).