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Racks

In this video, we take a look at racks, and in particular how to build a Deadmau5 style rack incorporating midi fx, parallel instrument chains, audio fx, and macro mapping configurations.

To break this sound down we need to look at its elements first:

• A saw wave simpler device
• Midi FX to create the thick 5th chord (7 semitones)
• Filter Modulation to create the pluck
• FX such as reverb, delay, compression and chorus to bring the sound to life
• Macro and midi mappings to allow us to automate the sound over time and breathe some life into the arrangement.

Once we have a rough idea of the sound we want to create, we can then go and take these different parts to build our rack.

A rack can be few different things:

A midi fx rack – only uses midi fx
An audio fx rack – only uses audio fx
A drum rack – is an instrument holding many more instruments (pads)
An instrument rack – a combination of midi insts, midi fx & audio fx.

 

Racks can be created by grouping devices together either by right-clicking and choosing group from the context menu or by using the Cmd+G shortcut.

Once created we get some extra pop-outpanels on our device such as:

• Macro Controls
• Chains
• Devices

Macro controls can be thought of as the front panel which allows us to map any device parameters of devices within our rack to the front panel for easy control. These macros can also be fine tuned by ‘configuring’ our macro controls in the browser panel in macro mapping mode.

Chains can be thought of as similar to tracks. A chain is essentially an entire new track within its own right. The chain still takes the same input as the the other chains on any given track and it works in parallel.

Chains are usually used to add extra layers of synths and sounds to thicken up a sound in terms of its width, depth or timbre (tonality). a typical example of using chains would be when creating a kick drum sound many producers will use a chain for the sub, a chain for the mid of the kick and a chain for the top part of the kick. they can then Eq & affect these different chains individually.

Finally we have the devices panel. This is used to show or hide the devices within the rack. We need to be careful when we are moving, adding or deleting devices in a chain because sometimes if we have multiple racks grouped together it can be hard to tell exactly which rack a specific device is nested in. to make this easier to see, try opening or collapsing a rack (or chain) a few times to help shed some light on what devices belong to it and which ones are part of the main track.

This video is an excerpt from our ‘Ableton Live 10 Lite Edition’ comprehensive course for beginners. To watch the full course and get the project files head to our courses page.