Do you like the Live Instruments?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
akm
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Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by akm » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:17 am

Don't want to offend anyone, I love Ableton Live in general, but I found the sound quality of Live Instruments awful in the mix, compared to NI, Arturia or Korg VST's. They are cool integrated, nice gui, sure one can make excellent music with them, but anyway... Same as with Reason - great software, for learning the stuff, but when just exclusive that software - it sound so toyish, even with high programming/sound design skills. Is not it obvious, anyone agree? Same with some effects. Reverb - it is so big compromise to use it... Though they are CPU very friendly...

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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Michael Hatsis » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:34 am

Operator, Sampler and Collision rock hard, If you can't coerce good sounds out of those, there is a problem, Especially with Op's new filters. To Me, If you drop the effects from NI stuff, they sounds super dull, the effects are what makes them.
Live Effects, are def a bit different and they are more difficult to get good results, but they all have a sweet spot. My experience tells me to Use a little bit of lots of effects, and you get some nice sounds.
Analog has great sound quality, but is one of the worst designed synths ever ( in my opinion of course ). Never seen a simple analog synth thats so difficult to program.

akm
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by akm » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:53 am

Even with a sine oscillator, operator, some tune, melodies with just sine oscillator (maybe with some delays), operator sounds really weak comparing, to, say, Reaktor sin osc. I don't know how to explain that. NI sounds much clearer and detailed and sharp. Again, really wonder that you love Live sounds )))

kb420
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by kb420 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:55 am

Wow!

I can't believe you dissed Analog. That's actually my favorite Suite instrument. It's not hard to program. I think Operator is harder than Analog. Analog is pretty simple actually. It's just two oscillators.
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Michael Hatsis
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Michael Hatsis » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:13 am

akm wrote:Even with a sine oscillator, operator, some tune, melodies with just sine oscillator (maybe with some delays), operator sounds really weak comparing, to, say, Reaktor sin osc. I don't know how to explain that. NI sounds much clearer and detailed and sharp. Again, really wonder that you love Live sounds )))

Have reaktor too- and love it. dunno, never really warmed up to operator till the live 8 update. I guess its really up to you, but i think it sounds great and are gentle on cpu. My got synth now, use it on everythan. An opinion i guess. but thats what you asked for, right. Use a spec analyzer and try to match the characteristics of reaktors sine wave using saturators and tube, overxrive. Then save that as your default.


Also, analog,yes a subtractive synth is usually easier to program than fm but dont think its the case with analog. i have found my way around the synth, but still super wierd, just lookat all the mod values, all different? Also, vales that usually show a definite pitch, like detune and the pitch env are just floats. Guess it makes you use your ears more. Thats cool.

glitchrock-buddha
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by glitchrock-buddha » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:42 am

I've recently become very fond of analog. However I do find it more inconvenient to use Live's instruments than 3rd party ones, especially because I can load VSTs in Kore and use them with novation automap.

I do use Electric all the time as my go to electric keyboard though, and I think tension is one of the coolest instruments ever. I was even considering getting the AAS version to free it from the shackles of the Live Device. Love sampler, but if it could pitch samples independent of time (ie. timestretch), I would use a hell of a lot more. Operator has definitely matured with the Live 8 version and I think it's very fun to program.
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Machinesworking
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Machinesworking » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:17 am

I haven't bought them yet, but I will. I personally prefer FM8 to Operator, but in beta I really liked the new Operator, vast improvement IMO.
One crazy thing though was that on my system, Operator took far more CPU than FM7 did.
I bought Komplete 2 at the same time that I bought Live 3, all before Logic 7 had all embedded plug ins included. So it's always been hard to justify Suite.

I'm not fond of Sampler, or Analog, but I got all of Logics plug ins and Komplete before Operator was even included. Also I went nuts and bought a couple analog synths, plus Kontakt (and Live itself) is pretty crazy for sampling needs. I will say that Collision and Tension really hit the spot for me, so when I do get the money together to upgrade to 8, I'll get Suite boxed just for the Session Drums, Collision and Tension.

Watch, after saying that I'll get strung out on Analog and Sampler...

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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Pasha » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:59 am

I'm on Live 8 Suite so I own all Live Instruments (including Session Drums and EIC). The new Library in the suite provides you with a lot of sounds that are in my opinion 70% useful (finally!!). You have 'naked' versions with no effects and Rack versions with effects added. As stand alone, Ableton instruments generate a pure sound that sometimes sounds 'dull'. When you add effects the character changes and gets very close to other VST you might have. I have Zebra. Effects are part of the audio path. If I switch effects off even Zebra becomes a little dull. I think that only hardware synthesizers can give you that sense of 'dirty' that we perceive as beefy without any fx added. At the beginning I had the same impression about dullness then I realized that Ableton took a different course. They give you the building blocks not the polished, finished synthesizer.
I have created racks that can stand in a mix by blending Analog & Operator or strange sounds by blending Tension & Operator.
BTW, I still use Zebra because of its different character but mostly because I like presets. While I program sounds with Live Instruments i do not program sounds with Zebra, I only tweak them. Although mainly a preset guy I have to say that Live Instruments are not any worse than the competition, they are different. Personally Electric is the one I like above the others, followed by Analog-Operator and Tension which I use for stringy sounds. Collision is very nice for percussive malletish sounds. Don't use Sampler except to tweak EIC. I use Zebra as a Pad, Ambient sound generator, waiting for Zebrify to make my Stratocaster a striped one... :D
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Bleep Blop Ima Robot
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Bleep Blop Ima Robot » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:24 am

i like analog and operator, ive been getting some good sounds from these. but still i think im going to be picking up massive as a new addition. but so far im happy with live and its sounds.
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leedsquietman
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by leedsquietman » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:04 am

Electric is the best EP (along with Lounge Lizard, the AAS plugin which is what Electric basically is in an Ableton GUI) out there. Electric Pianos are not used very much in Trance or Techno, but for some Acid jazz type stuff they rule.

Tension is great, especially if you layer a sample with it, example strings - sample strings sound impressive for the odd note, but don't model the playing action, layer a Tension strings preset in with the sample string and you get the nicer sounding sample but with the realistic playing action from Tension. You can also make some crazy sounds with it.

Operator - the new Operator in Live 8 is one of the most impressive reasons to upgrade from L7. I beta tested it and miss L8's operator as I didn't upgrade yet. I have FM8 and like that a lot, it has a better set of presets to tweak from, but it has to be said, it's FX layering and arpeggiator are what make it sound more lush and full than Operator - rack up a couple of FX (chorus, reverbs, delays etc) and Operator suddenly sounds like a 1000 dollar synth. Although it is heavier on CPU juice for certain sounds.

Like anything else, if you spend time with the SUite synths learning how to program them and learn how to use racks to add modulation and reverb effects, you will appreciate them a whole lot more - they integrate better, are often less flaky, and don't impose the extra VST buffer 3rd party softsynths do.

I have Korg Legacy digital and Arturia softsynths etc. and they do sound good - Live's synths sound different, so they compliment each other well. And are less recognizable, I can instantly tell many ALbino 3, Zebra and Massive patches, whereas Analog, while again not having the greatest presets, can be programmed easily and isn't such a cliched sound.

Of course, splashing on a pile of 3rd party VSTs should give you great sounds, but the Suite is cost effective as each plugin is valued as an average of about 50 bucks each compared to buying bespoke individual plugins at 150-300 bucks each.
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davepermen
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by davepermen » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:37 am

I like them. I prefer having dull instruments that I then enhance with effects. Gives me more freedom, and much more learning experience. I'm still very much an amateur in music production, but with the instruments and effects from ableton, i finally started to understand how to create sounds, unlike with any sort of vst plugin that just 'does it for me'.

other than that, having one synth, and learning it in detail lets you create all sort of awesome things, compared to buying every sort of synth, and just playing the presets as you don't get how to tweak each of them really.
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Synthbuilder
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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by Synthbuilder » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:41 am

I love how easy it is to use Sampler. The drag and drop from one window to another is awesome. The filters sound nice and the routing is simple but enough for me in virtually all cases. CPU is excellent. Sampler and Live's general workflow have pretty much nailed me to Live.

Operator I don't like. I have tried to but I have never ever used it in a finished track. Too much CPU and I don't really like the sound of it. I much prefer FM7/8 for FM stuff and Operator's analoguey bits can be got elsewhere.

Analog - nope, not for me either. I don't like the interface - way too small and the bits seem to be in the wrong places. The filter doesn't sound very 'analog' to me either and the CPU hit is higher than it should be.

Electric - Not bad at all this one. Its not often I use that sound though.

Tension - Not bad but I to use some of the freebie Synthedit efforts for this sort of sound. They're easier on the CPU.

Collision - one note sends my aging PC into CPU meltdown. Time for a new PC to appreciate this one.

akm
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Post by akm » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:36 pm

I see your opinions. See that you like them generally. I say again, though it maybe strange, I hear their weakness regardless to gui, settings or presets. I'm sure it's due to weak algorithms they use maybe to be more cpu effective. I can't say it about Live as a DAW because audio mixdown is not that complicated process from a look of a software programming. Describing the sound of Live instruments/effects I'd call them sounding too soft. I heard people call the Reaktor sound too harsh but I prefer that to Lives softness, because it is easier to make sharp sound to be softer, then vice versa.

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Re: Do you like the Live Instruments?

Post by leedsquietman » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:09 pm

Anything that sounds too soft can be made phatter with processing.

Softsynths in general have a weaker, lighter sound than hardware but there are ways to make the sounds phatter. This also applies to Reaktor synths, Arturia and the rest - they are emulations and don't carry the weight of hardware, but with the right sound choices and processing, you can still get decent results. Try re-amping (output the synth sound to your monitors and record with a mic), saturation/tape saturation, subtle use of distortion, amp modelling software etc for a heavier sound and subtle or non subtle use of modulation FX and reverb/delays etc.

FM synths (like Operator) for example are not designed for 'phatness', they are better for bell like crystalline tones, although that's not to say you can't make some sounds which do sound phat.

Before passing judgement on the Live synths, I think you need to spend more time with them, and also look at some 3rd party offerings by the likes of Covert Operators, Puremagnetik, Track Team Audio and Sonic Couture, etc. These showcase the synths better than Live's internal presets in most instances.
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Re:

Post by rikhyray » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:09 pm

akm wrote:I see your opinions. See that you like them generally. I say again, though it maybe strange, I hear their weakness regardless to gui, settings or presets. I'm sure it's due to weak algorithms they use maybe to be more cpu effective. I can't say it about Live as a DAW because audio mixdown is not that complicated process from a look of a software programming. Describing the sound of Live instruments/effects I'd call them sounding too soft. I heard people call the Reaktor sound too harsh but I prefer that to Lives softness, because it is easier to make sharp sound to be softer, then vice versa.
Just to keep some balance after that flow of praise. Despite very attractive upgrade offer I did not expand to suite, it is perhaps just different taste but I realised that none of that AAS products appeal to me (except EP), I like Arthuria, Korg Legacy, Thor much more then any of those included in suite. While simple Live interface is the greatest and I dislike those fake hardware GUIs but having everything looking same in not much of advantage, contrary.
There is so much of VSTs to choose, if something is less then irresistible, "you couldnt live without" dont waste your money. It is you who is going to use it, no fan boys opinion (of Live or anything else ) will change it, trust your ears, your taste. It is incredible how many outstanding virtual instruments are there, we have the great luxury of choice.
P.S. please dont even mention Lives own reverb, nobody of sane mind and ear would use it. We all wait for some update since years.

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