Sofsyhtns /Samplers and Ableton-your advice please

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:39 am

Sofsyhtns /Samplers and Ableton-your advice please

Post by Sebastian » Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:38 am


I have a Korg Karma and an VX 3080 Roland sound module, both of which can have deep programming but which requires deep dives into the manuals.

Some folks rave about great lush pads, realsitic strings, nice moog and rhodes sounds, that some soft syntsh/samplers have. Im wondering if such presets are superior or because you all users tweak them hard and go deep in synthesis etc. I am not into synthesis. I start composing and quick I need a bass, pad, or strings, I scroll and look

What softsynths or samplers work best with Ableton ?

Which ones have the least issues with Ableton, dont require months of manuals and forums, are intuitive, and with nice clean menus listing all instruments, tweaks and edits easy to save, and dont kill CPU

The choices are overwhelming!

(unfortunately I have a full time job so time is gold!)

Live Suite 9, RME Fireface 800, Mac Book Pro, Sierra

Posts: 306
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 10:45 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by MrSleep » Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:42 am

you need contrast for sound to come out polished.

if you buy the most glossiest expensive sounding synth with the most impressive effects from lexicon, it will sound downright crap & cheap!.

it does not matter whether its hardware or software or what the pro's are using..,

it matters that you know your sound and are able to recognize that pallete when it comes..,, for the type of music you will produce.

it will help but is not hindering if you dont know the deep editing of your harware because there are an abundance of presets you can use to add or subract on, what is not required in your production.

after all you are a musician, and sometimes youve got to say, hay! do I want to build a guitar or play it?

compare your music but dont race to better the outcome of your original composition.

and, take care
make great music.
hurry up.... mr squigle....

Posts: 5788
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:05 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Post by timothyallan » Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:08 am

A Korg Karma and an VX 3080 will be able to make almost any sound you can think of.

I have a Karma, and it works great with Live. Yes its, deep, but in this biz, if you want to stand out, you've gotta put in the time to learn stuff like that. There is -no- way around it. Also, the majority of us also have fulltime 9-5's (or 7-7's like me) that aren't related to music.

The learning curve is the same with softsynths. Except its sometimes worse, because almost everyone has everyone elses synths!. Nothing sucks more than some dude saying "Nice track, I espeically like preset 24 from Pro-53 synth, and preset 12 from Albino!" hehe.

Also, you didnt say what style of music you make which should also make a big influence on your purchase.



Posts: 49
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 1:27 am
Location: 4-Corners & Palm Harbor, FL, USA

Re: Sofsyhtns /Samplers and Ableton-your advice please

Post by Pilgrim » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:38 am


All great advice, the above !!
. . .but, Just For YOU. . .
Speaking from recent experience here. . . crazy, of course. . .

You need to get some order in your “tools needs” through some real careful head-banging.

Trying to think about/do too many things, especially now, will make you silly-nuts.

In my not-so-humble opinion, if you try to go all computer, you will hate it, especially all the “mouse-ing” AND you will spend lots of money and time ‘cause you will need a new, hot stuff, computer and soft instruments and lots of samples, just to “find” what you like.

Your current computer will be fine for audio or MIDI (alone) but as soon as you add some effects to the audio, you’re dead. . . and forget soft synths/samplers AND soft effects!

As for working sounds/samples, choose some basic instrument sounds, a decent drum set with some general percussion stuff and “simulate” the rest until you get the “music” down, then go back and spend the time and money to replace the sounds with the best samples from wherever. . .

It’s like putting up with a crappy rehearsal band until the music gets developed far enough to bring in the heavy and expensive session players!

You have LIVE! so find out what is unique about it. Get your head wrapped around the Session view (learn from these DJs here, think like a DJ but use it to write music instead of perform). Whatsadifference??

You may be amazed at how useful the Sessions view using MIDI only really works. The editing is a bit confining but the clip capabilities are marvelous. You can write one phrase/song and load it into many clips and choose/modify it forever as many clips, yes, ONE PHRASE/CLIP!
Make yourself learn to record in Session view, you’ll understand why when you do.

Get Ableton Operator synth. It is cheap for what it does and you can easily create/simulate almost any instrument sample out there, at least good enough to know what it will be replaced by later.

You have the best of the best in hardware synths with the Triton Karma and Roland XV (VX, whatever).
The Karma has a sequencer and the best sounds and absolutely the best effects so use the sequencer as a setup for 16 tracks and play it from LIVE!
There is a Karma “ins” file that can be used in MIDI-OX (or Sonar) to “dial up” the patches/programs/combis. Ask, I will e-mail it.

Korg programming is the easiest to learn. I did it “backwards”. While “browsing” for sounds/programs, I wanted to “turn off” some of the wildness of many programs (like LFOs, filters, envelopes, etc. especially effects) so I read the manual enough to do so, not to program from scratch, etc.

This is also possible with the Roland but don’t try to do/learn both synths at once, stay calm and sane.

For your specific “madness”: the Karma has 12 programmable knobs that will send CCs (to LIVE!). Hook up MIDI-OX and see. Also, all panel functions in the Karma (Triton Studio also) will spit out CCs or Sysex (if not filtered out/turned off. Catch them in MIDI-OX and learn to embed them in MIDI files to control the Karma tone generator (you can even change songs!).

You will eventually need a sampler so, remembering your recent musings, get one with knobs, not software.
I suggest either Korg or Roland. Kill several birds with one “stone” and get a Roland MC-909.

For a “simulator” synth. . .
Get either LIVE! Operator or Tassman 4 (use standalone, your computer may handle it and a MIDI-audio program together, add effects later).
The MC-909 has one SRX slot and your Roland synth has some as well (SRX?). The Karma will accept several EXB boards and the wonderful MOSS synth board (look it up, get the sample clips from Korg site).

Go to the Irish Acts site download section ( for many, many Korg Triton/Karma programs FREE that may have sounds you like. Load ‘em, try ‘em, hold what you like, tweak some.
Careful not to get ones that include samples, you don’t have a T-Studio (yet).

Write phrases, stick them together, play the tracks using so-so sounds and then REMIX !!! Yes, REMIX your own stuff.
Learn to act like a DJ and then record the results. There’s your music, WOW!
The Remix technique is great for “merging” and auditioning collaborations.

You can do it, just keep your goals high and your short term tools manageable. Keep it simple, stupid. . .

Manage your time like you MUST HAVE IT !

P.S. You would really love the MC-909 as a MIDI remixer/player/sampler/controller! Bargain in use. Works great with LIVE! Has full Roland stuff, sampler and synthesis and, and, KNOBS/SLIDERS/BUTTONS galore!

Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:39 am

Post by Sebastian » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:25 pm

thanks guys. not spending more $$ is the answer i was hoping for

I have enough to play with and like you all say, no synth or soft synth can be avoided in deep learning

just chekcing!

Live Suite 9, RME Fireface 800, Mac Book Pro, Sierra

Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:39 am

Post by Sebastian » Thu Jun 09, 2005 1:33 am

great answers really, thanks for the cold water!
Live Suite 9, RME Fireface 800, Mac Book Pro, Sierra

Posts: 49
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 1:27 am
Location: 4-Corners & Palm Harbor, FL, USA

Apology and Thanks to Sebastian

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:28 am

Sebastian wrote:thanks guys. not spending more $$ is the answer i was hoping for

I have enough to play with and like you all say, no synth or soft synth can be avoided in deep learning

just chekcing!

Sebastian wrote:great answers really, thanks for the cold water!

Well, Yes. (!). . I will admit that it sounds/reads a bit like “cold water” but we do get going so fast on these forums that we forget to remember to. . .

. . .Thank the thread originator for bringing up a subject, especially one like this.
Aren’t we all somewhat like Sebastian in that we have limited time and financial resources to follow our passion?
Thanks, Seb, for flinging this at us. We all need to fine tune our “use of the tools” and try our best to get value out of our equipment/software purchases.

Reminds us that we should be less excited (cold water?) and more careful when we BUY gear or software.

Ableton LIVE! has been a pioneer in ease of use and is being embraced by composer/arrangers in addition to stage players. It’s an easy but complex program. Kind-of a real-life oxymoron thingy.

Fact is, we need to use MIDI to create tracks, at least some of them, and tone generators/synths to sound the MIDI and selection/programming of sounds/samples is necessary.
The market for samples, players and soft synths is way out of control but we must decide and live with our choices/expenditure$.

The industry is not yet at really “user friendly” in showing what the pro programmers have provided with the example patches/programs but computer interfaces etc. for hardware and software are improving.

Korg has taken a real leap forward and possibly set the bar/standand with its new Oasys ten inch touch screen.
The first program screen shows almost the whole program although other screens are needed to tweak them.
Check it out at OASYS page. It is absolutely wonderful, new power notwithstanding.
Makes the $7K cost of the OASYS an even better value. . . but still way expensive dollar wise.

I gotta sell something. . .

Thanks again Sebastian. We all hope that WE can work with the complexities of sound generation/tweaking with as little creative interference as possible.
To each their own path. . . makes it all work and grow!!


Posts: 11646
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Denmark

Post by Machinate » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:20 am

I think there's a mean-ass editor out for the karma.
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

Posts: 49
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 1:27 am
Location: 4-Corners & Palm Harbor, FL, USA

Better Patch/Programming Access

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Jun 09, 2005 1:38 pm

Machinate wrote:I think there's a mean-ass editor out for the karma.
Yes, there is, the Karma MW software, but it is for the Karma GEs (General Effects) which are an issue of complexity all their own (or Stephen Kay’s own :D ).

The sound engine in the Karma is the same (exactly) as the Triton Studio (no sampler or arpeggiator in the Karma and no digital I/O).
Had to be greatly beefed up to handle the Karma output. (!)
There is Karma software to use a Triton Studio as a Karma (includes MW) available (works without the Karma keyboard).

Any software to tweak the Triton Studio/Rack will work on the Karma.

The OASYS Karma section (built in) is a definite upgrade from the red Karma keyboard and Karma/Triton software. The on-screen evidence is shown in that Flash screen shot item on the site.
It is possible that a new MW will have to be written for the OASYS.

Good point, Machinate :!:

:idea: Roland provides free software for many of its synths (like my MC-909.) It’s not as good as the hardware screen!
Cakewalk is providing special software written for some Roland hardware, like the new 606 groove sampler and I think the Vari-OS.
Still nothing like the OASYS, this is not in the computer but on-screen in the keyboard synth.


Posts: 49
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 1:27 am
Location: 4-Corners & Palm Harbor, FL, USA

Re: Sofsyhtns /Samplers and Ableton-your advice please

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:36 pm

Since this thread seems to be getting lots of “views”, perhaps a little broadening of the subject or maybe being more specific to “ease of use” or “how to not stifle creativity and waste money when selecting sounds/patches/samples/etc.” is would get more comments/answers.
Anyway, while working this morning I thought of this and might as well post it. . . :lol:
Sebastian wrote: . . . I start composing and quick I need a bass, pad, or strings, I scroll and look . . . . .
. . . and inspiration goes “out the window”. . . however anyone may define it!

I can’t get into WHY that music phrase in your/my right brain goes away too easily but it can and often does. . . change or “fly away” and is GONE!

I know that proper (or specific to anyone’s situation) setup/preparation will allow focus on the inspiration and the recording of same, but does it always come exactly when we want or when we are prepped for it? SH_T NO!

I know, the pro working a full time composing job, writing film scripts has it all under control. That’s not me or possibly most anyone I know. (I can do it if needed but the fun comes often without warning or regard to location/setup.)

I have been working on the simple setup for getting spontaneous inspiration into MIDI for a long time and here is where I am currently. . .
I can do it in LIVE! at home in the studio with closed headphones on and eyes wide SHUT!

But the damn tune/phrase comes at other times and sometimes is not especially “under control”. 8O

Here is what I want and what happens.

I am work and driving from one stop/client to the next and have cleared a few messages and call-backs and calls, whatever. . .
I punch the car stereo and relax a bit, listen a bit, either to radio or a CD or a CD of mine/client (work in progress, perhaps).
AND SUDDENLY, the answer/question in the form of a musical phrase hits my right brain in the form of a simple lead line or such, regardless, its MUSIC!

I want to reach over, put a single ear-piece in one ear, slide a small controller with keys, buttons, etc. up on the center console and punch a few buttons, the last being RECORD, and play/record the musical thought. .
WITHOUT HAVING A CRASH, UPSETTING ANOTHER DRIVER (or the Law) and not missing my turn-off. . . :D
. . .and being able to notice the time well enough to get pumped up for the next stop/client.

:idea: The following are all button pushes, sometimes more-than-one per line (but not knob twists or anything that requires LOOKING away from the road!) :!:

New track channel
Select patch category
Select patch by audition (listening)
Metronome on
Tap tempo
Play (not looped).
Etc. . .

Would be nice to audition with a pre recorded clip.
Would be nice to un-mute another track previously recorded to play along with (drum/bass/backing/lead any combination) simply by un-muting using lights on a panel. . . (For me, looking at any screen kills creativity, mouse-ing is worse!!)

So, I am working on finding a controller, or using one that I already have to facilitate this with LIVE! on my notebook running in the passenger seat.

I have set it up almost exactly as stated for mobile/driving use with a Yamaha RM1x and lately with a Roland MC-909. It could possibly be done with any “groove box” that uses MIDI and has a sequencer and tone generator. (MPC, MV, SP, etc.)

If I could do it in LIVE! I would not have to transfer the MIDI clip.
I can do the above almost as easily in-the-studio on the Triton Studio using LIVE!, but it ain’t portable enough ($).

This is all assuming that patch/program/sound selection can be generic/close-enough to not squelch the creativity at hand. (The subject of this thread !!!!)

Make it simple/safe for the tough situations and the lesser ones fall in place easily. So I describe doing-it-while-driving. . . everything else would then be easier (?)

Any solutions or similar situations out there? Using LIVE! or whatever?
What controller, what sound creation device/software?


Post Reply