Dreamr Lab Sessions #3 | Intro to Music Production (pt. 3) & Ableton Live with Derryck "Big Tank" Thornton

Apr 15, 2021 4 min read
Dreamr Lab Sessions #3 | Intro to Music Production (pt. 3) & Ableton Live with Derryck "Big Tank" Thornton

Big Tank has worked with some of the top music artists in the industry such as Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, Jhene Aiko, and Rihanna. He is currently the SVP at Sony Music and is known for producing music for hit films and tv shows like The Chi, My Wife and Kids, You Got Served, and The Boondocks.

DOWNLOAD THE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE HERE

Let's get started!

STEP 01: ADD AUDIO TRACK FOR VOCALS

Right-click on the MIDI track panel and select Insert Audio Track; this is where you will put your vocals. Make sure the audio track is on Channel 1 by selecting ‘1’ in the dropdown (if it isn’t already selected). Turn on “Input” by toggling on the button that is labeled ‘IN’. This will ensure that Ableton will begin to pick up any feedback that is going into the soundbooth, so make sure the door is closed when you are recording!

STEP 02: RECORD VOCALS

When you are ready to record, toggle on the Record icon; it will turn red when it is on. Before you record, make sure you double-click on the stop button up top to ensure it starts at the beginning of the track. Finally, hit the record button at the top.

STEP 03: ADJUST THE VOCALS

In this example, Breezy’s vocals were too loud; you can tell by the audiowaves being cut off at the top & bottom of the bar. Switch the ‘Input’ to “Auto’ by toggling on the ‘Auto’ button; this will make the audio track go live. You can adjust the mic volume by dragging the volume control in the side panel. You can reference the MIDI Track above to see how the audiowaves should look. When the audiowaves are cut off at the top and bottom, then you know you will need to re-record because it is a distorted sound. In this example, we will double-click on the audio track to open the clip up to refine the sound. We will drop the volume in the bottom left panel; however, it’s important to know that we are only turning down the volume to a distorted sound.

STEP 04: LISTEN TO THE ADJUSTMENT

To listen to your audio adjustments, make sure the ‘6’ is toggled on.

STEP 05: ADJUST THE PITCH

Double-click on the audio piece to bring up the edit panel to start playing with the different things you can do to your vocals! By adjusting the Transpose dial, you will be changing the pitch of the vocals.

STEP 06: ADD COOL AUDIO EFFECTS TO VOCALS

Select an effect from the Audio Effects panel and drop it onto the Audio track to apply the effect. In this example, we’ve chosen the Echo effect! You can drag and drop any audio effect on any of the tracks that you wish. This is the part where you can have fun and explore different sounds.

STEP 07: CHANGE THE VIEW TO MIXER

Click the icon in the upper right of the window to change the view to Mixer; this is where you can mix songs.

Pro Tip: keep your file organized by labeling your sounds properly.
STEP 08: SAVE YOUR WORK!

When you are happy with your track, save it in the File menu; you want to select Save Live Set As... and choose a name that best fits your project. If you want to revisit your track in the future, you would Open Live Set... in the File menu as well, and it will open just as you saved it.

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