I have got some problems finding my comfort zone while doing my techno stuff.
First I have to say I am a german guy and not so familiar with talking in english.
I am using 3 elektron boxes right now, to make my “jams”. Its the rytm mk1, a4 mk1 and the digitone. I am feeling more and more comfortable with the machines, but I dont know how to connect that kind of dawless mysic making, with a DAWfull setup, to produce a track, with individual sound processing, other fx stuff, arrangement automation. How to reach the deepnes of a non-live-record-daw-
How do you do that?
One thought might be to record all the individual tracks in solo within ableton. And than rearrange my idea in ableton only without the external gear. But then I am loosing the workflow of an elektron based liverack.
One problem for me is the lack of individual free inputs on my audio interface and the missing individual outputs of the a4 and the dn.
Overbridge is not working well enough on my computer to work with it like a pro.
So please tell me whats your workaround to get your stuff individualy in the daw to proceed, mix and master your stuff to a new level.
Recently I got an audio interface that does up to 24 line inputs (Cymatic uTrack24). 160€ on ebay for the box, 50€ each for the DB25<->8x TRS cables. I mention this because a lot of audio interfaces with many line-ins are a lot more expensive. So this way you can record all your individual outputs in one take without having to solo everything.
Maybe that helps a bit (I’m also trying to get a good workflow going.)
yes overbridge could be a big gamechanger for me but the digitone isnt working with my pc.
I wrote support but there isnt a solution right now. I need to get a new pc in the future but e
I prefere stable wired audio connections.
There are no physical multiple outputs on the digitone and a4 mk1. On overbrdige there are but if you aren’t using that (which I recommend you do) you would have to mix it on each device, record it into the daw and do master eq and compression on each box from there
for now, I would recommend Analog 4 outputs in Digitone inputs and the Digitone output into the RYTM input. That way you can use the RYTMS analog compressor to glue everything together and you can just use the effects of the box. Send the output of the RYTM into an interface to record it. You will get a super processed polished sound from this Id imagine.
This is not entirely true…you can record all of the tracks individually and the fx returns as well. So while you don’t get the effects on the individual tracks, it behaves the same as if you were using a mixer for an effects send, and you get tracks for the effects alone.
You’re correct, this is true. Should have clarified. But if you want to record everything in one take, but with individual tracks, there would be no fx. Though I’m veering off topic because OP doesn’t use over bridge anyway.
I’m very sorry to hear your overbridge isn’t working. It took me many months with my AR and A4 mk1 to get it going back in 2017/2018 and when it did I didn’t touch anything. I haven’t upgraded their OS or updated my OB (I’m using 1.15) for fear that things will stop working. It stopped once when I upgraded my Mac OSX to Mohave (should not have done that), but I spent another few weeks tinkering and got it back.
I would try your best (even if like for me it takes 5-6months of tinkering) to get it working. If you want to know the tips that got it working for me I will say the 4 main things are:
I purchased Overhub (I’m sure other USB hubs work, but for maybe 40$ more I wasn’t sweating it)
I have to use specific USB cables. I have 4 red elektron cables and two of them do not work for overbridge. I have no idea why. I have used my own bought usb cables as well and again, some DO NOT work ?!!
I can only have both AR and A4 working with OB if plugged into specific ports of the Overhub.
3a) If I have other things plugged into OB as well (ie: OT, Push2, Novation controllers etc) I have to sommetimes try different port combinations before A4 and AR will show up in OB.
Honestly thats how picky my babies are. I go through all this work because … I love them. When I have OB working I am easily able to multitrack record a full jam/song into Ableton live. I also in parallel record my Steinberg UR22 mk2 stereo in from OT simultaneously. This gets the full track into DAW with the FX and compression and all that. I use this track as a muted reference track when I’m chopping/arranging/mixing.
Now … I used this workflow for many songs, but now I have found 2 more ways of building up tracks using elektrons (and other hardware) that does not record Overbridge. I still use it sometimes, but I find it very time consuming to get the tracks properly synced up and aligned to the ableton grid (Overbridge records about 2ms too early to grid with no way to adjust this with latency correction). Its also time consuming to chop up those audio recordings and arrange it all then you have to add FX, mix it properly — takes days.
So here’s how I’ve been working for combining hardware + daw:
I start with my empty session template in Ableton - I have all my tracks that I would usually use on RYTM, OT, MD, A4, TR-8S, etc There aren’t many its about 18 or so tracks. I have sends already set up and basic compression and FX on the individual tracks.
I have ableton and all my gear synced up by midi and just a single stereo pair running into my interface (UR22)
All the gear is sort of audio daisy-chained into eachother AR goes into OT, A4 goes into OT, OT goes into TR-8S, TR-8S into the interface. All other hardware goes into A4 inputs.
I make blank patterns on the gear and basic kits and sound design is done (no complex kits yet)
I hit play in ableton (I have push2 and launchcontrol XL set up with some macros and mappings)
I start programming some basic stuff on the machines to get a backing chord/pad/vibe and some basic beat elements – when I have something I like I just solo the track (on the gear) and…
Arm the track I want the clip to go in ableton to and hit rec on push2 which throws the loop into the session clip slot
I then trigger that clip and then mute the track on the hardware I just recorded
I repeat the process and rec the next element into the session
When I have my basic simple loop I keep working on the gear — redesigning sounds and adding more elements. As I find I like what I have I record a clip. Sometimes the clips are 1 bar … maybe half a bar or maybe 32 bars
when I have one row of clips that are a super layered loop that is very dense and sounds like its super complete, I copy it out to 4 or 5 rows and I strip away each element I’ve recorded to form basic patterns (**** secret tip ** this is how I work when I do elektron only stuff haha)
Build these 4 or 5 patterns of clips into the sections of your song and voila … you’re nearly done…
I live recorded these clips into the arranger timeline and then I tweak it a bit with automations and mix it. Throughout the process I will render out a clip and take it to work on my phone – listen in the car or on headphones … write down notes then that night I’ll fix it
When I can no longer hear anything wrong thats when I know its done. If I really vibe with it I’ll try playing that tune in a liveset or a DJ set … if it goes over well I’ll send it to some labels I knwo and see if they want to put it out
Thats pretty much my workflow sans Overbridge. Sometimes I just skip using gear and use all VST’s - I guess when you get your workflow dialed in, the gear no longer matters its just the sounds and how you sculpt them and put them together.
I must chime in about the purchase of Overhub. I have more than enough USB 3.0 ports on my computer for my Elektron boxes, but for some odd reason, when I connect them all to the Overhub via one shared USB port, Overbridge works without any latency warnings or errors. Overbridge was not able to recognize my DN until I connected it via the Overhub. Don’t try any other off-brand USB hubs. Don’t be cheap. Just purchase Overhub. It will not be a wasted purchase - it even works with USB 2.0 flawlessly.
I would just keep things relatively simple and record each machine as a separate stereo signal, maybe isolating a few crucial tracks (kicks, hats, lead etc) via panning trick. You already have many mixing options on the machines themselves, and additing DAW processing even to just the stereo busses already opens a lot of possibilities, especially for arranging and mixdown. Essentially just get as far as you can with the boxes themselves and do the final tweaking in Ableton.
If you don’t have 6 inputs then an ada8200 or similar is a pretty small investment, assuming your current soundcard has digital ins
Thank you ON-OFF-ON for the detailed descriptions of your personal overbridgeless workflow.
I have a push 2 and i love programming stuff on it. Thats another reason why i am searching for a setup to transfer my dawless style of music making, to my ableton. I want to combine both worlds.
One thing i really love about sequencing and jamming, tweaking the boxes is that they are so fuckin playable. It makes so much fun to tweak and dance with them.
But later i want to go the next step from a jam to a song. And i think therefore i need the technical sounddesign and mixing stuff. With all the individual eq, saturation, compression, and different reverbs and fx.
I like your Style of recording loops in ableton, but how do you transport a track back from ableton to your gear for a liveset. How do you play for example the multilayered drums with 6 hihats, 2 claps aso on only one rytm?
How is your track sounding then? Maybe it is totaly a different track only because of different tools.
Then you need to play your ableton made track with ableton and a notebook or octatrak in addition.
Do you know what i mean?
I use overhub and my pc recognizes my devices but after a while the soundstream cut of, on and off again. Far away from a pro style feeling while making music.
Once I have a completed song I bounce everything down to 7 stem layers for playback on Octatrack. One layer is kick/toms and low stuff, one for snares, rims, claps, one for all the hihats, one for chords and stabs (this can be any tonal stuff), one for bass, one for pads and atmosphere and one is always dedicated to hooks and vocals. Each of these stems can have unlimited sub-tracks and fx but I bounce each section of the song out as a 7 independent 32 bar loops for each section of the song.
I started out playing with AR, A4, OT, and MnM for live and it was all live synthesized nothing sampled. Then after about a year or playing that way I was offered a club gig, but the catch was I had to play in a DJ booth that wouldn’t accommodate all my gear. So I learned the abovementioned method of bouncing things to OT and I can basically play whatever (it can come from VST, Elektrons whatever). I can resequence and chop, remix and rearrange live since I reserve one track for record buffer tricks. This gives my show the full elektron flavour and experience, but I don’t need to bring all the stuff. I played a few shows like this with just OT and a small monosynth (which varied).
Later I brought my other gear to shows as well and all need to do to throw RYTM and A4 back into the mix is just turn the amp vol down on the drum tracks and synth tracks on OT but I can pick and choose whats comes out of OT as well. Feels like total freedom. Play with all play with some … play with ableton … fun stuff.
It took a while to figure out a workflow, but almost immediately the Elektron only productions sounded MUCH better when recorded into ableton multitrack and mixed properly. I know people say hardware can sound as good as a proper finished, mixed and mastered track, but I don’t agree. You will find the same … if you can find a method of getting your hardware jams into the box you will see right away the level of detail and professionalism you can achieve
This was my first track I ever recorded with Overbridge:
I recorded it around fall 2017 and it was released around May 2018. Its just RYTM for drums, the acid line and pads and synth stuff is A4 and chords and other little plicks and clips are from Octatrack. Oh it was recorded in one take the whole song. I didn’t change the arrangement much because I prefer the live “jam feel” and I just cleaned up some mutes and things that were off and added some flow.