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  • Where do I start ?

    I am just getting into this and wondered where i can find good tutorials on how to start making ambient music, i have all the gear to do it , im particularly interested in how to make the evolving background tracks, any help on this one please

  • #2
    Hello Dakes2

    Welcome to the ambient online community. You have definitely found the right place to learn much about the creative processes

    You say you have all the gear, but, to better help us to help you it would be great if you could give us a run down of your tools.


    cheers

    andy
    I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

    Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

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    • #3
      First of all, welcome to the forum.

      I had someone comment on my YouTube video this morning who asked the very same question. Was that you?

      Cheers,
      -S1gns
      Synphaera Records
      Space | Time | Matter

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      • #4
        Hi, yes it was me who posted on your you tube channel, I found it to be very good and inspiring, I have a good background in music and been playing guitar for many years, I have bought myself a Novation impulse 61 keyboard and just getting used to it, I am using Ableton Lite 10 and have Iris 2 plug in and also Sylenth 1 and captain chords plug ins, I really want to learn how to create this great music, I have lots of ideas but ableton is new to me and I have lots to learn with that, I need to start with the basics so any help or advice would be very welcome

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        • #5
          I am afraid I cannot help you with Ableton.

          I use REAPER, at the moment, and I have also used SONAR and Studio One.

          But I would have thought that the process would be similar regardless of DAW used.

          That said, you first need to get a reasonable understanding of your DAW, Ableton. Did it come bundled with your Novation Impulse?


          Do you intend to incorporate your guitar in your music?

          You do not mention if you have any hardware or software effects.

          It might be worth checking out the software forum here:-

          https://www.ambientonline.org/forum/gear/software

          There is loads of stuff that is either quite inexpensive and sometimes free. Quite a few of us here use lots of reverb and delay as well as granular effects and instruments, so go have a poke around there, see what you can find.

          Certainly, less is more, especially with ambient, but sometimes more is more, and having a decent number of effects and instruments will help to inspire you.


          cheers

          andy
          I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

          Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

          Comment


          • #6
            I do not intend incorporating my guitar at the moment, the other hardware I have is a Boss ME80 guitar effects unit, Focusrite interface 2i2 2nd edition, line 6 UX2, and a Yamaha magic stomp, mostly I use Guitar rig 5 software for playing guitar, I forgot to mention I have thousands of ambient loops and samples, and its hard work just to navigate around all of these trying to preview the sounds, so far I have managed to load an ambient loop to ableton and record some improvisation with my keyboard, the ableton daw came bundled with the Impulse 61.

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            • #7
              Welcome to the forum! I do not post much but have found the forum to be a fantastic resource and have learned a lot from it. I can't help you with Ableton as I use primarily Auria Pro (on an iPad Pro) and Logic on the laptop. I will defer to the others on here who have MUCH more knowledge than I do, but a couple of things I have found useful in creating evolving backing tracks/pads have been granular synthesis/fx (Quanta and Spacecraft in particular) and time streching (via Audio Stretch for iOS). I will generally import a field recording I have made into audio stretch and slow it down considerably. Then, export that into a granular synth/fx and play with the various parameters until there is something useful. Depending on the sound I am after it may then get some additional effects (Valhalla has some good affordable reverbs; FabFilter has some more expensive but also great effects and eq). Hope this is somewhat helpful as a starting off point.

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              • #8
                Guitar Rig 5 is good, in my opinion. I use that quite often and not always for guitar.

                I also have Iris 2, so you can have fun with that, for sure, loading your ambient loops into that and playing them from there rather than dragging them onto a track in Ableton.

                If you are overwhelmed with all those ambient samples, though, then concentrate on using Sylenth, which is a competent soft synth. You should be able to create some great soundscapes by layering up many tracks of sounds and ideas.

                Best thing to do, I think, would be to look through more of the videos that S1gnsOfL1fe creates as he sometimes goes deep into the creation process. And he uses Ableton too:-

                https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxb...bGSWA/featured


                cheers

                andy
                I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the advice Andy, and yes its all very overwhelming at the moment

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                  • #10
                    Don't be overwhelmed. A few suggestions:
                    • Focus on creating with what you have rather than acquiring more things. Learn the things you have at hand and master them, rather than have a hundred tools, yet barely know any of them. I've found overcoming limitations to be of greater creative value than having a million options.
                    • There are so many different genres of ambient. Do things you'd want to hear first, then work your way into pleasing others. I have still to move into the latter half of that after almost 40 years.
                    • There are no wrong ways to do this. Sure, there are compositions/composers/methods of vastly varying quality and listenability, but do not be afraid to explore and experiment frequently. Learn from things that don't work out, and polish what does.
                    • Be highly selective in your public output/releases. Quality over quantity. Understand that (especially on forums and other musician-oriented public spaces) everyone is also working on their own stuff, and there are literally hundreds of folks simultaneously making things all vying for ears. I would rather release one really good album every few years than a half-dozen fair ones per year.
                    • Keep things organized. Save/document settings on your software and gear. Backup data frequently. Keep notes so you can develop your own processes and reproduce experiments that work--even those you may have forgotten about from months earlier. Backup receipts of purchases, projects, and try to save the most recent installers. This sort of admin stuff also helps prevent losing things in a catastrophic computer failure, and helps one keep a handle on your work and tools.
                    • Collaborate. There is nothing like working with others to stimulate growth in your abilities, branch out into new territory, or refine/borrow/develop new ideas.
                    • Work like it's a job. Set aside time to do this. Minimize distractions, and always aim for your best effort. Learn to do admin-stuff (backing up, documentation, etc.) when you don't feel as creative. Understand it's a journey, not a destination.

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                    • #11
                      Thats very good advice, thank you, and yes you are right, I have all these tools and not yet mastered them but im working hard at the moment as its all new to me, my biggest problem at the moment is getting to know Ableton, ive spent many hours searching the internet for a beginners guide to all this but as yes I didn't find anything, I have tried loading ambient tracks and pads, but still having problems trying to join them seamlessly together, to be honest im not really sure how I should be working with the ambient tracks.

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                      • #13
                        One thing about Ableton Live... Just because it came free with your hardware, it is well worth checking out other options out there. Free isn't always best...

                        You may find other tools easier to pick up and understand and may even suit how you think you want to work.
                        I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                        Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Make sure you learn Ableton (or any DAW of your choice) first and then start experimenting. I have a youtube playlist of ambient tutorials and live sessions. Most of them involve Ableton. Give it a watch! I especially like the Alien Senses and the Fingers in the Noise videos. They don't talk but they both create some very interesting pads/drones from scratch using mainly Ableton plugins. It's a good way to "look over the shoulder", so to speak. The Spire Project video is a great tutorial on using regular samples to create ambient soundscapes (uses FL Studio, but ideas can be applied to any DAW).

                          I like watching these tutorials on youtube, it has inspired me to try out new things. Just remember to spend some time creating and not just watching tutorials all day!
                          Last edited by dreamware; 03-21-2019, 01:08 PM.
                          Bandcamp | Youtube | SoundCloud

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