We’ve all been there, the tune you’re working on doesn’t go anywhere. All of a sudden you’ve lost the vibe. You know there are some great sounds, loops and ideas, but you just can’t seem to finish or move forward with the track.
Well, have you ever tried writing music on the train? or the bus? or have you ever given your mates a go at re-arranging your ideas? Launchpad for iOS can help you with all those things and a lot more.
The mobile aspect of Launchpad for iOS can be creatively liberating. Giving yourself a different view of the project, and the track in general. You can rearrange loops and sections on-the-fly making new arrangements which you may not have thought of in your laptop music software (DAW).
In this post we are going to show exactly how easy and beneficial it is to export musical ideas, ‘stems’ and sounds started on your Laptop (DAW). We’ll use Ableton Live, a popular music making software for Laptop ro Desktop as an example, but the same processes could be applied to any other music making software.
So first off let’s talk about some best practices when exporting your own sounds for use on iPad. This process is often called ‘Creating Stems’ by many profesionals. One of the most important things to remember is that effects such as reverb and delay need to be over before the sound loops. If they’re not, then when the loop starts again there will be a noticeable but audible artifact. The best way to avoid this is by looping the region on your laptop, then carefully listening to ensure the region loops correctly.
Ableton Live lets you export audio files easily. First, make a selection around the region you want to export in the arrange view, then go to the Export Audio/Video options under File - click the Render as Loop option and ensure you’re rendering the correct track. Keep in mind, your files should be rendered as either an AIFF or a WAV to work in Launchpad.
You will need a feature called Audio Import to get your sounds into Launchpad. If you haven’t got this already, it can be easily downloaded from the store inside of Launchpad for iPad or iPhone. Then, read last week’s post on the various ways you can use Audio Import. You could also follow the built-in tutorial within the app by hitting the i icon when in the Your Samples tab of the Edit menu.
There are a few things to consider when importing your own audio into Launchpad. Naming your files is totally up to you, but one thing to do in Launchpad is to give files a unique and descriptive name. For example, a name relating to the track and then the type of sample it is like drums, bass, pad or melodic etc. This makes it easy to identify exactly what your files are when you come back to them at a later date.
To get to your imported files, go to the Your Samples tab of Launchpad. If you hit the small gear icon you can now rename and categorise your samples. You can also change the adjust the volume of your samples, this is useful when you know that your sample is too quiet or too loud in comparison to the others.
Now try categorising your samples. This helps when you’re using search. It is also worth noting that you cannot change the category of sounds included within the app or official Soundpacks. No matter how you categorise your imported samples, they will always show up in the Your Samples tab. You can also re-categorise or delete any of your samples by hitting the little pencil icon on the top right hand side of the menu.
So you’re now ready to start jamming with your own sounds in Launchpad. Try experimenting by using your own sounds mixed with the samples included within the app. Remember not everything in a session should be a loop; one-shots and retriggers are incredibly useful to build tension which can then help you flow into other loops within your session.
Try taking your iPad out on the bus or train with you, take it to a friends house and let them jam on your session. This should be a good test of how well set up your session is. If a friend can make music and have fun with it, then it is obviously well organised. You could even let your nearest and dearest have go if you’re brave enough.