Understanding Ableton CV tools : What you need to know !
Understanding Ableton CV tools : what you need to know ! While I was searching for topic ideas to write on the blog, I came across ableton CV tools.I didn’t know much about it so i decided to dig further into it.
What is ableton cv tools ?
If you wanna more about it, just keep on reading this :
So If you’re into the analog world you’re probably telling yourself “ what ? are you serious, this is genius ! tell me more about it... ”. My reaction was also pretty intense and this why i felt like writing about it.
But if you’re new to this world you’re probably wondering what those terms mean. This is why i’ll explain in details what you need to know to understand the subject properly.
1. LET’S START WITH A BIT OF HISTORY : MODULAR ?
Yes, there was something before Elon musk, Tesla and Space x :))
So this is how it started : Electronic music was born by recording sound through tapes,You know those old tapes we see in big studios that makes us think of the Beatles or whatever...This is even before any synthesis was involved, far away from CV tools... I am talking about the simple fact of recording, however it is at that time that we could see emerge what we would be referring later as sampling.
Long story short... After a lot of experiencing came the days of modern synthesizers, with the only name that comes in mind : Moog.
“ An engineer and physicist by the name of Robert “Bob” Moog grew up in New York City and enjoyed building theremins with his father at home. Armed with electrical engineering and engineering physics degrees from Columbia and Cornell, Moog focused his interests in music and electronics on building a synthesizer. His first commercial instrument was the “Modular” ”.
I wonder how he would have reacted about the perspective CV tools would bring in the future, if he knew at the time...
So modular synths were the first modern synthesizers created. They are called modular because they come separated, in different modules, each of these having one specific feature ( oscillator, Filter,.... ). You need to wire/patch them all together with cables, compared to a regular synthesizer where all the patches are already made inside.
If you wanna know more about the history of music synthesis, i invite you to read “ creating sounds from scratch : A practical guide to music synthesis for producers and composers”, it’s an awesome book for you to dive into sound design ! It helped me a lot understanding in depth the subject. The book starts with a detailed history of how the first synthesizers were made.
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2. HOW DOES ABLETON CV WORKS UNDER ABLETON LIVE 10.1 SUITE ?
As i mentioned earlier the ableton CV tools is a ten device toolbox broken down in three categories having for each tool a specific function. They all have specific features allowing you to control modular synths or any other MIDI gear.
First category : The instruments
- CV instruments : Basically this is the controller itself that sends the midi to the synth. you can set the envelope , pitch, modulation,...
- CV trigger : For you to module your drums.CV utility : This is an interesting tool that allows you to have your automation created in live sent to the synthesiser.
- CV clock in : Allows you to sync Live to the synth.
- CV clock out : Allows you to sync your synth to live.
Second category : Modulation
- CV in : Allows you to modulate live from your modular.
- CV shaper : Allows you to create CV shapes and send them to your modules.
- CV Envelope follower : This is an interesting feature that allows you to convert your audio signal from live to a midi signal operating your modular rig.
- CV LFO : Allows you to Add LFO’s on top of your rig.
Third category : MIDI effect
- The rotating rhythm generator : awesome tool for you to randomise your midi signal, can be really useful to enhance creativity !
3. WHAT IS CV ?
CV stands for “control voltage” and is a widely used term in the realm of analog synthesizers. A control voltage is a variable voltage signal that is used to control module behaviors ranging from the pitch of oscillators to the cutoff setting of filters and more.
4. WHAT’S ITS PURPOSE AT THE END OF THE DAY ?
This is an interesting topic i want to discuss with you, to my opinion this is what makes modern times the best times to live in and is the whole point of this article :)The approach of a tool like the “ ableton CV tools pack ” reinvents our way of using old devices, which pushes us of doing what was impossible at the time !
Nowadays we forget how hard it was to even record anything… There was no automation possible, everything was so difficult to do compare to what the digital world brought to the table.
This is definitely the future, i don’t think that human beings are ready to sell entirely their old stuffs to newer ones. Innovation disrupt but most of all reinvent !
As the old quote says : “ nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed ”
I was happy to share with you my optimistic point of view and i sincerely believe that we will be seeing more interesting things like ableton CV tools in the future ! Just like Elon musk is disrupting the car industry by reinventing the cars themselves :)
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Luca Di Ferdinando aka HIGHBLOO