Star Dj Diplo (real name Thomas Wesley Pentz) is a 37-year-old Mississippi native who holds the figurative global medal as a prolific composer of electronic music under the name Major Lazer and in the duo Jack Ü, with fellow EDM producer Skrillex.
Much like Skrilex’s toolbox, Diplo added Izotope’s Stutter Edit a couple of years back.
“I still don’t know when things will work,” he said in an interview for the Huffington Post at the 2013 Coachella festival in Indio, California. “But I’m out there and I’m trying shit. What we lack in actual musicianship, we make up for in courage.”
At his studio alongside the Ableton Daw, he uses a UAD-2 DSP Accelerator card in one of their Mac Pros. He admits that it wasn’t until UAD-2 Satellite became available that he considered getting involved with the UAD platform. He also has entire channel strips made up of UAD plug-ins that he uses to inspire an instrument or sound.
Diplo uses other plug ins as well for his compression needs. For vocalists, he implements the Pultec EQP 1-A and the 1176 Compressor. The Pultec, ‘especially, has a great ability to boost up the shine or fresh quality of a vocal, and the 1176 keeps it in place’.
Fun fact: On the track, “Get Free” the choppy skipping vocals near the end were processed with the Roland RE-201 Space Echo and numerous layers of compression and resampling to get the overall effect heard.
So, the Ableton
Ableton Live is written in C++, with the first version released in 2001 as commercial software. Ableton Live’s features are derived from being created for use in live performance such as concerts.
By default, Live comes with two instruments;
Impulse is a traditional drum triggering instrument which allows the user to define a kit of up to eight drum sounds, each based on a single sample. There are a number of effects available such as basic equalization, attack, decay, pitch shift, etc. Once the kit is defined, rhythms and beats are created through Live’s MIDI sequencer.
Simpler is a relatively easy-to-use sampling instrument. It functions using a single audio sample, applying simple effects, and envelopes, finally applying pitch transformations in the form of Granular synthesis. In this case, incoming MIDI does not trigger drums as it does in Impulse, but selects the final pitch of the sample, with C3 playing the sample at its original pitch.
Drum Rack is a sampler for drums. Midi notes trigger individual “Simplers” so rather than triggering one sample at multiple pitches, individual samples are triggered at predefined pitches, as is suitable for midi drum programming. As is usual with Ableton almost anything can be drag dropped to or from the drum racks, for example you can drop a clip or part of a clip into the drum rack to isolate drum parts from audio.
Alongside the suite instruments are various add ons such as the amp, sampler,operator, electric piano, a string synthesizer, mallet and Latin percussions, sampled drum kits and drum machines and the:
Essential Instruments Collection – a large collection of acoustic and electric instrument samples.
Orchestral Instrument Collection – a collection of four different orchestral libraries, which can be purchased individually or as a bundle: Orchestral Strings, Orchestral Brass, Orchestral Woodwinds and Orchestral Percussion. The Orchestral Instrument Collection is included upon purchase of Live Suite but must be downloaded separately.
Ableton Suite 9
ABLETON SUITE FEATURES
Multi-track audio recording at up to 32-bit/192 kH
Powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments. Includes 10 software instruments, 41 effects and Max for Live
Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
Unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks per song
Includes 23 sound libraries (Packs) with over 50GB of original sounds