Come Vote On My Next Sound Design Tutorial Series!

After doing 4 substantive Ableton tutorial series, taking a long “time out” to focus on the rest of my life as well as redesigning my site, it’s time to start brainstorming the next product.  This time around, I’m going to do things a little differently:  I want you guys to help me narrow down what the next series is going to be.

You’ll notice that I’ve set some limitations based on what I feel up to creating, but I think there are enough choices here to make most people happy.  Also, notice that I’m open to going outside of Ableton’s native tools this time around since I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries along those lines.

Please note:  You can vote for up to two of the options in the list.  If two of them strike you as equally appealing, by all means vote for both.  If you have a clear favorite, just vote for that one!

What should my next sound design series cover?

View Results

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In addition to this new premium package, I’ll be doing a free video blog post from time to time.  These videos will be more granular than in the past, focusing on more specific functions and features in various audio tools.  These free tutorials will be biased toward the basic end of the spectrum, again based on customer requests for refreshers on the fundamentals.

Examples might include how to map parameters to macro knobs or how to automate tempo in Live.  By all means, put in a request for any videos that you’d like to see show up on the blog.  I’ll try to get around to creating as many as I can providing they are basic enough in nature that they can be summed up in a short video.  Not all of these videos will be added to Youtube, so feel free to subscribe to my Twiter or RSS feeds (bottom of the right sidebar) to make sure you receive all the updates.

Thumbnail image used courtesy of laverrue via the Creative Commons License.

Come Vote On My Next Sound Design Tutorial Series! by

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28 Responses to “Come Vote On My Next Sound Design Tutorial Series!”

  1. thesimplicityAugust 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I’d love to see some tutorials at some point about set management and using Live in a live setting. Other than that, the effects and chains tutorial sounds awesome.

  2. NickAugust 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Yeah, it looks like the effects/chains tutorial is coming out way ahead so far. Interested to see where this goes.

  3. jcAugust 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Effects and Chains!!! Very interested in learning more about basic guidelines for using reverbs and delays as applied to different instruments!! Go Nick!!

  4. JasonAugust 3, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    Excellent idea to bring this new series to a vote!

    I’ve cast my 2 votes just now but it was slightly difficult due to the fact that I wouldn’t mind hearing your in-depth analysis concerning any of the subjects listed. I do not own the FAW Circle software but you’ve piqued my curiosity simply by mentioning it as a series candidate.

    I’ve garnered valuable essential information from every one of your currently offered series and I’ve done my best to drum-up interest wherever appropriate on- and off-line. It is wonderful to hear that you are about to begin production on a new offering. You have my immediate support upon completion. Cheers for your hard work mate!

    • NickAugust 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

      Jason, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your word of mouth efforts and overall support. That means a lot to me!

  5. VincentAugust 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    massive ! cause i know alot of people get lost in that one
    second effects and chains like thesimplicity said would be perfect

  6. ferminAugust 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    My vote went to NI Massive. Its a really popular synth, and really usefull. Even if the basic things are just intuitive and easy to use, there’s a huge things to do like modulations, change the way you connect everything (algorithm?) and really complex things to do with envelopes, lfo’s and step sequencers. In facts, i dont know any other synth where you can route lfos, envelopes and stuff so heavily.

    Absynth is a good option because the interface is not really intuitive. Also the envelopes section is a pain in the back. It looks like an interesting one to learn, but i dont think its any better than FM8 (another really interesting one!) or Massive, so i discarded it.

    Lastly, though the “Creative Use of Effects and Chains” looks really interesting, i see it more like a collection of tips and tricks rather than some theory, and since I’m a theory fan (i like to know what everything does under the hood rather than to read “hear what happens if i turn this knob”) my vote wasn’t for it.

  7. NickAugust 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Great feedback guys, keep it coming!

  8. PabloAugust 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    once again a positive feedback… just to say that all these tutorials are an unvaluable source of inspiration, I really mean it. One of the best didactic tools i’ve come accross… ans as we say after a good concert : “wa want more” 😉
    big up

  9. MIchaelAugust 4, 2010 at 1:58 am #

    The world could REALLY use some in-depth, excellent tutorials on really putting ABSYNTH through it’s paces. I really feel like you’re just the guy to do it. So I hope you do!!!


  10. Dart HeadAugust 4, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    I voted for my 2 choices, but honestly, ANYTHING that you produce I would likely buy, even if I did not use the software described. Your intelligent approach to sound design, not too simplistic style of relating information and depth is something I really appreciate – keep the tutorials coming! I bought all your tutorials, and for once, I did not resent a drop in price – what I paid was fair, and the value outstanding. You have a fan.

  11. Etric LyonsAugust 4, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    I’ll buy any tutorial you create. Your a deep dude.

  12. ashAugust 4, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    I know your specialty is sound design, but I would still like to suggest a series on creating music. Most tutorials focus in on the micro. ‘This setting does this’ type detail that puts viewers to sleep.

    I want to see the *process*. From rough outline, to iteration upon iteration – continually refining details – until a finished product emerges.

    But perhaps the process is really the art – workflow determines outcome. A tutorial would only shed light on one methodology, and it’s ultimately up to each user to create their own. Still, it’s easier to extend and customize an existing workflow than build one from scratch.

    Or how about this: Rather than cover a single workflow in detail, why not cover multiple approaches in less detail. Gather a collection of workflows from a variety of artists and present each one (to maintain quality and presentation consistency). It would be even more interesting to see how each artist approaches the creation of music given the *same set of samples*.


    • NickAugust 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      Cool, thanks for that perspective, Ash. I have found just the opposite, though, with most of the tutorials out there covering stuff like “How to Make Dubstep” or “Create Bangin’ House Music.” What I haven’t seen much of is people focusing on the sound design process in a broader sense, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to provide for people. I see tons of questions on forums from people who want to transcend preset-addiction, so that’s what I want to give them. If I’m putting anyone to sleep, I hope they’ll let me know 😉

      I think the reason you don’t see a highly detailed tutorial on the entire process of creating a track is that creating such a tutorial would be exhausting. The fact is, the creation of most songs is a process of refinement that can potentially last for weeks or months (or sometimes just a day if the “iron is hot”). I’ve had a few people request this type of tutorial now, but it’s hard to say how I would do it in a reasonable amount of time while staying sane.

      Your other recommendation (loosely covering a few workflows) is an idea that I’ve bounced around in my head for quite a while, though, so it’s a definite possibility for the future.

      This kind of feedback is invaluable. Thanks, Ash!

      • ashAugust 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

        “If I’m putting anyone to sleep, I hope they’ll let me know”
        Your tuts are top notch.

        “the creation of most songs is a process of refinement that can potentially last for weeks or months”
        Now that I didn’t realize. Which is probably why I have yet to create anything substantial. =) In that case, yes, such a tut would be exhausting to produce for a single person.

        “What I haven’t seen much of is people focusing on the sound design process in a broader sense, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to provide for people”
        A valuable service in a world where people just cut ‘n paste samples without modification and call it a day. Sound design is critical for finding your own sound and creating new styles. I’m surprised how little emphasis people put on it.

        “..most of the tutorials out there covering stuff like “How to Make Dubstep” or “Create Bangin’ House Music.”
        Yeah, those type of tuts are cheezy. To clarify ‘workflow’, I think of it as a generalized set of building blocks. ‘Creative Use of Effects and Chains’ would be a building block, a portion of a workflow I could integrate into a larger set. When I cobble together a bunch of building blocks, I might have a framework in place for pumping out tracks. I don’t really know, this is just speculation. I’m still in the learning phases of Ableton.

        But you’re right. Stick to your guns. Do what you do best – sound design.

        • NickAugust 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

          “Now that I didn’t realize. Which is probably why I have yet to create anything substantial. =)”

          The only difference between you and most of the rest of us is that you have the courage to admit this. I struggle with finishing music projects constantly.

          “Sound design is critical for finding your own sound and creating new styles.”

          You hit it right on the head with this. I want people to take what I have to say and then bend, twist, and abuse it in ways that I never would have imagined doing myself. My vision has always been to create a springboard for people to get inspired with and then go and find their own voice.

          “To clarify ‘workflow’, I think of it as a generalized set of building blocks.”

          Excellent point, and this is definitely the sort of thing I’ve been bouncing around in my head for a few months. It’s a slightly more ambitious project, but I think it’s virtually guaranteed to happen. Thanks for giving me another way to verbalize it!

  13. Kenny Da FunkAugust 8, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    All of them. And more! I want vids on everything to make pro house music please!

    Just watching my first one, Analog. I actually got the Suite upgrade yesterday so I could get these vids!

    I have not been disappointed.

  14. jdAugust 9, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    I’d like to see a tutorial on generative music…e.g. using the session view with follow on, random, and other ways to stumble upon sounds. Thanks for all the great content!

    • NickAugust 9, 2010 at 1:37 am #

      Nice suggestion, will definitely keep this one in mind!

  15. DrizzleAugust 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Yeah effects chains are interesting. I know my way around those okay I guess. Would like to see that….however I voted for Massive becuase man am I lost on that one………

  16. Mark TurnhamAugust 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    As someone who’s only just begun to explore Live’s potential, I’m still rereading the manual and trying out instruments and effects. I’m interested in the precise and creative use of Tension and Collision: how to create realistic sounding instruments and groups of instruments.
    I can also see that effects chains is going to be a useful area to unpick for many people.
    I’ve still got your other tutorials to go through because I came across your site only recently.
    Massive would be a future target for me because still have so much to learn in the Live environment itself.
    Enjoying what I’ve come across and been through so far Nick.

    • NickAugust 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

      Thanks for the detailed feedback, Mark, I’ll keep those things in mind. I think Tension and Collision are both points of mystery for many Live users, so those are definitely going to get series in the future.

  17. Ben LockeAugust 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I vote for more Ableton Love!

    I especially think it could be very inspiring and FUN to delve deeper into the Collision and Tension sound modules. I know they can produce great sounds but I really don’t know how to use them. Also you will have zero competition if you decide to invest your time in producing a tutorial series on these two sound modules. At least I haven’t found any resources on the internet covering Tension and Collision!

    Please, please, please… stick to the Ableton stuff!…

    And by the way, thanks a million for sharing your knowledge on this site! Now I will go and buy the new Analog tutorial series (I already have the three others)!…

  18. chrisAugust 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    There’s def not a lot out there on arrangment techniques. I know this isn’t a black and white subject but its a bridge every ableton guru has to cross at some point

  19. PrestonSeptember 30, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Nick: love your tutorials…I’ve learned so much from them. Another area that I would love for you to cover are sound effects like risers, impacts, and other SFX used for transitions and fills.

    IMO, there are already a TON of Massive tutorials on the web (it’s obviously a pervasive and amazing synth). Absynth, FM8 or even better, Reaktor tutorials would be more unique.

    Thanks for your work!

    • NickSeptember 30, 2011 at 1:02 am #

      Thanks for the reply, Preston, and glad you’re enjoying the tutorials. I like your idea a lot, and it sounds like a fun series to put together on my end as well!

  20. GeorgeNovember 14, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Bottom line I would take anything you produce. I would love to see sound design fleshed out within say a 4-8 bar context. It’s not only about a single sound but how it sits within and contributes to a groove.

    • Nick MaxwellNovember 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, George, and it’s good to hear from you again. I am currently mapping out some ideas for a new series that gets into writing out sections of music and sound design that will fit the bill nicely.

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