Ableton Live Pack #56: Vinyl Crackler

Ableton Live comes with a cool little plug in called vinyl distortion.  It adds a layer of record player crackles and pops over any track it is inserted on.  This can be a great effect for adding a retro quality to your tracks. Recently, I was playing around with some live drum samples I set up in an instrument rack and I wanted to create the illusion that those samples came from an old record.  I placed the vinyl distortion plug in on the track, but it wasn't the effect I was looking for.  The plug in constantly emits a vinyl crackle.  It doesn't matter whether the song is playing or not, the vinyl distortion plug in is always outputting vinyl crackles.  If my samples were taken off of a vinyl record, you would only hear the crackling while the sample is playing.  To solve this problem I create this week's free Ableton Live Rack: Vinyl Crackler.

Here's how it works.  The effect rack has two chains.  One chain has no effects and allows the audio to pass through dry.  The other has a utility plug in, a vinyl distortion, followed by a gate.  The utility plug in is set to "mute."  This prevents any of the original drum sounds from coming out of this chain.  Without this, the drum sounds would double with the dry chain and create annoying phasing effects.  Next is the vinyl distortion.  I have mapped some of the useful parameters to macro knobs.  Finally, and what makes this rack effective, is the gate.  I've mapped some useful gate parameters to the macro knobs.  The gate must be side chained to the same track it is placed on, Pre FX.  This will cause the gate to only open when then sound reaches a certain threshold.  Without the gate, you would just hear a constant vinyl crackle.

Set up:  

1.  Place the Vinyl Crackler Rack on the track you want to effect.

2.  Click the side chain button on the Gate effect.

3.  For the top "Audio From" drop-down-menu select the same track the Vinyl Cracker Rack is on.

4.  For the bottom "Audio From" drop-down-menu select "Pre FX."

5.  Adjust macro knobs to taste.  (Make sure you turn up the "Crackle Volume" and the "Vinyl Volume" knobs).

Now all your samples will sound as if they were recorded off a vinyl record.  Enjoy and have fun!  Feel free to send along your thoughts and comments, or any music you make with this or any of the downloads on this site.  Thanks for stopping by!