New modulation sources are always welcome when building Live Racks, FX Rack and Drum Racks in Ableton Live. Not to mention, highly thoughtful and well-polished modulation sources. Recently, K-Devices released an Ableton Pack that encloses four awesome Max 4 Live modulators that, in my opinion, really bring some additional fun into programming, DJing, and anything else you can throw at them.
Initially, I was pulling my hair out because graphical portions of each modulator were missing. I’d updated Max for Live, but I didn’t go back into the File/Folder page of Ableton Live and set Ableton to look for Max 7, as opposed to 7.1.
Actually, it was K-Devices who promptly informed me of this, with an expediency that I have seldom experienced from a small developer. So, I’d like to start out by saying thanks for keeping me sane!
Once Max was updated properly, the Modulators look and behave amazingly. I’ll admit that Ted FX has stolen my heart, out of all of them. But there’s no review period long enough to really cover all of the cool angles these gems are capable of. Speaking of Ted FX- You get a very intuitive third-party LFO that easily targets any knob within your device chain, and then gives you incredibly thoughtful options like timing offsets, to include Dots and Triplets. And, of course, morphing waveshapes that bring some wonderful rhythmic modulations to my racks internal solar system.
The next up, out of the fearsome foursome is Tip, which allows you to save multiple snapshots of a targeted devices settings. Where this gets really interesting is when you set Tip to change snapshots to the beat of the host clock either randomly, or within different timing resolutions. What’s so cool about Tip is that it will automatically make random settings for you for whichever instrument, or effect you have it target. This makes it very easy to generate tons of settings, quickly, and then have the settings randomize to your heart’s content.
EXT3 is one of the sickest pattern sequencers that I’ve worked with in a while, for its size. Surprisingly comprehensive, even the individual steps each can have different envelope settings. My only concern with this one was that it did cause a complete Ableton shut down, once or twice, using the Freeze function. But when the Freeze function was working, I had a blast with it. Simply enable it and the Step Sequencer begins playing back the last two steps, repeatedly. Great for glitching modulation at whim, just feeling like a badass, or chaining the freeze function with another modulator.
Yep, you heard right! You can actually target other modulators, from within the K-Devices family. Especially cool, as you can see below! I modulated the waveform of TED FX, with REF, the envelope follower (seriously cool, it’s like having the Pulverizer, from Reason, as a free-running modulator in a multi-plugin format environment...), which was, in turn, being modulated by my bass synth. The result were really cool, random waveforms, visually appearing, and audibly influencing a very cool session, on my end.
I love K-Devices outstanding line-up of individual modulators. Everyone of them serves a purpose. It’s like having a spec ops team of movement, each with a specific angle and skill. Though, if you do not feel like buying the full pack from Ableton.com, you should know that you can buy each modulator individually from k-devices.com, for around $15 each.
Price: $39 Ableton Pack
Pros: Extremely useful modulator set for Max 4 Live that I found myself using all the time, once installed. Highly polished, cool graphics and extremely useful for all types of music.
Cons: Some minor instability issues when repeatedly using the Freeze function, on Tip.