Adam McLellan, AKA Snug, is a DJ and producer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since a young age he's been fascinated by the intersection of art and technology. When he's not producing or performing he's sharing his knowledge and ideas through teaching, writing for his personal blog (snugsound.com)
In this first post I'll be sharing my personal workflow for integrating the Access Virus TI with Ableton Live (in my case, the Virus TI Snow and Ableton Live 9).
The TI line of synths are powerful machines but tapping into the "TI" (total integration) factor to its fullest extent can be somewhat overwhelming at first and requires a bit of extra setup time.
Firstly, let's talk about the default behaviour of the VST: by default when you drop a new instance of the TI VST into a MIDI track all synth channels are routed out the same USB audio output. This may be fine if you mix all your parts through the plug-in, and only use the Virus' on-board FX, but what if you want to leverage Live's mixer and audio effects? My workflow addresses this by routing the audio from each Virus channel to a separate MIDI track, and then summing them in a "Group" in order to bounce down to a single audio track.
In summary here's what the process looks like:
- Create a new MIDI track and load the TI VST. Call the track "Virus 1/VST"
- Create a new MIDI track for each additional Virus channel you'd like to use in your song (i.e. "Virus 2", "Virus 3", etc.); use Live's "External Instrument" device to route MIDI to, and audio from, the plug-in.
- Group the Virus MIDI tracks and call the group "Virus MIDI".
- Create a new audio track called "Virus Audio". Under I/O choose the "Virus MIDI" group as the input.
- Arm the "Virus Audio" track, hit record and play back your song.
Step 1: Create a new MIDI track and load the TI VST
Step 2: Create a new MIDI track for each additional Virus channel you'd like to use in your song.
Use Live's "External Instrument" device to send MIDI to, and receive audio from, the plug-in--this keeps both the MIDI and audio self-contained in the same track.
If some of your parts are mono be sure to set them up as such in the plug-in:
This will maximize the number of audio channels available--no sense in using two channels of audio for a mono signal. You can use Live's "Utility" audio effect (specifically, the "Right" and "Left" presets) to duplicate a right/left-only audio signal to stereo.
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