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Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution

Guide Cover

Written by Arsene

This guide is also available as YouTube Videos: playlist link (not available yet)

Introduction

This is a complete guide of a workflow with a set of custom-built Ableton Live Devices, created to increase significantly the compatibility between the DAW and SPAT Revolution.

We will focus on everything from downloading and installing the tools, setting them up, optimizing your computer, a complete description of the provided tools, and then the actual workflow and how to create an entire project in the most efficient way possible!

Why using Ableton Live with SPAT Revolution?

Maybe Ableton Live is your main DAW and so the most obvious choice, this is the case for some of us at FLUX:: and is also why we created this workflow in the first place, but we would also like to add, that Live could be a great choice for anyone getting into creating, sound designing, etc… in an Immersive Audio Context.

The capabilities of Ableton Live in terms of automations are monstrous and so make this DAW an incredible tool for making great Immersive Audio content that will include lots of spatial movements and effects.

Why using SPAT Revolution at all?

Immersive Audio is gaining more and more traction recently, Apple Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, Binaural, if you have been working in the music industry at any level this past few years you probably have heard of those.

So SPAT Revolution will help you to create and to expand ideas into a whole new world or should I say, into new spaces!

And now after reading this guide, it will be as easy as making good old fader automation, as this is not just a do this and it will do that guide, but more of a do this and here why it does that, type of guide!

This guide works as a base and not an “end all be all”, any ideas on how to improve this workflow, the devices provided, the templates, and any other type of feedback is very welcomed!

!> DISCLAIMER: This workflow has been specifically thought of for maximum compatibility between Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution under macOS. Some parts of this guide (mainly the devices provided) can still be applied to Windows or/and other DAWs.

Demo

video not uploaded yet

Installation

If you already have a FLUX:: account as well as an iLok account and already have a SPAT Revolution License or Trial you can jump to the next section of the guide.

You can follow this part with the dedicated video as well: link (not available yet)

Don’t forget that you need to activate your account, an email will be sent to your email address.

(if you don’t see it, please check your spam inbox or search for the email directly using its name: “email address verification”)

For those who don’t know, iLok is simple a license platform and will allow us to activate our SPAT Revolution license.

Same as for the FLUX:: account don’t forget to activate your account with the email sent to you.

We are now going to download the FLUX:: Center and the iLok License Manager app.

Download:

Now that both accounts have been created and activated, and both the FLUX Center and iLok license manager apps have been downloaded and installed, we can now link our iLok account to the FLUX:: account.

To do so simply go into the iLok Licenses section of your FLUX:: account, and follow the procedure.

Last step is to go into the trial section and request a trial for SPAT Revolution Ultimate. The license will be automatically placed on your iLok account.

Now open the iLok License Manager app and activate your license by drag and dropping it to your computer. You can then close the iLok app and open the FLUX:: Center.

Connect to your FLUX account and download the SPAT Revolution, when you download the SPAT Revolution the plugins and the Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution will be automatically installed as well.

Tools

macOS

Once the SPAT Revolution and the Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution have been installed from the FLUX:: Center you can go look for them in the following folder /Library/Application Support/Flux/Ableton Live Devices/SPAT

It is possible to go to the folder location by opening the Finder and use the shortcut: CMD + Shift + G and copy the previous address.

Go to Folder

!> Please do not change the location of this folder.

To go faster later, you can add this folder to your Finder’s sidebar:

Sidebar Finder

Windows

If you are on Windows and want to use the devices, please download the archive from this link: download

You can place it anywhere on your computer and then add the folder to your Ableton Live using the Add folder in the sidebar of Live.

Virtual Audio Driver

In order for this workflow to work, we will also need to get some Virtual Audio Drivers to route audio from Live to SPAT Revolution.

For our Virtual Audio Driver, BlackHole from Existential audio is my preferred choice as it is simple to install, has many options in terms of channel count, is free, and is open-source!

You can also have all the different versions (2ch/16ch/64ch) installed at the same time and have a different use for them simultaneously. We will see later in the guide that there are many ways this can be very helpful and how to take advantage of that, So my advice is to install them all.

BlackHole virtual audio driver can be found here: https://existential.audio/blackhole

If you plan to have a dual computer setup, you don’t have to get BlackHole. More on that workflow later.*

Useful addition

Software such as Loopback from Rogue Amoeba can be very useful to route audio between multiple devices/apps and can be a very good alternative to Aggregate and Multi-Output devices that you can already make inside the Audio MIDI setup of macOS.

Loopback

Loopback: https://rogueamoeba.com/loopback

!> Don’t forget to restart your mac after installing all that.

Optimization

Now that everything is installed, let’s optimize a few parameters in your macOS before getting into the setup.

When working with SPAT Revolution, and this can extend to any other audio work, you do not want any interference or background apps refreshing that would consume even the tiniest bit of CPU, so disabling Bluetooth, Wi-Fi as well as AirDrop is a great way to start and very simple to do.

You can make it even more simply using the provided Shortcuts package we created to do just that. They are located in the same folder as the other device so: /Library/Application Support/Flux/Ableton Live Devices/SPAT/macOS Shortcuts

What are Shortcuts?

Shortcuts is simply an app (native in macOS) that lets you combine multiple steps across multiple apps to create powerful task automations. To add the provided Shortcuts, simply double click each of them and select the Add Shortcut button.

Shortcut Button

You will have 3 shortcuts available:

These shortcuts are very simple to make using the Shortcuts app inside macOS if you want to modify them or make them yourself:

Shortcut Compo

Once added they should appear in your top bar for easy access:

Top Bar Shortcut

Of course, you do not have to do this at all, everything else should work properly anyway, this is simply to save you a bit of CPU.

Setup

Ableton Live

Before getting into the workflow we need to set up just a few things inside Live and SPAT Revolution.

So open Ableton Live and configure the following:

VST

!> If you work with MIDI controller, we also highly recommend that you go into the Live Preferences, into the MIDI tab and change the Takeover Mode to Value Scaling so that parameters you play with don’t get too jumpy. Value Scaling

Live Output Setup

You can do this part when you need more channels, the only advantage of doing it now is that you don’t have to do it later!

Add Folder in Live

The small windows poping up are the actual spat revolution plugins, on which the devices are based on. They are here to host to parameters of the Sources (SEND), Room/Reverb (ROOM), Master Gain (RETURN) and send the automation data to SPAT Revolution using the OSC protocol.

OSC check

verify that they are all set on the following:

In IP: 127.0.0.1 (for all)

In Port (SEND): 8101

In Port (ROOM): 8102

In Port (RETURN): 8103

Out IP: 127.0.0.1 (for all)

Out Port: 8100 (for all)

Send Check

Room Check

Return Check

SPAT Revolution

SPAT Input Output Setup

SPAT OSC Setup

What is OSC?

Open Sound Control (OSC) is a protocol for networking sound synthesizers, computers, and other multimedia devices for purposes such as musical performance or show control. OSC’s advantages include interoperability, accuracy, flexibility and enhanced organization and documentation. The first specification was released in March 2002.

Here, we will use the OSC to send the automation information made in Live to SPAT Revolution.

Want to learn more about OSC? wikipedia.org

Devices Description

None of those devices add any latency nor modification to the audio being pass through them, so do not worry about adding them anywhere in your chain!

SEND

This device lets you control some of the most useful parameters inside SPAT for the currently selected source.

You will need to set up the OSC connection between Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution. The default settings of the plugins should already be set to connect with SPAT Revolution.

Please check the setup part of the guide to learn more about the OSC Connection.

Send Device

  1. DEFAULT: Reset the parameters of the source to the default settings.
  2. Gain: Configure the gain of the source.
  3. Azimuth: Configure the angle between the source location and the center reference point.
  4. Elevation: Configure the elevation angle of the source.
  5. Distance: Configure the distance from the source to the center reference point.
  6. Room Presence: Configure the prominence of the reverberation of the source.
  7. Presence: Configure the prominence of the direct sound.
  8. Warmth: Configure the presence of the low-frequency content part of the source.
  9. Brilliance: Configure the presence of the high-frequency content part of the source.
  10. Enable: Mute or un-mute the currently selected sources inside SPAT Revolution.
  11. Reverb: Enable or disable the reverb inside SPAT Revolution for the currently selected source.
  12. Doppler: Activate the Doppler effect for the currently selected source.
  13. SpatRevolution-Send-x64: The original plugin on which the device is based, you can still access the individual parameters by un-folding the device or access the GUI by clicking the small key at the bottom.
  14. How to use: This is a small notepad device with additional notes to prevent you from having to check back the guide if you forget something.
  15. Macro Controls: Click this button to hide the encoder knobs of the device (ref from n°2 to n°9)
  16. Macro Variation: Click this button to hide the macro variations (ref to n°1)
  17. Show/Hide Devices: Click this button to hide everything after the encoder knobs. (ref from n°10 to n°14)
  18. Info View: This open/close Live’s built-in text info box, every parameter in the device has text info so this box might be useful if you need to know which does what.

Additional Information❗️

Note that Ableton Live takes over the automation parameters inside the DAW so you can move the source inside SPAT Revolution without the parameter moving inside Ableton Live. To fix this simply, right-click on the parameter in question and select Remove Mapping to Send.

Moving this device to another track instead of deleting and creating a new one will un-map the Enable, Reverb, and Doppler buttons. It is safer to delete the device first and then place a new one on the new track. It also could help you prevent any OSC Index related issues.

Duplicating the track will result in the same issue. So you should manually place the device on each new track you create, although you can still duplicate your track (if needed) and simply delete the device and place a new one on the track.

Usually in SPAT Revolution we currently cannot do undo/redo action, but in Live with this device it does work! As long as the action you are backtracking is something that has been operated inside Ableton Live directly.

The LAP version is exactly the same but is programmed to have the Local Audio Path activated right of the start if you prefer working with this instead of virtual audio drivers.

A more advanced version of the original device, with simply most of the available source settings inside SPAT Revolution.

A combo of the two versions described above, so Local Audio Path activated and more source control parameters.

ROOM

This device allows you to quickly control the reverb, you will have a lot more parameters available if you go directly into the Reverb settings inside your Room.

You will need to set up the OSC connection between Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution. The default settings of the plugins should already be set to connect with the SPAT Revolution.

Please check the setup part of the guide to learn more about the OSC Connection.

Room Device

  1. DEFAULT: Reset the parameters of the Room to the default settings.
  2. Gain: Configure the gain of the room.
  3. Size: Change the reverb size value.
  4. Liveness: Configure the relative decay time of high-frequency content, relative to the reverberance.
  5. Cross HiFreq: Configure the frequency above which decay time is determined by the Liveness setting.
  6. Reverb Gain: Configure the reverb gain.
  7. Reverberance: Change the reverberance value.
  8. Heavyness: Configure the relative decay time of low-frequency content, relative to the reverberance.
  9. Cross LowFreq: Configure the presence of the high-frequency content part of the source.
  10. Reverb: Disable the reverb completely for the currently selected Room.
  11. Enable: Mute or un-mute the currently selected room.
  12. Infinite: Toggle the infinite more of the reverb, be careful with your gain when using this one.
  13. SpatRevolution-Room-x64: The original plugin on which the device is based, you can still access the individual parameters by un-folding the device or access the GUI by clicking the small key at the bottom.
  14. How to use: This is a small notepad device with additional notes to prevent you from having to check back the guide if you forget something.
  15. Macro Controls: Click this button to hide the encoder knobs of the device (ref from n°2 to n°9)
  16. Macro Variation: Click this button to hide the macro variations (ref to n°1)
  17. Show/Hide Devices: Click this button to hide everything after the encoder knobs. (ref from n°10 to n°14)
  18. Info View: This open/close Live’s built-in text info box, every parameter in the device has text info so this box might be useful if you need to know which does what.

Additional Information❗️

Note that Live takes over the automation parameters inside the DAW, so you can move the source inside SPAT Revolution and without the parameter moving inside Ableton Live. To fix this, simply right-click the parameter in question and select Remove Mapping to Send.

Moving this device to another track instead of deleting and creating a new one will un-map the Enable, Reverb, and Infinite buttons. It is safer to delete the device first and then place a new one on the new track. It also could help you prevent any OSC Index related issues.

Duplicating the track will result in the same issue. So if you have more than one Room, you should create a new track and place the ROOM device manually.

Usually in SPAT Revolution we currently cannot do undo/redo action, but in Live with this device it does work! As long as the action you are backtracking is something that has been oparated inside Ableton Live directly.

A more advanced version of the original device, with simply most of the available reverb settings inside SPAT Revolution.

RETURN

This device allows you to control the gain of the selected Master. You can find this block between the Room and the final output.

You will need to setup the OSC connection between Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution. The default settings of the plugins should already be set to connect with the SPAT Revolution.

Please check the setup part of the guide to learn more about the OSC Connection.

Return Device

  1. Macro Variations: Quick shortcuts to jump to specific values instead of using the encoder knob.
  2. Gain: Set the gain of the currently selected Master.
  3. SpatRevolution-Return-x64: The original plugin on which the device is based, you can still access the individual parameters by un-folding the device or access the GUI by clicking the small key at the bottom.
  4. How to use: This is a small notepad device with additional notes to prevent you from having to check back the guide if you forget something.
  5. Macro Controls: Click this button to hide the encoder knobs of the device (ref to n°2)
  6. Macro Variation: Click this button to hide the macro variations (ref to n°1)
  7. Show/Hide Devices: Click this button to hide everything after the encoder knobs. (ref from n°3 and n°4)
  8. Info View: This open/close Live’s built-in text info box, every parameter in the device has text info so this box might be useful if you need to know which does what.

Additional Information❗️

Note that Live takes over the automation parameters inside the DAW so you can move the source inside SPAT and without the parameter moving inside Ableton Live. To fix this, simply right-click the parameter in question and select Remove Mapping to Send

Unlike the Send and Room devices which have specific M4L devices that can’t be moved from one track to another without being unfortunately un-mapped, you can easily move this device around without any issues.

And again unlike the two previously mentioned devices with the return if you have more than one master in your SPAT Revolution session you can easily duplicate the track hosting the RETURN device and it will automatically set up everything correctly.

Usually in SPAT Revolution we currently cannot do undo/redo action, but in Live with this device it does work! As long as the action you are backtracking is something that has been oparated inside Ableton Live directly.

“Don’t forget to rename your tracks for an easier read of your session!”

Room and Return Ordering

Automator

The Automator device allows you to make the selected source move around in SPAT Revolution in a more organic and continuous way compared to traditional automation.

Automator Device

  1. Macro Variations: Quick shortcuts to reset to the default parameters of the device, you can create new macros to quickly change the automation of a source.
  2. Rate (Note): The base rate of the automation (expressed in note values).
  3. Rate (Hz): The base rate of the automation (expressed in hz).
  4. Jitter: Introduces some jitter in the automation signal.
  5. Smooth: Smooths value changes (and jitter, as well).
  6. Depth: Depth of the LFO automation.
  7. Start Point: Shift the start point of the automation.
  8. Shift: This allows you to shift the placement of the automation relative to other LFOs in Live (requires to restart the session to get all the LFO sync together).
  9. Style: Change the automation style (Sine, Saw, Square, etc…).
  10. Play/Stop: Play or stop the automation.
  11. Rate Style: Toggles between Beat Sync and Free running (hz).
  12. LFO: The LFO is used to generate automation on the main SEND device, click the Map button, and then select the Azimuth parameter.
  13. Map: Click this button to activate the Map Mode, you can then click the parameter in the SEND device that you wish to automate.
  14. Multimap: This is the Multimap browser, it can allow you to map the same automation to multiple parameters, you can then tweak each one separately using the Min/Max percentage.
  15. How to use: This is a small notepad device with additional notes to prevent you from having to check back the guide if you forget something.
  16. Automator Guide: Same as the “How to use”, this one contains specific information about the different type of automation you can generate with the different LFO shapes.
  17. Macro Controls: Click this button to hide the encoder knobs of the device (ref from n°2 to n°9)
  18. Macro Variation: Click this button to hide the macro variations (ref to n°1)
  19. Show/Hide Devices: Click this button to hide everything after the encoder knobs. (ref from n°10 to n°16)
  20. Info View: This open/close Live’s built-in text info box, every parameter in the device has text info so this box might be useful if you need to know which does what.

Additional Information❗️

Moving this device to another track instead of deleting and creating a new one will un-map the Play/Stop and Rate Style buttons, it is safer to delete the device first and then place a new one on the new track.

Workflow

Watching the corresponding video is highly recommended for this part: link (not available yet)

Now that we are completely setup, the formula is very simple:

If you have lost the location of the archive, it’s here: /Library/Application Support/Flux/Ableton Live Devices/SPAT/Templates

With both templates open, you will have a direct connection between Ableton Live’s output and your physical output so that you can start making music without thinking about spatialization in the first place.

Basic Templates Setup

Just make sure your “Cue Out” and “Master Out” are both set to 1/2, that your Output device in Live is “BlackHole 64ch” and that your Input device in SPAT Revolution is “BlackHole 64ch” as well, the device controlling the output Level of Live directly is placed on the Master Track in Live

You can also note that the Ableton Live Template will setup a small group call “SPAT CTRL” which already contains a ROOM device and RETURN device, each on individual tracks for better visibility.

The ROOM device control the room gain and reverb in the room and the RETURN controls the master volume.

⚠️ This will change the virtual space sonority but not what your actual output is, you can do change your speaker arrangement or stream type by going back to the setup page, select the Room block and you will have option, Stream Type, Speaker Arrangement (you can make or re-create your own), and the Panning Type used.

Depending on which type of sound you are going to spatialize you have the choice between Stereo Tracks and Mono Tracks. We would for example attribute a Kick to a single channel as we want to keep it Mono, a pad to a stereo and so on. To be noted that the default parameters of the input block in SPAT is Mono

You can also click the ball in the 3D view and move it around in the Space

When adding a “SEND” device to your track UI of the original send plugin will open you can take the type to rename the track in the plugin before closing the GUI so that the name translate automatically into SPAT Revolution.

direct link if not loading: https://youtu.be/xarMJBSSwU0

Happy Immersive Creating!

spat screenshot

Printing an Immersive Mix

This part is also available as a YouTube Video here: link (not available yet)

Now comes the time to think about how to render what we made inside Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution.

There’s a few strategies about this, which have multiples solutions, and a few factors to consider like the number of Room, Return, Channels, etc…

But the absolute main thing we cannot avoid is that we need to render real-time everything we made.

Let’s have a use case to demonstrate how you can print our mix.

Here is a session which we are going to render for the Binaural (3d on headphones) Version and at the same time generate a Bed for an Atmos render later.

Ready to Print

We will start by creating an “Aggregate Device” in the “AUDIO MIDI SETUP” panel of macOS:

Aggregate

!> Both Ableton Live and SPAT Revolution need to be relaunched to detect the newly created Aggregate.

Then we will use this device as Output in SPAT Revolution and Input in Ableton Live, set the out channels of the binaural output block to the two corresponding channels of my 2ch device and the rest to the Atmos output.

Then the only thing left to do is to create the tracks in Live that will receive the audio coming out of SPAT Revolution, routing them accordingly and press record and letting the thing play!

direct link if not loading: https://youtu.be/FBz65vx_xJM

From Single Machine to Dual Computer Setup

This part is also available as a YouTube Video here: link

The process of switch this all workflow from a single computer to a dual one is fairly simple.

But why? If you have heavier Ableton Live Session and want to reduce the load on your computer is often the why here.

We will need two things to make it possible, beside having two computers of course.

We could do it via a Wi-Fi network, but this isn’t the best in terms of speed and stability.

So now, let’s change the Output device in Ableton Live for our network audio solution, do the same for the Input device in SPAT Revolution.

Check that all the channels are active in Live

Depending on which Network Audio Solution you use you might need to re-route some of your channels, as output one will not always mean it will go into input one.

And now we need only to setup the new IPs as we are not sending the OSC automations localy.

Simply go into the SPAT Preferences and change (in the OSC Connections part) the plugin Outputs to the IP address of the Live Computer.

Make sure you are using the IP of the correct network if you work with multiple ones.

Select the corresponding IP for the plugin Input.

Now we need to do the same inside for the spat plugins inside Live.

Go back to Live open the plugin ROOM in your ROOM track, and put the IP address of the Computer hosting SPAT as the output and select the IP corresponding IP address as your input. Do the same for the RETURN, and the SEND.

Of course don’t forget to check if the OSC is enabled in the preferences or SPAT will simply not receive anything.

Once this is done, our automation should now be received in SPAT.

And that is it!

Uninstall

With the FLUX Center

To Uninstall the Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution with the FLUX:: Center, simply open the Center and click uninstall next to the Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution.

Manually

To Uninstall the Ableton Live Tools for SPAT Revolution simply go to this location:

/Library/Application Support/Flux

And delete the Ableton Live Devices Folder.

SPAT Revolution

For more information about uninstalling SPAT Revolution please check out the following article inside the FLUX:: Knowledge Base.

How To uninstall software installed with FLUX:: Center:

How to manually uninstall audio plugins:

Thanks!

The Immersive Audio World is full of new possibilities and we hope that this guide helped you understand lots of what spatial audio has to offer and how to utilize it with Ableton Live!

Let us know if there’s anything missing from this guide (and the devices provided), ideas on how to better it, or simply what are you thoughts!

You can contact me directly here:

Credit

Ryan Farber for his M4L device: (Simple One-Button Macro 2.0)

ELPHNT for his M4L device: (NTPD2 Lite)

Devin Roth for creating BlackHole:

To the Ableton Team for making such an amazing DAW.

Troubleshooting / Q&A

iLok Message

If you ever get that message when starting SPAT Revolution, first if you have activated your license from the iLok License Manager app, this error can still happens.

iLok Message

You can fix it by simply launching the SPAT Revolution again once or twice depending on your luck. This is an issue that still needs to be addressed by the FLUX:: Team.

If however this wasn’t the solution please check the following:

If none of it solve the issue please contact the FLUX:: Tech Support here: support@flux.audio

Windows?

Q: Do you plan on making a Windows specific guide?

A: Maybe if we get lots of requests about it.

OSC issues? (Automation not going to SPAT)

If a source in SPAT doesn’t seem to receive the Automation parameters please check the following:

ip and port stuff

osc enabled

If you want to see if SPAT is correctly receiving the OSC messages you can activate the “Enable commands log” option which will now display every message received by SPAT in the Terminal.

You can open the SPAT Terminal with the following shortcuts:

Show/Hide Terminal = F7

Show/Hide Terminal (mini) = shift+F7

Popup Terminal = cmd+F7

terminal

osc index ref

You can apply the same treatment to the ROOM and RETURN has well if the automations on those aren’t working too.

So to sum up again:

If you work with moving setup you might sometimes get an error showing the OSC Port in red. To fix it simply change the IP address to another network then go back to the original one.

If that doesn’t do it you can also change the OSC Port to something else, and then set back the correct port number.

osc error

SPAT Revolution Essential Version?

Q: Is this workflow compatible with the Essential Version of SPAT Revolution?

A: For now due to limitation of the Essential version this workflow isn’t fully compatible, maybe later with some future update of Essential and some tweaking on my end. Making this workflow work for Essential would require to change it some much that you could not call this the same Workflow.

You want More?!

So you got completely hooked to Immersive Audio, while this guide will be updated we already have a lot more resources you can checkout right away!

Main SPAT Revolution Page

Latest Release

The complete user guide of SPAT Revolution

Knowledge Base on http://flux.audio

YouTube Playlists:

User Stories

Technical Articles

New & Press

Training & Workshops

Facebook User Group