daw-version

MANUAL

Version 8A (Alpha, no MIDI) 
ArrangerKing works the same across all platforms

- But not all platforms works the same.

To address this, we've customized the ArrangerKing manual for each platform. If you need a manual for something other than daw-version, please select your software from the dropdown menu. If you don't see your software listed or if you encounter any issues, don't hesitate to let us know 

Quick StartHow to Rip Reference Tracks

Installing

Windows

  1. Download and extract AK.zip.
  2. Copy AK.vst3 from the folder.
  3. Paste into C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3 
  4. Restart daw-version; AK appears in the plugin list.

MAC

  1. Download and extract AK.zip.
  2. Copy AK.vst3
  3. Paste into Macintosh HD > Library > Audio > Plug-Ins > VST3.
  4. Restart daw-version; AK appears in the plugin list.

Quick Start

Prepare your project

  1. Open a fresh project in daw-version.

  2. Create 2 tracks: One with a Drum loop, and one with a Bass loop, for example. It doesn't matter if they’re MIDI or Audio. 

  3. Add AK to both tracks. But only 1 AK on each track.

  4. Make both tracks play in loop, but not by setting up loop markers so the playhead is starting over and over: Repeat the bass and drum many, many times, enough to have an entire song's worth of loops, like as if you were making a very boring, long song.

ARRANGE WITH CLICKS

  1. If you press Play in daw-version, you will see that the red Playhead Marker in AK will move from Left to right. It should move all the way to the end, not jump back.

  2. Move your mouse over one of the white shapes ('Buildings') in one of the AK windows, and Left Click with your mouse: The part goes dark. If the part is a 'Verse', and the arrangement you chose has more verses, they will also go dark.

  3. Note how when the AK playhead is over a dark area, the track it's on is muted. If you are on the Bass track, go to the Drum track to set up mutes there. Click on the Palette icon in the lower left AK corner to change color.

  4. When you mouse over a white part of a building, you will see dark triangles appearing on the sides of it. Try to drag these. They are used to partly mute verses for example.

  5. When hovering the top far left or right side of the blue background behind the buildings, you will find 2 additional dark triangles, try and drag them. We call them 'the curtains'. Using them you can decide for example that “the tambourine should only play in the last 2 choruses".

  6. Change part lengths by Left clicking on the (initially orange) boxes below the buildings.

  7. Edit parts and more by Right clicking.

  8. Transfer between genre naming in the top left dropdown.

  9. Use the +/- buttons to cycle through arrangements. Notice how in the lower right corner, the total length of your song is displayed. 

  10. AK comes with a list of inspiration arrangements. You can edit, delete, import other arrangements, or create new ones from a basic template. To do this, click the "Arrangement" button and select 'New'.

INDIVIDUAL TRACKS FOR INDIVIDUAL PARTS

  • Gives you an optimal setup for mixing later

  • Allows Individual effect stacks for arrangement parts

  • Unlocks full AK functionality

WHat IF MY LOOPS doesn't MATCH in length?

Not all loops are the same length, and arrangement parts in AK can have odd lengths. This means that sometimes automated unmuting and loop start times may not align perfectly.

When you've decided on an arrangement and encounter loops or automation that don't match, simply enter daw-version's editor and adjust any loops or automation to align with the arrangement.

Of course, you can also choose not to use AK's muting features at all and only use AK as a guide for your standard editing in daw-version or only make use of the MIDI features of AK.

The best approach is typically to combine various methods. Begin with AK to establish the initial structure. If needed, proceed to manually create sweeping automations, insert ad-libs, and add other elements in the editor. It's also fine to add tracks that don't use AK to supplement the ones that do.

Move Beyond Loops: Live Recording with Modular Synths, Synths, and Acoustic Instruments

Recording with AK can be like magic as the system "punches in and out" in sync with your song from start to finish.

  1. Create or select a blank track and arm it like you'd normally do before recording. Add AK to the track.

  2. Select with the white buildings in AK what you plan to be recording (Choruses for example).

  3. Record like you normally would do, but try and record the entire song; Meaning you don't have to use loops.

  4. If you are recording synths (software or real instruments as audio), make sure to turn some knobs while recording your song. Take advantage of the freedom to adjust knobs to new positions when AK's playhead is in muted areas.

MIDI TRICKS

TODO: MIDI

RIPPING ARRANGEMENTS FROM REFERENCE TRACKS

You can get crazy good at arranging by analyzing other people's arrangements. Traditionally, however, learning to decode reference tracks was difficult and often something people started but did not finish; Likely because it involved various fluid naming of parts, individual concepts, and rules with soft boundaries.

With AK's system of finite parts and lengths, all you need to do is to listen and decide, "Where does this part fit into the system?" Your brain gets visual feedback by the white buildings, and you see how everything stacks up and - once you get it - fits into the standardized system that works the same across all songs and genres.

Start with simple pop/rock songs and progress to your favourite songs after having done a couple of easy learning tracks 

Find a straightforward pop song, load it into daw-version as an audio track.

Often, there's a pre-intro to cut off, like the first drums. There's a simple example of a pre-intro that needs to be cut off here: The arrangement starts only when the bass is introduced, and patterns emerge. Cut your audio to start there.

If daw-version hasn't automatically set the tempo, search online for the BPM of the song and set it in daw-version.

Add AK to the track. You can create a new arrangement or edit an existing one in AK. Press Play, and as the playhead hovers over a part: Left and right-click on the boxes below the buildings untill they represent what is playing on the track.

Probably frantic and stressing in the first attempts :D but trust us; It'll get easier, you'll get it ;) After a while you can nail a song as you listen to it for the first time!

It's often easier to choose "Pop/Rock" as the genre initially, even if the song you rip is another genre, as the naming in Pop/Rock is often more familiar, and is what's used in the cheat sheet here. You can change genre later in the top-left dropdown.

Sometimes, play the tracks really fast to hear the sections more easily.

RIPPING CHEAT SHEET

INTRO: Is it playing at the beginning of the song, and not repeated again?

It's an Intro. Not all songs have one. Can you not make it fit with the pre-defined lengths in AK? Cut off more or less from the start.

VERSE: Does it feature the same melody or catchy chord progression repeated with variations?

Mark it as Verse. But watch it; It may be a bridge.

BRIDGE: Is it toned down, or is it almost like the verse but without variations, does it feel like a filler?

Mark it as a Bridge.

PRE-CHORUS: Does it build tension leading towards or is it an energetic and catchy part, and is it shorter than the chorus but like the chorus - or do you have problems matching the chorus with the fixed lengths in AK?

You've found a Pre-Chorus. They can be sneaky.

CHORUS: Is it the most memorable and repetitive part, containing the main theme?

That's the Chorus.

SOLO/BREAK: Is there a focus on instrumental performance or a significant vocal, does it sound different from everything else and is it perhaps twice the lenght of a chorus - is it perhaps even made as if it's two parts in one where some instruments only start half way in?

It's a Solo/Break.

OUTRO: Does it conclude the song, possibly by repeating elements from other sections but tapering off in volume or intensity and perhaps all sorts of everything introduced on top of each other?

You have the Outro/Fade Out. Not all songs have one.

To summarize:

Ensure you cut off any leading parts that makes it impossible to match the start of the song into AK's predetermined part lengths. If unsure, start with another song that begins simply.

Make sure the tempo in daw-version matches the reference track, then play it while watching the playhead of AK.

As you do, right and left-click on the lower blocks in AK to match what's playing, using the cheat sheet on this page for guidance.

(The video shows ripping the arrangement of a certain song using Ableton Live, but the procedure is the same across all DAW's)

Try to import an arrangement

SHARING ARRANGEMENTS

You can store and share arrangements as text strings or image files by pressing 'Share' in AK. Image files are accessible even to those without AK, while text strings can be imported into all supported DAWs on both PC and Mac.

Mute and MIDI information is not stored, so sharing this data should not violate any copyright laws, as arrangements shared this way cannot be used to reproduce the original artwork.

If you share both an image and a text string in a forum post, everyone can both see and import the arrangement. The image name serves as the import string, so sometimes the image alone is sufficient.



TIPS AND TRICKS and TRICKS AND tips

Let AK control your Effect Return Tracks

Try and add AK to an effect track with a destinct effect. Send to the effect track at full volume from some other tracks. Now the AK on the effect track can switch on/off the effect.

Place AK on Group tracks

If you group tracks, you can control their muting with one instance of AK by simply placing it on the group.

Place AK on the master track

Sometimes as an effect or in live sessions it can be nice to be able to mute absolutely everything, and this can easily be done by simply adding AK on the Master Track and for example mute the last part of a Drop. Or make the Outro double the needed length, and mute it half way in.

Click on the Logo for Mute-Resolution

By default, AK will move the mute triangles by one bar. You can change this setting in the settings menu.

USE AK IN A LIVE SESSION

AK can be set up to mute anything in sync with your song. This means that you - live - can have any number of inputs and tracks that will only be audible when AK's playhead is over a white part of a building.

Stay in control

Due to limitations in how daw-version implements plugins, AK can only control mute and send MIDI. Make sure to introduce effects and sweeps as you have always done.

AK introduces new ways of thinking, allowing you to accomplish a lot quickly, even complete tracks. However, don't let it overwhelm you: it's perfectly fine to use AK on just one or a few tracks, or only in the early stages of production before setting it aside.



That's it for the manual

Help yourself by sharing arrangements

It'd be a great help if you share your arrangments in places where others can find them, then others will share theirs, and you'll get more material to work with, so win/win ;)

AK is in constant developlem.. devlo development

Please get in touch with any feedback, bugs and so on

Thanks,
Frits Lyneborg :)

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