2013 dB Conference

From inception, Decibel as an organization has prided itself on providing technology-based arts education to the public. Over the past decade, the dB Conference has played a significant role in fostering emerging talent while bridging the gap between the music industry and festival attendees.

The 2013 dB Conference will be taking place at the Broadway Performance Hall, which will also be the home of dB Will Call/Ticketing and the beloved dB in the Park event. Happening September 25th through the 27th (noon until 6PM), this year’s conference will be increasing its focus on workshops, product demos and hands on interaction with hardware and software companies looking to educate expand their audience. In addition, we’ll be hosting several lectures featuring artists performing at the 2013 Decibel Festival. The three room program will feature a classroom, conference room and auditorium all running simultaneously with unique content.

FYI: This is FREE for all.  We will be reserving premium seating for festival pass holders, but all are welcome pending available space.

2013 dB Conference Program

Wednesday, September 25th / Room 1: Conference Room

12:00-3:00PM – Dubspot & Control Voltage Present: Synthesizer Studio with James Patrick

Dubspot and Control Voltage present an interactive space showcasing classic and contemporary modular and analog synthesizer technology. Take a professionally guided tour through variety of synths and learn more about how they create sound.

3:00-4:30PM – Sound Design: Analog Gear in a Modern Context with Chris Petti

Dubspot Curriculum Director Chris Petti explores ways to use traditional analog synths with modern software such as Ableton Live 9, Logic X and more.

 5:00-6:00PM – How does CV work? with – James Patrick

CV (Control Voltage), is the foundation behind many concepts in synthesis. Dubspot instructor and Ableton Certified Trainer James Patrick will demystify this often-misunderstood topic by showing — visually and aurally — just how Control Voltage behaves in the Audio world.

Wednesday, September 25th / Room 2: Classroom

2:00-4:00PM – Intro To Native Instruments Maschine, Day 1 –  Matt Cellitti

Explore Dubspot’s Maschine curriculum in this 2-day mini course with Matt Cellitti. Day one will cover some Maschine basics including a hardware/software overview, pattern recording and overdubbing. Participants are encouraged to bring their own Maschine/Maschine Mikro controller and laptop to follow along with the mini course.

4:30-5:30PM – A Day in the Life – Special guest TBA moderated by Chris Petti

Chris Petti moderates with a performing Decibel Festival artist, discussing music production/ DJing workflow and techniques.

Wednesday, September 25th / Room 1: Auditorium

4:00-5:00PM – RA Exchange 1 – Peter Hook hosted by Andrew Ryce


Thursday, September 26th / Room 1: Conference Room

 3:00-4:00PM – Beyond EQs and Filters: The DJ Mixer effects processor with Shaun Whitcher (Rane) and James Patrick, (Dubspot)

DJ Mixer effects have matured greatly in the past decade, yet their inner workings remain a mystery. In this workshop, we’ll pop the hood under the effects processor in Rane’s Sixty-Four, their new four-channel flagship. We’re going to showcase DJ mixer effects in the context of live performance and music production.

With Rane’s Shaun Whitcher, we’ll dissect the effects engine, analyzing the unique way it colors sound via spectrum analysis and A-B testing. We’ll also discuss the kinds of design decisions required to insert professional effects into a DJ mixer form factor.

Then Dubspot’s James Patrick will connect the DJ world and the production world by (literally) connecting the Sixty-Four to a DAW via the mixer’s 22-channel audio interface. From there, James will show how these effects could be de-constructed from scratch and modified for music production workflows.

 4:00-5:00PM – DJing w/ Native Instruments Traktor, from iPhone to laptop – Matt Cellitti

Dubspot instructor Matt Cellitti demonstrates Traktor basics, starting with DJing techniques with Traktor DJ (iOS), progressing to more advanced features using the full PC/Mac version of Traktor Pro.

Thursday, September 26th / Room 2: Classroom

12:00 PM – 2:00pm – A Day in the Life – Mastering Engineer – with Erik Magrini (Tarekith), moderated by Chris Petti

Erik Magrini (Tarekith) of Seattle-based Inner Portal Studio shares his experience as an electronic-music focused Mastering Engineer. He’ll provide an extensive Q&A on his process and on a life paying the bills doing mastering and mixdowns.

 Up for discussion: Why give your track to someone else for Mastering? What is Mastering? What’s a Mixdown? What’s your setup for Mastering? What DAW sounds the best? What common mistakes do people make at the end of their production process?

 2:00-4:00PM – Intro To Native Instruments Maschine Day 2 – Matt Cellitti

Explore Dubspot’s Maschine curriculum in this 2-day mini course with Matt Cellitti. Day two will cover some advanced features of Maschine including creative use of effects, sampling and performance. Participants are encouraged to bring their own Maschine/Maschine Mikro controller and laptop to follow along with the mini course.

5:00 –  6:00 PM – What is a DAW? – Chris Petti

What is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and how do DJs and Producers use them? Dubspot Curriculum Director Chris Petti will present a number of popular DAWs from the music software industry, exploring the philosophies behind their design.

Thursday, September 26th / Auditorium

1:00-3:00 – New Media Hardware platforms and communities with Brian Crabtree, Randy Jones, Ezra Buchland and Peter Nyboer, moderated by Dave Cross.

Monome, Livid, Madrona Labs present thoughts on Open Platforms, DIY hardware and New Media interfaces.

 ABOUT MONOME – A Monome is a reconfigurable grid of backlit keypads which connects to a computer. Interaction between the keys and lights is determined by the application running on the computer. There is no hard-wired functionality, which allows for complete freedom and creativity.

Monome is operated on a human scale. Using local-sourced suppliers and manufacturers with whom we’ve created long-term, trusting relationships. Environmental and economic sustainability are critical considerations the design process. Monome believes in beautiful design and quality craftsmanship. Editions are produced in short runs according to demand. Staying small affords the flexibility to pursue interesting new directions, not simply commodify established trends.

ABOUT MADRONA LABS – The Madrona Labs Soundplane is a computer music controller with the sensitivity and feel of an acoustic instrument. It detects a wide range of touches on its walnut playing surface, from a light tickle to a very firm press. Unlike a MIDI keyboard, which typically sends out just one velocity value at the start of a note, the Soundplane communicates three dimensions of information, x, y and pressure, over the entire duration of every touch. As a synthesist, this lets you replace a triggered envelope with an intimate connection and breathe life into each note.

ABOUT LIVID – Livid Instruments has been crafting custom controllers in Austin, Texas since 2004, and offers a line of commercially available control surfaces and DIY products through dealers and distributors worldwide.

We take attention to detail very seriously in the creation of our products and only select the highest quality parts and materials for production. All the wood used in our instruments are hand picked and all components are custom designed for maximum performance and durability. With a set of open source hardware and software tools, we encourage other artists and the creative community to adapt our products to their specific needs. Livid’s mission is to empower artists to create with a sense of inventiveness and experimentation.

 4:00-5:30PM – RA Exchange 2 – Moby hosted by Andrew Ryce

Friday, September 27th / Room 1: Conference Room

 11:00-12:45PM – Ableton Presents: Max In The Morning
What is Max for Live, really? Come check out this workshop for all experience levels to get a grasp of the amazing power behind this versatile platform, how insanely easy or immensely complex it can be, how it can be used in your music (or beyond), what kind of community is out there for this type of thing, and which cool Max for Live devices come bundled with Ableton Live 9 Suite. The presenters will demystify Max for Live and show you why it’s the dark horse tool for your arsenal.
Hosted By: James Patrick & Chris Schlyer
Special Guest Artist: Synnack

 1:00-1:45PM – Live 9.1 Under the Microscope

Get to know the details behind the first official update to Live 9, free for all registered users. Dual monitor support, high-quality sample rate conversion and melodic sequencing & editing for Push, among other things.
Hosted By: Warp Academy’s Jake Perrine & Drew Vespers
Special Guest Artist: Quadrant

 2:00-2:45PM – Platinum Records Co-Presents: Techniques for Sampling from Vinyl
Check out just a few of the possibilities in which you can utilize the age-old technique of sampling from vinyl to get source material for your productions. Learn some tips & tricks and get ready to dust off your record player!
Hosted By: Chris Schlyer
Special Guest Artist: Taylor Lee

 3:00-3:45PM – 4.1 Multichannel mixing in Live
Take your productions to new dimensions, break out of the stereo habit and explore the realm of multi-channel production and performance, witness the beauty of 4.1 surround sound and learn how it’s possible within Ableton Live.
Hosted By: Jake Perrine
Special Guest Artist: The Sight Below

 4:00-4:45PM – Melodic Possibilities with Push
Have a closer look at what kind of melodic things can be accomplished with Ableton Push and gain a better understanding of how it all makes sense in the world of music theory.
Hosted By: Warp Academy’s Michael Maricle

 5:00-5:45PM – Five Minutes to Create
Swing through and take a stab at making some music with Ableton Push. You will have five minutes with a Push unit to create a beat, a song, a simple phrase or gesture or something totally off-the-wall. Submit your five-minute creation for a chance to win some cool Ableton prizes.
Hosted By: The Warp Academy Team: Jake Perrine, Drew Vespers & Michael Maricle
Special Guest Artist: You!

Friday, September 27th / Room 2: Classroom

 12:45-1:30PM – Composing Music with Video
Workshop Description: Max for Live can help you come up with material you never thought possible. In this workshop, check out a cool way to utilize video clips to generate actual musical data.
Hosted By: Dubspot’s Chris Petti

 1:45-2:30PM – Live 101
Workshop Description: New to this whole thing? Have no fear, this workshop will give you the lay of the land and orient you to the entire world of music creation and performance with computers. Experienced with other music software but thinking of trying out something new? Come have a look to see what kind of things Ableton Live can do, what makes it unique and why it’s a great musical tool to add to your studio.
Hosted By: Dubspot’s Matt Cellitti

 2:45-3:30PM – Sound Design Using Vocals and… That’s It
Workshop Description: What kind of things can you do with recorded voice? More than you might expect. Come check out a workshop where an entire song is constructed using only vocal recordings from audience members, and learn some amazing sound design techniques that will boost your confidence to work with just about any kind of source material.
Hosted By: Dubspot’s Chris Petti

 3:45-4:30PM – What’s So Special About Session View?
Workshop Description: If you’ve stared at Live’s unique Session View grid for hours wondering how the heck it all makes sense, this workshop is for you. Receive some crucial tips & tricks and experience what makes Session View an amazing interface for creating ideas, arranging your song structure and performing live, among other things.
Hosted By: Warp Academy’s Drew Vespers & Jake Perrine

 4:45-5:30PM – Humanization & The Machine
Workshop Description: The technique of adding humanization and groove to your production is an important step to make your music and elements stand out as expressive and alive. Ableton gives you a lot of tools to add this humanized feel to your production. This class will dive into sound design with Groove Pool, Adding modulation, and effects to bring your production to the next level.
Hosted By: Warp Academy’s Isaac Cotec
Special Guest Artist: Halo Refuser

Friday, September 27th / Auditorium

 12:15-1:00PM – Hardware & Software Synthesis

Explore Ableton Live’s ability to interface seamlessly with the modern Analog and Virtual worlds of sound synthesis. Observe and listen as James Patrick (Dubspot, Ableton) and Randy Jones (Madrona Labs) create new sounds within a variety of patchable, modular synthesis instruments. Make analog patches on the fly and control them with Ableton Live as modern technology furthers the transparent union between infinite digital control and the analog hardware world. James Patrick’s custom 3U modular synthesizer interacts seamlessly with the Ableton Live environment via the Expert Sleeper’s Silent Way software. Also being featured during this session is Madrona Lab’s Randy Jones as he premiers to the world his latest creation, Kaivo – A physically modeled, patchable modular synthesizer.

Hosted By: Slam Academy’s James Patrick
Special Guest: Madrona Lab’s Randy Jones

 1:15-2:00PM – Erased Tapes Co-Presents: Artist Workshop with Ólafur Arnalds
Workshop Description: Join Erased Tapes artist Ólafur Arnalds before his performance at Optical 2 later in the day to learn about how he incorporates acoustic instrumentation into his otherwise electronic music compositions, how he prepares the compositions for live performance and the pros & cons of this process in today’s music landscape. Joining him for the workshop to enhance the demonstration will be violinist Viktor Orri Arnason and cellist Rubin Kodheli

Hosted By: Dubspot’s Nate Mars & Dave Cross
Special Guest Artist: Ólafur Arnalds & violinist Viktor Orri Arnason

 2:15-3:00PM – Artist Panel: Creative Workflow, Future of Composition & Bringing Studio to Stage
Workshop Description: Join the discussion on the importance of workflow and the various ways to achieve a unique creative process, pros & cons of how computer software & hardware factor into the equation, what the future holds for workflow possibilities, and how to convert finished studio works into music that can be performed in a live setting. The guest artists on the panel will chime in with their own personal insights to shed light on just a few of the many possibilities.
Hosted By: Warp Academy’s Isaac Cotec
Special Guest Artists: The Sight Below, Codebase, Pezzner, KJ Sawka

 3:15-4:00PM – Dropping Gems Co-Presents: Artist Workshop with Ghost Feet
Workshop Description: Dropping Gems artist Ghost Feet will provide a first-hand look at their setup and how it all works to accommodate their unique ensemble, and conduct a mini-performance to put the discussion in context.
Hosted By: Chris Schlyer
Special Guest Artist: Ghost Feet

 4:15-5:00PM – Ghostly International Co-Presents: Performance Setup Demonstrations with Lusine & Dauwd
Workshop Description: Ghostly artists Dauwd & Lusine will describe their live setups and conduct short performances to demonstrate the tools they’ve come to use at this point in their musical careers.
Hosted By: Dubspot’s Nate Mars & Dave Cross
Special Guest Artists: Lusine & Dauwd

 5:15-6:00PM – Ableton Trivia Game Show
Workshop Description: COME ON DOWN! Partake in this interactive game show (or just watch from afar) where audience members will be chosen at random for a chance to compete for cool prizes and mad respect. Show off your Ableton knowledge in this Jeopardy-meets-Price Is Right format trivia game and have a laugh with fellow enthusiasts.
Hosted By: Dubspot’s Chris Petti, Matt Celletti & James Patrick
Special Guest Artists: You!

Q Night Club

6:00-8:00PM – Ableton & Warp Academy Happy Hour

Description: Yes, it’s a Happy Hour, but it’s also a launch party! Come celebrate the official launch of Warp Academy online school at the final event of Ableton Day at Decibel 2013. Eat, drink, listen and shmooze with folk from Ableton, Warp Academy, other Ableton Day partners and festival-goers alike.
Hosted By: Warp Academy
Special Guest Artist Performances:
 6:00-7:00PM – Vespers, Spire & Michael Maricle
 7:00-8:00PM – Synnack


Thanks to our Supporting dB Conference Partners


For the fourth year, Decibel Festival is pleased to announce that we are teaming up with Windows as a supporting partner for this year’s dB Conference. This partnership allows the conference to provide a space where artists, professionals, students, and the public can exchange knowledge and create a supportive community that fosters networking, collaboration, education, and promotes creativity through technology.


Dubspot has become the premier school for experienced and aspiring artists alike who want to learn more about the latest music and media technologies and how to use them. Working certified instructors and established artists, Dubspot’s top priority is to support the creative process and give you the knowledge you need to develop as a musician and artist.

Decibel is proud to continue our long-standing education partnerships with Dubspot who will curating the two full days of dB Conference workshops and lectures.


Founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles and Bernd Roggendorf, Ableton’s Live software was first released as commercial software in 2001. Ableton Live, which is currently in it’s ninth version, is designed to be used with a wide range of USB and MIDI controllers, as well as instruments and virtual instruments. In recent years, Ableton has moved towards hardware development with Push, which offers hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds, and song structure.

This year Ableton will be curating the third and final day of dB Conference, featuring over 20 unique workshops demos, panels and lectures all focused around Ableton products and the artists using them.


Rane believes that true quality is in the details. It’s seen in the painstakingly chosen precision components, in the neat and solid construction, in the comprehensive manuals, and most importantly in the care and concern of the dedicated people at Rane that make it all happen. Manufacturers will always make claims, but the real truth is proven with time, in the hands of countless users. Whatever your requirements, make sure you choose a product for its quality and reputation–it’s worth it.

This will be Decibel sixth year partnering with Rane, who will be present activities throughout the 2013 Decibel Festival as well. Stay tuned for more information on this partnership.


Resident Advisor is the leading online electronic music magazine. Established in 2001, RA publishes news, reviews, features and films to an audience of two million people every month. It’s home to the RA Podcast, the most popular podcast series specializing in electronic music, and the RA Exchange, a series of in-depth interviews with the artists, labels and promoters shaping the electronic music landscape. Thanks to its event listings and online ticketing, RA is also an invaluable resource to club-goers around the world.


Panopto, a Pittsburgh-based company with offices in Seattle and London, is a new partner for Decibel Festival. Panopto creates software that enables organizations to record, webcast, and search all of their video content and presentations. With Panopto, businesses can stream live broadcasts, create interactive online training videos, and create online presentations at the click of a button from any computer. We have partnered with them this year to offer live streaming of Dubspot’s conference sessions. Following the conference, you’ll be able to stream the recorded sessions from your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. We’re excited to provide the ability to access the Decibel Conference to friends and fans around the world.