Ableton DJ..?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
2kilo
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Ableton DJ..?

Post by 2kilo » Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:43 pm

Hi, I'm new to Ableton Live [version 4] and am amazed at what a stunning product this is. The potential is so vast...

But for DJ's [and maybe other performance types] it still seems to lack a key feature [or I have not found them yet]. Please, please, correct me if I'm wrong, I want to be wrong..?

Basically the ability to instant loop, change loop lengths and positions in realtime. I know you can do this buy splitting a song into clips but this can limit improvisation? Also by changing loop length and position in realtime you can actually play a loop [eg a melody lasts two bars, set the loop to 2 beats and move it backwards and forwards to change the order of the melody, or loop a stab at the start of a bar to a one beat loop, let it loop 3 times then change the loop to the full bar]. Traktor is a good example of this beat juggle effect. Instant cue points and the ability to jump between them would also great..?

With overproduced music DJ's really need these loop/cue functions as a lot of songs do not have long enough breaks to do an interesting mix..?

Imagine a digital DJ with a hard drive full of tracks, having to add to this with extra clips, sound files, etc limits the amount of tunes..? I would like just one song file with all the relevant loop/cue info stored in a one file..?

I love Live, my main reason for buying it is to quantise sloppy drumming in old rare-groove records, so they can be mixed like house. I would prefer to DJ with Live but I have to say that Traktor [so far] allows me more freedom and possibilities in the mix.

I can see that getting MIDI into version 4 is pretty key [its great, I could get rid of Cubase now] but I hope version 4.5 concentrates on more performance options as it is meant to be a "Live Instrument"..?

If Live had a session, arrangement, and a third traktor view..?
If Traktor had a Live session window..?

ryansupak

Post by ryansupak » Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:09 pm

You're right, there's still no efficient way to store multiple cues and loops within a single audio clip.

The v4 release, it seems, was mostly focused on bringing VSTi and MIDI to the table, as opposed to increasing the "core" Live functionality (with the exception of follow actions and better track routing).

For DJing purposes, it seems to me that v4 can't do much that v3 couldn't do. Personally, I'm spending a lot of time testing it to see if I can justify a v3 -> v4 upgrade.

rs

robin
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Post by robin » Tue Jul 27, 2004 3:28 pm

i posted something similar last week.


one way to do this (in macosx) is to have all your samples/clips/tunes(if you dj) in one directory and then have another directory with hard links (in unix you can link stuff together ie. ln Wavs/original.wav NewMarked_Wavs/original.wav)

that way you can have two .asd files for the same sample/clip/tune

there might be a windows way to do this but i work with unix a lot so this way was more natural for me.

Gerhard
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Post by Gerhard » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:15 pm

Gentlemen, please help me understand.

You are asking for the ability to store multiple cue points within one clip. You are certainly aware of the ability to have multiple clips referencing the same sample file. If these clips are in the same track, they will play alternatively. Launching a clip then appears to do the exact same thing as jumping to a cue point. What am I missing? Where is the added benefit of multiple cue points withing a clip? Thanks.
Gerhard Behles
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robin
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Post by robin » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:40 pm

this might have arisen because of different ways of working. if djing with Live then generally i don't have anything in a set setup beforehand so i can go with the flow.

so one way to do this is to have a clip marked up as a complete tune. then another marked up with a 4 bar loop, for example.

so i decide that the floor wants to hear a certain tune i move from the last tune into the same clip/tune maked up with the 4 bar loop (moving the 4 bar loop marker i've preset in this clip to a marked "end" loop)

then i do a similar thing for the next tune (but move my 4 bar loop marker to a "start" loop) so i can transition just using loops. then move to play the whole clip that doesn't have the loop setup.

i do realise that you can make these changes to the clips and save them as part of a Live Set but this isn't quite as convenient or spontaneous as having 2 or more .asd files.

maybe having a drop down menu with different .asd "presets" (ie. start loop, end loop, middle break, etc) in the clip view, like you can save settings in the effects.

i hope the above is clear, i'm not that great at explaining these things.

the traktor users may also want other things that traktor provide but i don't use that application.

thanks

ryst
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Post by ryst » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:42 pm

Gerhard,

Hi! This is Nathan (Atlanta) from the Namm show. Remember me? Anyway, I think want they want is the ability to have multiple loops points in one clip so they don't have to be confused with mutilple clips. Personally I don't see the need but I do understand this. Maybe a way to set up multiple loops in one clip and hit an arrow or an assinged key to switch between them within one clip in real-tim. Is this correct guys?

robin
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Post by robin » Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:01 pm

heh, that's probably a little more than i need but it might be neat yeah.

all i'd like is the drop down menu with "profiles" of different treatments of the same clip/wav/aiff.

this would make the .asd file bigger but it'd be worth it imo. not sure what other implications this would have tho :)

2kilo
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Post by 2kilo » Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:20 pm

@ GerHard

Yes multiple clips referencing the same sample file is a form of cue points,
but [as I understand it] you then need to either:

-Store the multiple clips in a Live Set file [ie the whole night or you entire record collection saved in a set file?].

-Or you split the song into different audio files [double the disk space needed if you want to keep the original and split files on the same computer? ie halve your record collection?].

But cue points aside, its realtime loop functions that show the raw power of digital DJ'ing over turntables. Loop on, loop off, loop position, loop length can all be assigned keys allowing the user to play a loop like an instrument! Anytime during the song. Beat scramble loops in realtime while using a crossfader to cut between tracks..?

Its quite sad [as I see it] but the lack of the mutliple loops/cues [plus realtime adjustment] means Ableton as a DJ tool only forfills about half of its performance potential. But Like I said I hope this is next on the list after version 4's MIDI update..?

Its difficult to sometimes discribe the DJ's needs, you kinda need to go there, and do it [eg how many clubs have no or sh*t monitors?]

rEalm
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Post by rEalm » Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:21 pm

Multiple loops in one clip is great, and generally what I think they are going for. Having more then one clip works, but only if you put that much planning into every single track before you play it out. Multiple loops in one clip would be much easier to keep track of too. Especially if you have hundreds of songs already stored on your hard drive, you don't want to be looking to a certain clip of a song. Which bring me neatly to....

Since we're asking for DJ friendly features, I'd love a way to sort or search for files on my HD based on categories. Each clip could have a user defineable text field, that you could use to enter whatever information you want, be it record label, genre, artist name, etc. It would sure beat having to spend the majority of my set scrolling looking for the song I want.

StompyJ
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Post by StompyJ » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:13 pm

If I'm understanding you guys, Live can do anything/everything you guys are looking for and more....

I"m not a CD DJ so bear with me, but I have played with Traktor alot, and I can't remember seeing things it could do that Live couldn't.

In terms of wanting it all in one clip vs. multiple clips, I think thats just a mindset issue. Live really is a new idea for an app, and as such I think we need to try and get in the mindset that live provides. Many people used to Cubase / Sonar / Logic have the same issues, in that they want Live to do things they way they know how to. I'm not saying you're right or wrong, just that the creator of this had a new vision of how to do things, and maybe we should try and understand it before we ask they change it to 'what I'm used to'

I think another concept that needs to be reiterated is that if you drag a sample into the grid, and copy and paste it, you have not effectively doubled your harddrive space. Live stores a reference to that file, and applies any edits/effects/clip changes you make to that file in realtime on the fly.


-Eric
Last edited by StompyJ on Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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StompyJ
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Post by StompyJ » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:17 pm

<Multiple loops in one clip is great, and generally what I think they are going for. Having more then one clip works, but only if you put that much planning into every single track before you play it out.>

I'm curious to what the difference is between planning out multiple loops in one clip, or planning multiple clips based on one loop is? In both cases you need to plan in advance right?

Also, you know that while loops are playing, you can easily and silently copy and paste a clip into a new part, and move stuff around as well.

HTH

-Eric
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rEalm
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Post by rEalm » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:25 pm

While I agree that people in general are better off getting into the "mindset" of an application and then learning to work within that context, at the same time there's always room for improvement. While your solution would definitely work, I don't think it's neccesarily the best way to work for DJs. Might work ok for production work or Live PA's (I do both), but when you're a DJ, things need to be quick and accessible, easily used as you read a crowd and need to adapt your set.

Also, while the new clips don't use hard drive space (well, tiny bits for the asd files), there's other reasons for wanting more than 1 loop in a clip. Searching for tracks is one. It's already pretty time consuming scrolling through 300+ tracks trying to find the one I want, but if each of those was now 4-5 clips, then that would mean I would need to scroll through 1200 clips! Sure, if I was to lay out the set the night before, then it would be no big deal to prep multiple versions of the same audio file. But DJ's don't work like that, crowds don't work like that, so it's not a very good solution.

Also, another limitation of having multiple clips is name space. Those clips are darn small, and it would be next to impossible to see in the Session view the name of the song, and which loop that clip was made for. Yeah, you can view the full file name in clip settings pane at the bottom, but that's only the file name, the actual part of the clip names shown are still very short.

Anyway, it's definitely one of those horses for courses things, but Ableton seems keen to promote Live as a DJing tool, and as such, DJ's are going to offer their opinions on features we've come to expect from other gear, or better yet, think of new ones that will let us do even more than we now can!

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Post by drush » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:27 pm

robin wrote:i posted something similar last week.


one way to do this (in macosx) is to have all your samples/clips/tunes(if you dj) in one directory and then have another directory with hard links (in unix you can link stuff together ie. ln Wavs/original.wav NewMarked_Wavs/original.wav)

that way you can have two .asd files for the same sample/clip/tune

there might be a windows way to do this but i work with unix a lot so this way was more natural for me.
could you explain a bit more how to do this (in osx)? or is it in the other thread you mention?

StompyJ
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Post by StompyJ » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:37 pm

Ahhh, interesting points rEALM. Thanks for explaining that.

Like I said, I'm not a digital dj yet, but I do plan to start djaying/live performing asap.

I can understand the idea of the 1200 clips, although to be honest, I'd probably just make a dir for each track, it would result in lots of prep time, but one extra click during the live set.

But I can definitely see where a dedicated djaying tool is probably going to be better with workflow than Live in a number of cases. All the extra functionality Live provides must come at a price. I agree tho, we should strive for the most streamlined workflow available. :D
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anti-banausic
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Post by anti-banausic » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:54 pm

I think perhaps what StompyJ was saying is that you don't need to save multiple cue points in different .wav files....I think he meant that while one track is playing, and you decide which track you want next, you can drag the track in (fully warped, looped or unlooped), then copy it several times in the session view, make smaller loops (say for intro, outro, good break) while pre-listening in the copied clips.

You can also have, say, 5 of the slots in the session view mapped to computer keys. This way you can jump from one smaller looping clip to the original track with the click of a computer key. Also, say you have crossfaded to a new track (one that doesn't use these clips), simply delete the clips, drag new track in copy as before and voila, the same computer keys will control these new clips in the new track because the computer keys are assigned to the slot and not the clip....In reality, this is even more on the fly than having prearranged loop points in Traktor.

I know this might not be ideal, but then again, with practice, it could also be really fun and challenging....I think I will try it tonight...normally I just make a fairly large set with my own breaks and mini-tracks in between to get me from one produced track to the next, you can say this is limiting, and perhaps it is a little (but I have like 40 tracks in the set that I can switch between at any time). However, LIVE allows me to throw my own stuff in, and be entirely creative with the tracks I am playing, adding samples, my own synth lines, etc....so people hear a track, recognize it, but then there is this other stuff that they don't know. It is a new approach to DJing, re-mixing on the fly....

Hope that explanation helps a little.
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