Question: Live as a-synchronous sample player...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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megamonkey
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Question: Live as a-synchronous sample player...

Post by megamonkey » Tue Sep 03, 2002 5:25 pm

Hi,
I havn;t tried the demo yet... but thought I'd ask this question as, in general. its a big issue for doing live stuff with a computer...
and critical to wether I would buy live....

- can you trigger samples that are *not* synchronised with current tempo, (ie they start when you press the button) and that do not timestretch?

I make complex industrial type music, which has many elements (drones/one-shots) which are not locked into the 'grid'.

I know many people use a mixture of 'gridlocked' loops and 'free' loops, yet all the the software out there seems to focus on one approach or the other. Live could be the answer for me and I'm hopeful, but from reading the material on the hoempage and reviews, I get the sense *any* clip has to be somehow quanitised with the groove. That would be very bad news for me.

The free 'hummingbird; software http://www.autopilot.co.uk/hummingbird.htm
is impressive, but is promblematic in this way - for ambient non-rythmic samples it falls down and reveal itself mainly aimed at 4/4 type dance music.

I guess I'm after roland sp 808 type sampler ability in software as *well*( as the ability to trigger 'scenes' and sequence loops(like live does) without the use of sequencers, lots of outboard gear etc. (which, with the correct software, a computer can entirely replace and for some things outperform)

There seems to be a real gap in the market for this sort of cabability - not everyone makes house/techno/trance with their laptops! In fact the amount of rather noisy/cutup/complex music being made on computer just seems to be increasing and it seems the vision of the audio software companies just isn't keeping pace.... hardware of computers is not the limiting factor now, but the design of the software.

anyhow, any infos much appreciated.
tia


Megamonkey

guest

hey whats up mega

Post by guest » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:00 pm

i'm afraid i'm not able to help with your question, its my question too so anybody who knows the answer please chime in.

on another note do you have an sp-808 and how do you like it?

oh and thanks for the link

Guest

Re: hey whats up mega

Post by Guest » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:19 pm

guest wrote:i'm afraid i'm not able to help with your question, its my question too so anybody who knows the answer please chime in.

on another note do you have an sp-808 and how do you like it?

oh and thanks for the link
No I don;t have one - though 2 ppl I know have used them (one loves it, the other disliked the 4 note max polyphony). Having researching it I think it would be fine for my purposes in conjunction with something else.
Still, apparently the file format is not wav/aiff and it would still be a pain to get samples off hardrive onto it effciently.
Thats the problem with a lot of the little sampler boxes available, they all use smart media etc. whereas having a CD-R drive would be much better (could dump wavs from PC onto CD, load into device and vise versa).

Or what about an sp808/sampler/knobby type thing that just plugs via usb in your computer and uses the harddrive?.... and leaves your computer pretty free to do other stuff as well.

I'm hoping Live with a controller would go some way towards doing this, I'll try the demo. Footcontroller.....can still play guitar or twiddle a synth...

guest

Post by guest » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:55 pm

well as far as the wav files on the sp-808, there is a free software converter that takes 1ms to download from roland and it converts the files
on an sp-808 zipdisk to wav file format and aslo does the reverse, it is very handy and really opens up the possibilities of the 808, also you can resample on the 808 so the poly isn't that big of a deal. the 808 is definitely one of the most underrated pieces of gear on the planet.

aldenon
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Post by aldenon » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:00 pm

I make dark ambient / industrial stuff myself and I would say that Live is the ultimate tool for performing. Clips can be launched without quantization. The timestretching problem that occasionally occurs is pretty easily fixed by adding some silence at the end of the sample until it plays back att a proper speed. Perhaps there is an easier way to fix it - I'm not sure...

Aldenon

aldenon
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Post by aldenon » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:20 pm

I make dark ambient / industrial stuff myself and I would say that Live is the ultimate tool for performing. Clips can be launched without quantization. The timestretching problem that occasionally occurs is pretty easily fixed by adding some silence at the end of the sample until it plays back att a proper speed. Perhaps there is an easier way to fix it - I'm not sure...

Aldenon

dirtystudios
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Post by dirtystudios » Tue Sep 03, 2002 11:17 pm

i owned an sp-808 way back in the day, lost it to pawn...sad, sad, sad, but a lesson learned. i never played out with it, but i did use it extensivley in the studio and i got to know it inside and out. i give you the skinny now.

the pros:
a wide range of great effects that are syncable to a sixteen step arpeggiator. this alone is almost worth it. i got great sounds with filters and whatnot using complex sweeps. good stuff that would be really hard to get on any other machine.

the nifty d-beam controller is fun for the whole family!

once you get used to the layout and menus, you can fly through them at warp speed. it takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down, doing stuff gets really quick, even one handed ( i really, really like my music).

great for creating and messing up loops.

the system software is rock solid. i never had any crashes or funnyness.

the cons:
sync is a nightmare on all fronts, and it can only be the master. it's ok if you are just syncing midi notes, but it's stinky farty smelly for syncing up any actualy audio stuff (like another loopy type thing such as live). the internal sync on the 808 is a bit off. it syncs up it's internal audio just fine, but syncing it with anything else and you hear noticable timing errors.

since it has sync issues, any loops that you rip to your harddrive will be slightly off. this isn't too big of a deal if you use live since it stretches out audio and makes everyone play nice. but if you import it into protools or cubase, you'll run into problems getting everything to line up. it's easy as pie to convert samples though, using the program mentioned above. you can find it (eventually) on roland's website.

4 note polyphony...this super sucks, but it does force you to get creative when trying to cram everything you want into a song.

only the first wee bit of your samples are loaded into ram, the rest are streamed from the zip disk. this can suck if you're trying to do complex stuff (ie. anything smaller than a half note and you're on dangerous ground).

the thing is soooo noisy. there is a ton of background hiss on this little guy. it's really kinda bad.

all in all...i'd say the 808 is good for the studio setting if you have time to tweak stuff, but it doesn't seem to me to be a great peice of live kit. as for live versus 808. live in a heartbeat, especially if you're talking gigs. four note polyphony is just not acceptable, and the chance for audio dropouts during complicated (and lets face it...the complicated stuff is the cool stuff) manuvers is just not kosher. live is the greatest bit of live kit ever. it may have a few shortcomings (every last one of which i assume will be fixed in v2.0...right ableton?) but it definately fills the gap mentioned previously. the stuff i use live for isn't house/techno/trance. it's for glitchy wacked beats with timing errors and the whole nine. nothing can destroy a beat like warp marker, whooooo doggy. hell...funkstorung uses it, and no one can fuck up a beat like them boys. play with the live demo for a while, and you'll start to see the possibilties that this software offers. i still find something new every time i start it up.

damn i'm windy.

k

Guest

Post by Guest » Thu Sep 05, 2002 2:46 pm

OK, I played with the demo....

The 'grid' idea is very simple, yet being able to assign keys/midi to any cell is simple and powerful, Havn;t touched the arranger.

Setting up loops and stuff takes a bit of tweaking - but then most good music takes patience and care to make. I get the impression with careful planning and setting up, you can just go for it in realtime. My loops were in 5/8 (or is that 5/4??:) and it took a while to get them all looping correctly without stretching.

Yes, you can do one shots. Some sort of ASDR control would be nice, or crossfade looping. The software doesn;t give the impression that oneshot pads or long loopy ambient sections is what the designers had as a high priority (origional time sig?? On a one minute swathe of abstract noise?? - not appropriate. be better if the clip controls changed to over the sort of control appropriate for the use of the sample. You probably don't want ASDR on a 1 bar drum loop. Maybe future versions?)
but yes it does it, because the basic design is simple and very open it seems.

Can you control track levels with midi velocity commands (from a controller) - thus allowing non-mouse mixing?

Very low cpu usage, the the GUI was sluggish sometimes, I assumed because the priority is spitting out the audio.

Using a midi footpedal with live on a laptop and having hands on an SP808 could be a pretty effective one-man-band (everyone seems to enjoy the creativity sp808 and its realtime mangle-ment potential does seem impressive. the other option is to get an emu ESI or something with zip. Ug, but all that setting up key maps, and no effects....)

Mikra

that sounds intresting

Post by Mikra » Thu Sep 05, 2002 3:12 pm

I'm a newbie when it comes to using midi as a controller protocol, I only use it for sync, would you explain how you would mix the vollumes through velocity with out the mouse. and i have an sp-808 and would love to try that idea out with the footpedal, live, and 808.
the 808 doesn't have vellocity pads, but you do have vello through a keyboard or other controller hooked up to it.
and what would you do with the footpedal?

sorry bout all the questions but you started it.. :D

SongCarver
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Post by SongCarver » Thu Sep 05, 2002 3:53 pm

mikra,

I'll add my bit here,

Currently live cannot take track volume messages directly from velocity. Maybe if you have some trick midi transforming app (like cubase or logic) you could do it.

Most people prob use a 'knob box'. I use a tascam us 428, which also functions as a knob box and highly reccomend it. The only downside is its stereo only output.

A floor pedal lets you trigger samples and turn FX on and off. If you have one which is like a volume pedal and it transmits midi messages then you can control volume, effects parameters etc.

In terms of non-timestreched audio i'm pretty sure that ableton will have that out in the next couple of months, at my guess. And higher-quality stretching. These have been popular requests.



what I will say is, Dont Be Fooled by LIVE's apparent 'simpleness;

have a look at the 'remove slot' function. It removes a slot, which is a VERY powerful concept.

This means triggering a bank can leave some other clips still running. It allows recording in new combinations, and allows more complexity, especially if you have loops set to different playback modes.



hahappy to answer questions
-K

Guest

Re: that sounds intresting

Post by Guest » Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:12 pm

Mikra wrote:I'm a newbie when it comes to using midi as a controller protocol, I only use it for sync, would you explain how you would mix the vollumes through velocity with out the mouse. and i have an sp-808 and would love to try that idea out with the footpedal, live, and 808.
the 808 doesn't have vellocity pads, but you do have vello through a keyboard or other controller hooked up to it.
and what would you do with the footpedal?

sorry bout all the questions but you started it.. :D
well, if you press a button on your controller , it will probably send out a note on message, with a veolicty parameter (0-127) - and other stuff as well. Your device (live, 808 or whatever) has to understand the velocity and do something with it (volume, pan etc). No idea if sp808 will understand velocity midi parameter - but by looking at the design of the machine seems like you'll use the faders to push things in and out.

I'm not sure velocity data can be used for 'virtual mixing' becuase it may HAVE to have a note on or off command with it - which would start or stop the note in the device (ratehr than being a continuous controller)
not sure... I'm not a midi guru, I used cubase on an atari and emu sampler years back.
The ESI 32 had a great option of being able to have velocity data alter sample start time.... you could draw patterns in the cubase velocity mapper and completely mangle your beats, and create almost granular sounds as well.....(because effectively the sample is divided into 127 start point 'chunks') - all on a machine from 1994.

joshcarter
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Post by joshcarter » Thu Sep 05, 2002 8:49 pm

On the topic of foot controllers: I have the Yamaha MFC10, which totally kicks butt for the kind of use discussed here. It is extremely configurable; any button can send pretty much any type of MIDI data, including notes, controller messages with a certain value, etc.. And double-bonus, you can send a combination of notes/CC messages/etc from a single button.

Then there's the pedal on it. It's configurable to send whatever CC message you want, and you can put a range on it. I set mine to send master volume, with 50 at the low end (since I never fade out completely) and 127 at the top. You can also plug in up to 4 additional pedals -- either on/off or CV -- with the same configurability.

Anyway, I don't work for Yamaha or anything. I'm just shocked at how bad they've marketed this product. It's really very cool. I've been using with my MIDI drums/Reason setup for a couple months.

BTW, zzounds.com seems to be the only place that stocks it, or at least that was the case a couple months back.

-Josh

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