Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Stevee00
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:38 pm

Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by Stevee00 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:06 pm

Hello,

I need help finding a software arpeggiator in which I can emulate the behavior of the arp in the Alesis Ion.
I just decided to shelve my beloved Alesis Ion in order to simplify my live performance setup (I'm down to one 88-key Roland stage piano, plus controllers), and also because I prefer the sounds of Zebra and Diva softsynths to the Ion. I created a number of musical compositions around the Ion's arp, and need to find a way to recreate them in Live. I perform and jam in real time, originating everything from my keyboard (no clips or backing tracks).

First thing to emulate is the way after starting an arp on the Ion (hitting a few keys on the keyboard with one or more voices on and arp in locked mode), it lets me add notes to the note stack by holding down the sustain pedal and hitting the new notes. Example: I get an arp pattern going by hitting C, G, E, A. It runs merrily until I hit another key. If I hold down the sustain, hit B, D, then the arp pattern plays C,G,E,A,B,D (it always adds to the end).

Second, each arp pattern plays a different rhythm--example: two quarter notes, four eighth notes. If I hit six notes, the pattern is exactly the same each time. If I hit five (or 7, or 10), the notes map to the rhythmic pattern differently each time. Combined with the ability to add notes, you can see how I vary the rhythmic patterns on the fly. Very fun!

These are the behaviors I want to recreate in Live. Also, as a bonus, I'd love to be able to set a different pattern for each of several voices, all playing at the same time. I have pieces where, on the Ion, I'm playing four voices at once and changing the patterns according to when I turn them on and when I hold down the sustain and add notes. (see musical example, below)

Any suggestions? I'll pay good money for a well-designed program. I prefer plugin, but standalone app could work. I'm running a fast Macbook Pro and Live 8. I don't do Max for Live, but I am good with programming controllers and CC codes to customize my setup.

I see mention of Kirnu, Zyklus, Numerology. Any of those do what I need? It's hard to tell from the demos.

Ultimately, I'm looking for an arp that has lots of flexibility and works well in live performance. So maybe this thread can expand to be a discussion on the latest and greatest in arps for Live.

Thanks in advance,

Steve

Musical example, Important Breather Holes, played live by Delicate Monster: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18199761/01%20I ... 0Holes.mp3
Jump to the middle to hear me pushing the arps to the limit. All the sounds (except the guitar) are from my Ion, using the arps and a looper.
Thin Air Music
ThinAirMusic.com
Ableton 8.2 Suite, Macbook Pro i7, 88-key Roland RD300, U-He Zebra, U-He Diva, Motif Rack ES, PadKontrol, NanoKontrol, NanoKey, AirFx.

prebentious
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:07 am

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by prebentious » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:47 am

I have an ion and definitely agree that it's a sweet arp, but I've never come across a good arpeggiator vst that works well with live.

It would certainly be possible to write a plain Max (not max for live) patch that could do this, which you could then run without owning Max, but doing it with Max for Live would be easier and perhaps more efficient.

That said, I'd be interested in making it on commission. Here's a list of some stuff I've done:

http://maxforlive.com/library/index.php ... mit=Search

and a testimonial:
http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... s#p1366171


Ben

Samaritan Sound
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:41 pm

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by Samaritan Sound » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:29 am

Sounds like something you might be able to work out in Reason. Their arpeggiator is pretty feature-ritch. As for multiple voices, that could probablyly be done in a combinator with key zones set to different arps merging into one synth. I'm almost curious to try that one.

prebentious
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:07 am

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by prebentious » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:47 am

Samaritan Sound wrote:Sounds like something you might be able to work out in Reason. Their arpeggiator is pretty feature-ritch. As for multiple voices, that could probablyly be done in a combinator with key zones set to different arps merging into one synth. I'm almost curious to try that one.
Reason is awesome, but because it doesn't host vsts or send midi out (or does it), I'm not sure how he would be able to use it with Zebra and Diva

Stevee00
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:38 pm

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by Stevee00 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:34 pm

I'd rather not go to Reason. I've never used it before and I suspect it would be a big project, too much just to get a good arpeggiator.

Let's broaden the discussion. Beyond my specific need, what is the best plug-in arp for Live for performance?

Is the Live arp any good? I've played with it a little, but it looks very limited.

Steve
Thin Air Music
ThinAirMusic.com
Ableton 8.2 Suite, Macbook Pro i7, 88-key Roland RD300, U-He Zebra, U-He Diva, Motif Rack ES, PadKontrol, NanoKontrol, NanoKey, AirFx.

UncleAge
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:50 pm

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by UncleAge » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:45 pm

Firstly I'll say that I think that M4L might be your best solution. The ability to make those type of customizations is where Max shines, IMO.

I have and use Kirnu, Numerology and Zyklus. I like all three of them. I'm pretty sure Kirnu and Zyklus will not do what you seek. You may be able to get that from Numerology but it will not happen easily. And since you mentioned Numerology I'll assume you are using OSX. This limits you as there are a few freebies on the pc side which might come close. But never mind all that.

Contact the dev for this app http://hgsounds.com/product/arp-vsti/

We sent a few messages back and forth last year. He's very open to discussion. I contacted him to see if a port of the Arp to OSX was on his roadmap. I was surprised how receptive to the idea he was. I think there is contact info at the site and the company has a forum on KVR as well.

Good luck. If you get time please post back and let us know what you find.

Schmidi
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2003 2:07 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by Schmidi » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:49 pm

You might just consider using the Ion or a Micron/Miniak as an external instrument in Live. Most hardware synths can be used to drive other gear, and so its likely your Ion's arp can drive a soft synth or simpler/sampler etc.

Stevee00
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:38 pm

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by Stevee00 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:06 pm

Thank you for the ideas. UncleAge, I went to that site and it looks a little too iffy for me. I don't want to build my setup around something that might not be supported. I'll look into M4L, if there isn't any other way to go. Yes, I am all Mac, using Snow Leopard on my MacbookPro.

LightYear, the whole idea is to not use the Ion. I did have it driving other synths with it's arp (layering the arp voices, adding even more complexity). I'm slimming down my physical setup so I have less to go wrong, and can more easily transport and set up and tear down.

Another route I'm looking in to is getting more of a handle on the arps in my Motif Rack ES. I have it integrated with Live, but so far have been put off by the difficulty in getting a handle of what's happening in the synth through that little window. Anybody know of a good librarian/editor for Motif Rack ES?

Prebentious: I just saw your post (somehow overlooked it earlier). I'll check out your links and get back to you.

Steve
Thin Air Music
ThinAirMusic.com
Ableton 8.2 Suite, Macbook Pro i7, 88-key Roland RD300, U-He Zebra, U-He Diva, Motif Rack ES, PadKontrol, NanoKontrol, NanoKey, AirFx.

UncleAge
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:50 pm

Re: Need an arpeggiator for performance, like Alesis Ion

Post by UncleAge » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:38 pm

Stevee00 wrote:UncleAge, I went to that site and it looks a little too iffy for me. I don't want to build my setup around something that might not be supported.
I can dig that. I don't own any of HG Sounds software and I won't evangelize for them. I think they are a solid outfit though. And keep in mind that any, and I do mean ANY of these companies can be gone tomorrow. I read above that you are not into programming Max but if you want peace of mind then you may have to roll your own. Seriously.

A little time spent learning a new language could prove very helpful if you start finding that you need more customization. I own M4L, but I have only scratched the surface because I know that I can't outright make what I want without jumping through a bunch hoops. To be fair the limitations are on the Live side of the fence really and I could do exactly what I need if I were to buy the full version of Max/MSP. So while I await the next Live upgrade I started to teach myself Processing. I kinda like it too. Most of the things I need are midi based. As such they are not cpu intensive and can be done outside of Live (which also has the side benefit of working with other hosts, if need be).

I got the idea of looking deeper into Processing when I found (was told about) the Glitch Sequencer app: http://www.glitch-sequencer.com/ The guy who made it also put up the source code. It's not that far of a stretch to make a step-sequencer, arp or other midi mangler type app once you understand how he programmed things. The Processing app is free. The source code is free. I paid for a Processing book to get me over a few humps and I feel it's time well spent. And there wasn't any special hooks or tricks required to view his code. You code and run the app in the same environment. So you just click his app and it opens inside Processing.

Just thought I'd throw it out there, do as you see fit... 8)

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