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 Post subject: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:40 am
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We are a medium size church looking to incorporate a click track along with loops into our worship. We use an old analog Carvin PA mixer that we want to replace but don't have the money for a digital mixer board at this time. What we do have is a Power MAC with an RME fireface 800 and some AD/DA converters that gives us 16 channels into Ableton Live. I want to know if Ableton Live can do the following:

* Premix the backup vocals with effect(reverb, chorus, compression, EQ, etc) in Live and send output to 1 channel to PA mixer.
* Premix drums(miced with 5 mics) with effects(reverb, chorus, EQ, compression, etc) in Live and send output to 1 channel to PA.
* Premix keyboards with effects(reverb, chorus, compression, EQ, etc) in Live and send output to 1 channel to PA mixer.
* Premix acoustic guitar with effects(reverb, chorus, compression, EQ, etc) in Live and send output to 1 channel to PA mixer
* Premix bass guitar with effect(reverb, chorus, compression, EQ, etc) in Live and send output to 1 channel to PA mixer
* may want to record the tracks as they are processed live on stage.

So this gives us the capability of customized digital mixing for each song with click track and loops but yet still have individual fader control for all instruments and subgroups on the analog PA for sound volunteers who are not very technical.

I have yet to find anybody using Live this way but it will give us what we need from a digital mixing board without the expense of a digital board for now.

So can Live do this with less than 10ms latency?


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am
Posts: 1238
Yes it can be done, configuring totalmix matrix first to your desires. Then inside live routing acordingly.

Only problem I can see is some delay from heavily fx processed tracks, but RME card are quite good with latency so I dont think this would be noticeable.

You will want maybe a mixer midi controller, to map mixer controls of ableton.


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
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Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX
Running everything through Live plus recording, is gonna require a noticeable latency especially for vocals. When you play an instrument through Live it's less noticeable than singing into Live and hearing to the speakers.

I would try using Live for 'some' processing, i.e, reverbs and such, but I would also try setting up some kind of zero latency direct monitoring.

If you were just talking about a few mic's and instruments, maybe not such a big deal.

Nevertheless I would try it. If the band is not "dependant" on monitoring the latency might not be a bother. For example, if everyone is confident singers, there's plenty of volume on stage, no real need to "hear" the mix on stage, then I would say your idea will work fairly well.

The computer and soundcard will make a difference, and there is only one way to find out if they are capable.

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:40 am
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JuanSOLO wrote:
Running everything through Live plus recording, is gonna require a noticeable latency especially for vocals. When you play an instrument through Live it's less noticeable than singing into Live and hearing to the speakers.

I would try using Live for 'some' processing, i.e, reverbs and such, but I would also try setting up some kind of zero latency direct monitoring.

If you were just talking about a few mic's and instruments, maybe not such a big deal.

Nevertheless I would try it. If the band is not "dependant" on monitoring the latency might not be a bother. For example, if everyone is confident singers, there's plenty of volume on stage, no real need to "hear" the mix on stage, then I would say your idea will work fairly well.

The computer and soundcard will make a difference, and there is only one way to find out if they are capable.



Well the band will have in ear monitors and the singers have wedges. I would say we need monitoring.

Also I don't expect all instruments to need effects. I expect
Drums-compression and eq and filters and reverb.
Vocal - reverb with eq
Guitar - Nothing
acoustic - Nothing
Keys - Maybe reverb
Bass - nothing

Would zero latency direct monitoring be done with effects per track?


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:53 pm
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Location: Bremen
I suspect you may have a bit of trouble running it off a power mac. That's not exactly cutting edge computing there. And due to the way live handles everything, er, live, it's not the most efficient audio program.

That said I used to run 8 tracks audio (playback only) with effects on live 8 from a 1.8ghz powerbook and it was ok, so you may be fine.

Best to just try the demo.


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
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Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX
zero latency monitoring can only be done outside of the computer. You would need a separate mixing board, or some kind of interface that allowed the signal to go into the computer, BUT also bypass the computer to some way of directly monitoring that.

Because of your current budget, maybe there's a cheap workaround. Like a small mixer that you could use for monitoring, OR something kind of like Alesis I/O 26. I am not saying to get an Alesis I/O 26, there might be something out there comparable in price and ability.

I am unfamiliar with the Fireface, does it have direct monitoring abilities? Can a singer monitor thier voice from the input signal, not post computer?

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:40 am
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I could run all instruments and vocals directly to the analog PA and use a direct out (per channel)on the PA to the RME 800 for Ableton live. Its great for recording but that's basically pushing a dry signal to the house which defeats what we are trying to do.

If Direct monitoring is a dry signal then what does it buy us that over the above scenario?

We want a more professional sound with effects pushed out to the house thru Ableton. We also want to change settings on the fly as we move to the next song using a midi mapped keystroke from a computer keyboard.

If we spent the money on a new Macbook Pro could it work?


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:50 pm
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Nevermind, I assumed TotalMix had native fx like Emu's Patchmix.

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
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Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX
I was just reaading about the Fireface again, and as shadx mentioned, I would try utilizing some of the internal FX, mainly Compression and EQing if possible.

When I say direct monitoring, I's not so much a "dry" signal, it's a zero latency signal. No computer offers zero latency. SO, if someone is monitoring post computer it can get difficult, especially with vocals. For example when I am recording at home, I dont use direct monitoring when when recording vocals, BUT I do have to expose 1 ear so my timing is not getting confused by the latency I am hearing from the headphones.

In a nutshell I am saying I bet you can find a workaround, with possibly everything you have to work with now. Maybe you might need a few extra pieces of gear but maybe not.

Granted a new computer would be nice and you would notice a difference, BUT, even with the latest greatest MacBook Pro, you will struggle with that many Live inputs, trying to monitor that in a low latency way with FX, AND record it all simultaneously.

So getting monitoring to ear buds, can you achieve this as a seperate mix pre computer, from the FOH mix post computer? I would think the Fireface offers this, but I could not find that much info on the monitoring.

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
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Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX
I would try thinking of it as coloring the FOH mix with Ableton FX, like reverb. Almost using Live as a Return Bus.

I know thats not what you want to hear, but that would probably get the best results right now, especially if you can EQ and compress stuff with the Fireface.

Now if the Fireface DOES support direct monitoring then you should use that for singers to monitor. Does the bass player use a bass amp?

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:48 pm
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Location: Southampton, UK
If Depeche Mode can use Live as a digital mixer then it must be doable...

http://www.ableton.com/movies?type=arti ... utostart=y


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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
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Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX
nice post, but they are doing some of what I have been suggesting, or at least validating it. For example, the drummer can here his drums zero latency, because they are drums. They use Live to process it and send it FOH. I doubt he gets the processed signal via monitor because of feedback issues.

ALSO if you watch the video, you'll notice only 1 drum is getting processed during a song, not a whole band.

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:50 pm
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I didn't see mention of FX with TotalMix, but I was thinking if they have them, they'd be a lot more efficient than Live, and you wouldn't have to rely on a DAW. If you do, then a cpu-lighter DAW would be better. Any DAW should work, you have a simple setup. Test out demos!

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 Post subject: Re: Can Ableton Live be used as a live mixer with effects?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am
Posts: 1238
I think FF 800 doesnt ahve FX, only UFX and Babyface.


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