Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Citizen
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Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:47 am

I've only recently started getting to the point of finishing tracks, and am currently working on two tracks that are in the arrangement stage simultaneously.

Until now, I've just worked on one arrangement until done...but I'm kind of thinking that for me, it is preferable to work on maybe 2-3 tracks simultaneously, that way I can switch between theme when I hit walls with one project, and come back to it with fresh ears another day.

This approach seems to work best in my creative worklife, too (as a graphic designer) - where oscillating between a small number of projects seems to be the optimal approach, as often I will get ideas for a project after giving it a little break and working on something else.

Just wondering what some more experienced producers on the forum think about this.

Keen to hear your thoughts and experiences!

vitalispopoff
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by vitalispopoff » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:07 am

Working on a more than one track at the time is imho the essence of Live heavy usage - there are periods when I'm starting even 4 or 5 different project a day. Some of them are just pure experiments, some are a kind of memos and so on. A the moment I've opened about 180 projects in 16 different classes and concepts, another like 150 is waiting on external HDD to be eventually restored for further albums, livesets and other publications. Most of this stuff probably will never be released, but still there's quite a good library of presets, midi clips, loops to work with, and I find it really fascinating to rebuild and remix the ideas form 2007 or 2008 from time to time, ore simply finish the track after two years of it waiting.
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Citizen
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:38 am

Interesting stuff.

Are you constantly saving midi clips, loops and custom presets to your library throughout this process? I really need to get into that habit - I create stuff, but it just sits within my half-finished projects!

regretfullySaid
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by regretfullySaid » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:54 am

I like the multi-songs in a set aesthetic. One set I used the same drums through an improv set with a bunch of other samples and since the drums are the same it glued it all together to make it like an EP.

I think albums should be made this way. It seems better workflow wise and more likely to sound consistent through the whole work because you're more likely to share resources that are already set up.

And it is very nice to easily switch to a different song when you feel like it. You could do 5 minute fixes on a few songs each day and by the end of the week the results can be drastic.
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Citizen
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:24 am

shadx312 wrote:I think albums should be made this way. It seems better workflow wise and more likely to sound consistent through the whole work because you're more likely to share resources that are already set up.
Thats a really good point - I struggle sometimes with sonic consistency between songs, maybe this is an approach to try. I never thought of that - just mixing and matching ideas between multiple tracks?

shadx312 wrote:And it is very nice to easily switch to a different song when you feel like it. You could do 5 minute fixes on a few songs each day and by the end of the week the results can be drastic.
8O

Sounds like an interesting workflow. could certainly be useful for an EP - assuming the CPU can handle such a file! :o

regretfullySaid
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by regretfullySaid » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:52 am

A lot of it comes down to committing midi to audio which lightens the CPU. You can still keep your midi clips and tracks, just turn off the devices for the track. Since I'm on 32-bit and every now and then a Live project will already be close to 1.5 gigs and be one step away from crashing from memory error, I'll start deleting midi tracks after resampling them to audio as a last resort.

But when most of your stuff is audio and you're down to native devices the cpu lightens up a lot.
just mixing and matching ideas between multiple tracks?
You can go about it different ways. There are no rules. You can still start a song from scratch in session with the same sounds you have set up. You can still use the same samples but mangle them in different ways. You could make it one long continuous song. The only thing that could stop you is thinking you have stick to conventions.
Last edited by regretfullySaid on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Citizen
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:17 am

Ah, cool - again, I haven't had much issue with CPU yet - but then again, I'm a rookie - probably with lower track counts.

Probably should get in the habit of boucing to audio, though.

balonny
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by balonny » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:56 pm

Hi! Well I'm just about to start making tracks, and will adopt multi-track way from the very start. 3-4 tracks seems nice to start with, and keep the pace.

Nice topic and glad someone asked for suggestion/s of this type.
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vitalispopoff
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by vitalispopoff » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:33 pm

Citizen wrote:Interesting stuff.

Are you constantly saving midi clips, loops and custom presets to your library throughout this process? I really need to get into that habit - I create stuff, but it just sits within my half-finished projects!

there's no need to, and would introduce terrible mess in library - it's easier to import the interesting things straight from the projects.
The same goes with presets and device chains - importing a whole track is better, as I'm always in touch with the sound context (midi clips, effect parameter values and so on).
The only thing to remember is to work out a good uniform method of naming the projects, and arranging them in the project repository.\
When You get the key to this, the problem of finding what Your'e looking for at the moment is just a matter of few clicks.
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Citizen
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:25 am

Good points re just importing straight from the projects themself - I actually did this last night. :)

vitalispopoff wrote:The only thing to remember is to work out a good uniform method of naming the projects, and arranging them in the project repository.\
When You get the key to this, the problem of finding what Your'e looking for at the moment is just a matter of few clicks.
Again - this is an area I need to improve upon!

Would you care to share your personal system? Thanks again for your advice - very helpful!

sigabort
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by sigabort » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:17 am

I tend to work on multle projects at the same time. Some are in the gathering sounds stage, some are in the playing with combinations in session view stage, some are in arrangement and some are in mix down/master. I tend to do this as when I've worked on an arrangement for a while and am 70% happy with it, I l,I've to take a break for a few days and then come back to it. I find problems, e.g. Sounds not quite fitting, flow not correct, a lot easier after a break. During that time I go back to other projects and work them to the same stage. Working on a single track from start to end gets a bit boring for me and I lose track of how it really sounds as a piece

regretfullySaid
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by regretfullySaid » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:15 am

Don't forget you can expand what's in a live set from the Live browser and you can drag in specific tracks.
I think that's what vitalis was talking about also.
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Citizen
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by Citizen » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:19 am

shadx312 wrote:Don't forget you can expand what's in a live set from the Live browser and you can drag in specific tracks.
I think that's what vitalis was talking about also.
Yep - thats what I've been doing. Real handy feature! :D

mdk
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by mdk » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:02 pm

vitalispopoff wrote:there's no need to, and would introduce terrible mess in library
Unless you organise them as you go. I always create presets from the sounds I make, export loops, save midi clips etc..

To some degree its not any different, if the content remains in the Live sets then that is your library, just organised by set, rather than externally organised according to some directory structure.

The reason I like to create a library of audio and midi is I often work outside of live, e.g. reaktor in standalone, max/msp, energy XT etc, so having the audio and midi on disk means its easy to use them in other apps.

I think the most important thing in both scenarios is ORGANISATION. Its always worth spending a bit of extra effort to keep organised (even if the music you make is very chaotic)

I try to organise everything, plugins, sets, samples, midi, whatever..the difficult thing is to find a way of organising things that works for you, but I think this just comes with practice and experience.
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vitalispopoff
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Re: Working on multiple projects at a time vs. just one?

Post by vitalispopoff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:47 pm

mdk wrote:
The reason I like to create a library of audio and midi is I often work outside of live, e.g. reaktor in standalone, max/msp, energy XT etc, so having the audio and midi on disk means its easy to use them in other apps.

I think the most important thing in both scenarios is ORGANISATION. Its always worth spending a bit of extra effort to keep organised (even if the music you make is very chaotic)

I try to organise everything, plugins, sets, samples, midi, whatever..the difficult thing is to find a way of organising things that works for you, but I think this just comes with practice and experience.
That would be the only reason to export those things that makes sens. But in my case it's useless - I'm almost always starting on new project from scratch - all the presets, all the racks, sometimes even routing.
shadx312 wrote:Don't forget you can expand what's in a live set from the Live browser and you can drag in specific tracks.
I think that's what vitalis was talking about also.
exactly. importing the whole track from one project to another gives You a great portion of additional infos on the sound: the instrument/fx chain, the clips, the automations, the send knob settings and autos.

In case of very complex construtcs, this may be an essential info - one missing thing changes everything. e.g. repitch a very complex pad, and You may loose the groove, the sound may become harsch, the freq bands may move and interfere with another instruments. automations may change the particular devices behaviour in unwanted way… that's the thing one should always be aware, when trying to implement a sound from another project in the new sound environment and context.
Citizen wrote:Would you care to share your personal system?
There is one, that I'm consequently using - the date of starting the project - as simple as can be.
all the infos after it are added to help in quick clearing the project context. e.g. since starting with AL9beta, I'm adding a "al9" tag in every project created on this one.
Also the "last opened date" and folder tree are helpful in looking for a particular project.
MBP/ M-Audio FW 410/ OSX 8/AL 9 Suite/ UC33e + Drehbank

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