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Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:27 am
by patrickstinson
Discussion revival from 2007 (ORIGINAL: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=58528).

I have all my songs with their own live set, each with live VSTs, live instruments (audio in), and creative use of side-chaining and other live effects. I currently try to cram them all into one big live set with each song's tracks as a group. But it's still so hard to manage all the songs at a gig that I can't talk to friends or be very present, so performance is more work than fun. Push made this a lot easier so now it's just the last 5%. Everything needs to be a no-brainer.
  • - 2-4 MIDI instruments per song, 4 Live musicians, main mix in Ableton.
    - FA-101 (10 in/10 out), top of the line macbook i7.
    - Each set has a different tempo.
    - Some tracks have VST's to be played with Push/MIDI.
    - I can pre-record around 30% of the tracks to audio clips, but some require special release trails or live side-chaning.
    - Live instruments are processed differently for each song with and Audio Effect Rack, but I'm willing to lose this.
    - Some tracks have audio inputs for live instruments & Audio Effect Rack controlled by MIDI pedals (FCB1010).
    - Some tracks have MIDI-modulated params, mapped to Audio Effect Rack that need to be no-brainer to remember.
    - Each set is precisely mixed so rely on relative levels staying exactly the same.
    - Live instrument tracks need to retain audio input channel setting so as not to confuse the musicians.
    - Live instruments will naturally have to suffer slight gain tweaks from the amp each session.
    - Levels for all songs need to be normalized and match initial house sound check.
    - Headphone monitors for all musicians for click tracks, main mix, and gain for their instrument to only their monitor channel since everyone has different gain needs (external mixer/volume knob? Maybe not possible?).
    - ** Unplayed songs' tracks need to be disabled to save CPU, which is unreliable after 4 songs with M4L Convolution reverb & other VSTs.
    - Need quick access to each song in Push's session view to trigger clips and do knob modulation.
    - There can only be ONE THING to change between songs or it's a headache.
Today, the best I can do hasn't changed since 2007 with Live 6:
  • - Use one big live set with a separate group for each song, keep originals for future editing.
    - Record as many non-live tracks to audio clips as possible.
    - Store scenes with song name and tempo so song clips go from top-left to bottom-right in session view grid.
    - Map each TriggerFinger knob (MIDI) to several different songs at once.
    - CPU usage problematic after about 4 songs.
    - Lose original sets' grouping for a single "song group" in big live set.
    - Hard to navigate diagonally to new song in session view on push. Bookmarks? Macro? I'm a programmer....
    - Have to expand / collapse each song's groups as session view gets out of control.
    - Hard to homologate MIDI mapping to work for every songs.
    - Direct signal from audio interface to house mains is problematic with plugging/unplugging. External mixer? A discussion on it's own.
So how do I manage all my sets on stage and keep my fellow musicians happy?

How do I handle the main mix and monitor channels? Maybe some combination of audio interface and hardware mixer?

How do I handle session recording (external solution)?

I'm an experienced programmer, has anyone used LiveControl to make this easier? Maybe a bookmark or macro system? How about storing presets for Push for key signature, etc?

I feel like this is a pretty standard situation for anyone moving beyond the bedroom with Live, but I've been battling it for years!





Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:24 am
by mothergarage
I made a blog entry last year on how I organise my live sets. Maybe it gives you some ideas.

Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:55 am
by jestermgee
Not sure for MAC but for PC: Scripting!

Seems like it would be a nightmare to have different projects all smashed into a single one. Not just for the size and complexity but like you said, editing the original then having to compile into the "mix"

So I guess you don't want to use the mouse to open projects. Is it feasible at all to open projects if you could just press a button or is the time it takes to open an issue?

What I have done for similar things is use (PC this is but I am sure Macs can do these things too) scripts to automate selecting files. I use AutoIT3 to create scripts which can either select a file by name or emulate key presses which requires sets to just be in the same folder and numbered.

I use a program called Bome which can take a MIDI signal and convert it to another MIDI signal, key press or execute a program.

In simple terms I create a script file that can open each set. The script emulates CTRL+O to open and then navigates to the correct file and opens it based on how many numbers it is in the list. This is mapped to a controller button. This is done for each track so every song is a button on say an MPD (16 tracks at the press of a button). All that is needed is to hit the button for the song and within about 10 seconds it is open.

Recommended to freeze all VST tracks (especially large ones like Omnisphere) to make the track load quicker but this is one option that works really well. Can be mapped to work with foot pedals too

Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:54 pm
by patrickstinson
Here is a guy doing something similar although he has far fewer different kinds of instruments than me. He uses instrument rack chain filtering to switch instruments in a single track which is a more vertical approach instead of my horizontal approach of using a track group per song.

I've never played with the patch select settings in the clip mode, either. ... -live.html

Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:43 pm
by TYLRbass
I used to try to load the projects into one mega set but I decided it would be better to bounce everything to audio and just use the same 5 audio tracks for my 5 stems.. I realize you lose out on all the control of tweaking synth parameters, devices, etc but it makes things a LOT easier to manage.

I see that you are recording as many non-live sounds to audio which is a great idea.

Have you looked into some kind of snapshot system? Richie Hawtin uses an app called Kapture to recall settings (one for each song) across his whole set, might be something worth looking into.

Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:33 pm
by patrickstinson
After much toil, here is the solution I ended up with:


The only thing this doesn't account for is the mixing of the live musicians. But after this technical odyssey it has become clear that managing their levels in Ableton is too much to ask. Instead, I'll just loop them into my audio interface for some processing in Live (side-chaining, some effects), but then run their channels @ 0.0db right out to a hardware mixer for levels.


Re: Managing may Live sets on stage.

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:02 am
by birthday boy
Don't underestimate vertical chaining. For me there is no other way. I am a solo performer and at times have to play up to 3 hour sets. Less is more of course, but for 3 hours? You need a little more then less. All drums for all songs are contained within 1 track, using chain selector either to switch kits (and mute unused kits so no waisted processing occurs) - or individual sounds (which is appropriate for my style - slowly interpolating from one sound to the next seemlessly).. This works for everything else like basses, pads, whatever. You can even automate the chain selector so appropriate rack chains are activated on clip launch. This makes sense for bands, as your stuff usually song by song. I like to use. Knob instead, so like I said I can open a new world of sound that is the medium of song A sounds and song B sounds. The great freedom of this is you can actually play live - as all unused components are muted (in other words, you route device enabling to the same macro that contains the chain selector). This way I don't have to work with static audio and have all the parameters open for expression each set. It is a bit of work at first but well worth it. The system worked so well for me that I often produce studio tracks from my live set file, as it is so evolved and can go in any direction - it has truly become my instrument.