Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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k4rrjin
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:02 pm

Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by k4rrjin » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:11 pm

So I jumped the gun and got myself Live and push and I am absolutely in love with it, making music with it is so much fun!

Now I have a question. I want to use Live more interactively to play along with a drummer I am frequently jamming with and I was wondering what would be the best option to make Live loud enough because that guy is a heavy hitter... and I plan on using my guitar amp along with it. Any alternatives to a full-blown PA system? Would one fullrange speaker do it? But what about stereo then? Is it even a concern?
I need something that can handle a regular 1/8th inch macbook stereo-out and it should be able to go down low enough to pump out some bass frequencies too. No crazy dubstep wub-wub-weee, just a healthy low-end and loud enough to be able to keep up with a real drum set without running the speakers in the red. The room is rather small anyway.

Khazul
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Location: Reading, UK

Re: Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by Khazul » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:49 pm

I don't think I would want to be stuck in a small room with a 'hard hitting' drummer, never mind adding more noise to compete with it.

Hmm - depends on budget, but I would personally look at Mackie 450 and maybe a little mixer to drive it and give me a level control and maybe some basic eq.

Its an easy upgrade path from there to building your own decent PA system for small venue - add another 450 for main to make stereo and if you need more bass, then add one or two 1801 subs.

If you really need something tiny and portable, the maybe look at something similar to their srm150 which includes a very minimal mixer, but don't expect any meaningful bass out of it as its so small. Its decent enough for its intended use and size, but its basically a sqwark box - think 'ghetto blaster' class PA :)

I would also get a 'proper' audio interface - I use an NI audio 2 DJ when I just want to plug my MBP in somewhere and make some noise.

The only reason I mention the mackies is they are what Im mostly used to. Im sure there are other around that can sound better, can be had cheaper for same output level, or be better in some other way, but they generally seem quite solid and able to withstand abuse over a long period. You would probably pay half the amount for the equivalent from behringer and maybe make more noise, for a while.
Last edited by Khazul on Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dr Dub
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Re: Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by Dr Dub » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:08 pm

all said above is spot on.

I would get two active PA Speakers (like the Mackie, lots of alternatives).

If you practice stereo is often not that important, so you can bring only one speaker.
For gigs, stereo has pro and cons, but you can bring both and you have a setup which is also great for DJing and Partys.

Some Hardware Level Control is essential if something goes wrong, so either get a cheap Mixer or an Audio-Interface with Volume knob like the NI complete audio 6 for example.

And most important: While you spend lots of money for that, also buy some decent ear protection (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Doesn t cost much, you will be sooooooo thankful later in your life.

Hard hitting Drummer, small Room, loud PA - dangerous
Live Suite 9 - MBPR 15 - NI Komplete Audio 6 - Push - Brain - Hands - Melodica

Khazul
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Location: Reading, UK

Re: Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by Khazul » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:18 pm

One thing, if you get a full range PA speaker like the 450, DO NOT have it at high level facing you when you are close to it and especially not if they are mounted on their usual poles - modern digital sound direct out of live can end up with a lot of transient high frequency energy that can be quite damaging.

For practice in a smallish room Ive often set them up on the floor so I get no direct sound and the direct sound hit something chaotic or soft that wont bounce the sound right back at me.

This isn't a problem for guitar amps and they just don't generally have the frequency range to be as damaging to hearing.

When using them live, then place at front and sides of stage pointing away never have them behind where you would get the direct sound at your ears.

Its one of the main reasons I always used isolating DJ cans - to reduce the ambient mushy sound level hitting you ears and let you hear a much quieter mix (or cue) in the cans more clearly. The downside is isolating cans press quite a bit on your head.
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beats me
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Re: Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by beats me » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:42 pm

Khazul wrote:Mackie 450

I’ve got a pair of these and they’ve lasted me for a long time. I always get compliments on their sound at gigs. Can’t vouch for them as far as practicing with a drummer. Just saying they are a good quality investment beyond just that need if you can afford them.

k4rrjin
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Re: Getting Ableton heard in practice space?

Post by k4rrjin » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:05 am

Thanks for the replies and great information so far! I am very concerned about my ears since I had quite a shock from slightly dampened hearing for a DAY after a MachineHead show... luckily my ears are still quite ok and I have worn earplugs religiously ever since, to every show and every practice! (usually etymotic ER20s, gonna get pro-plugs sooner rather than later)

Unfortunately practice spaces are hard to find around here so the smallish room it is :)

Are there small external USB interfaces that could sum-to-mono and have a balanced TRS or XLR output? I might be able to borrow an active speaker that looked a lot like that Mackie 450 and it had an XLR or TRS "balanced" in, thus mono.

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