Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
prprprpr
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:02 pm

Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by prprprpr » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:10 pm

Is it possible to work in ableton without looking at computer screen? That's my dream.
How free from screen you are with ableton push?
Any suggestions on How can you draw automation envelopes without looking at computer?

I found looking at screen absolutely distracting my focus on sound and music. Visual information will never represent the sound. At the more dense it is i think the more you get distracted from sounds.

BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by BoddAH » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:23 pm

You can pretty much spend hours working in Live with Push without ever looking at the screen. In fact, I work with my laptop’s lid closed. The finished product is a Live set with a bunch of clips organised in scenes. You still need your computer for small tweaks, final mixdown, mastering and arrangement on the Arrangement view if you want to create a finished "song" but creatively you can get 99 % of the way there with Push.

Obviously the way you work is very different though. You don’t really “draw automation curves” you input them live with the encoders while the clips play. The whole workflow is much more dynamic and relies much more on what you feel and hear than what you see. You would like it. :wink:

tedlogan
Posts: 1344
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by tedlogan » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:40 pm

Everything BoddAH said plus:

I would definitely prepare certain things beforehand. Things like:

Complex sound design/patch-building
Racking your VSTs
Organising your browser
Setting up track and set templates (which you can do from Push, but I think it's best to set up and save default audio and MIDI tracks, as well as return and master devices with the mouse first)

After that I find it a very enjoyable controller to use, though I do look at my dual-screen setup while using it as it does not distract me (though I could turn the monitor off and work perfectly happy with it). My Push is tilted right up to my main monitor, which I then view as a giant screen extension for Push.

It lacks a native modwheel which you can remedy with third-party M4L devices, and it does not yet support clip browsing and loading (there are third party workarounds like PXT-Live Plus, which I've yet to try).

yur2die4
Posts: 6531
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:02 am
Location: Menasha, Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by yur2die4 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:43 pm

Other options are:

1. Just a keyboard. Preload the instruments, move the screen away. Maybe map some stuff to basic playback/arming, and just do things. Might be frustrating at first but that practiced technique might feel perfect down the road. Spend one block of time crafting the setup. Save that as a preset (when you save a project after, name it differentlh so you can keep that preset). Then after you use it for a day or two focusing only on the music, go back and refine the set to work better for your personal flow

2. Faders and knobs, etc. Similar to the previous. If you're not a keyboard guy and are more trying to get a feel for the levels, etc. Then you'll be wanting to use these instead.

3. Maschine. Maschine on its own is really fun. Within Ableton live, it is exponential fun. If you combine all three options, it's a fun-gasm. Maschine can do pretty much all it's own functions within itself without ever looking at a screen. They've updated the note input methods also for some really fun, sleek workflows. You want low distraction? You can use Maschine standalone and take your mind off of Ableton Live for a while.

4. Ipad -touchable. This is an extremely fun app which can do note input and control the Live instruments. You cannot 'draw' automation, but as with most other controllers, you can still at least record automation that you are controlling. At the end of the day, you're still looking at a screen. But it is one you touch with your hands instead of using a high precision mouse pointer. Also, Touchable allows you to browse/load instruments and devices the same way that Push does.

5. There still is Push. It has a step sequencer which is directly integrated with clips, displays all the parameters you are controlling, and has a pretty sweet note layout, plus the drum sequencing is nice.

At the end of the day, you could have all of these and still reach for the mouse and look at the screen. It depends on how stubborn you are. You can either insist on trying not to look at the screen, and make a flow that works, or just give into the paradigm that has 'more options'. Because really, the reason why we look at the screen is because we want more options and more information. It is a natural Addiction for us to resort to it. If you could watch yourself play piano, guitar, watch your arrangements on drum sequencers etc, you'd probably be tempted to look. The key is restraint. Freeing yourself of that dependance.

tedlogan
Posts: 1344
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by tedlogan » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:00 pm

yur2die4 wrote: The key is restraint. Freeing yourself of that dependance.
That's a pretty good point, tying in with the idea that limitations enable us to be more creative.

jbottrop
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:04 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by jbottrop » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:29 pm

Very well said in deed, yur2die4!

I'm trying the same thing. Used to work in the DAW all the time when I made music, but now I'm trying to work more with the machines and have Live just as the kind of "mastermind in the background".

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by Stromkraft » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:54 am

I really think tracks that come out from using Push almost exclusively are so much better than ones where I try do things on screen. More musical.
Make some music!

Tarekith
Posts: 17641
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by Tarekith » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:48 am

The only thing I need the computer for while working on Push is saving now and then. But as mention, eventually I get to the point where I've got some basic ideas down and then I need to switch to the computer for fine-tuning and proper arranging/mixing.

Another option might be a cheaper groovebox, the electribe or maybe a few Volcas. Pretty fun taking the computer out of the equation completely.

stoersignal
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: vienna

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by stoersignal » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:49 pm

Tarekith wrote:
Another option might be a cheaper groovebox, the electribe or maybe a few Volcas. Pretty fun taking the computer out of the equation completely.
haven`t tried the new electribe yet, but the volcas....... yes they are fun (actually that time was very short for me), but i wouldn`t recommend it for a guy who obviously wants to make complete songs rather than some electro/techno jam

pencilrocket
Posts: 1718
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:46 am

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by pencilrocket » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:25 am

Paper, pencil and piano. Ta-da
Image

hyperscientist
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:37 pm

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by hyperscientist » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:16 am

stoersignal wrote:haven`t tried the new electribe yet, but the volcas....... yes they are fun (actually that time was very short for me), but i wouldn`t recommend it for a guy who obviously wants to make complete songs rather than some electro/techno jam
I concur about Volcas being fun. I thought of them as gimmicks, but then I borrowed them for 2 weeks and it was so fun, productive and exciting! Of course they are limited in what they do, but they are brilliant. I'm sure they would be nice to haves as inspirational tools, for sketches and stuff - much more fun to sketch on Volca than on Push (which I do own) imho. I'm only afraid that they are so limited that if I had them for a longer time I would get bored and stop playing with them.

BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by BoddAH » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:27 am

hyperscientist wrote:
stoersignal wrote:haven`t tried the new electribe yet, but the volcas....... yes they are fun (actually that time was very short for me), but i wouldn`t recommend it for a guy who obviously wants to make complete songs rather than some electro/techno jam
I concur about Volcas being fun. I thought of them as gimmicks, but then I borrowed them for 2 weeks and it was so fun, productive and exciting! Of course they are limited in what they do, but they are brilliant. I'm sure they would be nice to haves as inspirational tools, for sketches and stuff - much more fun to sketch on Volca than on Push (which I do own) imho. I'm only afraid that they are so limited that if I had them for a longer time I would get bored and stop playing with them.
IMHO limitations are a good thing. They force you to be creative and make do with what you have. Having Live 9 Suite or Komplete 10 Ultimate sounds good on paper because you have a literal TON of options but these infinite possibilities can also easily become overwhelming and counterproductive. You end up spending MUCH more time trying stuff out and learning how to use your tools than actually making music.

So it’s probably good to keep it simple. Entire musical genres have been born with nothing but a TB-303 and TR-808, that’s like, ONE Simpler and ONE Impulse preset. And don’t even get me started on the organ, clavinet or piano… :lol:

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Making music without looking at computer screen>?

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:27 am

BoddAH wrote:
IMHO limitations are a good thing. They force you to be creative and make do with what you have. Having Live 9 Suite or Komplete 10 Ultimate sounds good on paper because you have a literal TON of options but these infinite possibilities can also easily become overwhelming and counterproductive. You end up spending MUCH more time trying stuff out and learning how to use your tools than actually making music.
Which is why it's a good thing to make choices even if you have a lot of options and learn a few tools at a time.
Make some music!

Post Reply