Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
drumguy1234
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Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by drumguy1234 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:03 am

Hi,
Been a while; I have been avoiding, postponing my desire to tame a drum machine to be a useful and creative tool for live music, esp of the more 20th century variety... I am what many here would call, old school -)
I want to create a more conventional drum machine, in effect, making a “machine” that greatly improves on a conventional drum machine; that’s the hope anyway.
The reasons for using ableton versus a drummer, are basically two.
1. An excellent steady time, inspiring, groove oriented drummer is most difficult to
find, keep, pay.
2. Club budgets, encourage less musicians, aka less is better.

The problem with drum machines is the inevitable monotony they tend towards.
This is partly dependent on how the machine is used, true; not to mention that some songs are better suited to a machine-like groove than others ( this brings in the “mix and match” issue- matching a groove with a song ) but regardless of even the most seamless matching of song with groove, when a song “heats up”, ideally a real drummer who has talent, will follow the trend of the music, if not be the CAUSE of the building excitement. He is an essential part of the intensification of the groove over the duration of the song. A machine does not accomplish this.

Normally with conventional drum machines you have a few variations, but I am hoping to learn how to program into the drum grooves incremental increases in intensity.

-If I lean towards real drum sounds, would a $200- 400 dollar library be more than sufficient?
-I still own a 2009 Macbook Pro 2.53 processor with max RAM of 8 on Yosemite OS.
-I assume I need to update to Live 9?
-How could Max for Live assist in my goals here?
My interface just died.. maybe from no use.. a Motu 828 ii
-Which interface do you recommend for Live performance?

Thank you

I am open to any and all suggestions.

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:30 am

I'm using Live as a very powerful drum machine.

That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.

beats me
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by beats me » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:48 pm

TomViolenz wrote:I'm using Live as a very powerful drum machine.

That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.

Agreed.

yur2die4
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by yur2die4 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:47 pm

You can map a macro / macros to a bunch of stuff and maybe have those react ssllooww to an envelope follower which is picking up the dynamics of your guitar or something

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:05 pm

yur2die4 wrote:You can map a macro / macros to a bunch of stuff and maybe have those react ssllooww to an envelope follower which is picking up the dynamics of your guitar or something
8O
Very interesting approach to make a drum machine! :lol:

beats me
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by beats me » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:11 pm

TomViolenz wrote:
yur2die4 wrote:You can map a macro / macros to a bunch of stuff and maybe have those react ssllooww to an envelope follower which is picking up the dynamics of your guitar or something
8O
Very interesting approach to make a drum machine! :lol:

With M4L and some third party scripting you can also use the session view matrix for accounting and filing your taxes. I don’t know why anybody looks outside Live to do anything ever.

:P

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:40 pm

beats me wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:
yur2die4 wrote:You can map a macro / macros to a bunch of stuff and maybe have those react ssllooww to an envelope follower which is picking up the dynamics of your guitar or something
8O
Very interesting approach to make a drum machine! :lol:

With M4L and some third party scripting you can also use the session view matrix for accounting and filing your taxes. I don’t know why anybody looks outside Live to do anything ever.

:P
is there a M4L device for back rubs?!

yur2die4
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by yur2die4 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:59 pm

TomViolenz wrote:
beats me wrote:
TomViolenz wrote: 8O
Very interesting approach to make a drum machine! :lol:

With M4L and some third party scripting you can also use the session view matrix for accounting and filing your taxes. I don’t know why anybody looks outside Live to do anything ever.

:P
is there a M4L device for back rubs?!
Do you have a few decent subwoofers? ;)
It might be an opportunity to break the 'mono low end' rule :P

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:17 pm

yur2die4 wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:
beats me wrote:
With M4L and some third party scripting you can also use the session view matrix for accounting and filing your taxes. I don’t know why anybody looks outside Live to do anything ever.

:P
is there a M4L device for back rubs?!
Do you have a few decent subwoofers? ;)
It might be an opportunity to break the 'mono low end' rule :P
WHAT DID YOU SAY?! I CAN'T HEAR YOU................

Stromkraft
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:07 pm

TomViolenz wrote: That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.

I'm sure all that is true, but nevertheless every time I try Maschine (have it in the studio) I hate it. I dislike the libraries, the layout of things, the interface, the limitations, the workflow and above all I hate the presets. It's a bit surprising as I love Komplete.

Whatever it is, I much prefer building a giant drum machine in Live 9 drum racks centered around Tremor and multi-sample libraries. I'm sure both these are valid and useful choices and it's just about personal preference.
Make some music!

drumguy1234
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:46 pm

Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by drumguy1234 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:29 pm

TomViolenz wrote:I'm using Live as a very powerful drum machine.

That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.
The beats I am talking about are old school sounds and grooves.. nothing as modern ( pretty impressive, your compositions 2 thumbs up ) as your stuff. So I ask you:
You understand that I am talking about nothing from the 21 st century, more like Beattles, Motown, Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Gospel, etc, right?

Why is maschine better, because of sound library, mainly?

On a live gig... I need the ability to play keyboards, sing, and still be able to have my "drum machine" ( whether Ableton based or not) interface, trigger its grooves as I am playing.
I can reach with a finger here and there, for a slider or knob to trigger Ableton. I assume either a keyboard or other interface is recommended for this?
Picture yourself singing and playing keyboard: what device ( I own a Roland Fantom G6 - but am open to another keyboard ) would you recommend to manage all of the multiple tasks I am intending for a live gig?

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:27 pm

drumguy1234 wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:I'm using Live as a very powerful drum machine.

That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.
The beats I am talking about are old school sounds and grooves.. nothing as modern ( pretty impressive, your compositions 2 thumbs up ) as your stuff. So I ask you:
You understand that I am talking about nothing from the 21 st century, more like Beattles, Motown, Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Gospel, etc, right?

Why is maschine better, because of sound library, mainly?

On a live gig... I need the ability to play keyboards, sing, and still be able to have my "drum machine" ( whether Ableton based or not) interface, trigger its grooves as I am playing.
I can reach with a finger here and there, for a slider or knob to trigger Ableton. I assume either a keyboard or other interface is recommended for this?
Picture yourself singing and playing keyboard: what device ( I own a Roland Fantom G6 - but am open to another keyboard ) would you recommend to manage all of the multiple tasks I am intending for a live gig?
The reason for my suggestion was what you wrote and I kind of figured that you were talking about these kind of styles.

First reason: your price range. It sounded like you want the full experience of a drum maschine with sound libraries, a way to control it and groove flexibility for under 400. I know Maschine will get you there. With Live that would be quite difficult.
( I would try to get the big one used rather then the Micro new btw. the 8 encoders and two screens make a big difference and the build quality holds up quite well over time)

second reason: you sounded like you didn't have much experience with this workflow yet. And while Live potentially could be an even more flexible drum machine, to get there is quite an endevour (I know because I'm building my dream drum maschine at the moment in Live). Maschine on the other hand lets you jump in right away.

third reason: it sounded like you didn't yet have good sound libraries. Well IMO some of the best drum samples that get delivered with a product come from NI. They also sell good and not so expensive already fully integrated expansion packs and I'm pretty sure acoustic sounding samples come also in some of these. While honestly Abletons offerings are not up to the task (again IMO). And other sound libraries would eat into your buget.

fourth: Maschine is just the best drum controller on the market. Period. The layout, the visual feedback and most impotantly the pads! They are just really, really good. I used to work in Maschine software and while I now do everything in Live, Maschine is still the Midi controller I use to control my percussions in Live. (And I do also own Push!) (which is made even easier because NI supplies a superb Midi Controller editor, while if you were to get Push you get NOTHING! That's right without third party products you wont be able to use it as a Midi controller!)


BTW no drumsamples or even really drums were used in my first album. What you heard were all synth sound designs I made. And while I also like it, the caveat about my album is that it can not really be performed life. It was more like a painting I did in the studio.
Very detailed and not possible (for me at least) to do in real time.
The reason why I'm now building my drum machine is because I want to change that for my next album.
And thanks for the friendly words about it 8)

drumguy1234
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by drumguy1234 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:56 pm

Tom
Very thorough responses thank you.
Let's say, $400 is not my limit.
I make a living in music performance, for the past 50 years now!
It's getting tougher , and smaller is easier to book, which is one powerful reason for drum machines

The other is, great drummers are very difficult to find, pay and hold on to... so drum machine for me is the only option. Drums have a powerful impact for better or worse or neutrally.
I have been avoiding this commitment ( but via necessity, I am being forced, both by my high sensitivity to rhythm, and by economics to commit! ) , but to sum up what I am gleaning from being on forum and your words Tom:
I need:
1. a few realistic drum kits
2. A recommended interface ( my Motu died) please recommend the correct, no compromise item for live, no latency or hiccups, performance.
I assume
3. my 2009 Macbook Pro 2.53 on Yosemite, with 8 Gig RAM on either Live 8, 9 , or? Is a reliable match? Remember this is Live, not recording based!
4 you recommend Maschine as the best interface for a keyboard player
5. Would MIDI pedalboard be another recommendation? I prefer not, but if triggering ever evolving drum grooves is my aim, well, I leave that to "you".. Tom and other interested users.
6. Since my Mac is older, I want to stress it minimally. and minimize bandstand surprises, though I imagine to a degree, they are unavoidable; but still, I want to minimize them.... So THIS is Strictly for Drums ONLY!

beats me
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by beats me » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:07 pm

Stromkraft wrote:
TomViolenz wrote: That said: your user profile sounds much more like you want Maschine. I'm sure a used big one can be had for 300-400, while the Micro can be had new for that price.

The delivered libraries are top notch (better than anything Ableton sells) and expansion packs are good value and can be had in many different varieties.

I'm sure all that is true, but nevertheless every time I try Maschine (have it in the studio) I hate it. I dislike the libraries, the layout of things, the interface, the limitations, the workflow and above all I hate the presets. It's a bit surprising as I love Komplete.

Whatever it is, I much prefer building a giant drum machine in Live 9 drum racks centered around Tremor and multi-sample libraries. I'm sure both these are valid and useful choices and it's just about personal preference.

Which Maschine do you have? I had the regular Maschine and was :? but then I got Maschine Studio and am 8O :) . Also I got a shit ton of expansion packs. I quickly got bored with the factory presets. Are you on the most current software version of Maschine?

TomViolenz
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Re: Ableton as a killer drum machine!

Post by TomViolenz » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:23 pm

1: Playing back samples without a big amounts of effects is not very resource intensive, So your computer should be up to the task.
2:If the Maschine controller is the right way for you to interact with your drums, very much depends on how you plan to play them. If you play them back from patterns and you mostly just choose which patterns to play. Maschine is very good. For finger drumming too, but I guess that's not what you plan to do considering what other things you want to do as well.
3: try to find a music store to try out Maschine and other drum machines. Like most instruments it's very much a personal choice.
4: can't help on the audio interface, since so far I'm still working with the on-bord one from my MBP.
-Though if you use something like Maschine to play back drum loops and you are playing to that live with your non-computer instruments, I'm not so sure why latency would be so important. The machine is the time giver and you respond. Latency really only comes into play if you need to constantly change and interact with what's running on the computer to something else inflexible. But you are flexible,no?! So is mega short latency really that important?
If on the other hand your keyboard/synth(?) is also running into the computer, latency would be much more important of course.

But I'm no expert on the whole sound card issue.

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