Using Live on stage to control parameters

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:04 pm

Using Live on stage to control parameters

Post by IglooWhite » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:32 pm

Pardon the terrible subject wording... I will try to elaborate.

I am hoping to use Live for a few limited tasks during live shows. I know that it's capable but I feel like my process is flawed and I'm hoping someone can steer me toward some best practices.

Our Situation
- our lighting controller has a VST plugin with easy midi control
- our mixer has digital channels that we route through Live to allow VST audio plugins to be applied to our analog channels (microphones, guitars, drum mics)
- we do NOT play to a click nor do we have any need to

Our Plan
- Using the controllers we already have in place, which send MIDI signals per song to control the lights, I'd like to setup scenes or some similar option for each song in our setlist.
- A given scene might:
- change the lighting configuration
- turn on/off various audio fx on specific Live channels
- set particular parameters of audio, including track level
- swap drum kits/samples in the drum tracks
- change global BPM

What I see as problems:
- tons of one-off signals to invididual devices
- unsure of how to group these things... clips? Instrument Racks?
- how to handle the fact that devices left in a particular state need to be put back to an original state when changing to another song (basically, song flow/order might change... what's the best way to "reset" all devices to a default state?

ANY advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!

Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:29 am

Re: Using Live on stage to control parameters

Post by arretx » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:00 am

What you're looking for is possible, but takes lots of time and energy to build out. Once it's done, it's magical...but you've basically covered everything that I've spent tons of time hammering out.

You need to explore a few things:

1. IAC Bus (virtual MIDI) to control elements of one track from another.
2. Network MIDI Sessions (in case you have other devices on other computers that can sync or need MIDI Instruction)
3. Instrument Racks and chains, and switching between them by automating the chain selector (for drum pad switching, sample switching, etc.)
4. Isotonik FOLLOW Max4Live Device.

When I fire off a scene, there's a track that sets my patches, a track that sets the lights, tracks that automate fading and effects, tracks that have pre-recorded MIDI that plays live, tracks that have pre-recorded stems that play as backing tracks, a track that tells my iPad to pull up the song sheet, and another track that moves the song-sheet through it's sections. We have a track with a custom metronome in a drum-rack, and another track with band-cues, and yet another track with off-set band cues in case we want to repeat a section, or loop a section live.

We don't currently run any live instruments through Ableton before they get to the main console, so any effects that other band members play are not connected to the same clock...that is a work in progress.
MacBook Air | Ableton Live 9.7.5 2017-10-02 | Advance 61 Keybaord w/VIP 3.0 | Launchpad Mini | Scarlett Focusrite 18i8 | iPad Pro / OnSong | Allen & Heath QU-32

Kevin Hamler
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:32 am

Re: Using Live on stage to control parameters

Post by Kevin Hamler » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:19 am

I'm using Live (no Max required) for audio, lighting, remote pan/tilt/zoom cameras and video (Arkaos VJ). Launching a single scene sets everything in motion. Virtual MIDI buses are definitely your friend, as are Follow Actions. By firing a single MIDI-mapped "chord" through a virtual MIDI bus (either as a clip or as part of a scene), you can launch all manner of individual clips to control just about anything. I use CC values, patterns, and curves to control the audio, lighting, and video, and everything stays in perfect sync, regardless of tempo.

It does take a lot of time to understand, plan, and set up, but it is extremely powerful.
(The artist formerly known as hambone1)

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