External pedal effects / foot switch with Live

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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External pedal effects / foot switch with Live

Post by julesu » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:52 am

Hi there,

I've been learning a lot through this forum but this is my first post, hope I'm in the right place.

I play percussions and use Ableton Live in addition to trigger some samples, rhythms, … . I would like to use some effects on my percussions (mainly delay and looping) for live performance.
I see two options for this:
1. Route the microphone output to my laptop and use Live's effects. For this I would need a foot switch to trigger the loop effect
2. Use external pedals, which would imply synchronising them with Live

As I am new to this kind of approach, there's a bunch of basic questions for which I could not find clear answers.

Option 1:
- To route the mic output to Live, I guess I'll have to go through a USB audio interface. I own an old Mbox 2, would it be sufficient? Or do I have to invest in a new interface (Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 seems to be rather widespread)?
- I own a launchpad pro controller, which does not have a foot switch plug. It seems that some foot switch pedals have USB plug instead of MIDI, would it work with Live? Do you have some references to recommend? (a very basic pedal would work since I only need to trigger the Loop effect)
- My main fear concerns the laptop performance. I own a Dell Inspiron 15 5000 with i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, no SSD. It is enough for my current application since I do not have heavy Live sets (10 to 20 tracks with few effects, CPU is sometimes overloaded with Live 10 but rarely). Do you think it will manage "option 1" in addition to my current usage?

Option 2: this seems to be the less interesting option for me since it is more expensive and prevents me from using other Live effects (distorsion, beat repeat, …). However I want to consider it because I think it's more robust.
- It seems that not all pedals synchronise easily with Live. Do you have any recommendation for loop and delay?
- Since I do not have any pedal plug on the Launchpad Pro, how can I do to plug these external pedals to the laptop for sync?

Of course, my budget is rather limited :) And since it is for live performance, robustness is key.

I know that's a lot of (probably dumb) questions, but as I said it's totally new for me and I do not want to go for an option which is not viable.

Thanks a lot for your help!

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Re: External pedal effects / foot switch with Live

Post by bosonHavoc » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:02 pm

Thes are all really good questions.

I always recommend building up gear slowly when possible. This gives you time to learn your needs better.
For live performance the Audio interface and CPU is important. You will want the lowest latency possible.

At the moment work with what you have to get an idea. The Mbox has a mic in so you can try option 1.
For live performance, you generally want a click track so you need an interface with at least 4 outs.
Not sure what your perc set up is but you will probably want more than 1 input as well.

As an upgrade, I would recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. Just use your m box until you can at least get that.
the 6i6 is actually 4 analog in and 4 analog out. so you have 1/2 for FOH and 3/4 for headphones plus the ability to run in 4 channels.
it is not that much more then the 2i4 and has balanced 1/4 outs rather than RCA.

As for a foot pedal that is a tricky world. the main thing is that it needs to send a note value not CC to trigger things in Live.
I use multiple Softsteps and I love them but they may be out of your price range at the moment.

you can generally find used Behringer FCB1010 pretty cheap but that may be more than what you want
I used to use an FCB 1010. its big, heavy, cheap, a pain to program, but works.
I do not have any of the smaller pedals so I can not safely recommend.

Another option is a pedal that sends a keystroke and you can keymap it
I do have one of these http://a.co/bBYaJEE
It works (I use it for voice coms when I game.. yes I know unproductive and bad :P )
It is cheap, it works, will get started and will have uses if you upgrade later.

Other options are going more midi instruments.
getting something like the Akai MPD series and finger drumming is awesome.
the various midi percussion controllers on the market are nice too.

This is pretty cool - KAT Percussion Electronic Drum
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-p ... adType^PLA

it has internal sounds, 4 pads, and a USB midi out.
of course, you can play it
but what recommend for Trap players is something they can hit with their stick or hand since feet are busy.
even for a perc player, it may be cool too. because you can just hit it to trigger a loop or sample or effect.

for looping if you are running with the Ableton clock running and a click,
if you have looper set to record a 2 or 4 bar loop you pre-trigger in the bar before your loop, play the piece and looper will auto loop and the preset amount of bars. so you only have to hit the pad or foot switch to start the loop.

Mainly work with what you have as much as possible before making a purchase
take time to save up for the right gear rather than settling for something that is almost what you want.

look for people doing what you want to do on youtube.

The laptop will eventually need to get more powerful but it is your box.
work with in your box until you get a bigger box :)

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Re: External pedal effects / foot switch with Live

Post by julesu » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:22 am

Thanks a lot bosonHavoc for your answers and recommendations, I truly appreciate.

I'll follow your advice and try option 1 to get a first idea with my current gear. I'll try and map the Launchpad Pro pads to control the Looper, that should be enough indeed in the first place.
To be honest I do not really know why I did not think of this and went strainght to the "pedal" solution, this might not be required thanks to the adjustable quantization of the looper. I find it sometimes difficult when looking at online tutorials and videos to focus on the essential, some guys tend to have a lot of gear so I'm like "wooow I need one of those" :)

As for the electronic percussions, I do have a Korg Wavedrum Oriental. It's actually pretty amazing but I want to keep my good old acoustic percussions, the sound and the touch remain inimitable.

I'll give a feedback here when I'll have made some progress.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer!

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Location: France

Re: External pedal effects / foot switch with Live

Post by peeddrroo » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:41 pm

In case you're looking for a new convenient hardware solution to control and monitor Live's Looper, I just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new controller.
You can check it here.
Have fun !

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