Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
Coxy
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:56 pm

Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by Coxy » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:40 pm

Hi all,

Looking for a bit of advice, currently using Live Trial whilst I try out different ways of working.

My current setup consists of
Ableton Live
DSI Tempest
Dreadbox Erebus
Novation Ultranova
Midi controller & keyboard.

Everything, including Live is midi clocked from the Tempest and all outputs routed into an RME Fireface UC which is being used as my interface and mixer.

I apply Lives' realtime software effects on my synths inputs 'live'

I also use Live for playback of clips along-side the hardwares output, including lots of live dial turning and improvisation on some of these clips and the software FX.

When playing this out live (midi sequences to the Erebus, drums from the tempest, arp from the Ultranova) it's tight as anything, very well synced.

However when I bounce it all down to audio, either individually or just the master bus the timing seems very sloppy, suddenly it's not as tight as it was when performing the whole arrangement 'Live'

I'm currently successfully running a 32 sample buffer with RTL of about 4 ms thanks to the mostly HW doing the work.

My goal was to realtime performances into Live (with clips running from Live too) and bouncing it all out to individual stems so I can touch it up in Logic before final export > Public. But this is putting real blocker in the way..

Is there another way? Am I doing something wrong?

granted
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by granted » Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:16 pm

What you are trying to do is impossible. I don't know why this doesn't come up more often. The latency imposed by using Live to sequence, add effects, and record your performance is always going to sound like a loose bowel movement. Please don't waste any more of your time trying to configure your setup to work. It won't.

Latency gotchas:
1. Using Live as a midi sequencer : bottom line is that all computer based sequencers basically suck compared to external hardware sequencers. In a "live" situation no one will notice but a recording will suck for all eternity.
2. Using Live to process incoming audio signals: this will create audio latency two fold. Incoming audio will have a latency from your audio interface and the effects will add more latency. Big fun.
3. Trying to use Live to also "record" the mess you have made above. Not. Gonna. Work.

Suggestions:

1. Keep everything in Live - use the built in sequencing and sound generating and effects - this will significantly reduce latency. You already have this setup (obviously) so this is the best solution.

2. Use separate computer or multi-track digital recorder to capture your performance. Then bring that performance into Logic to mix and add effects.

Problem solved.

Coxy
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:56 pm

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by Coxy » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:23 pm

granted wrote:What you are trying to do is impossible. I don't know why this doesn't come up more often. The latency imposed by using Live to sequence, add effects, and record your performance is always going to sound like a loose bowel movement. Please don't waste any more of your time trying to configure your setup to work. It won't.

Latency gotchas:
1. Using Live as a midi sequencer : bottom line is that all computer based sequencers basically suck compared to external hardware sequencers. In a "live" situation no one will notice but a recording will suck for all eternity.
2. Using Live to process incoming audio signals: this will create audio latency two fold. Incoming audio will have a latency from your audio interface and the effects will add more latency. Big fun.
3. Trying to use Live to also "record" the mess you have made above. Not. Gonna. Work.

Suggestions:

1. Keep everything in Live - use the built in sequencing and sound generating and effects - this will significantly reduce latency. You already have this setup (obviously) so this is the best solution.

2. Use separate computer or multi-track digital recorder to capture your performance. Then bring that performance into Logic to mix and add effects.

Problem solved.
Hi granted,

Thanks for your reply.

I suspected something fundamental was amiss as I was trying everything possible with routings and recording in Live and was still unable to correct it so actually it's quite the relief to hear you say this as I can now stop pulling my hear out and look for alternate solutions and continue getting on with music.

I am slowly building up my hardware and would like to use that to it's fullest potential so I think multi tracking it all out to a digital recorder would be the best option and a good excuse for new gear :D

doghouse
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by doghouse » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:56 pm

I used to work with external sequencers and Live synched up and found a few things that are affect the audio. It's best if Live is clock master, which is not what you are doing. When synched to an external clock, Live reacts to any incoming clock jitter. For instance instead of the tempo being 120, it might shift around between 119.5 to 120.5 bpm over the length of the song. I first noticed this when using temp-synched delays and heard glitching noises because of the unsteady clock.

If you are recording the external audio in multiple passes, guess what happens...the clocking for each pass is a bit different. So the recorded audio will reflect the clock jitter. Warping all the audio helps a little in tightening it up. If possible you should record all the external audio in one pass, which means you need an audio interface than can handle a lot more than 2 channels.

Good luck.

TLW
Posts: 334
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:37 am

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by TLW » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:57 pm

Far from “impossible”. I’ve been successfully tracking hardware synths into DAWs for well over 20 years. As have lots and lots of other people.

It is quite possible to do, so long as you take account of both the latency introduced by the DAW and the varying processing time hardware needs to process MIDI into audio.

Live’s track delays are one way of adjusting for this, allowing tracks to be offset against each other by varying amounts. Other ways of doing things include audio quantising/warping or zooming into the start of the waveform display and manually nudging it over the necessary number of milliseconds to align it with the tempo grid. Then checking a few other points along the track’s timeline and if necessary chopping the audio into segments and aligning them that way.

There’s a bit of work involved in getting everything lined up, but if you want the sound of hardware that just has to be lived with. Personally I would be very unwilling to give up my analogue and other outboard gear.

I’d also suggest using Live as the central MIDI clock - it’s probably not quite as tight as a Tempest (or my Machinedrum) but the wandering is only small fractions of a beat and is usually not detectable on listening. No matter what clock source you use there are bound to be a tiny delays between different instruments and the computer because it takes time for MIDI to be processed and MIDI is also a serial protocol which means MIDI will always introduce some timing variation, especially with polyphonic instruments.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

granted
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by granted » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:18 pm

I was commenting on the OPs current workflow. The OP wanted to capture their current workflow accurately. Thus the suggestion of external recording. If the OP wants to adjust their workflow there are endless successful ways to so as you mentioned. But if you take into account the current workflow of the OP and the result that the OP wants. Then, yes, the OP is facing an impossible task that external recording would solve. I would imagine that if the OP wanted to spend 20 years perfecting their craft of using DAWs and external gear and adjusting latencies and changing their work flow they certainly could. Or they could just record their performance into a separate device. Their choice really.

Coxy
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:56 pm

Re: Recording Hardware and ext SEQs alongside Live ?

Post by Coxy » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:58 pm

granted wrote:I was commenting on the OPs current workflow. The OP wanted to capture their current workflow accurately. Thus the suggestion of external recording. If the OP wants to adjust their workflow there are endless successful ways to so as you mentioned. But if you take into account the current workflow of the OP and the result that the OP wants. Then, yes, the OP is facing an impossible task that external recording would solve. I would imagine that if the OP wanted to spend 20 years perfecting their craft of using DAWs and external gear and adjusting latencies and changing their work flow they certainly could. Or they could just record their performance into a separate device. Their choice really.
No problems tracking my hardware into Live or Logic and all very tight on the sync but using Live as a instrumental and performance source synced and recorded alongside my hardware and trying to record that all back into Live is where the issues are cropping up.

I have spent 15 years working entirely in the box, now I've finally started to find my musical mojo through hardware performance I want to reduce/remove as many barriers as I can to getting performances down so I feel your solution of external recording is definitely the way for me to go.

Post Reply