Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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daxxus
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Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:25 am

I appreciate any help I can get on this subject. I would very much like to continue to use Ableton Live as I switched from Cubase about 18 months ago and love it - however I'm also taking classes at Berklee Online and am in need to being able to do full Orchestrations. The solution for huge orchestrations (the way the big studios are setup) is with Vienna Ensemble Pro https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Vienna_Softwar ... semble_Pro so the Slave Computer handles all of the heavy lifting with these huge libraries such as https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/ ... orchestra/ through a standard plugin that leverages a network connection to the Master computer (which is where Ableton Live is). The MIDI is routed through the plugin (Master to Slave) and the audio is routed back (Slave to Master) through a gigabit network connection.

So the crazy simple thing I'm stuck on is selecting which channel is which on the midi track (DAW-wise most people use Digital Performer for this - some Cubase or Logic Pro) but there is little to nothing on Ableton Live except a few people "showing off" in a 1 minute video of it working - but not how they got it to work. Like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-apyMfBW7mQ

If someone wouldn't mind watching this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7i5zBlJhw0 at around 8:00 to 9:30 (so really only 90 seconds) I need to know how to do this in Ableton Live.

I thought it may be analogous to the multi-instrument in Kontakt which was with the "External Instrument" but that doesn't seem to work.

I'm in desperate need as the new semester started and I wiped my main DAW computer to set all this up and until I get it working I have no way to do assignments.

ShelLuser
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by ShelLuser » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:06 am

daxxus wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:25 am
So the crazy simple thing I'm stuck on is selecting which channel is which on the midi track (DAW-wise most people use Digital Performer for this - some Cubase or Logic Pro) but there is little to nothing on Ableton Live except a few people "showing off" in a 1 minute video of it working - but not how they got it to work.
So, the thing I don't understand... if you're following a course then surely they would have given you some advice regarding the software they recommend you to use in order to actually follow the courses? If they simply leave you out to fend for yourself then I'd consider requesting a refund :?

Also... you make it sound as if this network approach is some kind of standard of working with orchestral setups. I don't question that this approach is being used, but it most definitely isn't some kind of standard requirement. For example, this is what I'm working with for orchestral performances and I really don't need 2 computers to make that work. It's definitely quite taxing, nonetheless it can be made to work on one decent high-end PC.

Anyway, when it comes to connecting Live instances across a network the best option that I'm aware of is Ableton Link. But there are some caveats to keep in mind as well, you mentioned separate MIDI channels for example but Live only supports one MIDI channel for internal routing. So if your method depends on multiple MIDI channels then I could easily see how that's not going to work (at least not in the same way) on Live.
With kind regards,

Peter

Using the 'Power' Trio: Live 10 Suite (+ Push & Max 8 ), Reason 10 and Maschine Mk3 (+ the ultimate Komplete 12).
Blog: SynthFan (under heavy construction!)

daxxus
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:10 pm

It is a catch 22 on Berklee's recommendations. Their Electronic Music classes (which I'm also taking) often require Ableton Live whereas what is being suggested by the Orchestral Classes is Digital Performer. The basis of my question is I wanted to <not> get Digital Performer and stick to Ableton Live (my new DAW of choice). Meaning yes they have a suggested setup and I am deviating from it.

So I'm a 50 year old (Berklee is bucket-list for me as I'm a career Software Engineer as a US Govt contractor) who has met folks like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Badelt (who composed the music for a friend of mine's film Equilibrium) even they recommend (if you have the cash) to go this route - Vienna Ensemble Pro is for the ability to have multiple libraries (potentially ALL of your libraries) run in real-time up in a template(s) and never tax your DAW's computer. I own almost all of the Spitfire Orchestral Libraries, tons of the East West Sound libraries and the main Vienna Symphonic Library Orchestral Cube. With Vienna Ensemble Pro you can literally load every instrument up on your server box (via several instances) and in a template have hundreds of instruments up at your "composition whim" without having to shuffle anything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_McCreary and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Elfman also use this setup. I've seen templates such as the one Hans Zimmer uses (you can see it in his Master Class) that has over 600 instrument tracks - again but he uses Digital Performer.

Okay with the justification now aside, the goal = <not> moving to Digital Performer. I'm worried that is the solution as I also own a Push etc.

Shift Gorden
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by Shift Gorden » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:27 pm

Oh mate - this is waaaay above my knowledge level. I can see exactly what you're wanting to do and why you're wanting to do it, but the network thing is throwing me for a loop. That 40-second video doesn't give anything away! I can see he has the server software running on both machines, and I can see how the audio has been routed in Ableton, but the MIDI configuration I can't figure out.

So, you use the VPE plugin within Ableton - can this see the server, mate?

daxxus
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:16 am

Shift Gorden wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:27 pm
Oh mate - this is waaaay above my knowledge level. I can see exactly what you're wanting to do and why you're wanting to do it, but the network thing is throwing me for a loop. That 40-second video doesn't give anything away! I can see he has the server software running on both machines, and I can see how the audio has been routed in Ableton, but the MIDI configuration I can't figure out.

So, you use the VPE plugin within Ableton - can this see the server, mate?
Thanks much Shift - yeah the way it works is you load up all the VST(s) on the Slave Computer and on the Master you create an instrument track and have a VEP Plugin instance (like a VST) where all you do is connect. Then you send MIDI "to" that above track, I'm thinking through "External Instrument" and the rest "as-they-say" is magic because the plugin itself sends the MIDI over the network, the Slave computer converts the MIDI to audio and it routes that audio back over the network to that same track. The problem I'm having is the MIDI Port & Channel settings to "External Instrument" - I need to see if there is a way to send MIDI over specific Ports and Channels or am I stuck only having 16 channel options on 1 port?

You can't really "see" the Server visually as it is a different computer so that is done either literally as a second box with monitor etc. or you could connect to it via Remote Desktop or something - I'm just using it as a second box with it's own monitor etc.

I truly appreciate you looking as I "really" <truly> don't want to move to Digital Performer.

Shift Gorden
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by Shift Gorden » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:33 am

Gotcha, daxxus- I looked into the product more and it looks amazing...but that price!

So, I did find something that said the VST3 version of the plugin will support multiple ports in Live (if you use version 10.1 or above).

Here’s the post, mate: https://www.vsl.co.at/community/posts/t ... post244033

Strangely, I’ve been doing orchestral arrangements in Live this year...using movies, TV and games as inspiration. Looks like the course you’re taking is a good one, mate.

Anyway, not sure if this helps. I know it has to be possible, surely. I did note the course didn’t list Ableton as a supported DAW though. Boo.

Shift Gorden
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by Shift Gorden » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:39 am

Well shoot. It looks like that won’t work. It doesn’t look good mate. https://www.vsl.co.at/community/posts/t ... post286120

TLW
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by TLW » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:37 am

It might help if we knew if you are using a PC or a Mac (both the videos you linked to are using Macs). Macs have more built-in functions for things like networked MIDI than Windows does.

As for tracks in Live, you can set a MIDI track to receive and send whatever channel to whichever MIDI port you want. The external instrument plugin is something I tend not to use despite all my synths being hardware. I prefer to set up a MIDI and an audio track instead (and the plugin requires you to set up an extra audio channel if you want to record the instrument anyway).
Live 10 Suite, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

daxxus
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:27 pm

Shift and TLW thanks a ton - I am definitely running on a PC (Windows 10) I don't own any Apple products - I did realize that the 16 channels (on only 1 port) was my issue as I was setting up the server to receive on Port 2 (channel 1,2,3, etc.), 3 (channel 1,2,3, etc.), etc.

So for now I can get it working with each server instance running up to 16 channels on Port 1 (so 16 instruments each).

Thanks for the links - have you guys seen any further movement on Ableton supporting multiple MIDI ports out?

daxxus
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:30 pm

TLW wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:37 am
As for tracks in Live, you can set a MIDI track to receive and send whatever channel to whichever MIDI port you want. The external instrument plugin is something I tend not to use despite all my synths being hardware. I prefer to set up a MIDI and an audio track instead (and the plugin requires you to set up an extra audio channel if you want to record the instrument anyway).
I just noticed this statement reading through the replies again - can you show me how (point me to some documentation or something) to show me how that is done : "send whatever channel to whichever MIDI port you want"

TLW
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by TLW » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:45 pm

MIDI tracks all have an input pull-down menu for the port they are to receive MIDI from and the channel.
They also have an output pull-down menu where you set where the MIDI is going and on what channel.

It’s important to be clear that MIDI tracks and MIDI channels are not the same thing.

Tracks are where the MIDI data is recorded or sequenced. MIDI channels are the 16 channels which synths etc. can be set to and they only respond to MIDI on their own channel. Channels mean you can daisy-chain synths with MIDI THRU sockets and each synth only responds to its own channel and passes the rest on or a multi-timbral synth can have different patches set to respond to different channels. Software synths generally don’t need to have a channel set unless the synth is multi-timbral.

The MIDI ports are set in the MIDI preferences dialogue. The ports are external hardware, software synths loaded in the project, other MIDI tracks and things like the Mac’s internal IAS MIDI bus if you’ve enabled it in the Audio/MIDI Setup application. Also any MIDI network connections you have enabled.

To be honest, this is absolutely basic Live stuff, and it’s pretty much the same way many DAWs handle MIDI and the help file deals with it.

Sending MIDI to another computer and keeping everything in sync isn’t entirely simple, but on a Mac it is possible using Bluetooth or wi-fi or ethernet peer-to-peer networking. I use it to connect iPads as sequencers and controllers. The network needs to be set up in the Mac’s Audio/MIDI Setup application.
Live 10 Suite, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

daxxus
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Re: Ableton Live and Vienna Ensemble Pro

Post by daxxus » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:51 am

TLW wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:45 pm
It’s important to be clear that MIDI tracks and MIDI channels are not the same thing.
I get it I - I never said I didn't - look up some of the other DAWs as things like Pro Tools (which I inherently don't like) support 48 PORTS 16 CHANNELS each...

The networking is INSIDE the plugin and handled internally THRU MIDI PORTS. I'm actually a video game network infrastructure programmer... I get it - it was "simple" as you say so I'm just going to move on. Thanks.

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