Ableton Live for composing/recording.

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Sales Dude McBoob
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Post by Sales Dude McBoob » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:10 pm

your only goal seems to be to get a crack?
I didn't get that impression. He just doesn't want to waste his "creativity time". And I don't blame him.

My problem with Live Lite is that it doesn't have all the effects. I'm more of a song based musician... guitars vocals drums bass ear candy... What sold me on Live when I tried out the demo of version 2 was the effects. I'd never heard anything like Grain Delay before and I HAD to use it on my songs.

Musicians of my backround can't really get too much out of the looping/warping functionality.

Angstrom
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Post by Angstrom » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:18 pm

RE: getting around saving

I can understand the idea that he might want to work on a longer project than short bursts may allow. Sometimes things only crop up after you have been working on a project to a certain level.


I would simply say - if you can, just leave the app open and dont shut the computer down. I know that seems mad, but if you have an oldish spare-sh computer you can do this on it will help you develop a long experimental set.

obviously it will be destined for the bin eventually though, so don't get too attached to it!

CloudyJim
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Post by CloudyJim » Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:59 pm

nosuch, take it easy. I buy my goods, I don't use cracks. If I have the 4-track Lite version(which I bought, with my emu 1616), I can finish a small piece and burn it to a cd and actually hear the final product. That way, I can also evaluate the conversion to mp3, which Sonar seems to **** up every now and then. If all I am doing is looking for a cracked version, I wouldn't be in here asking if it's worth buying.

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:50 pm

CloudyJim-

There are several fundamental differences between Live and other linear applications.

The Session View of live is an entirely different paradigm for creating music. Sure it's "loop based" but that doesn't mean anything. A better way to look at it is that instead of linear tracks that are limited by a linear approach, you can create a sketchpad. You wanted a real-world example:

1. You arm a track and lay down a guitar lick to the click track.
2. You arm another and play some drums or add a drum loop.
3. You record a bassline.
4. You lay down another guitar lick.
5. You then play the various clips in different orders to create various arrangements, or various layerings of sound.
6. You then run your guitar lick through Live's chorus, phaser, delay, filter, and reverb and you record the output to another clip, which you then reverse, use clip automation to modulate volume and pan, and then send through another deep delay and reverb, essentially creating a bizarre pad-like atmosphere behind your music.
7. You then take your drum loop and use Sample offset feature to re-arrange the drum pattern in real time.
8. You then take your bassline and change the pitch of a few notes. Perhaps you take the Saturator plugin and create a few distortions to just those notes with an automation clip envelope.
9. These activities spawn endless ideas, all of which are easily doable and give you a pallate of sounds in a matter of minutes.
10. Then, if you cannot create some of these sounds with musicians, you can take the set to stage and trigger loops with a midi pedal board while playing your guitar.

Hope that gives you at least a few ideas.

Now if you still want to do the linear multi-track approach, Live can do most things Sonar can in the Arrangement view. It has plugins, softsynths, loop mangling, automation, etc. The midi isn't as deep as Sonar, and Sonar uses DirectX plugins, while Live only uses VST (although there are ways to get around this limitation).

I would say that if you think the sketchpad approach is worthwhile, then upgrade to Live 5. Since you mentioned that you like to experiment, I think this approach will change how you think about music production. If you are a strictly linear multi-track kind of guy (meaning you think about music creation like recording various takes on a tape-machine), then Live is still great, but Sonar may also do the job for you.

One last thing...if you get Live 5, get the Live 5 Power! book from Amazon. It's critical to your true understanding of Live, and is only $24. And yes, Live is really easy to make music with. Very user friendly.

CloudyJim
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Post by CloudyJim » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Nebulae,

Thank you, that was very informative. At this point I have committed myself to giving Ableton a shot, at least as a sketchpad. It seems like a good way to compose. The real test will be whether or not I can get the end result to sound linear instead of looped(even though loops will be used). That is by biggest concern....making acoustic music sound non-electronic.

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:47 pm

CloudyJim wrote:Nebulae,

Thank you, that was very informative. At this point I have committed myself to giving Ableton a shot, at least as a sketchpad. It seems like a good way to compose. The real test will be whether or not I can get the end result to sound linear instead of looped(even though loops will be used). That is by biggest concern....making acoustic music sound non-electronic.
Making the loops sound non-looped is easy. As you work through your scenes in the session view, all your movements are recorded inthe arrangement view. So as you "play" your arrangement, you basically use the loops as building blocks and you automate, cut, stretch, etc., on the fly. In this sense, the loops are just building blocks and not really "loops" in the Acid sense. Combining that feature with the clip automation and a nice feature called "Unlinking" clips will really enable you to make your music take on a non-looped sound. The more you work with Live, the more you will realize how non-looping it really sounds...but you have to first get rid of the loop-limitation in your head first :)

These tricks are all nicely explained in the Live 5 Power! book, so if you do buy Live, the book is a MUST.

CloudyJim
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Post by CloudyJim » Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:29 am

I got a couple of hours to try out Live today. I went through the tutorials in Lite 4, but it won't let me move clips in the arrange view. So, I downloaded the Live 5 demo and went at it again.

It's impressive. However, there were a couple of concerns, that will probably amount to nothing once I can commit more time to the documentation.

1) the demo's tour took me through recording audio in the arrange view, but it didn't explain how to use the recorded material in the Session view, which I thought I had a solid grasp of. The tracks don't show up as clips.....which is what I expected. I really hope I won't have to "save as clips" in arrange before being able to use them in session view.

2) After recording a strumming pattern, I changed the tempo. This made the pattern sound very muddy and convoluted even if I only increased the tempo by as little as 2. I expected that to work better as I have read so much about this in Live reviews.

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:27 am

CloudyJim wrote:I got a couple of hours to try out Live today. I went through the tutorials in Lite 4, but it won't let me move clips in the arrange view. So, I downloaded the Live 5 demo and went at it again.

It's impressive. However, there were a couple of concerns, that will probably amount to nothing once I can commit more time to the documentation.

1) the demo's tour took me through recording audio in the arrange view, but it didn't explain how to use the recorded material in the Session view, which I thought I had a solid grasp of. The tracks don't show up as clips.....which is what I expected. I really hope I won't have to "save as clips" in arrange before being able to use them in session view.

2) After recording a strumming pattern, I changed the tempo. This made the pattern sound very muddy and convoluted even if I only increased the tempo by as little as 2. I expected that to work better as I have read so much about this in Live reviews.
Regarding Issue #1, when you record in Arrange, it doesn't automatically turn them to clips. You have a few choices:
1. Take the sample you just recorded and drag it to the Session icon (upper right side of Live); it will automatically switch to the Session view, and you can drop the selected sample into a clip slot. This is helpful if you have a guitar part recorded, and then you make a bunch of edits, and then you consolidate the part into a new sample (CTRL+J) and then you want to go back to the clip view.
2. You can drag what you recorded from Live's browser into the Session view.
3. You can record directly into the Session view, which is the easiest way for you to start with Live's paradigm.

Regarding Issue #2, you have several Warping methods that are each suited to different kinds of material, and these are foind in the Sample properties. With percussive material like drums, Beat mode is best. With vocals or monophonic material, use Tones. With multiphonic and ambient stuff, try Textures or Complex. Textures is what I would try with acoustic guitars or chord progressions. With solos, I'd use Tones mode. Don't forget to mess with the Grain size to get the best sound. Also, I find that when I warp stuff and there seem to be artifacts, a touch of reverb usually thickens it to the point where I barely hear any artifacts at all. Generally with acoustic material, I can increase the BPM by quite a bit, say 15-20bpm easily, but slowing down is where I get more issues that require some fiddling.

Hope that helps. Let me know how these tips work for you.

CloudyJim
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Post by CloudyJim » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:50 am

Nubelae, thanks again. Please see this thread:

http://www.ableton.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30838

Maybe you can get what I am trying to accomplish(without needing to warp).

Casual Beats
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Post by Casual Beats » Mon Dec 12, 2005 10:06 am

Nebulae, I also wanted to chime in and say thanks for your really informative posts. Your posts clarified a few things for me. I just started looking at using live (actually started tonight) and have to say that this software looks very impressive. I have been using cubase for about 7 years now, but for what I am looking to do now, live looks like it is the way to go for me.

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:45 pm

Jim-
I'll check out the other thread and see if I can help there.

Doc-
Thanks much. Really appreciate that. I too have been a linear user for about 10 years, and even though I've owned Live for almost two years, I'm just recently starting to break the linear mindset and seeing the benefits of Live's workflow. I would say that if you keep at it, and you force yourself through a few hurdles, the benefits and payoff are quite big. Good luck.

-Neb

dirtystudios
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Post by dirtystudios » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:54 pm

Live is actually a very interesting tool for composition. Using MIDI clips with your motifs, variations on rhythmic ideas and whatnot makes for a very fluid way of experimenting with different arrangements. The only thing I don't like is trying to do it all on a piano roll. I'd much rather have some staves, but I won't even pretend like that's a feature we'll someday see.

k

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:59 pm

dirtystudios wrote:Live is actually a very interesting tool for composition. Using MIDI clips with your motifs, variations on rhythmic ideas and whatnot makes for a very fluid way of experimenting with different arrangements. The only thing I don't like is trying to do it all on a piano roll. I'd much rather have some staves, but I won't even pretend like that's a feature we'll someday see.

k
Staves are for pussies. ;)

j/k

Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath on that feature.

CloudyJim
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Post by CloudyJim » Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:44 pm

Ok, I spent several hours with Live last night and ending up buying it.

I've only used Cubase and Sonar and I like this much better. Much of what I am paying for, I won't even use.....like anything midi, warping, instruments, crazy-ass effects(as cool as they are, I can't see beat repeat(whatever it's called) or grain delay doing much for mostly acoustic ethnic fusion). I won't be using it for live performance either.

If anyone thinking about buying Live is following this thread, my main reason for taking on Live is the session view. It's the reason Live even caught my attention and it's a great composition tool. As I've said earlier in the thread, I am neither a DJ nor a dance/electronic composer.

Things that impressed:

- the glitchless handling of effects and well....everything. It's not just hype, I can't make this app hiccup. When using Sonar, I would turn off a vst effect and my tracks would get thrown out of sync after a very audible hiccup.
- the effects are way cool, even though few of them seem to be useful outside of a certain genre of music. They are extremely tweakable and wide ranges of sound can be had.
- I find the layout attractive and easy to read.
- the way Live handles envelopes.

drumon
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Post by drumon » Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:24 pm

CloudyJim wrote: If anyone thinking about buying Live is following this thread, my main reason for taking on Live is the session view. It's the reason Live even caught my attention and it's a great composition tool. As I've said earlier in the thread, I am neither a DJ nor a dance/electronic composer.
Cloudyjim, interesting thread. I am thinking of buying Live also, and having tried the demo am interested in the layout, more as a recording/composing tool for acoustic instruments, rather than for electronic dance music. i am interested in using it as a method of creating electronic compositions but as in beat based/dance music.

Out of interest, what kinds of music are you planning to use Live for?

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