DJing on the fly with ableton

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Machinate
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Re: Why the hell we can't loop on the fly???

Post by Machinate » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:56 pm

eskay wrote:I had asked this question before and didn't get a straight answer. If I'm DJ'ing or playing my own material, nobody confirmed that I can loop a piece of audio on the fly.
dude, that's the LEAST you can do - in fact, there are several ways of doing it!

You can tweak the loop in/out points, and set them on the fly, too. You also have the option of grabbing an audio loop into another track. Tons of options.

yush
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by yush » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:42 pm

warping on the fly doesnt really require more than 30 secs
use 1.1.1 marker as the start point
warp straight from there..
move the marker left or right till it beat matches
DONE
<30 s

BOT_ALPHA
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by BOT_ALPHA » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:42 pm

I do this all the time and have really mastered a DJing technique with Ableton. Midi Controllers are the key though. I have a Novation Nocturn and Launchpad. I just load a track from my library, get the first beat of the track set to 1.1.1 (Start of track), then right click for the menu on the track and select 'warp to 128 bpm'. You can warp it to any bpm you like, just make sure you have cueing through headphones on your soundcard.

Mehalic
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by Mehalic » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:04 pm

Check out Isotonik's APC40 DJ template. Gives you a great idea of what is possible. I've finally jumped into this template after owning it for a while and am really blown away by the possibilities (not only for DJ'ing but also including on the fly edits and my own material). Very powerful tool. I've been playing records (vinyl) for about 20yrs and must admit I was very wary of moving to a laptop for DJ'ing, but I am seeing the light now with this template.

Ableton's blog just had a story about Surgeon (funny enough, my first record I ever bought was a Surgeon record). Great story about what is possible with live in a DJ'ing context. Check it out and check out Isotonik Studios stuff.
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BaronVonAbelDong
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by BaronVonAbelDong » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:15 pm

Anyone here regularly drag and drop files into a DJ set using the browser/finder? Multiple clips at a time?

I have memories of earlier versions of Live beach balling and the audio glitching on me when doing this and never revisited it for any length of time since.

Anyone here trust doing that in a live situation all the time or is the default method still to have the set/clips preloaded in your session?

TYLRbass
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by TYLRbass » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:20 pm

BaronVonAbelDong wrote:Anyone here regularly drag and drop files into a DJ set using the browser/finder? Multiple clips at a time?

I have memories of earlier versions of Live beach balling and the audio glitching on me when doing this and never revisited it for any length of time since.

Anyone here trust doing that in a live situation all the time or is the default method still to have the set/clips preloaded in your session?
I've been able to get away with dropping (pre-warped/analyzed) wavs from iTunes as well as 5x5 clip packs from Live's browser during a set. I typically will build my set before going on stage but sometimes if I"m trying to switch it up I will risk dropping them in and it hasn't failed me yet *knocks on wood*
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braduro
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by braduro » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:42 pm

You'd could probably trust me to warp a track while the intro is spinning over the house mains (not even cued), better than dropping a needle on your vinyl. Who said the traditional skill was easier? Don't forget, there are plenty of mission-critical things that a traditional dj is weighing in on at all times-no walk in the park in either case.

My one issue is where you are getting your master tempo from: if the last tune on deck is playing at 123bpm, then you probably don't want to tap tempo while cueing the next track if you are introducing an 128bpm. I like to have the ballpark bpm before warping-segment bpm should be accurate- so this is a bit of a conundrum. Sure you could pretend the clip is any original tempo, but I don't like that idea for a number of reasons, some of which are irrational. Also, getting the first downbeat is one thing. Scrubbing back to include an intro will skip the playhead so to speak. Using partial bars is practically out of the question-but you could simply start off the beat at a theoretical whole number of bars.
You could
  • Use the tap tempo in an intended, musical manner-deliberately ramping the anticipated new tempo. (Practice lead-in in your head/table etc.) IE, bring the last track up to the new tempo before warping.
    turn off warping for the track that's playing, and deal with any drift on it's way out
    warp ahead of time, or have clips saved at least, even if you choose to play tracks without the warp feature.
    use an external bpm finder
    analyse bpm ahead of time, however inaccurate, and trust the numbers while your analyzing-problem is the "Warp start at X BPM" won't be an option, and you have no idea how inaccurate those saved numbers will be while the master tempo is still at a discrepant speed.
Interesting argument for traktor below. Time spent looking at screen...
Last edited by braduro on Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

BaronVonAbelDong
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by BaronVonAbelDong » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:46 pm

TYLRbass wrote:
BaronVonAbelDong wrote:Anyone here regularly drag and drop files into a DJ set using the browser/finder? Multiple clips at a time?

I have memories of earlier versions of Live beach balling and the audio glitching on me when doing this and never revisited it for any length of time since.

Anyone here trust doing that in a live situation all the time or is the default method still to have the set/clips preloaded in your session?
I've been able to get away with dropping (pre-warped/analyzed) wavs from iTunes as well as 5x5 clip packs from Live's browser during a set. I typically will build my set before going on stage but sometimes if I"m trying to switch it up I will risk dropping them in and it hasn't failed me yet *knocks on wood*
Thanks for responding.

Just seems, for now at least, that if you want a large amount of flexibility, then you need a couple of hundred tracks, which is about what I used to take out back in the vinyl days, and if they are split into multiple clips, say 5 per track, then that's a 1000 preloaded clips right there.

Then you have to navigate and trigger them easily... it's loads of screen time.

As much as I love Live, Traktor seems more spontaneous and 'spur of the moment' flexible, for the 4 decks it has and anything past that you are into a 'Live' performance as opposed to 'djing' anyway so a ready made set is usual.

I've tried DJing with Live and spent way too much time looking at the screen for my liking so Traktor it is, for now.

I dunno what this thing is about having one bit of software do everything under the sun, studio sessions, live shows and djing, but I still want Live to do it all. :)

Tarekith
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:22 pm

The biggest issue with dragging and dropping a lot of clips or having huge projects is going to be if you use MP3's a lot. Live's going to decode those to wavs and put them in the decoding cache, and when this gets full, that's when you tend to start running into audio issues. You can manage it from Live's prefs though, so as long as you stay on top of it before gigs, you should be fine.

Personally I had one master set Project for each genre of music I'd play. Everything warped, loop points set, color coded, gains adjusted, etc. Then before gigs I'd decide which tracks I might want to play that night, delete the rest, and save it as a new project. I looked at it as being no different from packing a bag or two when I used vinyl, no need to bring everything.

Nice side benefit was that I could record my set right back into that same project when I played, so I have everything for the night already in one folder.

Donnie
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by Donnie » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:24 pm

I love DJing with live myself. However, depending on the gig, I may just opt to use CDJs. Traktor is fun if a friend has it, but id rather not mess with a computer just for what Traktor provides. It needs to be more than that. Otherwise its easy enough to pop in a USB on standard equipment and go at it.

Overall though, DJing with Live on the fly isn't that hard once you get the hang of it. Usually I prefer to warp my tunes ahead of time, but when I get a bunch of new music sometimes its just more fun to go at it and warp on the fly. Then I can get more intricate later and come up with something a little more special.

Just like anything else, you spend some time developing a technique and workflow and it's all good.

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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:38 pm

The only thing I don't like about warping on the fly, is that no matter how fast you are at it, you still have your head buried in the laptop. Even when I was using the APC40 for DJing with Live though, there were just time I found myself looking at the computer too much for what I wanted out of DJing.

Switched to an S4 and it just feels more like what I expect when I dj I guess. I can more or less ignore the laptop the whole time if I want, though I admit I do look at it now and then still :)

beats me
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by beats me » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:30 pm

You should warp on the fly. Then you are at least doing more than firing clips between fist pumping there air.

Donnie
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by Donnie » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:09 pm

For me, the pace just gets quicker and more interesting with pre-warped tracks. More edits, better arrangement control, less thinking required, etc.

I agree with Tarekith though, its a lot more computer centric to warp on the fly and imo more of a 'when I have to' situation as opposed to preferring to work that way.

memes_33
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by memes_33 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:49 pm

when i used to dj with live, i would create a separate live project for each song and put the BPM in the name. i would then show up to the gig with a "dj" template with one track routed to cross-fader "A" and another one to "B" (plus a few effects tracks and a 3rd track for a cappellas, etc.). you can drop an ableton project within a track of another ableton project using the browser. dropping in a new song to que on the headphones takes as long as it takes the files to load, so you can be queing the next track within seconds.

you can get as granular as you want with the separate song live projects. for example, i would generally divide tracks into intro, verse, chorus, drop, etc., and use follow actions to go from one clip to the next. if there was a spot that i would generally use for a transition into the next track, i would loop that so i could either manually advance to the next section of the song, or let it loop while i crossfade.

this method takes a bit of work setting the tracks up at home, but makes it super easy and playable when you are on stage.
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BaronVonAbelDong
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Re: DJing on the fly with ableton

Post by BaronVonAbelDong » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:14 pm

memes_33 wrote:when i used to dj with live, i would create a separate live project for each song and put the BPM in the name. i would then show up to the gig with a "dj" template with one track routed to cross-fader "A" and another one to "B" (plus a few effects tracks and a 3rd track for a cappellas, etc.). you can drop an ableton project within a track of another ableton project using the browser. dropping in a new song to que on the headphones takes as long as it takes the files to load, so you can be queing the next track within seconds.

you can get as granular as you want with the separate song live projects. for example, i would generally divide tracks into intro, verse, chorus, drop, etc., and use follow actions to go from one clip to the next. if there was a spot that i would generally use for a transition into the next track, i would loop that so i could either manually advance to the next section of the song, or let it loop while i crossfade.

this method takes a bit of work setting the tracks up at home, but makes it super easy and playable when you are on stage.
Hi.

So you were dragging and dropping most of the time then? Never any glitches or stalls?

I only use WAV files so any issues I had on older versions were not due to Live converting from mp3 etc.

Might have to take another extended look. :)

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