Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Share your wishes for the future of Ableton Live
theextravaganttraveller
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Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by theextravaganttraveller » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:01 pm

Hello everyone,

Our team is considering developing a surround sound plug-in for Ableton Live (and other hosts). Hoping I can get some input from other Live users out there.

1. How do you work with surround sound in Ableton Live? Any particular plug-ins / approaches you find work well?
2. What features would you like to see in a surround plug-in for Live?

Here is a laundry list of features we are considering:

+ 5.1 panner with user-selectable panning method (ambisonics or proprietary panning algorithm)
+ easy integration into Live via x/y plug-in interface
+ fully scalable distance axes
+ external MIDI / internal motion control
+ library of preset motion paths
+ ability to "time-warp" motion paths
+ DSP for realistic motion - phasing, air absorption, doppler, etc.

Your input and comments are much appreciated!

boomstix
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by boomstix » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:45 pm

+1 to surround sound in ableton

i have no requests beyond what's on your list but i would really like to be able to use live for surround work

Aves
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by Aves » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:15 am

Not sure your idea is possible. Support for 5.1 has been requested hundreds of times and I remember reading something from an ableton rep about the entire program needing a rethink to be able to accomodate 5.1 in any way. Have you been in contact with any ableton developers about this?
I used to be indecisive, now I'm not so sure.

theextravaganttraveller
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by theextravaganttraveller » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:54 am

Aves wrote:Not sure your idea is possible. Support for 5.1 has been requested hundreds of times and I remember reading something from an ableton rep about the entire program needing a rethink to be able to accomodate 5.1 in any way. Have you been in contact with any ableton developers about this?
Yes, Live is certainly not optimized for 5.1 mixing. It is possible, though - just requires setting up additional bus tracks to receive channel pairs from the plug-in... I recently used a 5.1 panner someone created in Reaktor 2x16 (surr_pan_auto_v3 in the NI user libraries).

steff3
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by steff3 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:34 am

Well, it would be nice to be able to adjust the 'speaker' position - as there are different 5.1 layouts (best also support for 6.1) ....

with the fx - doppler etc., please make the optional (possibility to turn them on/off or maybe to mix them in like wet/dry in %) - they are great for fx sounds but most often pretty lame on music.

automation/positioning in cartesian or polar mode ....

possibility to turn on/off individual outputs/speakers

best

Aves
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by Aves » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:55 am

theextravaganttraveller wrote:
Yes, Live is certainly not optimized for 5.1 mixing. It is possible, though - just requires setting up additional bus tracks to receive channel pairs from the plug-in... I recently used a 5.1 panner someone created in Reaktor 2x16 (surr_pan_auto_v3 in the NI user libraries).
Well you are getting my hopes up now. Best of luck and keep us updated!
I used to be indecisive, now I'm not so sure.

leinad
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by leinad » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:41 am

Live is certainly not optimized for 5.1 mixing
Erm... Live doesn't even have 5.1 mixing. It doesn't even have 5.1 busses. It's all stereo (not sure if they even have mono busses).

So implementing 5.1 busses is not just about adding 4 more channels. While in a stereo configuration it's quite clear that there exists a left and a right channel, and that the left one has the index 0 and the right one the index 1, this is not at all clearly defined in surround configurations.

Ideally, if they opt in to support surround, they wouldn't just develop for 5.1, but go for every configuration once and for all, that means 7.1, 10.2 and that else comes up. Not to speak about what each channel means... for example in 5.1 you can have channel with index 2 and 3 be Front and LFE, or Surround Left and Surround Right. So basically you _must_ also include a a management section which defines the speaker setups, as well as insert _routing capabilities_ (should this stereo track go into surround left and surround right or into front left and front right, had, which index were they again?), insert routing capabilities before and after each audio processor / instrument.

So really, it's not just add a couple of lanes... it's way more complicated than this if you seriously want to do deal with this issue.

If they aren't working on this already, it will take a couple of years to implement it.
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zip
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by zip » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:18 pm

The most important feature i request is inputs and output surround capability .
as Max for Live MUST use Live ins and outs it will not give today surround possibilities to Live .
i hope Live 9 will support surround at least and multichannel 4-6-8 with and without LFE .

scientist
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by scientist » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:37 pm

i'm assuming the o.p. is writing about "multi-channel" effects for performance rather than true exportable surround. you could rig up panners, multi channel delays, crossover for the LFE track, etc. but you'd still be left with no way to export other than mono/stereo files that you'd then have to glue together in another app.

djaz.ee.djee
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by djaz.ee.djee » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:46 am

I have had some ideas about how to use live for surround sound however, if it could be made simpler and without using any other software that would be genius.

If you do write something keep me in the know!

Cheers,

djaz ee djee

infinaneek
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by infinaneek » Tue May 11, 2010 12:30 am

I have tried multichannel before and succeeded but only with some heavy limitations. Performing with it was very CPU intensive.

I hope future versions of Live will handle user definable multichannel setups that include custom speaker numbers and positions, hopefully in 3 dimensions.

This will be a great improvement! Esp. for Electroacoustic composers.

madlab
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by madlab » Tue May 11, 2010 6:42 am

For now, I use workarounds with clip enveloppes or sends to simulate surround mixing in my theater and performance works. Clip enveloppes is really heavy on drawing enveloppes or recording them with a controller then do some editing. using sends is just a workaround. So your plug in would be welcome, but I also would like to have at least 6.1 capabilities...
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rutgermuller
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by rutgermuller » Thu May 13, 2010 10:31 am

I've made another topic about this. http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... t=surround maybe we can merge these two.... ?

rutgermuller
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by rutgermuller » Thu May 13, 2010 10:55 am

I would like to see an option to easily upscale from for example 5.1 or quadraphonic to octaphonic. So if you compose on 4 speakers, you won't have gaps while panning it over 8 speakers.

And 5.1 doesn't really interest me for live music, because I think you get the option for quadra or octa more often in venues.

leinad
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Re: Surround Sound Plug-in for Ableton Live

Post by leinad » Thu May 13, 2010 5:00 pm

I've been dealing with multichannel audio for quite some time now, mostly from a developers perspective.

[plug]See mayasound.com. For musicians, if you go to the low res playlist on youtube, take a look at the last video. The high res video "10. VST I" on the main page will show you a bit of the surround sound capabilities.[/plug]

I don't see a real solution for this problem unless Ableton implements mutlichannel busses, which would take a lot of coding effort, probably introduce a couple of regression bugs, and probably even reqire a ui redesign. I'd rather see the coding effort to get focused on general ui usability improvements.

It might be possible to code a VST plugin which could be inserted into every track which is part of the outputs, and have that plugin expose a single ui for all instances, where one could adjust the volume of all the tracks via this ui, possibly with an x-y panner control, and let this panner also be able to receive VST parameter changes from any of the tracks which have it instanced.

The main issue would be that this still wouldn't solve the problem of getting the audio from one channel onto another channel of a different track, which would be useful for effects like delays or dispersions which work on more than just stereo tracks.

The thing with Reaktor going from 2 to 6 is ok, but what if you then want to add a reverb to, let's say the two front speakers, and then make every channel pan in an oscilating fashion for about 15degrees around the center. That panning would require all the channels to meet again in one "engine" which then performs the distribution of the sound onto each output. And for that you need access to all the blocks of audio data of all the channels in question at one single time, which isn't possible if your audio is distributed over several tracks. Unless, hmm... It is possible to route tracks to specific inputs of audio plug-ins. In that case, it is possible. But it would require (channelcount + 1) additional tracks only for surround sound panning, which is quite insane if you consider that this could be done in a simple drag and drop operation with not-so-much cpu overhead if the busses were capable of handling multichannel sound.
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