Using M4L in a live performance?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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beseired
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Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by beseired » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:38 pm

Hey guys?
Can I rely on M4L devices in a live performance? I've never used neither M4L nor third-party plugins in my live setup (running on Macbook Pro) before, but I'm in need for a pitch shifter and Live can't offer me one. M4L on the other hand does. But my experience with using M4L on Windows was not really spotless. Occasionally it would crash or stop sounding or glitch.
How is it on Mac? Do you use it on stage?

Thanks!

wearemindflux
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by wearemindflux » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:27 pm

Yeah defo, and in live 10 its even for reliable and less cpu intensive.
Grab your free techno samples here>>>http://bit.ly/2YAS8so

Pitch Black
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by Pitch Black » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:55 am

Using M4L / Live 10 / and 8yo Macbook Pro (specs in sig below) for gigs. I'm only using Dub Machines' Magnetic effect in a Return track, but I can say I've seen no decrease in stability from when I didn't run Max4Live. ie no crashes or freezes.

I do wonder about the possibility that some "home-brewed" Max devices might not be as stable as commercial releases, though? Can any M4L peeps chime in?
MBP i5 2.53GHz | OSX 10.12.6 | Live10.0.4 | Fireface800 | Push 2
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timday
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by timday » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:01 am

Always found it OK including my (simple) homebrews and ones from maxforlive.com.

Caveat: I did find a glitch with the Max API device where if you map it to a macro it causes Live to crash on exit. The actual set and playing gigs were not affected, the main annoyance was that whenever you opened Live it would crash recover. Mapping to a chain selector instead cured it.

So, not all stable all the time then but not random either - it was precisely reproduceable. If nothing goes wrong in testing nothing should go wrong on the night.

Pitch Black
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by Pitch Black » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:09 am

Thanks Tim!
MBP i5 2.53GHz | OSX 10.12.6 | Live10.0.4 | Fireface800 | Push 2
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Angstrom
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by Angstrom » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:47 am

timday wrote: If nothing goes wrong in testing nothing should go wrong on the night.
Yeaah. I would disagree on that because practicing doesn't always factor in a lot of stuff that occurs in a live situation. There are known unknowns (power fluctuations and poorly filtered power, smoke machines, stumbling stage interlopers) , and unknown unknowns...

I, er, know a guy who has a Max Touchscreen / heads up display interface for controling a couple of things, everything else is on hardware controls. Turns out the club was a lot sweatier and more humid than anticipated and the touchscreen went slightly insane and triggered a bunch of actions in Max which crashed live so hard that the machine locked up. There are unknown unknowns which do not occur in a practice situation.

That said the lesson is probably to keep things simple. And avoid touchscreens.

timday
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by timday » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:39 pm

Angstrom wrote:
timday wrote: If nothing goes wrong in testing nothing should go wrong on the night.
Yeaah. I would disagree on that because practicing doesn't always factor in a lot of stuff that occurs in a live situation. There are known unknowns (power fluctuations and poorly filtered power, smoke machines, stumbling stage interlopers) , and unknown unknowns...

I, er, know a guy who has a Max Touchscreen / heads up display interface for controling a couple of things, everything else is on hardware controls. Turns out the club was a lot sweatier and more humid than anticipated and the touchscreen went slightly insane and triggered a bunch of actions in Max which crashed live so hard that the machine locked up. There are unknown unknowns which do not occur in a practice situation.

That said the lesson is probably to keep things simple. And avoid touchscreens.
Fair but that kind of thing isn't limited to Max. I had a Roland Dr Sample go haywire and start triggering randomly due to power fluctuations once. And a Line 6 bass pod doing random patch changes.

Also, should add, if you are making homebrews remember to freeze and lock them before use. If you don't do that all bets are off.

Angstrom
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by Angstrom » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:10 pm

Oh for sure it's not really a Max thing, I was just commenting on the weirdness of gigs. They really don't seem to have much correlation to what happens in rehearsals. The words "what the hell is happening? This never normally does this!!" always seem to come to mind
;-)

But yes, a factory max patch like an LFO is gonna be as robust as any software really. If the device is a homebrew thing which integrates with external equipment then the likelihood of failure increases slightly. I can say with confidence.

aseemsuri
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by aseemsuri » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:28 pm

Angstrom wrote:Oh for sure it's not really a Max thing, I was just commenting on the weirdness of gigs. They really don't seem to have much correlation to what happens in rehearsals. The words "what the hell is happening? This never normally does this!!" always seem to come to mind
;-)

But yes, a factory max patch like an LFO is gonna be as robust as any software really. If the device is a homebrew thing which integrates with external equipment then the likelihood of failure increases slightly. I can say with confidence.
This rings very true. 'This never normally does this' is an all too familiar thought! Although I tend to agree with Tim for the most part about 'if it works in testing, it should be fine' and test my devices a lot in rehearsals, the possibility of failure is an ever-looming shadow. However, I think that shadow extends over any 'unconventional' performance and I feel laptop performances (still) come under that purview. it might not just be a M4L thing but a laptop-on-stage thing. People just seem to have less patience with laptop issues on stage than other gear. At the end of the day, we're working with a different more-breakable medium than guitars and drums. I think if we have good computer practices - invest in good machines, keep our drives free, buy our softwares and keep them updated, test our sets - we're reducing these chances of failure and that's the best we can do as electronic musicians.

Personally, I'm using a few of my homebrews - mostly for MIDI and data transfers within the session and over the network to my visuals machine and iPad. If these devices were processing audio I would be much more nervous! Having said that, any M4L devices I've used for audio have never given me troubles. (Granted they were from reliable sources)

SO if you're using M4L devices that came with Ableton, or you downloaded from the website, you should be fine. If you're using homebrews, test them incessantly in different situations (and always be prepared for failure). If there's a problem and you don't trust them, find alternatives. But if they're important to your set, don't shy from using them. Pushing limits comes at a cost.

stoersignal
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Re: Using M4L in a live performance?

Post by stoersignal » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:53 pm

Angstrom wrote:Oh for sure it's not really a Max thing, I was just commenting on the weirdness of gigs. They really don't seem to have much correlation to what happens in rehearsals. The words "what the hell is happening? This never normally does this!!"

OH MAN..... how many times i had to say that :)

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