How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

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Faldoe
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How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by Faldoe » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:51 am

So I've been thinking for quite some time about how to go about using Ableton in a Live situation - I know many musicians use Live for this :)

My concerns have been with how to organize things - if I should, or need to, just have one instance of Live open and use that for a set or open different projects for different songs.

I know about of answers or procedures to this question depend on a lot of things; what kind of music you play, how complex the arrangements are, etc.

I want to know how you set things up.

I play different stuff, but one thing I've been working on performing is ambient/noise/instrumental stuff.

I don't want to just press "play" necessarily and have a recording play back. That has also been something I've been pondering - writing and arranging things so that they can be pulled off and "performed" live instead of just a bunch of backing tracks playing to me swelling some notes.

Anyone play/make similar stuff? What are you methods - if you don't mind sharing/what would you suggest?

Thanks

Tarekith
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by Tarekith » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:55 am

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ollyb303
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by ollyb303 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:12 am

You'll want everything in one big set. Use racks wisely and switch between racks for different tunes using clip envelopes to modulate the chain selector. Bounce any clips you don't need to tweak live down to audio to save CPU load, group tracks together and resample to prevent having too many tracks for your controller options. Leave yourself plenty to do live, but not more than you can comfortably handle.
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Evengy
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by Evengy » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:50 am

ollyb303 wrote:You'll want everything in one big set. Use racks wisely and switch between racks for different tunes using clip envelopes to modulate the chain selector. Bounce any clips you don't need to tweak live down to audio to save CPU load, group tracks together and resample to prevent having too many tracks for your controller options. Leave yourself plenty to do live, but not more than you can comfortably handle.
but how much tweaking is possible to comfortably handle it? i have a apc40 (no live experience) but its hard to switch tracks and select the fx device i need at the right time or didn´t found it that fast. im trying to use racks with macros or racks in racks where i map macro controls to another macro. is this a way to go when playing live? another thing is: do you use 4 bar quantize or something higher? i think i wanna work more with 8 bar loops to get a bit more time. maybe im thinking to much? i don´t know ;)

€:tarekith´s guide seems to be nice, i read it at home :D

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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by Tarekith » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:24 pm

I put all my effects in one rack on each track to make realtime tweaking easier. No need to select different devices that way,
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trevox
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by trevox » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:20 pm

It's an interesting one - particularly if you want to improvise. Years back when I used to play in a band of two, we would create environments to work in (we used Logic) and just jam live. This was by far the most fun way of playing and you could guarantee every gig - even though the sets were identical to begin with - would sound different. If you arrange the way your sounds can be modified, you could even use the same set to play an ambient gig or a techno gig - depending on setting and mood! To do this, we would usually have very basic midi sequences which generates other midi events depending on what buttons/knobs we push/twiddle using midi delays, arpeggiators and other types of midi effects. This would play hardware synth's which we have assigned controllers to. Generally, we would use a lot or morphing so sounds can be drastically altered using a single knob/button. And then have some controls like c/o, releases etc assigned to their own knob. While we tried to combine all tracks into a single set, given the complexity of the programming and the fact each track was radically different, it never really worked, so we would play a filler from an iPod while loading a new track! I am putting together a live set now (in Live) which I will be performing on my own and while I would like to do something similar using M4L, I think the thing that really worked with the way we played was that we were always bouncing off each other. I also reckon there would be too much to do for a solo performance which may end up sounding terrible. When I get around to piecing things together, I will see what my limits will be!

What I intend to do is have loads of midi clips that I can trigger/change using my launchpad and assign parameters to my controller similar to how I have always done (lots of morphing). I will use my Android pad for all volumes/effect sends as it is perfect for that. There will be no audio (well maybe the odd soft sampler) - everything is midi generated. I then feed all audio from hardware into Live and add some effects, though these would be restricted to maybe an eq, compressor/limiter on each track and a delay or reverb as a send. As much as possible, I like to keep all messing around within the synths themselves - some of which have delays/reverbs built in. Given there should not be too much convoluted programming and not that many plugins, my hope is that I could fit a full set in one Live set, but we will have to see if that works out - otherwise, I could be cranking up the iPod for intervals! Some good advice is to keep it as simple as you can while leaving yourself maximum scope to ad lib a performance depending on your mood. With more ad lib playing, there's always the danger you will have exhausted everything you want to do within the first 2 minutes of a track and leave yourself with nowhere to go!

Not sure if any of that has helped, but I guess you would need to be specific as to how you write your music to see which of the suggestions here (all advice here is good) suits you. It's good that Live is flexible in that way, so as not to be restricted to doing things a certain way.

Incidentally, I am writing ambient/noisy stuff at the moment too!

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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by ollyb303 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:06 pm

Evengy wrote:
ollyb303 wrote:You'll want everything in one big set. Use racks wisely and switch between racks for different tunes using clip envelopes to modulate the chain selector. Bounce any clips you don't need to tweak live down to audio to save CPU load, group tracks together and resample to prevent having too many tracks for your controller options. Leave yourself plenty to do live, but not more than you can comfortably handle.
but how much tweaking is possible to comfortably handle it? i have a apc40 (no live experience) but its hard to switch tracks and select the fx device i need at the right time or didn´t found it that fast. im trying to use racks with macros or racks in racks where i map macro controls to another macro. is this a way to go when playing live? another thing is: do you use 4 bar quantize or something higher? i think i wanna work more with 8 bar loops to get a bit more time. maybe im thinking to much? i don´t know ;)

€:tarekith´s guide seems to be nice, i read it at home :D
How much you can comfortably handle is exactly that. How much YOU can comfortably handle. Also factor in the party. Meaning if I'm being paid to perform live, I'll probably stay pretty straight and do as much live as I can, push myself a bit. If it's a messy house party or a sunday morning set in a field, I can pretty much guarantee I'll be wrecked, so I'll bounce more stuff down to audio and use longer loops to give myself a bit of leeway...
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oddstep
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by oddstep » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:46 am

Exactly that. Only you can know what is too much. Have a rehersal that goes on for an hour. Anything you find difficult should dropped or simplified drastically. It won't be easier on the day.

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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by JEB » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:03 pm

My current live setup (prepared set, improv set will use a cue mix, operators, and some lame looking laptop drag n dropping)
1 big set, 2 blank rows between songs, use scene launch on one of the first few rows to set BPM and usue midi dummy clip to set drum rack to correct area of samples. then I go between APC clip triggering and drum rack/effect pad work, with a few whole scenes I trigger for dynamic changes or drop outs. I only touch the laptop when I change audio routing for a couple of songs.

tracks 1 - 3 melodic clips, 4 - 6 rhythmic clips (drums, percussion, bass), 7 - completely full drum rack (all are samples from tracks 1 - 6), 8 - submix of melodic stuff with some delays and repeats and sidechain compressor, track 9 - ableton looper track I switch to with the crossfader, 3 sends: 1 external reverb pedal, 1 external delay pedal and distortion pedal chain, 3rd some gated delay or resonator. I use a korg padcontrol with 1 page that maps to the drum rack and other pages that map to effects, main one is a beat repeat page more for composition that as an effect, longer BR, BR set to no volume that work as mutes, octave down BR, etc. I like to set things up visually with vertical rows corresponding to tracks 1 - 3 with the 4th doing rhythmic stuff, and I avoid using toggle effects that don't give visual feedback because when it's dark and loud I'll lose track of that crap, I use APC40 knobs for that kind of stuff.

Grant Carlisle
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by Grant Carlisle » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:29 am

This is my setup, It may not be the most efficient but it works for me. It is comprised of 2 different live sets on 2 different pc's one is my DJ set, The other is my live PA.

MY DJ set, is controlled by APC-40 and LPD8 my APC-40 uses the Nativekontrol Apc-CL1-TC1 which keeps me from ever having to touch my Laptop.

My live PA is controled by Launchpad and Korg Nanokontrol again i use bomes which allow me to work without touching the laptop keyboard
PA set here (Note i'm still building the PA set for 2 system setup)

Laptop 1
is used for DJ sets only. On the DJ set. Tracks 1-6 are for exactly that. I have a DJ Master channel rack. This covers the traditional DJ controls. I have the gain, bass and filter 1-6 Mapped to the track controls encoders 1-6 banks 1-3 of the track control.The device control section on the APC effects what ever device is in focus. This allows for the ability to EQ any 2 tracks from 1-6 at the same time. I have an FX rack on each channel 1-6 which cover the main FX, you would find on a Pioneer DJM Mixer, these FX can be applied using the < > buttons just below the device control encoders. Track 7-8 are for looping and re-mixing on the fly. I also have a lot of other secret and signature FX sitting on channel 7-8 that recieve signal from send A send B. These FX can be applied to any tracks 1-8 and Master. I can effect a portion or 100% of the signal. This sounds awesome between mixes.

Laptop 2
is for my re-mixing of tracks in my DJ set. I have an Out from system 1 to system 2 re-Mixing can be done on the fly. Because just mixing 2 tracks with live is pretty lame and boring and i have to constantly be doing something in order to entertain myself, if not i get bored. I had such a hard time adapting to live at first. I almost got rid of it because of this. Laptop 2 also handles my Live PA. I'm constantly bouncing around between my original stuff, re-mixing and Djaying. I don't have to switch through countless banks to access a perimeter or toggle between pages to get where, i need to in my set. I have designated controls for the main aspects, right at my fingers, some may even be a little redundant. This setup allows me to be fully engaged in my set. I still get maximum creativity and work flow. I have even started Incorporating Maschine into my PA set which will make for even more possibilities. I only play an event every once in a while. This is the way i work in my studio but can be applied in live environment, However since the birth of my daughter. I have to pick and choose the events i play now, unlike the days when, i would play anywhere,anytime. Now i usually do online internet radio shows. I do actually have scaled down single system template that can do most of this. I haven't ever had any crashes or reliability issues but then again trying to play live and DJ on the same system sucks up CPU. I'm pretty confident in both my pc's but it may be a little nerve racking for some people to push the CPU Meter. I've had the CPU meter pushing 90% on my second laptop which the PA system. When i build a live set. I always test CPU by loading 3 Scenes with 8 Audio samples into 8 separate audio tracks track then 3 instruments into 3 separate Midi Tracks draw in 2 Bars of notes. I load up my main FX. I then fire off each scene by way of controller and watch CPU for spikes as well as listening for glitches. This method hasn't failed me yet. When running 2 systems CPU stays pretty low on both systems. Now if i play an event that provide enough real estate to set up and run 2 systems, I'm going for it, unless I'm feeling lazy. I come from a DJ background, so in the beginning, i was dead set against Ableton. Most of this stemmed from ignorance of my perception of Ableton and a pre-arranged set. I think this is the main prejudice from people that talk shit about Ableton and DJ in the traditional sense. I know for me it's important to be able to play what i want, when i want. Besides a great DJ/Performer should have the ability to read a crowd and build energy based on response so having 6 audio tracks in my DJ sets suites my needs. Sometimes i might ride out the previous track 3/4 or more into my next track if they work well with each other. I like to take a mix as far as i can take it. Back in the day, I had a tough time condensing my record bag, to make room for new tunes. This resulted in carrying around a bag that weighed a ton, it seamed every time i pulled a tune out of my bag I'd get to a gig and end up wanting to play that tune. Thank god for technology, Because now i can Cary every tune i have. I organize my DJ sets starting with key. Then i color code my tracks different colors mean different things for example, Pink and white means new tracks. The pink means they work well with crowds. Gray mean they have 2 or more remixes. This way I'm aware if i want to take the 2 and play them on top of each other creating something unique. When i find new tunes. I phase out older stuff that doesn't get played much. I like to have enough music loaded up in my standard set, to give me a feeling of freedom and to avoid playing the same set twice. Say a song pops in my mind. I have the ability to pull it from the browser and play on the spot even if it hasn't already been warped. I can warp insanely quick using a 16 Bar Loop brace a long with #shift + Arrow Up/Down). A neat little trick learned from a guy on YouTube 9%% of the time this works without cue and Metronome. I utilize ideas from many different sources and users. I mix, match and apply what works best for me and my style. There is so much info out there. Ableton literally has 100's of ways to achieve the same task. That to me is what makes live so great, if you don't like the way something is or something works. You can change it to work exactly how you like. I've combined tools purchased from Daren at Isotonik, Stray at NativeKontrol. Combined with Ideas and Tools from Tarekith, Tom Cosm, Dave Winnel, Vespers, Martijn Kuilema, Huston Singletary and so many others. This is what works for me.
Sorry to anyone i forgot i do apologize.
Vaio 2.13Ghz I3 + Vaio 2.80/3.50GHz)i7 8 Gigs Ram x2 Windows 7. Samsung 32" LED monitor Ableton8 Suite+Max,Isotonik,OCTPAD NativeKontrol Apc-CL1, APC-40,Launchpad,Maschine,NanoKontrol2,MPK49,LPD8,MPK Mini,,Reason4,Vestax Pmc 25,CDJ 1000mk2X2.

sblakely
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by sblakely » Thu May 17, 2012 2:11 pm

Ok, it has taken me ages to get to this point, balancing flexibility and structure with the requirement for hands-free operation (I play guitar).

So, for live unstructured stuff:

Live 8 with a Laptop, Edirol Firewire 10/10 interface, ClyphX controller script, MidiYoke, Midi Control Center (this auto-connects the physical Firewire Midi interface to a MidiYoke port, as Ableton can lose the midi port during Hibernation/Interface restarts)

I have a FCB1010, all patches set up to send a unique midi note (1 to 100), and the pedals are arranged in banks (i.e. Bank 01 has pedals assigned to #10, #11, Bank 02 has #21,#22 etc).
I also use ClyphX as a control script.
Using ClyphX UserSettings I have Button actions that Reduce/Increase the Volume settings (in steps of 3) on Vocals, Guitar, Send A and Master. I can set up the balance between Guitar and Vocals from the pedal board

So, in my layout I have a Vocal track, a Guitar track, a Midi track that routes pedal midi to the Guitar Rig VST on the Guitar track. I have a Return Track (Send A) with a looper, and buttons assigned to the Send A knobs for the two input tracks. This means I can send Vocal/Guitar/Both to the Looper. I have a footpedal bank to control the looper (Rec/Play/Stop/Clear/Undo/Double/Looper Vol Up and Down). The Looper has no quantise - I just have to be careful with my timing.

I have programmed Guitar Rig Controllers using the midi pedal board on another bank (Preset Prev/Next, Bank Select, a couple of stomp actions, an effect pedal and Input Gain pedal).

On the Vocal bank, I can switch Reverb/Chorus/Compression and mix Wet/Dry with a pedal.

I can play, sing, loop, balance and change effects, all live with the laptop to one side.

I also have Send B set up as a monitor send, sent out to another output and straight to my amp.

Si

sblakely
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Re: How to you performing musicians use Live; songs/sets?

Post by sblakely » Thu May 17, 2012 2:43 pm

Following on, for structured sets

The rig is the same.

I take a midi song, and chop it into sections (using Locators, then switching to Clip view). I discard any tracks I don't want (generally keeping drums and bass).

I have 4 tracks S0, S1, S2, S3. Using ClyphX, I can use a pedal or midi note to select only one of those tracks at a time. At the end of each section of the song, I have a note that controls where the song goes next.

The S0 track should go to the next natural section of the song,
the S1 track might loop back to the current section,
the S2 track jumps back to earlier in the song (chorus, bridge or verse),
the S3 track might jump forward to the chorus or extro

So as each section ends, depending on which track has been activated, the song jumps to the scene where I want it to be. As each section starts, a midi note sets an S track as a default next for the section (usually S0, but sometimes S1 - loop - for a break section)
There is a Vocal and Guitar track, as before, and the bass and drum track (these all get frozen for performance).

There are also R tracks (for recording). These have clips that can trigger actions using ClyphX commands.
So during the first Chorus, clips may be triggered that record the Guitar and Vocal into R slots.
Then, during the second chorus, those recorded clips play and I can play/sing something different (lead fill/harmony/hamonica). These new parts might also be recorded for the final chorus.

I can overlay material for sections, sit on a break for a bit, jump forward/backward in a song, or do nothing and have the song run through in a natural manner. I am playing, and anything Guitar/Vocal is all live or just-recorded, not pre-recorded.

All the references in the song are relative or use unique named tracks, so I can just stack up songs into a full set with a reset track in between that I can loop on until I am ready to go on to the song.

The only thing I have to write (as a modification to ClyphX) is an Undo for the last recorded clip, if I get a bit wrong. My song sheets contain notation as a guide to the song structure, and I want to use a Open Sound Control app to build a full-screen panel to display the critical info in an easily identifiable way without me having to read Live (or run it on a tablet on my music stand).

I have Stop/Start buttons mapped on my Footpedal as well.

Si

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