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MIDI Beat Juggling Template

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:56 am
by The Phat Conductor
How to Juggle a Record with Ableton

by The Phat Conductor

This trick blurs the line between DJing and production. It allows you to program a turntablist style beat juggle with MIDI. You can use it in a DJ set, or when producing if you want that cut-up turntablist feel.

The basic idea is to use a MIDI channel that is external to Ableton in order to automate the impossible. Think of it like a programmable extra set of arms for when you're playing out.

This template is set up for a Mac with the IAC Bus activated, but you can use any MIDI loop to do it, even a hardware cable! If you don't want to be bothered with all this setup BS just plug the output into the input, set it to 'remote' engaged in the midi/sync preferences, and you'll be just fine.

Mac - To turn the IAC bus on, go into the "Audio MIDI Setup" (type it into the finder on your Mac).

PC - can do this on a PC by setting up a midi bus in Plogue, Reaktor, or any other MIDI routing program.

OK, so without further ado, here is the template!

What I've done here is assigned a few clip slots so that they can be controlled form another MIDI clip that is sending midi out of ableton, and then back in via the IAC bus. It's important to turn quantize OFF on the clips you are triggering in this way because they will quantize all late :( It is also important to set the samples you'll be really rinsing to 'gate' mode, or else you're going to have to put little stops in whenever you want silence. You can set some samples (especially backwards ones) to 'repeat' mode too, then you can play them in with your hands and your backwards stutters come out all quantized. MIDI plugins can be used to great effect on the juggle channel, especially the arp.

Once you start doing this a while you can figure out a system of beat mapping so that you can re-use your midi patterns with different records (kik-1, snare-2, roll-3, how many slots per juggle, etc). When you have your system down you can actually SAVE juggle clips in your track folders and then bring them into the session view later, ie WHEN PLAYING LIVE. It's like having a million midi programmed DMC routines that you can save with each track!

Have fun :D


Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:46 am
by CopyRightJustice
Nice one saved me the post,this is what I do :wink:

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:14 pm
by The Phat Conductor
anyone try this puppy out yet?

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:51 pm
by oldbetseysatan
Heya Phat's.

Dug your other tutorial. And the track sounded great.

I'm on a really SLOW connnection out here in the hills so couldn't down load ZIP file but I'm sure it's great as well.

Thanks for taking the time...


Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:24 am
by pax
I tried it out. Very nice!

Until I went in to Preferences and turned 'select on launch' to off I couldn't see what you were doing, The clip view would keep selecting the triggered clip.

For anyone trying this on PC I used Midi Yoke. Works well.

I was asked to play with a jazz ensemble and I was trying to figure out something creative that would match their vibe. I'll be studying this template a bunch.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:57 am
by Clearscreen
nice tip! very handy stuff! 8O

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:53 am
by Nightrider
Am I right in thinking that if i just fire up this .asl then it will run how it's meant to when I press play as long as I have the IAC running?

It doesn't seem to be happening this way.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:16 pm
by syid
Cool, it works. Sounds Great!

This was my first time using IAC driver, so I had to read the Apple help file for IAC.

I enabled the IAC driver first, from Audio/Midi, in the Utilities folder.

Next, I launched your .als file, then enabled the IAC output(Track) from the Midi/Sync pref tab in Ableton.

Last, I set the "Midi To" channel for track 3 to IAC Driver, channel 1.

Viola, it works! Just launch scene 1 of track 3.

Thanks guys, you have just opened up a whole new world of creativity for me.

Syid :wink:

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:05 pm
by John Sweet
This has been INSANE since I got it working. The only drawback I can see is that you can only send CC's on one channel at a time. I have nearly everything mapped in Live, so I have to use 6 or more MIDI channels on my controllers. As a result, I've got one IAC bus that automates ALL (i.e., up to 18) crossfader assignments and track mute/volume/cue/pan settings in my set (MIDI Channel 9), then another IAC bus automating the 4 different send knobs for each audio track (MIDI Channel 7).
And one more thing--it's good to keep the note triggers assigned to the juggles available, that way you can go into MIDI map mode during yr set & reassign them to a new set of clips. Use the same IAC clips to chop up different beats all nite!
Damn, thanks!

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:55 pm
by The Phat Conductor
Nightrider wrote:Am I right in thinking that if i just fire up this .asl then it will run how it's meant to when I press play as long as I have the IAC running?

It doesn't seem to be happening this way.
you are mistaken mate. just trigger the midi clip. it is routed to the IAC and it will juggle the audio clips.

John: you can get around that problem by only having one channel routed to the IAC, and have it's monitoring status set to 'in'. then create other midi channels that output through this channel to the IAC. you will be able to send midi cc's from as many channels as you like this way, they all sum at the channel that sends to the IAC.

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:42 am
by Patch
Couple of questions:

1) What effect does the different velocity on some of the midi notes have on the clip being fired?
2) Why are some midi notes triggered twice at the same time with 2 different velocities?
3) I'm assuming you need a controller (keyboard/Triggerfinger etc, etc..) to assign the same midi note to the clip as you have set up in the midi juggle clip?

Question 3) What about this - used with a USB joypad??? ... highlight=

This technique is outstanding. I had a look at it for about an hour last night - I was funkin' all over the shop. Can you say "groove"?

And an unrelated question (for The Phat Controller):
4) How do you do those sick spinbacks in your live sets? Reversed samples with tempo automation? Please don't tell me they are just recorded straight from TT's and played as clips...

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:05 pm
by The Phat Conductor
unfortunately that is indeed how they were made. stretches that extreme sound like poopoo in digital land.

if you want to make the clips velocity sensitive there is a vel. % setting.

i dunno about triggering some midi notes twice at the same time. only one clip can play in a track at a time. they are totally monophonic.

you do not need a midi controller to assign notes.

what you do is:

make a clip on your iac channel and stop every other clip in the session. leave the iac clip playing, and stop ableton. now when you press spacce, the iac clip will start. you can then go into midi mode with the sequencer stopped, pick a note to assign your midi to, then start the sequencer and POW it is routed.

with this technique it is easy to do a lot of routing quickly because you don't have to leave midi mapping mode to change what note is in your IAC clip. just stop and start ableton, and move that note around in the IAC clip. you can do a whole keyboard very easily.

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:36 am
by Patch
Question 2 was my mistake - it was 2 DIFFERENT clips being played at the same time at different velocities. :oops:

Shame about the spin backs...

Regarding the IAC midi note routing - I'm on PC, is it going to be the same process for assigning midi notes to clips to be fired from the midi clip?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:09 am
by Patch
I'm having trouble assigning midi notes to the clips to be played from the iac/midi channel in live.

After I have set the clip start points and drawn the sequence in the midi clip, I cannot assign ONE midi note to each individual clip. When I click on the midi note, then click on the clip to be triggered by that midi note and press <space>, the notes from the whole sequence keep flashing up in the audio clip. That is - as the midi clip plays, the current note will overwrite the previous note assigned to the clip. This happens for as long as the midi clip is playing and midi learn mode is on.

I'm sure I'm missing something simple...

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:33 am
by tricil
i use it with my presonus firebox with a midi cable connecting the in to the out on the breakout cable.... fucking phenomenal.

but about IAC/midifeedback: how would saving live clips benefit if i use a midi keyboard as well as the iac send as midi controllers? asides from maybe reserving iac for channel 1? i guess i just answered my own question.

anyways, Mr. Phat Conductor, pleas gmail me at my handle (spam protect you can figure this out ;)