Slaving Ableton to a Human Drummer?

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SnackDaddy
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InTime demo video - tempo sync to acoustic drums

Post by SnackDaddy » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:50 pm

Hi again,

Just a quick note to let you know that we've got a new demo video up on the site, showing InTime in use with an acoustic drum kit, for those who've been wondering how well it might work with some real, improv drumming:

http://www.circular-logic.com/videos.html

Cheers,
Michael

::mic-minimal::
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Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:13 am

very cool video, so that was alex playing with midi triggers, is the case that electronic drums such as the vdrums work better with intime than accoustic or what are your thoughts on this.

second q: so say my drummer is playing at 120, 90, or whatever and wants to drop down her playing to double time, how does intime handle these things and just to let you know what we are trying to do is sync Live 4 to the drums, they are vdrums and live is on a pc laptop, right now weve got a click track going to the drummer and are trying to get something marginaly better going than that. but she does alot of stop and starts and fills. so regarding intime i'm not sure really what are main concerns should be but your insight would be greatly appreciated.
for the love of Live

SnackDaddy
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Post by SnackDaddy » Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:09 am

Acoustic drums with midi triggers, or acoustic drums with audio triggering, work just as well with InTime as electronic drums. The main advantage with electronic drums, as far as using them with InTime, is that setup is more straightforward since you don't need midi triggers or audio-to-midi triggering software.

If your drummer is playing and wants to switch to double-time (or half time), there are two ways to look at it:

1) if she wants to switch to double-time and have the sync'ed accompaniment (loops, effects, visuals, whatever) stick to the current tempo, then she can simply play double-time and InTime won't know the difference. Think of InTime as a metronome that follows you - when you start at a particular tempo, you've laid down the pulse, and InTime keeps track of your relationship to the pulse from then on. If you switch from playing, for example, straight 1/4 notes to straight 8th notes, the underlying pulse can stay the same since the 8th notes "fit" into the 1/4 note pulse nicely. So InTime will keep chugging along at the same tempo. The same goes for 8th note triplets, 16th notes, 16th note triplets, etc. On the other hand, if you were to switch from 1/4 notes to triple-dotted 8th notes (which are 1 64th note shorter than a 1/4 note), InTime will start to speed up since you're effectively playing just slightly ahead of the beat.

2) if she wants the accompaniment to also switch to double-time, then she can setup a MIDI trigger (like the pad we use in the demo video, or a midi foot switch, or something like that) to tap out the new tempo when she wants to switch. Then InTime and any sync'ed accompaniment will jump to the new tempo. You can also use midi files with tempo events to make pre-programmed tempo changes, and can loop them (Mac version only at this point, coming soon to Windows).

As far as breaks and fills are concerned, they're not a problem for InTime. When you stop playing, InTime just keeps going along at a steady tempo. You can jump back in anytime you like. (Is this want you meant by "starts and stops", or does she stop/start the whole performance (i.e., the sync'ed accompaniment) often?)

You can see in the drums demo video that Alec throws in fills and variations, and switches up what he's playing alot. In the end, he's switching between 4 and 6 feels, without InTime missing a beat. InTime's always keeping the pulse going underneath, and listening to you as you push and pull it. It's not deriving the pulse directly from what you play.

Always enable InTime's Rate Filter (Advanced Tracking window) when using InTime with drums. This filters out notes that come rapidly after one another, as can happen during rapid fills, or if the triggers are accidentally re-triggering.

If your drummer does 16th or 16th note triplet fills, or fills with that feel, you might want to enable the Sub Tracking feature (Advanced Tracking window) in InTime. This sets the tracking focus on 8th notes, 16th notes, and 16th note triplets. You can get more details in the discussion about Sub Tracking in the InTime Help file.

We're using Live in the drum demo video. We fed the click out in the mix with the loops to Alec's headphones. You can also listen to a simple rhythmic loop, but the drummer has to listen to something that Live is controlling to get the feedback going. It's like playing with another musician, so you have to listen to them to feel that they're keeping up with you. After a little practice, it comes naturally.

For live performances, a nice method is to switch between InTime's Groove Tracking mode, which captures and imparts the feel of the drummer but holds things around a steady tempo, and full Tempo Tracking mode, when you want to really change the tempo. You can setup a midi trigger so the drummer can make the switch on the fly. Another option is to setup a foot pedal to change the Tracking Sensitivity, so when you come to a section of the song where you want to open it up, you can increase the sensitivity on the fly.

I hope this helps (phew! that was long!). Let me know if you have any other questions. InTime's help file has a Getting Started section to help get things going.

Cheers,
Michael
::mic-minimal:: wrote:very cool video, so that was alex playing with midi triggers, is the case that electronic drums such as the vdrums work better with intime than accoustic or what are your thoughts on this.

second q: so say my drummer is playing at 120, 90, or whatever and wants to drop down her playing to double time, how does intime handle these things and just to let you know what we are trying to do is sync Live 4 to the drums, they are vdrums and live is on a pc laptop, right now weve got a click track going to the drummer and are trying to get something marginaly better going than that. but she does alot of stop and starts and fills. so regarding intime i'm not sure really what are main concerns should be but your insight would be greatly appreciated.

::mic-minimal::
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Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:17 am

that was very helpful thank you. .. I was wondering about the video, so Alec is getting a click track from Live, but Live is following intime?? is that right.
what i'd like to do is program all of the sequences and samples in Live, and just have the whole song follow in time with my drummer. would she have to be listening to a click or could she do it with out a click and intime just follow her., or was Alec listening to a click to keep his playing steady so as not to mess up intime?
for the love of Live

SnackDaddy
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Post by SnackDaddy » Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:44 pm

Yes, Alec is listening to the click from Live, and Live is following the tempo from InTime. So, the click ends up changing tempo with Alec, as InTime follows Alec's playing. He was listening to the click track from Live so that he could hear that he and InTime were staying in sync with each other, especialy during the sections where he was changing tempo quickly.

We shot this demo after Alec had played with InTime for the first time ever, for only two or three hours, the day before. It took him some time to practice and get the feel for it, but as you can see in the video, he got control and could play naturally pretty soon after first using InTime.

Your drummer needs to listen to *something* from Live that can be used to keep the drummer in sync with InTime. A click track is what alot of drummers are used to, so that's used often, but you could also use a simple rhythmic loop, like a clave, or shaker.

Even if the drummer plans to keep an overall steady tempo, and you've got InTime's tracking sensitivity on a low setting, the drummer needs to hear where InTime is calling the beat. If the drummer is not listening to InTime, she might unwittingly change tempo too quickly for the current settings in InTime to handle. There's an interactive feedback loop going on between the drummer and InTime, much like between two flesh-and-blood musicians.

Cheers,
Michael

::mic-minimal::
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Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:24 pm

got it. thanks for being so generous with your time, you guys are obviously doing alot of work over there.
for the love of Live

SnackDaddy
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Post by SnackDaddy » Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:31 pm

Hey, glad to help sort things out. This is a new kind of paradigm, to be interacting with the tempo in this way - we're trying to spread the gospel! :-)

cheers,
Michael

bcomnes
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slaving live to external audio - get a RedSound Voyager 1

Post by bcomnes » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:38 pm

the RedSound Voyager 1 ( or cheaper Micro synch) listens to audio and generates a midi clock.. i use it to synch ableton to my vinyl on the technics....should be easy to send an audio feed from your drummer to do the same thing....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it's too LOUD, you're too OLD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

kiff
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click track

Post by kiff » Tue Nov 16, 2004 2:40 am

Could I just say as a working drummer myself that hearing the whole mix including drums is very easy to play to, and avoids the metronomic click in the ear. i find this method seems to promote feel.
On another note I have just taken up "Ableton live, and need to know how to set up a set list that will not play the next selected song until required, and all with keystrokes and no mouse. any idea where to look?
Kiff

Jinsai
Posts: 166
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I'd rather not send a click personally

Post by Jinsai » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:25 am

Although my primary reason would be that I've had insane/unnecessary problems with getting my Emagic EMI 2l6 soundcare to allow multiple channel outs in OS X (which was the primary reason I bought the thing...)
I would hope that I could just give the drummer a loud mix of the electronics... when we play live the electronic mix is really the loudest thing on the stage (as at the moment we are playing without a drummer and its the only way to keep all the musicians on time)
We are currently looking for a drummer who will work with us and the in time program. Its been a struggle to find the right guy... which is weird, cuz we're in los angeles...
If anyone out there plays drums in the area and wants to give this program/approach a try and see how to get it to work, I would be very interested in talking to you.
I have personally decided to just sack up and buy the program and the converter and the triggers...
All I need now is a drummer and drum set.
I can't wait to try this out... I will of course post any success or lack thereof here.
I know this topic has been dead for a bit, but I'd like to hear also if anyone has tried this out or has had any success with it.
Thanks

Jinsai
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:05 pm

Ok. I finally tried it (the InTime program) today.. it works

Post by Jinsai » Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:53 am

I'm pretty floored by the possibilities of this... I know I haven't given it enough time yet (I just got it working a couple of hours ago) but already I'm seeing the potential.
Its a little bit awkward at first, but after about an hour of tweaking the buffer and practicing it starts to feel natural.
I still haven't got the preferences tweaked to my liking, but it seems like I'll be able to.
Admittedly, I'm not using it w/ an actual drum kit yet (at the moment I'm working with a guitar and a suitcase fitted with midi triggers that I'm tapping on :oops: )
but still.. there's no reason why it shouldn't work just as well with a real drumkit.. in fact, all signs seem to point towards it being easier and more natural feeling..
This is possibly the most exciting application of Ableton Live that I've seen.
imo: the guys at ableton should work with these guys and optimize this program for use with their software.
It could really change everything and open up alot of possibilities.
I hope.
I'll post any further discoveries or progress in general that I encounter with this approach.
But it seems like its gonna be something completely new.

Jinsai
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:05 pm

just thought I'd list my system's specs etc...

Post by Jinsai » Sat Mar 05, 2005 9:19 am

I'm running on a mac Powerbook G4, 800 mhz, with 756 mb SDRAM. I'm using OS X 10.2.8, using Ableton Live version 4.1
I'm running the midi clock out of Ableton and daisy chaining it thru my synths so that I can keep their midi-sync'd lfo's, mods, and on-board sequences in time with the speed fluctuations - as well as program parts for them to play using Live 4's midi data out. This chain ends by midi sync'ing the Kaoss Pad 2 to the same clock..
I still haven't tried using the midi syncable effects/sampling on the kaoss pad with this system...
But it seems to be working. Pretty amazing. The jury's not out, but I'm impressed...
It was a little bit of a pain at first routing the midi through Midi Patchbay, but as soon as I got intime talking to live it was only a matter of tweaking the knobs.
I'm stoked.
And the patchbay thing isn't a problem I guess for people running OS X 10.3

Jinsai
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:05 pm

wow...

Post by Jinsai » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:58 pm

Ok.. I've now been messing with this InTime program for several hours and I think its safe to say that its absolutely incredible...
This is essential.. even if you're mapping the tempo to a midi keyboard-played line...
It sorta changes everything.
8O
It took me a bit of adjusting, but I finally found three parameters to tweak if you're having problems with it following your timing...

1) Probably the most important is the Momentum, which "strengthens deliberate tempo changes".... its located in the 'Advanced Tracking' window.
By setting this paramter relatively high (I've found the best success with 11 to 12) it is MUCH easier to slow down the tempo and speed it up naturally... Especially with drums/rhythm input.. but its also essential to tweak this knob if you're controlling with a midi instrument... I've tried it as well with my controller keyboard.. it makes a huge difference...

2) you have to adjust the Tracking Bias which is also located in the Advanced Tracking menu window. I found that it worked better for me when I set it a little bit on the negative side... The help file says that its a "phenomenon" that makes it easier to speed up than slow down, and that may be true... I dunno.. but until I nudged this slider down a little bit, it was really hard to get the program to realize I was slowing down. Now it works perfectly at around -20

3) Also important it seems to set the tracking sensativity.. lets you figure out how busy you want to be without upsetting the clock it seems... also helps it to ignore any quiet notes I think... I'm still so new to this... there's another option I messed around with for this but I can't seem to locate where it was..

But even though I'm new to this, I can see how great it is... If this software isn't perfected yet, that's fine.. IT WORKS. In the most basic, functional sense, it WORKS!

I've been looking forever and this is the only thing that comes close... but it is so much better than just coming close... When I first started looking for something that would accomplish this, I wasn't expecting much. This is better than what I imagined it could be.

AND, it hardly puts any extra strain on your processor (or so it seems) if you only have the main taskbar open... I'm assuming the mini taskbar is even more effecient than the big one, but I've noticed no difference.

I may be gushing here but I'm in love with this~


A badly placed hit or note will not horribly offset the tempo on this thing if you have the settings right... or so it seems. It is a million times more accurate and live-feeling than clicking the tap tempo function in Ableton...
Speaking of which! if you want drastic changes in the tempo you can assign a separate signal to send a tapped tempo to the program for the next bar change... It seems to be more configurable than the tap tempo function in Ableton.
I still have yet to try some things out with this program... such as changing the time signature, which would be essential to the kind of music that I ideally want to make... but according to their website demo this is possible. I also need to of course spend a few more days messing with the settings to get it right...
Using this program with Ableton Live is perhaps the most expressive and amazing experience I have had with creating and playing electronic music. It changes everything, and I'm really really excited.
This is something completely unique... It's presenting itself as a potentially new and completely different and communicative outlet for me as an electronic musician.
It's kept me up, and I can't sleep I'm so juiced on this. It's almost 6:30am, and all I want to do is expirament more with this program.
The people who designed and coded this thing are brilliant imo. Seriously, if you're at all interested in this, grab the demo off their website and test it out with a midi keyboard. It takes a bit of adjusting to get it working right but once its running its pretty amazing. This is REALLY bridging the gap between the live group and the musician who uses prearranged looping software.

buzzcock
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Post by buzzcock » Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:13 pm

Hey Jinsai-

Glad to hear your success. I too have been interested in this concept for some time and InTime seems to be on the right path. From the videos on the circular logic website, it seems to work on a functional level but more akin to a "loose" band rather than a "tight" one. Still, it opens up a lot of possibilites for injecting otherwise sterile electronic tempos with more life.

Keep posting! :D
MBP C2D 2.33GHz---Metric Halo MIO 2882

Jinsai
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:05 pm

I think it'll work with a tight group as well...

Post by Jinsai » Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:29 pm

I believe it's all about how you set the preferences.. you can adjust the sensativity etc... to the point where if your drummer was really tight then the tempo would hardly waver... you can also trigger in rapid changes via a seperately sent tap click.
It's all pretty amazing.. but I'm having a couple problems fine tuning it at the moment... If I figure anything out I will post.

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