Push as performance controller

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JES
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:52 pm

Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:18 pm

Hi All,

How are people finding Push as a performance controller? I'm especially interested in people who are doing some time of controllerism in performing their own electronic music as opposed to just launching clips and managing send effects. I'm starting to put together a new live set based on my last record. I use Numerology in Push's User mode as a step sequencer, and I'm starting to think between that and launching clips, I might want something else for device control in real time--either my iPad with touchAble (fun but can I really trust a screen Live?) or a box of knobs. I had been using an Octatrack for performance, which I loved some parts of but not others. I've added Smart as a sort of kluge for scenes, and started getting deeper into Sampler (in combination with Numerology) to get some OT-like tricks going.

Any recommendations would be appreciated, even just videos.

Thanks.

--JES

Retape
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by Retape » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:09 pm

How are you using Numerology with the Push? Tell us a bit about that. :)

TomViolenz
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:02 am

Retape wrote:How are you using Numerology with the Push? Tell us a bit about that. :)
+1

JES
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:52 pm

Re: Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:40 pm

Retape wrote:How are you using Numerology with the Push? Tell us a bit about that. :)
Hi Folks --

Fair enough. Buckle up. This will take awhile. It's also idiosyncratic to what I want to do. If you're a DJ, probably this is not the ideal way to go. My background is as a bassist for like 30-odd years, and so I approach Live more as an instrument (a very complicated one).

Background: Numerology 4 is still in (more or less public) beta. That's what allows Push functionality, where the Push basically gets programmed in the same way as the Launchpad. So I'm running Numerology in user mode rather than PXT-Live (and wishing Ableton would allow multiple user modes so i could do both).

For an overview of how Numerology works with the Launchpad, look here: http://five12.com/t-lpad1.html (there is also a handy reference document somewhere on the site).

If the rest is tl;dr, you can get what you need from Jim's tutorials above. And my questions are at the very end.

NOW, what is this good for over Live's very capable step sequencer? Lots of things: overall, I feel like the Numerology sequencers are more "playable" in real time than Live's or at least more fun for me; ratcheting is also possible, which is always fun live. Changing sequence length or parts of sequence length on the fly for another (and independently of Live's time signature or clip length). Running multiple sequencers to control a single sequence (e.g., 3 against 2 drum rhythms; hard syncing multiple time signatures). Modulating modulators. Using the IAC bus (it's slightly wonky but explained on the Five12 forums) you can step sequence effects or device parameters. Again, you COULD do that in Live, but not on a return track, and it would be more fiddly to edit in realtime in performance than it is with Numerology. Also, I happen to love the drumseq with Battery (though it's good with drum racks too). I am not that into finger-foo drum programming, and the drumseq is very good for a variety of velocities, etc, which make rhythms much more sonically interesting. My normal way of working is to set up two drumseqs in a single stack so that the cymbals and percussion can be programmed and modulated independently of the kick and snare.

If you know step sequencing, it's the best thing out there by leaps and bounds. Also, while Live's clips are great for a lot of things, they are sometimes too static in terms of what I want to do while actually playing the music (as in the decisions were all made ahead of time and are a hassle to change).

I've been performing a Live set on the Octatrack, which I love in many ways but is limited in others, and now that I have a modular synth setup as well, Numerology and Silent Way are just too good to pass up for that, which means I am trying to transition my instrument as it were.

So what I'm doing with Numerology and Ableton is much more conceptually like the Octatrack. Keep in mind that I'm just getting started here and haven't performed live yet with this setup (first gig is in September, so I've got time to practice).

1. I am using Numerology to step sequence sliced-to-MIDI beats (very easy to rearrange a chopped up drum beat on the fly, without the randomness of the many instant remix plugs unless I want that). I tend to prefer the mono note for this--the OT is monophonic and I like that limit here.

2. I am also using it to control Samplers and drum racks full of sounds. I've produced these lovely granular drones and swarms using various plugs like DensityM4L that I would want to use Live (too processor intensive and adds too much instability). So I render long drones, dump them into sampler or drum racks depending on what I want to do, and then can sequence them using Numerology. Some fun Octatrack things I've reproduced include: sequencing changes of samples, getting a groove going and then modulating ADSR (just turning knobs, though that too could be automated). Because it's easy to program velocity, I can use Sampler's zones to switch samples or offsets or just about whatever I want.

3. I am step sequencing effects and parameters on other tracks (especially returns) via MIDI learn.

A few other notes on my setup: on Push, I have turned off global quantize so that I can trigger scenes instantly. I use time signatures and BPM on scenes so that I can mess with those things and then quickly get back to where I was before. Most clips also have quantize turned off (using scenes I can sync things when I want). Next up: MIDI footswitches to trigger sends (dub style) and turn stuff on and off.

What I miss from the Octatrack most: quickly switching channels to grab a parameter and turn a knob (it is a little more fiddly on Push, especially since I have to move in and out of user mode). I really miss what Elektron calls scenes and the crossfader (this works very differently from Live). Isotonik's SMART is kind of close if you don't need to automate more than 8 parameters at once and set it up smartly (har har) but it's not the same. I also really miss the "reload" function on the OT, where you can completely mess everything up, make it go crazy, and then hit a button and you're back at "home base" -- this is great for Live improvisation with a net. Nothing sounds like crap for more than a couple seconds if I don't want it to (vs some "fully improvised" sets I've seen where people take forever to get to something actually listenable while they're messing around, or lose a groove in search of another one).

WHAT I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT: Push has some designed in limits, like no crossfader access, and how it deals with switching and selecting tracks and devices. It makes a lot of sense as a compositional tool but as a performance controller I have a tough time getting my head around some aspects of it. I have been playing around with touchAble (also, it gets me the crossfader) on my iPad but I don't really know if a touchscreen is my thing. Very fun at home but I worry sweaty fingers etc will make it harder to deal with in a situation where someone might actually care to hear what I'm doing. X-Y pads are one way to mess things up and get "home" quickly with presets. Another option would be a box of knobs (BCR2000 or Livid Code) or something so I'd have instant parameter access.

the record that is being made live is here: http://buddhacurtain.bandcamp.com (live versions are longer and more varied)

TomViolenz
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:36 pm

This all sounded quite interesting and it's easy to feel your exitement for your set up, but I hardly understood a thing you wrote.

Lets focus only on Numerology right now and not on your whole unique set up, to make it simpler.

Also I would rather you would compare the functionality to PXT, because I think anyone who is serious about using Push for live performance probably uses this and since you stated it would take its place in the User slot, it has to compete with it.

When you say it's basically identical to the functionality that is implemented from Numerology for the Launchpad, does that mean it takes no advantage of anything but the 8x8 grid and the side buttons?! That sounds wastefull.

Also when you talk about different time signatures (something I care a lot about) could you explain a workflow where you can enter notes in two different time signatures at the same time. Is the grid split?!
How easy/fast is it to switch between different time signatures and how does it visually look on the grid.

What I was also always interested in with Numerology are the different emphasis modi per note (pinky up, down etc.) how is that implemented to be entered via Push. Also, can you switch parts of a sequence on the fly or skip them (only play bar 3 and 7 for instance, then 2 button presses and then you play bar 4 and 1?! - in that order)

I would also consider (especially if it is really just copying the Launchpad functionality of Numerology and doesn't use the encoders) to just get a Launchpad (MK1 can be had for 80 bucks on Ebay) in addition to Push/PXT. Or would that be not as good?!

As a last thing I want to point out something not many people seem to know, and that is that each control surface can have its own NoteRepeat. So it is absolutely possible (I use this) to have one pad controller repeat half notes and one half note tripletts at the same time (2 over 3). It does involve clyphx and a little "hack" I made for it though.

JES
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:52 pm

Re: Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:03 pm

TomViolenz wrote:This all sounded quite interesting and it's easy to feel your exitement for your set up, but I hardly understood a thing you wrote.
ha!

TomViolenz wrote: Lets focus only on Numerology right now and not on your whole unique set up, to make it simpler.

Also I would rather you would compare the functionality to PXT, because I think anyone who is serious about using Push for live performance probably uses this and since you stated it would take its place in the User slot, it has to compete with it.
I don't know PXT that well, so I think you'll have to answer that for yourself.
TomViolenz wrote: When you say it's basically identical to the functionality that is implemented from Numerology for the Launchpad, does that mean it takes no advantage of anything but the 8x8 grid and the side buttons?! That sounds wasteful.
Yes, from a controller standpoint, but Numerology is a step sequencing application, and a very powerful one, which means you can do a lot with it that you can't with Live's step sequencer.
TomViolenz wrote: Also when you talk about different time signatures (something I care a lot about) could you explain a workflow where you can enter notes in two different time signatures at the same time. Is the grid split?!
How easy/fast is it to switch between different time signatures and how does it visually look on the grid.
No, you have to switch between sequencers. Right now, let's say you've got a drum rack and you want the kick and snare in 4, and then to vary the hats. You'd have two different drum sequencers set up, and hit "browse" to select between them. On the hats, you'd program your beats. You could have multiple ones (via presets) and then in real time select the number of steps that the pattern plays AND if and how it hard syncs with the kick and snare.
TomViolenz wrote: What I was also always interested in with Numerology are the different emphasis modi per note (pinky up, down etc.) how is that implemented to be entered via Push. Also, can you switch parts of a sequence on the fly or skip them (only play bar 3 and 7 for instance, then 2 button presses and then you play bar 4 and 1?! - in that order)
There are a bazillion way to do that. You can easily add and remove steps or groups of steps, though keep in mind that on the launchpad Numerology is currently only 32 steps (I think he's working on this). What I'd do is arrange a sequence and then sequence it with another sequencer that's moving more slowly, which could select different bars.
TomViolenz wrote: I would also consider (especially if it is really just copying the Launchpad functionality of Numerology and doesn't use the encoders) to just get a Launchpad (MK1 can be had for 80 bucks on Ebay) in addition to Push/PXT. Or would that be not as good?!
Right now that could be great for you. Though it doesn't solve my problem, which is about device selection and knobs and stuff (see the end of my post).
TomViolenz wrote: As a last thing I want to point out something not many people seem to know, and that is that each control surface can have its own NoteRepeat. So it is absolutely possible (I use this) to have one pad controller repeat half notes and one half note tripletts at the same time (2 over 3). It does involve clyphx and a little "hack" I made for it though.
Brilliant.

TomViolenz
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:47 pm

JES wrote:
Brilliant.
If you wanne know how, I can give you a quick intro and a link to my "hack"

I'll give a quick intro of my set-up involving Push.

I mostly use PXT. Why?!
Here:

Multi Pad stepseq for drum Racks.
-So 8 lanes = 8 different pads.
-switching between grid sizes is quick
- selecting of what to edit in the sequencer and what is actually looping is easy.
- Several sequencers for loop length and start marker.
One with 32 steps each
One with only 8 steps, BUT, for 8 clips in parallel.
-Access to DrumRack sends via the encoders!!!

But I have other controllers too, and intergrating them all together is my project at the moment (the "hack" mentioned above came baout, when working on this)
One controller is a Maschine MK1. this one is only focused on my DrumRack. The 8 pad groups(8 buttons switch between them) all play the same 16 pads on the DrumRack but each ones Aftertouch (its independent per pad!) is assigned to a different effect that I have on each chain of the DrumRack. When I don't hit the pads and only press, then it only adds the aftertouch effects to the drum hits that are already playing or that I enter on my other controllers.
The 8 side buttons access 24 different NoteRepeat rates from 1/1 dotted to 1/16 triplets. (Shift buttons implemented using Bomes MT)

The encoders have device control and I assigned the buttons to be my device/controller distribution and lock hub.

My next controller is a Nocturn.
First it has of course device control.
So with Push/Maschine/Nocturn I can control 3 devices at the same time. Which controller is locked to which device gets distributed via the aforementioned distribution hub on my Maschine. (Using clyphx)
The same hub functionality is doubled in PXTs acessory mode, so I have it on Push too)
The Next page on the Nocturn does something very cool:
The 8 encoders are assigned to notes not CCs (yes, Automap lets you do this, which made me make my peace with this before dreaded software), so turning the knobs plays my drum rack notes. The special thing comes when I turn on NoteRepeat for the Nocturn (I told you each control surface can have its own). Now turning the encoder from 0->1 turns the note on in repeat mode (no holding a pad, it's just on!) turning it further up and down increases/decreases the velocity of the repeated notes.

What is a really cool use of this is when you have this for instance on a 1/4th repeat and you entered notes in the stepsequencer on the steps that are not 1/4th. Now when you just play the clip you hear the stepsequenced notes and when you turn up the encoder the 1/4th notes get slowly added. Turning the encoder down removes them again! So you change between different rythms gradually by turning an encoder!
I often have the 8 lane stepsequencer of PXT and these 8 encoders (for the same 8 pads) open at the same time and I play by either turning the encoder or by adding removing steps in the sequencer!

The last controller I have is a Launchpad. This one is not fully implemented yet in my set up. But my plans are to add LPC2 to it (the script for the Launchpad from the maker of PXT) And it basically doubles the PXT functionality concerning the grid.
So I can have another 8 lane stepsequencer open on the same clip (or a different one). This can be the same region but at a different time signature, or a different part of the clip or the other 8 pads of my drumrack.

You could of course also double the aforementioned clip looper functionality this way.

I never touch the mouse!

Much of this uses products and tools(clyphx) from Stray over at NativeKontrol. So, many, many thanks go out to him!!!

I think Numerology would have to add way more than it does, to make me remove PXT from the User slot.
A half hearted implementation just copying its Lauchpad approach and not using the encoders won't cut it!
Last edited by TomViolenz on Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JES
Posts: 103
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:48 pm

One other thing to remember: Numerology Push functionality is still in beta, and Jim is very interested in figuring out things to do with all the buttons and knobs. . . .

JES
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:52 pm

Re: Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:04 pm

Thanks Tom. I can see how that works--but it's complex! I think you might like Numerology for the detailed control, but you can try it out with your underutilized launchpad and probably be perfectly happy.

I'm also interested in all the controllers you have. Do you perform with all of them at once? I'm just wondering about adding one thing to Push for more instant gratification around devices.

--JES

TomViolenz
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:58 pm

JES wrote: I'm also interested in all the controllers you have. Do you perform with all of them at once? I'm just wondering about adding one thing to Push for more instant gratification around devices.

--JES
Not yet, but that's certainly the plan.

It sounds only so complex to you, because it's not your set-up.
You have to keep in mind, that all the funtionality I described is precisely there because I made it so.

I think if you plan to play a controller based set like an instrument (which is my goal) then you better build it yourself.
It's so much easier to train your muscle memory if you programed all these buttons yourself.

The Maschine controller is great, because it is very good (many buttons and encoders, great pads and independent Aftertouch for each pad) and it has the Controller Editor (something Push should have too!). But I use it because I already owned it. I'm sure an MPD32 or other pad controllers could be tweaked equally well.

If you program your controllers you also come at it from a different perspective. The question is not anymore: How do I use this functionality for my purposes, but, how do I get the controller to do what I need. And what you need usually becomes apparent through use.
So when you use Push and you constantly think: Damn, I wish I could tweak the EQ on the other track at the same time as the one on this. You set out to make it happen. So you will need two controllers with 8 encoders (you should set up EVERYTHING in racks if you play live, banking is ok for sound design at home, but live play demands focus!). So you will need a way to make controller one take control over the first EQ and controller two over the other. So you need something to distribute it.
(The way the Push script does it is quite good, but there is no track select on the same page as device select and it totaly lacks lock functionality, which you will need because Live has only one blue hand)
So you build it yourself.
This is how you build out a controller set up. First comes a desired workflow, then the imagined implementation and then the actual controller with the right combination of buttons and knobs.
For the functionality aspect, there is almost nothing in Live that Clyphx can't somehow achive, and the few things it can't do (like encoder control) can be made possible if you use Bomes MT.

So why am I planing on incorporating these four controllers?! Because I already owned them (and I'm always tight on money).

But then there always comes a point where there is a need that has to be filled to complete the set up. Right now that's volume faders for me. So I'm looking at the new APC Mini, because it has faders (and another clip grid, for which some cool guy like Stray is probably gonna develop a step sequencer for :mrgreen: )

braduro
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by braduro » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 pm

I like the full-scale APC for that x-fader. If they could have incorporated one with the mini...
Listened to your soundcloud, TV, very sculptural and evolving!
And now that I've done my best buttering up, might I take a look at that Clyphx script as well? The one that permits separate note repeats for each controller? :P

JES
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Re: Push as performance controller

Post by JES » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:05 pm

I think if you plan to play a controller based set like an instrument (which is my goal) then you better build it yourself.
It's so much easier to train your muscle memory if you programed all these buttons yourself.
This thread showing up in my inbox reminds me to thank Tom profusely for encouraging me to do my own thing. I had messed around with Lemur and Livecontrol before (very clever but too crowded). This weekend, I decided to make my own performance controller on the iPad to complement Push. It's perfect. AMAZING. Best advice I've gotten on the internet in a long time. . . .

So thank you!

TomViolenz
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:51 pm

braduro wrote:I like the full-scale APC for that x-fader. If they could have incorporated one with the mini...
Listened to your soundcloud, TV, very sculptural and evolving!
And now that I've done my best buttering up, might I take a look at that Clyphx script as well? The one that permits separate note repeats for each controller? :P
Well, that's just a general clyphx thing.

So let's say you have two scripts for two different controllers loaded in Lives preferences. (they both need to have access to drum sounds, if the script you have doesn't do that, just use a user remote script)
And in a third slot you load Clyphx.
My two examples are Push and Maschine:
Now if you use clyphx via x-clips (in the end you would probably want to assign this to a Midi controller though)
You can just name one clip: [] CS"Maschine" Rpt 1/4
And another clip: [] CS"Push" Rpt 1/8

And as soon as you trigger the clips the note reapeat for the Maschine when you press its pads is going to be 1/4th while the one on Push is going to be 1/8th.

So pressing pads on both controllers at the same time will trigger the repated note(s) at different rates.

It would be easier for me to help, if I knew the controllers you are using and how you address them (what script).

A few things:
1:) On the clyphx forums I posted a thread in which I made available a modification to one of the Clyphx files which makes available many more repeat rates than are mentioned in the clyphx manual. (Dotted Notes and slower rates than 1/4th for example)
2:)Swing is always global, so turning up Swing will affect both rates the same.
3:) a big disadvantage of doing it this way is that all reapeat rates hit on the 1.
This means: lets say you have 1/4th (4 note per bar) and 1/4T (6 notes per bar) Both are going to hit their first note on the 1 and then just distribute the other notes differently until the bar finishes. This is often not so great, as you would like to move the two Midi streams relative to each other so they can also hit the spaces between the notes of the other.

I finally managed to move around this limitation, but it involved routing Midi around Live with Bomes MT.
(But this also allowed me to get individual Swing per rate and have different rates on one controller)

I may share the result of my endevours if there is interest and it's possible to do so with the free MT Player.

TomViolenz
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Push as performance controller

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:57 pm

JES wrote:
I think if you plan to play a controller based set like an instrument (which is my goal) then you better build it yourself.
It's so much easier to train your muscle memory if you programed all these buttons yourself.
This thread showing up in my inbox reminds me to thank Tom profusely for encouraging me to do my own thing. I had messed around with Lemur and Livecontrol before (very clever but too crowded). This weekend, I decided to make my own performance controller on the iPad to complement Push. It's perfect. AMAZING. Best advice I've gotten on the internet in a long time. . . .

So thank you!

I'm knee deep in Bomes MT at the moment to reprogram my Maschine controller and Launchpad and the possibilities are just crazy endless. 8O 8)

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