Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

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SamPull
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Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by SamPull » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:41 pm

Hi everyone,

I own Logic Pro and Ableton Live. I use the first for composing, recording, editing and mixing, and Live when I go on stage to perform my own music.
My live set is a bunch of songs, all prepared from the mixing sessions of each of them: bass channel, loops, channel, vocals channel (for live processing and looping), synths channel, and a lot more. Some are pure audio clips, some are instruments (with midi clips) and some are just routing channels, with monitoring on, for audio feeds processing and looping.
Having my all songs in one session allows me to do gigs that flow, with tracks blending into each other if I feel like, play songs in the order I feel like at the moment, and so on.
Most changes that the session requires when i go from one song to the next, are executed spot on using my MIDI controllers. Things like track level, track EQ, track send effects, are all adjusted remotely according to the currently playing track. Like many of you, when I'm on stage I always try to avoid touching the computer as much as possible. I feel it distracts us from the show into our little geek world we love so much when we're in our studio working.

Thanks for reading so far. I know that this setup and approach to Live on stage is everything but new to you and I'm pretty sure this is quite a common setup among Live users. Now my questions:

There are a few things i cannot adjust remotely that I would love you to help me out with either a way to adjust it remotely, or the quickest way to do it.
The first one is changing instrument presets, particularly impulse drum sets. Live doesn't accept program change messages, and the chain feature just eats up the processor, precious when we need the computer to be rock solid and very responsive. My quickest way so far is to drag and drop the preset from the browser to the track.
The second one relates to the first one. I use impulse for drum kits, as you've figured out already. I also use impulse's ability to route it's individual sounds to individual outputs. I then route the outputs according to drum parts. kick samples go to the same output, snares to another, hats to the following and so on. When I change to a different drum kit, the process is quite fast and easy, but now I need to re-route the individual sounds, because not all kits have the same amount of kick samples nor use the same slots consistently. My question is: without limiting my drum kit construction, forcing all kits to have the same number of drum parts in the exact same slots, is there a way to automate the preset change and it's routing settings?
Last but not least, I use 4 impulse tracks and 3 simpler tracks (for synths). some songs only use one of each, some use them all. Any ideas on how to change all 7 presets in one go?

Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for helping and sorry for the long post.

Peace.

Sam
O P E N M I N D . O P E N S O U R C E .

SamPull
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by SamPull » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:44 am

Is my post too long for a decent reply?....
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kleine
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by kleine » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:45 am

Hello,

I´m afraid that as long as Live does not make use of Preset changes via bank/program change messages, you´ll have to
either manually load different sounds/kits or use the chain selection feature.

Best,
Christian

SamPull
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by SamPull » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:50 am

bummer....

thanks anyway Christian.
I'll just practice my trackpad skills. ;-)

btw, is anyone at ableton working on the possibillity to use bank/program change messages?

peace.


Sam
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vanceg
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by vanceg » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:48 pm

kleine wrote:Hello,

I´m afraid that as long as Live does not make use of Preset changes via bank/program change messages, you´ll have to
either manually load different sounds/kits or use the chain selection feature.

Best,
Christian
This has long baffled me and strikes me as one of the largest holes in Live's functionality. I'd like to see preset switching (hotswapping) using MIDI Program Change messages, as well as the ability to take/recall snapshots of the entire mixer (all fader positions, sends, effect settings). These features would seem essential for a product designed for 'live' use. But it seems that most folks really don't mind relying on their mouse to recall presets. Those of us who play guitar or keyboard while using Live are just stuck.

Vance
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SamPull
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by SamPull » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:15 pm

vanceg wrote:
kleine wrote:Hello,

I´m afraid that as long as Live does not make use of Preset changes via bank/program change messages, you´ll have to
either manually load different sounds/kits or use the chain selection feature.

Best,
Christian
This has long baffled me and strikes me as one of the largest holes in Live's functionality. I'd like to see preset switching (hotswapping) using MIDI Program Change messages, as well as the ability to take/recall snapshots of the entire mixer (all fader positions, sends, effect settings). These features would seem essential for a product designed for 'live' use. But it seems that most folks really don't mind relying on their mouse to recall presets. Those of us who play guitar or keyboard while using Live are just stuck.

Vance
Hey Vance,

Thanks for sharing your frustration. For some reason, it feels a bit better to know I'm not just a geek wondering about super sophisticated features. Because they're not. And let me use your own words to point out something that really strikes me: Live is a very successful application and made it through this pro-audio apps world exactly because it was designed for live use. That's what makes it so special and with no match anywhere else. It just seems that the music-making fever caught Ableton's greed. Making music along the way is also fun and a pretty valid alternative to "traditional" music production.

Let's just hope someone at Ableton hears our call and make it a truely unbeatable LIVE machine.

Cheers.

Sam.
O P E N M I N D . O P E N S O U R C E .

pinkj
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by pinkj » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:04 pm

Hi there,

I'd just like to add that I fully agree with you guys: there's a need for some way of switching presets in Live. I'd like to be able to have different 'presets' all lined up with different synths / settings and even different instruments.

Ideally, it'd be as simple to change as pushing a +/- button or turning a knob on my controller.

Cheers,

Justin

MAGNETO_66
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by MAGNETO_66 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:06 pm

:D Well, so i'm NOT the only one felleing so frustrated because of the lack of "changing presets" by MIDI program change with Ableotn Live ... It would be so easy, so fast ... All we would like to use MIDI tracks with differents presets of operator, analog, etc etc ... and the same is for audio effects ... Choosing the presents browsing directories while the perfomance is going on look so DANGEROUS ... :cry: NO ONE really likes this solutions... all we want to manage big projects contaning ALL the songs we planned to perform ...and this means diferents presets, different settings etc etc ,,,, Midi Program change stored in a clip just seems to be the easiest and tha fastest solutions, especially if we want to "chain" some songs (or ALL of them), just like Chemical Brothers or Daft Punk use to do with theri gigs ... All we Hope that Ableton team will soon think about implementing midi program change for live devices/instruments ... And Live will become an even more fantastic SW on stage ... :-)
BYE
I AM MAGNETO ... MASTER of MAGNETISM :-)!

papadosio
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by papadosio » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:15 pm

Yeah this is the reason i use all 3rd party plugins for live performance. AU's that accept program change (Rob Papin's Blue, Vanguard, and Sampletank). Blue is definitely superior to Operator, but I would love to use Sampler instead of sampletank and so on..

Where do i sign up? Program and Bank change of Live's internal devices is a NEEDED Feature

NPC
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by NPC » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:05 am

i add my voice to the general frustration...at least they could make the hotswap button mappable to midi cc's..that (+ maybe midistroke for up, down&enter) would be a decent enough way to change presets for now...
but i must say, if creating chains with say 9 instances of operator is way too cpu consuming to be efficient, in the case of drums i do not agree with the op..my suggestion (which is the way i manage the midi-drum track in my main set) is: if you create a drum rack, then in say 8 slots you nest 8 other drum racks-one for kicks, one for snares, and so on..then in every one of these "lower level" racks you put say 8 kick-snare-so on samples and assign each of them to a different chain slot; then assign all of these chain selectors to the same macro knob of the upper level rack; and then map a button to scroll (i use "step" mode in my remote sl) through them from 1 to 8, you have a button switching between kits and you're using a drum rack which is some 2mb large..which is not that cpu-consuming after all-i did it without probs with my old ibook..
obviously the problem remains for vsti's and instruments in general, but (at least for me) this solved issues for drums..just my 2 cents.cheers
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Angstrom
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by Angstrom » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:42 am

I just want to add my voice to this,
even though it now sounds a bit "requesty" and so the thread will probably get moved.

Please let us change presets of racks on stage.
Most of my presets are racks of racks, and I'd love to be able to change them without using elaborate nesting chain select methods

Skylark
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by Skylark » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:55 pm

good thinking!
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ngermick
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by ngermick » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:38 am

For what it's worth, I too would love an easy way to change rack/instrument presets. But while we're on the subject of "elaborate nesting chain select methods", I have a set that uses multiple patches from the same instrument controlled live by a keyboard. Is it more processor efficient to:

1. Create multiple instances of the same plugin, each with a different patch loaded, and then select via the chain selector within a rack
or
2. Set up a single instance of the instrument on a separate track, send patch changes via a clip, and use the chain selector (in conjunction with some convoluted midi routing) to determine which track my keyboard is controlling

Any advice?

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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by Pitch Black » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:33 am

@ngermick,

I have tried using two approaches to using Live as a "sound module" for playing live keys with a band (i.e. no clips or sequences, just live instruments). The first was using a track for each song, with a Rack of Simplers/Samplers/Instruments in each track. I would select the active song from my MIDI keyboard by assigning the Track Record Arm buttons to MIDI notes, and assigning those notes to the 24 buttons on my ReMote 61. In the pic below Track 1 is armed:

Image

This proved to be not terribly stable. Sometimes Live would "forget" the Arm Exclusive setting in preferences and allow multiple tracks to be armed at once - not the best behaviour on stage. Also, I would someimes get random crashes that seemed to be associated with heavy MIDI input, such as playing busy percussion parts.

SO, I went for a new strategy. One Instrument track containing one Rack, inside that: one Rack Chain per song (Each chain contains Racks, and Racks within Racks etc, to allow for lots of splits and layers). I select songs from my ReMote by having the Chain Selector mapped to MIDI CC27, and each of the ReMote's buttons sending a set value of CC27 when pressed. The new set looks like this:

Image

This new set has been completely stable. No more spontaneous quits when playing heavily, and no accidental "layering" of songs/instruments to worry about. FYI I am using only native Ableton Instruments and FX: Mostly Samplers, Simplers and Impulse, with the occasional Analog, Tension and Electric.

So from my experience, a single track/Rack with Chain Selector has been the way to go. Using CPU-heavy 3rd party instruments might have a different result, who knows? But after a lot of adaptation and experimentation this is working well for me. The computer sits down at my feet and I don't have to look at it or touch it.

That said, it would be so much more convenient if the Chain Selector could recognise MIDI prog changes!

HTH
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Angstrom
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Re: Changing instrument presets and its routing on stage

Post by Angstrom » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:06 pm

I use something similar to Pitch Black's second method (chain select)
I have a main 'preset' rack which contains racks of 'presets', those presets themselves are formed from many sub-racks in chains.

The difference is in how I select the main presets. My preset rack sits in a dedicated playable track, the track is set to "monitor:in" and on that track there are 'preset clips' which control the chain select via a modulation envelope.

This means I can hit the Session pattern called "electric piano" and it will move the chain selector to the correct position that allows me to play the electric piano. As the parent track is set to monitor:in all my midi input is routed to the instrument rack.

This is the best solution I have found, because firstly: it lets you manually select presets via a midi keypress. Secondly , you can change presets based on session scene select - IE when you start a new song the appropriate 'change preset' clip is also triggered

having said all that it is an atrocious work-around, for many many reasons. Including: hardware controller does not show 'record arm' on that track, 'current preset' is only visible as an integer on a dial !, follow actions can FUBAR your current preset very easily, it's not related to midi-program change, etc, etc


I wish they would institute a 'performance rack', which allowed you to drop in those presets you might need, then allow you to program-change through them.


ages ago I proposed this
Image

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