can't get good workflow with Live

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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marble33
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:59 pm

can't get good workflow with Live

Post by marble33 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:03 pm

Hi all!
I own Live since a while now, though I can seldom find free time to use it :(

I still can't get productive with it... and can't find a workflow that is good for me.
Few years back I had used FL studio, and while that had a very intuitive user interface, in Live everything seems complicated, hidden, too much context dependent: even doing simple things seems to require deep knowledge of the software, and navigating through requires good memory on how things are organized (since I don't use it on a daily basis).
I also own an APC40, but that does not help much, as still lots of mouse clicking is required, even for simple things.

I'll try here to describe why I find complicated acquiring a workflow (well... the workflow I have in mind):

I want my clips to be 4/4, but I want their length predefined before I record them: I know you can stop the recording but I do not want to rely on my clicking on time (or pushing on time on the APC clip launch) to stop recording. Because my timing is bad, and because I anyway want them to be that length.
I noticed you can do that but you need to pre-create the clips.
So in the APC40 you don't know if that's an empty pre-created clip, or one already filled with notes.

How can you browse drum sounds while music is playing? I want to be able to trigger a sample from, say, a pad on a midi controller to preview it, and if I like it, load it (easily, with the push of a button, no drag-and-drop, no double-click) and use it in a sequence.

Do I really need to assemble a drum kit before start making music? I prefer choosing each individual sound according to how the composition evolves. The drum rack approach seems a bit rigid, even with hot-swapping (I want to hear a sound before I hot-swap it).

It seems I need to have templates prepared with empty clips, drumracks, arm-track settings, just to start making some music. Is this the way people normally work with Live? if so, are there example templates available to get started?

I want to be able to loop a clip and hear both notes I play on a midi controller, and those already already recorded.
Using Monitor=In you will only hear recorded notes, only while recording, while with Monitor=Auto, you can't hear notes you are playing but do not want to record. At least with is what happens with some drumracks? Why? How can you achieve that?
If you have a track armed, you can't just play over it, unless recording, so how can I just play in a loop and just record the last take? Shouldn't the midi overdub be meant just for this? sometimes it seems not work like this (e.g. with a drumracks), why this behavior is not consistent?

You still need to resort to computer keyboard and mouse to undo (e.g. in case I did not like last take of a midi overdub), change record quantization grid, delete a clip, or delete all notes in it... or is there a way around it?

Another thing which is very confusing for me is the relation between session view and arrangement view?
I am always working on the session view, but some events appear on the arrangement view as well...

I realize I am confused and confusing in this description of the issues I am facing. I have read several parts of the manual, but still haven't found a comfortable workflow... and that's quite frustrating, as I do this for hobby just to have some fun in the free time. I so want to learn this, but the whole thing is counter intuitive for me: I should be able to concentrate on music, not on the software interface!
I started thinking I should get a windows computer (I only have a Mac right now) and switch back to FL studio...

Thanks ahead for any reply, comment, suggestions about workflows, examples,...

Best regards,
Marco

Tone Deft
Posts: 23658
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:19 pm
Location: SF, CA

Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by Tone Deft » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:07 pm

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"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

djadonis206
Posts: 6488
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 4:23 pm
Location: Seattle, WA.

Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:37 pm

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djadonis206
Posts: 6488
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 4:23 pm
Location: Seattle, WA.

Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:39 pm

And I also forgot to say

this
meh
TLDR
Ableton | Elektron

Music

oddstep
Posts: 1732
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Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by oddstep » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:44 pm

:lol:
the problems with previewing notes.. where you want to play something and decide whether to overdub it or not onto the clip... that can be sorted by creating an additional midi track and routing its output to the track that is housing the instrument/playing the clip. yep, the APC40 doesn't totally replace a keyboard, you can't easily delete a clip either. Maybe check out Bome's midi translator for midi note to keystroke conversions. If you haven't got time to study the manual and simply want to bang out music, I'd recommend working only with audio clips. I really like midi within Live but it takes a fair bit of technical obsessing to get the hang of.

Rationalizer
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Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by Rationalizer » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:17 pm

Didn't read through your whole post but if you had good experience with FL, the answer to your dilemma seems quite obvious.
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ShelLuser
Posts: 4030
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:26 pm
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Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by ShelLuser » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:48 pm

It sounds to me as if you should use your imagination a bit more. And what Tone said; practice makes perfect.
marble33 wrote:I noticed you can do that but you need to pre-create the clips.
So in the APC40 you don't know if that's an empty pre-created clip, or one already filled with notes.
So work around it. I'd use one track as your "template track" and the other as the 'beta' track. For example; keep your template clip at the top and the moment you're ready to record some stuff control-drag the top clip into a clipslot below it (thus copying it) but keep the 2nd clip slot open. That will show on your APC as well.

Still; the more you work on a set the more you'll recall where you put stuff.
Do I really need to assemble a drum kit before start making music? I prefer choosing each individual sound according to how the composition evolves. The drum rack approach seems a bit rigid, even with hot-swapping (I want to hear a sound before I hot-swap it).
You don't have to, no. You can always start with the bass and fill in the percussion later ;)

As to hot-swap; you can hear a sound before using it.
It seems I need to have templates prepared with empty clips, drumracks, arm-track settings, just to start making some music. Is this the way people normally work with Live? if so, are there example templates available to get started?
'normally' is hard to define :) Anyway, IMO it depends. Last time I made a (very) simple song from scratch I just started looking for a nice sound preset, used that to build a melody, then picked "a" drumkit and laid out some percussion. Then did the same with the bass.

And then I started tweaking. I didn't want a 707 but it formed a solid basis. When I was done tweaking most of the 707 parts were gone. Same with the bass.

I hardly use predefined loops; instead I simply experiment and fix the mess later :twisted:
I want to be able to loop a clip and hear both notes I play on a midi controller, and those already already recorded.
Using Monitor=In you will only hear recorded notes, only while recording, while with Monitor=Auto, you can't hear notes you are playing but do not want to record. At least with is what happens with some drumracks? Why? How can you achieve that?
I'd just copy the track (control drag), arm the new one so it'll listen for midi input and then play the clip on the previous track. That way you can even careful mix the sound so you can put the accent on either the original material or your new played material (or both equally).
Another thing which is very confusing for me is the relation between session view and arrangement view?
I am always working on the session view, but some events appear on the arrangement view as well...
Only when you have global record turned on. Which then makes me wonder why you'd turn that on in the first place? ;-)

In short; both views share the same track whereas session view always takes priority. The easiest way is to setup your work in session view and when you're done building your scratchpad hit global record, start playing your stuff and it'll record the whole kaboodle into the arrangement.

But you don't need global record when building your set in session view. After all; all the individual clips have their own record buttons.

Thats also the whole basic idea behind Live. Build your stuff in session view piece by piece, setup your separate tracks (lead, percussion, base for example) and then when you have that all setup you're ready to mess with it.

But practice makes perfect.
With kind regards,

Peter

Using the 'Power' Trio: Live 10 Suite (+ Push & Max 8 ), Reason 10 and Maschine Mk3 (+ the ultimate Komplete 12).
Blog: SynthFan (under heavy construction!)

Jekblad
Posts: 2351
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Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by Jekblad » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:54 pm

good folks here!
2.4 ghz Macbook Pro 8gb RAM, SSD, Live 9 Suite, Puremagnetik, Minimal Talent

Meef Chaloin
Posts: 2164
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:09 pm

Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by Meef Chaloin » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:31 pm

marble33 wrote: I want my clips to be 4/4, but I want their length predefined before I record them: I know you can stop the recording but I do not want to rely on my clicking on time (or pushing on time on the APC clip launch) to stop recording. Because my timing is bad, and because I anyway want them to be that length.
I noticed you can do that but you need to pre-create the clips.
You don't need to predefine clip length really, or rather it is very easy to do. Just set the global launch quantize to the size clip you want and press the launch button twice (you can do it quickly, one after the other), it will stop recording after the amount of quantize time has passed. I assume you can launch clips with the APC?

Tone Deft
Posts: 23658
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Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by Tone Deft » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:19 am

cheers funken and Shelluser for the detailed posts, respect.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

ShelLuser
Posts: 4030
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Wageningen, Netherlands

Re: can't get good workflow with Live

Post by ShelLuser » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:39 am

Tone Deft wrote:cheers funken and Shelluser for the detailed posts, respect.
Nah, same goes to you, no kidding here. Some people like to expand on details and others give a jesting but well meant "slap" over the head. And together....

I can't even imagine the time it took you to copy/paste all that stuff in :-)
With kind regards,

Peter

Using the 'Power' Trio: Live 10 Suite (+ Push & Max 8 ), Reason 10 and Maschine Mk3 (+ the ultimate Komplete 12).
Blog: SynthFan (under heavy construction!)

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