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 Post subject: Live looping tutorial (orig. posted on bomes site)
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:17 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
First off, my apologies if this is duplicating something already around in the pages of discussion on this site, but after the hours of writing, testing and documenting this, I really don't have the time to read through threads and threads of ideas that don't work as well as this, just to make sure someone hasn't already documented it. My sincere apologies if they have.

This tutorial documents a kid-beyond style rig that requires an absolute minimum of button presses. hit '1' to record on to '1' - hitting '3' will turn '1' off automatically without you having to worry, leave it looping and so on. I've also included a bouncedown consolidation feature that captures all recorded tracks into a fresh loop, then leaves you to start with a fresh 8 tracks free, all your parts copied and a bounced mix looping away happily.

It uses mid-complexity bomes MTPro setup, but the steps should be easy enough to follow. I would also welcome any feedback on the setup or the tutorial, which I've tried to make as clear as possible:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:17 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
Machine-gun Overdubbing using Ableton Live and Bome's Midi Translator Pro.

Like many people, I was blown away by the Kid Beyond video on the Ableton site, and seeing as I've been using Ableton for years I thought I'd give it a whirl and try and duplicate the elegant simplicity of his rig. The challenge was this: to keep to an absolute minimum the need for button (or pedal) presses, to keep everything automatically synced and to remove the need for a screen. As an added bonus, I want to be able to save everything I record, and to resample whatever is looping in the same easy way as I record layers.

The rig I've developed has 8 buttons, for 8 tracks. Hit 1 to start recording on track one at the start of the next bar. Hitting 2 will start recording on track 2 at start of the next bar while track 1 continues playing back what you've just recorded. You can continue this for any track, simply hit the next destination, and at the end of the bar, you'll start recording on the new destination track. Hitting the same button as the track you are recording will stop the recording process, and leave all the clips you just recorded looping cleanly.

Doing this on channel 8 is different. Channel 8 will resample the result, stop all the other clips, insert a new layer, copy the stopped clips in to save later, and empty out all the recording slots so you can continue adding stuff in. I usually have a high pass and low pass filter ready on this channel to allow me to remove the tops or bottoms to give some sonic space for more layering.

It would be pretty poor form of me to brag about what a great setup I've got without showing you *exactly* how to do it yourself, so that's what I'll do next. Hopefully you'll learn some useful tips and tricks along the way. With some of the techniques used here you can really take control of ableton and make live setups that finally free you from the dreaded mouse, bane of electronic musicians everywhere. If you take everything that's cool about a guy on stage with a load of noise screaming out of an electric guitar, and then try and imagine it's polar opposite, it's the sight of a mouse and a laptop.

Preparation
You will need:

Ableton Live (obviously).

Bome's Midi Translator Pro (free for 30 days , but once you learn how to use it in this tutorial you'll want it all year round) – you can use the free version if you like, but you will not be able to completely automate the cleanup macro that I use for the resampling without assigning an extra button and remembering to press it after the bar ends. Timers in MTPro are incredibly useful tools.

An external midi controller with a free key or button per track. I developed this using a Tascam US-428 (in 'four control banks' mode) so my 8 track buttons send the Midi notes E0 - B0. In the following setup screens, whenever you see [Note On #1:F#0, vel 127] replace it with whatever midi information your midi controller squirts out. I have also developed a version of this rig specifically for the US-428 which controls the on-board LEDs to show you which channel is recording (flashing red) and which have been recorded to already (steady red). I will release a further tutorial at a later date if there is demand.

A modicum of technical knowledge about your PC and MIDI is required. I'll document in reasonable detail, but If I write so a chimp could do it, it will make for very boring reading...continued in next post....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:18 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
The Ableton Setup:

Preparation:

Important: Turn off the Options/Computer MIDI Keyboard, as it will prevent you from accessing keys you need to use for automation.

In Preferences/Record Warp Launch and make sure Exclusive/Arm is deselected as we will have to arm 8 tracks at once.

Set quantize to 1 bar

Creating the Ableton Rig:
We're going top create 9 audio tracks and set them up as follows:
Image

Create 9 audio tracks & name them. Track 9 will be used as an input strip.

For tracks 1-7:
Choose '9-Input' as the input source, turn monitoring to 'off' and arm for recording.

Track 8:
Choose 'resampling' as the input source, turn monitoring to 'off' and arm for recording.

Track 9:
Choose your external audio source as input, set monitoring to 'in'.

Finally, set up the keyboard assignments as follows, placing the number keys into the top row of cells on tracks 1-8 and the top row of letters q-i into the 'stop' buttons on the first 8 clips and SHIFT+1 through 8 into the channel selection cell.

Image

Now save that template. You can play with it just using the number keys if you like, the basic functionality is all there and even on it's own, this template can be useful. For troubleshooting purposes , I recommend turning off all Midi input at this point until you have everything running.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:18 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
BOME's MIDI Translator Pro (MTPro)

Preparation & Theory:

Set the Midi In to come from your Midi device.

We are going to set up several MTPro presets, and switch between them. The basic theory is that when recording on channel x, we need to add an extra keystroke to turn that channel off when we're done. There are 4 distinct types of preset, one of which will be copied & amended 7 times for tracks 1-7.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:19 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
Preset [Safe]
This is the preset we need to select before we start recording in Ableton. It simply captures your 8 incoming Midi notes and changes preset accordingly.
Image
Preset [Always Active]
Now go to Preset/Edit ”Always Active” Preset and add these translators (remember, you can cut & paste these from preset [safe] to copy those incoming note assignments).
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:19 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
With Preset [safe] selected, when we press 1-8, two things will happen. The keypress '1-8' will be sent through to ableton, starting recording on that channel, and MTPro will flip to a new preset:

Preset [rec 1]
Here's the active preset for recording on channel 1. The first bank of 8 translators add an additional keystroke of '1' to stop recording on this channel – note that this translator is turned off for channel 1.

The second bank of translators deals with preset switching. In all cases apart from the first this can be copied & pasted from [safe], but notice that preset 1 switches back to safe.
Image
Presets [rec 2] – [rec 7]
These are variants on the above. You can copy and paste [rec 1] and simply change the following 3 properties:
Image
Make sure that the translator 'rec again' is turned off for the channel you are currently editing.

Change the keystroke to match.

Only switch to [safe] on the channel you are editing.

If you examine the red highlighted areas from the two graphics it should be fairly obvious how the rest pan out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:19 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
[rec 8]
This final channel is used for resampling. I have split the final timer-triggered key command into several parts for ease of reading, but it could be done with a single translator.
Image
The first bank of translators tells clips 1-7 to stop playing at the end of the bar.

The second bank will start a timer called mixdown. This needs to last longer than 1 bar at the tempo you are recording at – my choice of 3.5 seconds allows me to safely record as low as 75 bpm. Any lower and there's a small [possibility my cleanup could be triggered before the end of the bar. If you plan on recording slower than this you may need to increase this delay time, or you may wish to speed it up for better response.

The final sequence of commands are triggered from the timer in top-down order. It starts by capturing and inserting the current scene (CTRL+SHFT+I), selects the next track (SHFT+1-7) then copies and pastes the now stopped clips 1-7 into the new slots created for them (Up CTRL+X Down CTRL+V), deletes a stray on 8(Up Del), leaves the resample playing on track 8 and finally shifts back to [safe].

In Use:
We should be ready to go. Fire up MTPro, select the [safe] preset.

Fire up Ableton and load the scene we created earlier.

Hit play.

From now on, all your recording is managed through the 8 buttons/keys we've assigned. Hit 1 and start recording, hit it again when you're finished (before the end of the last bar), or hit another channel to immediately start recording on that channel instead. If you want to resample that to a single loop, hit button eight to start resampling and any button again to stop, thus allowing you to easily set any loop size for your resampled loop.

That's it. Couldn't be simpler in operation.

You can download the final files to tinker with here: http://www.mohawkmedia.co.nz/MGO1files.zip

I hope this tutorial has been of help. If anyone can think of ways to streamline this, make it better, or just abuse it in cool ways, let me know! Please send any feedback to chelfyn@gmail.com. Cheers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:52 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:34 am
Posts: 742
Location: Melbourne, Australia
thanks thats really great..

:D :D :D


if someone could be so kind as to do something similar for os X users the world would be a happy place

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 6:12 pm 

Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 10:10 pm
Posts: 2264
you are my hero.

btw, hitting key 1 to start recording on track 1, then hitting key two will continue recording on the first track, aswell as start a recording on track 2.

is it just me?
not a problem for me really, but just out of curiosity :)

edit, yeah, i re-read the whole thing and guess what. its just me. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 4:35 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
to clarify:

'1' to start recording on ch1.

If you hit '2', then at the end of the bar you will start recording on ch2 and stop recording on ch1. ch1 will automatically start seamlessly looping.

If you hit '2' a second time you will stop recording on 2 and go back to safe mode. You can then choose to continue recording more channels, or use channel 8 to mixdown by hitting '8' to start recording and '8' again to stop.

a note about the mixdown - it takes a bar to handle clean up after your last button press.

Hopefully that clears things up.


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 Post subject: Translator Mac?
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:53 pm 

Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 1:47 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Cologne/Germany
Aloha
Thanks for the tutorial ! Great !
I just switched to Live6 from Logic (using since ´94)
Do you have an idea what software i can use for mac instead of the midid translator ?

is there a way to use just computer keys to launch the tracks?

Thanks a lot !

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:35 pm
Posts: 49
brilliant!

i looked into sorting out live looping once, but soon got bogged down in far too many button presses and tracks. this looks like an elegant solution, i'll try it out as soon as i can and let you know how i get on.

thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:05 pm
Posts: 2054
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Put this post in the sticky at the top!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 12:34 am 

Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 10:10 pm
Posts: 2264
+1 for sticky.

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 Post subject: Re: Translator Mac?
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 1:45 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:00 pm
Posts: 25
DerBreuer wrote:
Do you have an idea what software i can use for mac instead of the midid translator ?

is there a way to use just computer keys to launch the tracks?
Thanks a lot !


you could try midiStroke, but apparantly it's buggy. There's a good thread here with several solutions, and this thread describes fooling ableton into thinking an FCB1010 is a mackie control board, which may help.

Here's a keyboard only ableton setup:

To work with keys only, here's a picture with all the info you need. Pay careful attention to the IO assignments and the fact that 1-8 are permanently armed. It's not 'monophonic' like the MTPro controlled rig described above, so you have to turn off recording on each channel.

In operation, you start by hitting '1', then stop by hitting '1' again. if instead you'd wanted to continue on track 2, you'd have hit '1' and '2' together. not quite as smart, and no automixdown cleanup goodies on ch8, but not bad for an ableton only solution. Download it here if you like

Image


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