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Author Topic: Ableton Help Thread  (Read 7449 times)

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February 22, 2011, 07:12:28 AM
Reply #15

A'damn

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Not really.

Quick analogy:

I love the band Blur. So I go see Blur live. Do they make up entirely new songs on the fly or do they play the same chord progression for the chorus of Bugman that I know and love? They play the same chord progression because that is the song that they are playing.


What Squee described is a very good and easy way to piece together the clips of each song in a live environment. It sounds like they have a loose structure to work with, but then jam out certain areas, much like the guitar solo/bridge of some songs when seeing Ween live.
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February 22, 2011, 02:19:41 PM
Reply #16

psyren

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but then jam out certain areas.

ohhh thats a good idea =]
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February 22, 2011, 02:21:24 PM
Reply #17

squee.isme

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our set is broken into movements... there are parts in which we know that we do not want to mess with the original very much, and then parts that we want to stay in as long as we feel like.  even in the parts that have a follow action, the track is still broken into 8 stems, so we still have control over it. 

basically, it would go like this... we start the intro of a track, and that plays for x measures and then automatically goes into a 'jam' section.  the jam section is a part in which i have predecided how the track will loop so that we can stay in that jam for as long as we feel like, going in any direction that we feel like.  when kevin and i have decided its time to move on, i will trigger the next movement, which will usually entail a break and then go back into the track.  rinse and repeat. 

every track of ours has 2 to 5 jam sections where we can go wherever we want. 

the biggest trick to the whole thing is how we break tracks down from logic and how we use them in ableton.  when you have 7 or 8 stems that are all 8 minutes long, you want to warp them all the exact same way.  so i take the bass and kick stem and warp it, and then copy its warp markers to the other stems, syncing them up.  i don't know if this is the trick that is mentioned in the link you put, but i imagine it is.  i felt that it was a 'trick' when i figured it out, digging through ableton manuals.  syncing up the warps on all the stems makes it so that we can do changes and follow actions and everything stays together nicely.  the work then is picking where we want to jam, where we dont, and how the pieces will all fit together. 

its not an ableton dj set at all, its pretty intense really.  i have not seen a trance act that does a live set that is like ours.  many MANY of the trance 'live sets' are little more than an ableton dj set with some carefully chosen leads to put over it, tweaking the cutoff or something simple that the person doesn't need to worry about.  i think in our sets, there is tons of room for error, and in the same way, there is a lot of room for something really special and unexpected to happen, which i think is awesome!  i just need a computer that can handle the extreme amount of audio clips PLUS do some midi with massive or zebra or something else.
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February 22, 2011, 02:57:28 PM
Reply #18

psyren

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our set is broken into movements... there are parts in which we know that we do not want to mess with the original very much, and then parts that we want to stay in as long as we feel like.  even in the parts that have a follow action, the track is still broken into 8 stems, so we still have control over it. 

basically, it would go like this... we start the intro of a track, and that plays for x measures and then automatically goes into a 'jam' section.  the jam section is a part in which i have predecided how the track will loop so that we can stay in that jam for as long as we feel like, going in any direction that we feel like.  when kevin and i have decided its time to move on, i will trigger the next movement, which will usually entail a break and then go back into the track.  rinse and repeat. 

every track of ours has 2 to 5 jam sections where we can go wherever we want. 

the biggest trick to the whole thing is how we break tracks down from logic and how we use them in ableton.  when you have 7 or 8 stems that are all 8 minutes long, you want to warp them all the exact same way.  so i take the bass and kick stem and warp it, and then copy its warp markers to the other stems, syncing them up.  i don't know if this is the trick that is mentioned in the link you put, but i imagine it is.  i felt that it was a 'trick' when i figured it out, digging through ableton manuals.  syncing up the warps on all the stems makes it so that we can do changes and follow actions and everything stays together nicely.  the work then is picking where we want to jam, where we dont, and how the pieces will all fit together. 

its not an ableton dj set at all, its pretty intense really.  i have not seen a trance act that does a live set that is like ours.  many MANY of the trance 'live sets' are little more than an ableton dj set with some carefully chosen leads to put over it, tweaking the cutoff or something simple that the person doesn't need to worry about.  i think in our sets, there is tons of room for error, and in the same way, there is a lot of room for something really special and unexpected to happen, which i think is awesome!  i just need a computer that can handle the extreme amount of audio clips PLUS do some midi with massive or zebra or something else.

thank you for that, yes, i was hoping for an answer like that from someone.  trying to find insight as to what to think about for moving away from the "live dj set" and more towards using the full potential of clip session view
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February 22, 2011, 03:04:59 PM
Reply #19

Veracohr

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I think that's pretty much what I envision. But to me, if you've got say 5 clips that follow one after another before a looping "jam" section, why have those 5 clips? You could put them all in one.
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February 22, 2011, 03:20:58 PM
Reply #20

willsanquil

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Well, for one...options and information are nice to have.  Even when I'm DJing I tend to break apart songs into a couple of clips with follow actions.  Also, If I want to skip the first couple sections, I have the option of doing so without digging into the waveform.

I'm a little confused about how the way you break down your tracks affects your set squee.  So you have an 8 minute track, comprised of 8 stems....you then copy those into ableton and warp just the bass stem and apply that same warping to your other stems?  I don't see how this would be different (other than maybe being faster? - warping in live 8 is really really fast anyways) than individually warping the stems as long as you don't fuck up the warping of said stems, or how this would affect follow actions any differently between one method and the other.  Also...what warping algorithm do you use for your stems?

Oh, something else I wanted to ask you - I know you've said before you use the APC 40 for your liveset - do you use the default template or a custom script?

Thanks for the info, very interesting to hear about live set configurations :)
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February 22, 2011, 03:29:20 PM
Reply #21

squee.isme

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some of our transitions are rendered into one, for space conservation.  but having them broken apart allows for on the fly effects and transposition.  also, the way that we are warping the whole pieces means that we have to, at least at first, have the pieces broken down full-length of the track. 

generally we don't have 5 follow actions, more like 2 at the most.  one scene with a follow action that is the breakdown and area that we DEFINITELY don't want to add sounds to or take away from, and the next follow action scene would be after the breakdown and in a movement where we don't necessarily want to effect it too much, but where we can effect it some if we choose... then, that line moves to the jam, where it stays in loop for as long as we would like.  then to be followed by one or two more follow actions scenes.

oh oh, and the best reason for having all 5 clips lets say, even though you may only need one, is that you need something in those clips to be able to do a follow action to the clips below.  you can put in a 'blank' clip, something tiny with no audio, just as a filler, and then use that to do follow actions.  you just need to make sure that all the clips are filled above if you want to do follow actions to clips below.  hope that wasn't too drawn out, it is a really simple reason for having all 5 or 8 clips full, so that you can tell those clips to do things.


and to will...

our tracks very often get off of the 8 measure 16 measure rule... we often do 1 measure breakdowns, or even half-measure breakdowns that would entirely throw our track off of sync with sounds that we want to bring in.  IF i tried to warp different stems individually, it would be impossible.  the reason being that one stem may have 3 sounds in it that are pads and there is no way that i could decide where that needs to be warped.  warping the kick and bass makes it so i know exactly where the 'weird' changes happen and can warp appropriately, usually double or half timing the breakdowns to get them back on sync.  by copying that warping information, i am able to warp a sound with the rest of the track that might be impossible to warp by looking at it.

we have to bounce the stems exactly the same length or the copy paste does not work.  so even if a stem only has one sound for 32 measures in the middle of the track, we have to bounce 8 minutes of silence so that the copy paste will work correctly.  after copy/pasting warp markers, some stems, lets say a synth stem, will have markers in empty places and such, but that is exactly what you want, you want even the empty space to warp with the bass and kick, that way when the synth comes in, it is still coming in at the right place. 

i think the way that our tracks get off the 1 is most of the reason why our tracks need to be done this way.  if not done this way, we would bring new sounds in and they would come in halfway through the measure and such.

does this make sense?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 03:33:10 PM by squee.isme »
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February 22, 2011, 04:15:44 PM
Reply #22

willsanquil

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I still don't get it, but its entirely possible that I'm missing some crucial part of the theory surrounding why this is the best method for you guys.

I don't understand the bit about half or double timing the breakdowns to keep everything in sync.  Do you do this with warp markers?  How many warp markers do you usually use per stem???  99% of the time I use 2 warp markers for stems/tracks - one at the beginning and one at the end.

I get the copy/paste method with empty space, its the same one that I use - mix down all stems to same length audio tracks (even though a large bit of each stem is silence), then chop out the empty bits and put in dummy clips with follow actions to make sure everything is in time.

Even with 'abnormal' length breakdowns and stuff, it shouldn't really matter.  Say you have a 32 bar phrase, a 1 bar break, and then the rest of your track.

You have your 8 stems, all warped since you know exactly the beginning and end points and the tempo...you chop each stem into a 32 bar clip (1st phrase), followed by a 1 bar clip (break), followed by the rest of your track.  Everything is automatically in time, and say you get into a jam section with lots of loop experimentation and whatnot but you want to follow it with a 1 bar break and keep everything in time....well just have a scene launch wehre you have all the 1 bar clips from that section.

What am I missing??
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 04:17:31 PM by willsanquil »
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February 22, 2011, 04:56:34 PM
Reply #23

squee.isme

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some of our tracks will have as many as 20 or more warp markers.  not needed for one measure breakdowns.  lets say though, that we have a half measure breakdown.  if that is the case, the track will come back in on the half measure, so everything afterwards will not trigger correctly (i tend to use the 1 meas trigger).  for a half-measure breakdown, i will make a marker at the beginning and one measure after the beginning of the breakdown, THEN warp the 2nd marker at double-speed, so that now it is moved to the end of the breakdown.  this will turn the half-measure breakdown into a one measure breakdown. 

don't worry about the 1 measure...

it also comes into play when we have a part of a track that is lets say, 30 bpm faster than the rest of the track.  this is one of the more useful parts of the warping method we use.  if you warp the 30bpm part, then it will play at the speed of the tempo in ableton, which may not be what you want.  in order to keep the faster part fast, we may decide to not make it warped to-tempo, and also making it so that we won't be able to add sounds over it.  but, in order to make it not warp to ableton tempo, we will make one warp marker at the beginning and end of the faster section, making it so that it remains roughly the same % faster than the rest as it should be, and it will still come in on a measure so that we can continue to jam once it comes back to normal speed.

i don't think that the way we do it is for everyone.  our music has a LOT of quick breaks and off measure breaks.  it also shifts tempo for periods and is generally pretty thematic.  the way we warp makes it so that we can keep most of these aspects while still letting us play and manipulate.
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February 22, 2011, 05:00:49 PM
Reply #24

squee.isme

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i use a mixture of custom and default settings for the apc40.  the bottom right 8 knobs i use in a very different way than the apc wants you to.  the scene launch though is exactly the same.  the top right knobs i use for dj-like eq on the 2 kick/bass channels that i have.  that way i can dj the bass and kick of two tracks.

as far as type of warp, it really depends.  when i warp the kick and bass i obviously use beat, and that is what copies to the other channels.  but sometimes, depending on sound, i will change it to texture.  periodically for a track it will be on repitch, which is nice for its more vinyl possibilities, but beat is the most common. 
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February 22, 2011, 05:02:41 PM
Reply #25

willsanquil

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ah yeah I can see where extra warp markers would come in if you're doing lots of tempo shifts.  Going to go home and play with half measure breaks and see what the deal is with the warping as you described, without actually having ableton open i'm having trouble emulating it in my brain :)

cheers again, interesting stuff.
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February 22, 2011, 05:03:53 PM
Reply #26

squee.isme

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one tip for that will... don't put a warp marker at the end until you are done, if at all.  if there is a warp marker at the end, and you start messing with half measure changes and such, you will fucker up the rest of your tracks warping

all i am really speaking of is turning a half-measure break into a one-measure break... i think i use too many words ;)  it would make the half measure break then sound super slow, half speed.  :p
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 05:05:44 PM by squee.isme »
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February 22, 2011, 07:55:40 PM
Reply #27

squee.isme

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A QUICK TUTORIAL ON COPYING AND PASTING WARP MARKERS TO TRACKS WITH THE EXACT SAME LENGTH AND BPM:

1. take the kick and bass stem of your track and put it into the session view of ableton

2. delete all markers except the 1, making sure that the 1st marker is at the very left of the track.  make sure also to check the bpm of the track and adjust the warp speed accordingly.

3. make sure that when the track really comes in (kick and bass full), that it comes in on a 1 beat of a measure.  if it does not, create a 2nd marker on a 1 beat closest to when the kick and bass come in, and move it to be on the proper beginning place. 

when you do this step above, it should not effect the further warp speed of the track.  as long as your first warp marker is correct, ableton will always assume that warp changes you make are temporary and will continue the track at the speed of your first warp marker.   

4. peruse your track and make sure that any major spot where the kick and bass comes in, it comes in on a 1 beat on a measure.  look to my reminders at the end for some tips on this.   

5. if there are breakdowns that bring the kick back in off of the one beat, then adjust warp markers accordingly.  in my instructions in the post above, i go into more detail on how to do this, though words are tough way to describe.

6. when you are all done warping your bass/kick stem, copy and paste the clip to the right as many times as you have more stems to adjust. 

7.  here is the remotely tricky part, and the part that is not intuitive. 

find the stem you wish to bring in, in your browser to the left.  but don't bring it in, you don't want ableton to warp it.  instead, make sure that you have selected one of the bass/kick stems in the clip view and it's properties are showing in the bottom left of the track, and click and drag the new stem to the place on the bass/kick stem where the name of the file is.  so... if the bass/kick stem is named 'bass kick 152', then drag the new stem onto the spot in the track properties on the bottom of the screen where it says 'bass kick 152'

this will replace the sample with your new sample, while keeping all of the warp markers of the bass/kick stem.  your clip will still be named bass kick in the session view, so you will probably want to rename it.


now, when you play the track from the beginning, the whole track will warp together perfectly, assuming that it needed help doing it in the first place!


i hope that helps in trying to recreate what i am talking about.  remember, this is only needed if your track gets off of the beat or changes tempo. 

also remember, you don't always want the kick to come in on the one, sometimes the breakdown is too good to warp, wait til later and warp another part.  sometimes without realizing it, i will warp a part to find out that it would have gotten back on track a little while later, so pay attention.

thanks :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 08:00:40 PM by squee.isme »
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February 22, 2011, 08:54:25 PM
Reply #28

A'damn

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Will, I tried the Utility trick that you suggested and it was MASSIVELY helpful.
I sooooo thank you for sharing that trick with me.

Thank you!!
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April 19, 2011, 12:03:18 PM
Reply #29

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Has anyone been able to work around the recording of midi envelopes in session view???

I have gotten two methods working, but the good one only worked once for some reason...

#1.   Installing a virtual midi driver, and routing your midi to you synth from the midi controller, than sending that midi to a second blank midi... 

 It might not be working for me again because I should probably send the controller midi A1 to blank midi B1, than route the midi from blank B1 to desired synth C1...

#2.  The one that is the easiest to set up, but illuminates the ability to touch up...

Set midi in on your synth to your desired controller channel  "not all channels".  than route the synth audio to an audio track and record...

It will record everything you have done, and after playing around, you will have an audio file to split apart and sample...

....  It's just a pain spending more time touching up an audio file, vs repairing a midi file...

xD

Any thoughts???   
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