May 14, 2018 at 6:06 pm #3839
I’m preparing a live set for a 3 piece band: female singer, guitarist and myself on double bass, electric bass and Ableton stuff (with midi minikeyboard, ableton push and macbook pro). As I’m playing live (basses), I’m using my Ableton setup in live situations as a (kind of) backing track (and reproducing what we’ve made at rehearsals). I also have a Line 6 MKII midi pedalboard as a (foot)controller so I can control Ableton handsfree.
We’ve been working a lot on recordings the last months and on preparing the songs for a live set. All the songs are now on different sets. In the coming weeks, I’ll put these songs together in one set for some small gigs (we can use as try-outs). I’ve done this earlier before: then, I’ve made some clips with the different instrument-groups (kick, snare, hats and percussion, synths) and I’ve stored them as clips in session view. So, in this setting, I’ve had 4 tracks in the live set for live performance and every song was 1 scene with 4 clips. Every track was on a single mono output (I have 4 outs on my Komplete Audio 6) so they can be tweaked apart by a sound engineer.
But for the next live setup, I’m thinking on using them on an arrangement view, with (again) the division in 4 tracks (kick, snare, hats and perc, synths). So every track would be a combination of different wav-files that I make in the original live sets (from all the songs – so I make 4 of them/song).
Do you understand? A good plan? Tips and tricks? Things to know? Things that can make this work fast and easy? (for example: normally I bounce all those tracks to wavs – is this the right way to do this? Or are there better/faster options/solutions?) I’m curious.
May 15, 2018 at 12:53 am #3846
What’s up Bart? Sounds like a sweet band setup. First of all, I’ve learned there is no such thing as a “perfect” one-size-fits-all setup using Ableton Live. There’s an infinite amount of ways to go about it. My philosophy is that simple is ALWAYS better, especially when it comes to live performance.
From what I understand in your description, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea…I prefer to perform in Session View. What I do is bounce a stereo export of all the tracks from their original project, EXCEPT the instruments I know will be playing live. Then I’ll import the stereo file for each song into my new project to perform live, with a new scene for every song (like you did, right?). On a side-note, I always reference my final mixes on PA speakers and my car stereo system to tighten them up before exporting.
In my Ableton project I’m performing with, I’ll send these stereo bounces out of the interface main outputs (coming from Ableton’s Master), and my live instruments (guitar, MIDI keyboard, etc.) will go to separate outputs (they’re plugged into the interface and run through Ableton) for the sound man to mix everything together in the house.
Tip: I’ve relied more on creating “dummy” clips on tracks and using clip envelope automation to turn on/off live MIDI instruments or effects at any point in time for each song, makes it safe and easier when launching a new scene to kick off the new song.
There’s nothing wrong with using Arrangement view for live performance, it’s just a different workflow for transitioning between songs. You can MIDI Map or Key Map new Locators that you create in arrangement view to launch each song, and add space in-between them. (And of course you’ll want to do tempo automation on the Master Track, if you’re playing to a click). I create a new track labelled CLICK and send it as a separate output to my headphones.
Also, I’d encourage you to not send your full, pre-mixed songs out a single output as mono from your interface (individual instruments are different) Performing audio clips of your pre-mixed songs full of multiple instruments as a stereo output through the L and R of your interface will probably yield better results and prevent a mix sounding “thinner”. Many DJ’s and clubs are into the Stereo game now.
Hope this helps give you some insight into my live performance setup, and gives you ideas for yours!
May 17, 2018 at 3:34 am #4057
Hi, thx for the advice, Dan.
I was not planning to send the full premixed song to a single output but to send different instruments to different output so I can give control to the sound engineer (so he can fully adapt the sound to the gig-situation. For the moment, I send my kick and snare both as a mono output and a combi of hats and perc + synths as a stereo output.
For now, I have only 4 outputs on my Komplete Audio 6, but I’m planning to buy another audio interface, so I can also split the synth track and the perc+hats-track. Someone here any experience with the Behringer FCA1616? (8 outputs for a reasonable price) I know it’s Behringer, but maybe that’s not a bad thing and maybe good enough for live situations?
I hope to finish the full set this evenening or friday, so we can check it out on the rehearsal next saturday.
May 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm #4221
Ok gotcha, yeah if you have lots of confidence in the guy running your sound board then sending each instrument out makes sense…Especially because every venue sounds different acoustically. I have no experience with the Behringer FCA1616, it might work well for you? It’s hard to find top-grade interfaces with 8+ outputs in that price range. I have a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre and an Apollo Quad. They both make me very happy 🙂 But they make my piggy bank very sad…lol
I purchase orders through Brian at Sweetwater. He might be a good person to consult with and they offer fantastic customer support. Tell him Dan Giffin sent you from The Lodge Studios and ask for a hookup. Might give you a good deal on new gear. Here’s his info:
Phone: 1-800-222-4700 ext. 1290
June 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm #4407
Thx for the advice!
November 30, 2018 at 4:02 am #7043
One thing I’d recommend doing is first making a list of requirements, needs and wishes, and scope of your live set before starting to lay it down in Live. This will help you pick the best course of action from the beginning and will hopefully help you avoid complex design situations down the line. Define what each song needs, how many tracks your Live Set will contain, and how much control you want to have over these tracks.
The main reason I’d recommend designing a live set in Arrangement view would be the ease of doing pre-programmed tempo and time signature changes, which you can just edit by doing tempo automation and right clicking on the timeline for time signatures. Session View supports both of these, but if you need to do a pre-programmed rubato on a song it becomes really complex quick in Session. You can also use Locators to jump to different songs or parts of each song if you want to play with the song’s arrangement, works similar to how Scenes work in Session.
With that said, I think Session offers much more on the fly control over what’s happening with your Live Set. In general I’d say go with Session if you want to tweak parts of the song on the fly, and consider Arrangement if your song structures are more set in stone.
For the audio output, if you’re gonna split your instruments into different outputs, make absolutely sure the venue can accomodate your input needs and that the engineer knows what they’re getting on each output and how to deal with it, and be ready to collapse your setup to a simpler output scheme fast if needed. Try sending everything you can as mono outputs, only send tracks through stereo outputs when you absolutely need the stereo image for the material being sent. Most importantly, cover your bases and be ready to adapt.
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