Preparing tracks for live performance?
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  1. #1
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    Default Preparing tracks for live performance?

    I am just wondering what everyone does to get songs ready for performance in Ableton. I just recently got the software and really want to try and get into more interesting forms of DJing than i have done in the past (tradition 2 TTs and serato type stuff). So i've got a launch pad and have 8 sub-tracks broken up into two main outputs that i have going through a traditional DJ mixer. I really dig the set up but I don't know exactly how to begin arranging my set.

    When I DJ, i don't like to follow a set list or have predetermined transitions or places where i start to mix. I like to do it on the fly and at random. What is the best way to begin structuring a set for that sort of performance. The end result I would be going for is a deadmau5-esque sort of performance (more of his early sets, before he had the huge ass cube and thousands upons thousands of dollars in moogs and hardware on the stage). Not sure how else to describe it because he is the only one i've really seen use a setup like this. (maybe a watered down daft punk set up is good too?)

    Anyway, any sort of tips on how YOU (personally) structure a live set in ableton would be good! (focusing mainly on the actual setup of each track)

  2. #2
    Tech Wizard benjackal's Avatar
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    Seriously reccomend you check this out, its moguai's live set.

    It will give you a LOT of inspiration and an insight into how he does it

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjackal View Post


    Seriously reccomend you check this out, its moguai's live set.

    It will give you a LOT of inspiration and an insight into how he does it

    I downloaded this and it helped me a lot! i already had the hang of the program from production but definitely check this out

  4. #4
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    When I was using it, I used 6 channels (dictated by my VCM-600).

    They were organized as 3 pairs of clips with each song warped and split into sections with follow actions…mostly so I didn't have to look at waveforms but still had an idea of what was coming up.

    Each "song" had the following clips

    Full clip (titled with the title of the song), colored white.

    A block of clips with sections, usually titled something like
    • Intro
    • Drop
    • Breakdown
    • Build
    • Main
    • Outro 1
    • Outro 2
    • Outro 3
    • release


    Thought that changed based on the structure of the song. They were colored based on genre and organized (top to bottom) based vaguely on energy level. They had follow actions set so that I could jump through the song at will, but it would play out if I left it alone and let me know where in the track it was without looking at a waveform…which was always screwy in Live. There were a few tracks where the sections were titled with the beginnings of vocal passages so I could re-arrange them at will.

    After that, I left a blank slot, followed by a block of clips that were specific loops that I knew I'd want to use. They were usually titled something like "Main 32" meaning it was taken from the main section and 32-bars long.

    A few tracks had a blank slot and then a section after that with other follow actions to re-arrange the track. Usually it was something weird like a specific vocal section with randomized follow actions, so I could launch the first one and semi-randomly re-arrange the track so it wouldn't be the same every time. It was a bit weird figuring out how to do it, but for the tracks it worked with, it worked well.

    Decks 1 & 2 had the same clips, same for 3&4 and 5&6. I did it that way so I didn't have to worry about the playing track influencing my track selection.

    Big genres (house, techno, trance, etc.) were separated by big gaps in the live set.

    At some point, I ditched decks 5 & 6 and moved those clips into the others, 5 became a MIDI channel with an instance of a Drum Rack with clips playing rhythms titled appropriately. Things like "808 House" or "Amen BoomBap" that I could add at will. Channel 6 became the same thing with an Instrument rack with a few soft synths in it and little melody lines or chords or whatever, titled something appropriate, that used buttons on the VCM to choose which synth in the rack was playing the part. They tended to be titled with the chord progression or scales used, and I had a MIDI effect in the rack that chose which key it was played in. There were also a few other effects in there…mostly delays and filters.

    It was a lot of fun and ridiculously fluid. I never played a pre-listed set. And I screwed with the re-arrangement sections every now and then.

    The problem was that it took forever to prepare things like this, and I realized after a while that I was mostly playing individual songs the same way. That's what made me switch to Traktor in the first place, though there always is a bit of a draw to play like that again.

    If I went back to Live now, it'd be using Bridge on a 3rd deck. And it'd basically just be a couple instances of Maschine with drums and synths done in that, plus an audio track or two for thins I'd want time-stretched. But that won't happen until I buy an SL3/4 and a 3rd turntable…and figure out the routing. And a small controller to actually control Live, though I'm pretty sure I could do that with my LPD8 if I wrote a MIDI Remote Script for it. And I havne't yet decided whether it might not be better to just use an Octatrack instead.
    Last edited by mostapha; 03-27-2012 at 10:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard benjackal's Avatar
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    Tom Cosms megaset also rocks as a different approach.

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