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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Ableton Live DJing ideas

    hey y'all, used to use traktor, now that my Xone:4D is broken and waiting to get repaired I've decided to switch to Ableton and use the time to warp and make a set I'm comfortable with
    So I've been messing around with some effects and ideas and what not. Basically, I have 4 decks, AC,BD. A and B are going to have the same effects, hopefully mapped to the same controls, with the on buttons for the racks mapped to different buttons. C and D are going to have the same effects, different from B and D, mapping the on buttons separately. I put a side chain compressor on each track with a simple bass drum loop on a separate track. I have a cool white noise patch in massive so I figured I could take advantage of the massive macros and make a cool little sweep effect I can put in anywhere. Now for the master channel, should I put a limiter on it? or should I limit the tracks and put a compressor on them to make things a bit more manageable? Also what do you guys do with your Return tracks? I guess I could use them for other effects like stutter edit (which last time I checked had to use a return track?) but is there anything more intuitive I could use them for? should I put in an onthefly remix track where I can just drag stuff in and put some beat repeats and loopers and what not in? I'd love to hear some ideas for pretty much anything I should add to my set.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've got a well thought out template going on there.

    If I was you, I'd stop asking questions, and get to actually mixing/jamming/practicing. You'll get PLENTY of ideas while you're jamming - keep a pad next to your setup, and scribble down ideas for when you've finished practicing.
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  3. #3
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    thanks for the feedback! Mixer is broke, so really looking forward to that getting fixed. driving to the shop tomorrow. also getting an ipad, and that well be really fun to mess around with touchosc or whatever the midi app is

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hashbrunz View Post
    thanks for the feedback! Mixer is broke, so really looking forward to that getting fixed. driving to the shop tomorrow. also getting an ipad, and that well be really fun to mess around with touchosc or whatever the midi app is
    "Control" is a pretty cool touch midi application but ive only used it on android and not sure if they have it for ipad but worth looking imo. the logo is a fist with red backround . I have been dealing with the same kind of brain storming issues(to many ideas) and have also just came from Traktor to try out live. definitely a new experience and a little intimidating with all the features and controls, different work arounds and such but i guess you could say i like it so far. Having major problems on how i want to organize my sesion view for an actual set and have spent more time learnign Live than actually putting something together but i think im getting there and hope familiarizing myself with so much as far as ableton is concerned will payoff when i get to the point of playiung out for a full hour or something. I like your advice Patch of just getting your hands dirty and trying stuff out, im learning that that is a must with making progress in live. Right now im using Itunes as my music manager in live and create my playlists within itunes, drag the song to live and warp. im still in the process of getting a good chunk of songs warped so havent thought to far beyond that yet but need to soon. So far when ive played around with making a short mix(mainly to just test out effects and/or features) I had the full song in the top clip of a column with a few "peices of the song" in sepperate clips underneath it so each colunm represents one song(for now, not sure if this is an efficiaent way of doing it) but coming from traktor this got me to the feel of having cue points at my finger tips, so essentially i load a song into live, warp it, then copy and paste it several times and use the loop in each new individual clip to set up dif parts i wanna use. at first i would crop the loop once i had it set where i wanted but stopped doing that incase i wanted to go back and change it. Then i use the returns for my effects to save cpu. I hope that this is a decent way of organizing a set! lol. would appreciate any feedback on why or why not this is an alright or at least manageable way of doing things even though its alot different than the method OP had described. Regardless I would definitely recommend using your returns for the fx tho , then the A or B send knobs on each track can kind of be used as a Dry/wet if im not mistaken on how i had it set up Saturday while toying.

  5. #5
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    Hey mmullen68, the way I organize my tunes is by having them externally saved in a folder named "Tracks" which is sitting on my desktop. In the project folder, I have a crate folder, which has various genres, then subgenres, then tracks (BPM-key-artist-song(mixtype) tags). I plan to make a fx presets folder aswell, but not necessary for now. the 3 root folders are my prep tracks folder (drag songs from itunes in there, play it, If I like it, I chop the cues and rename it in my "Tracks" folder), then my regular Tracks folder (mostly just for dragging tracks from the prep folder). once a song is on the deck, I warp it, making sure there are only 2 warp markers, trying to get it as close to a whole number as possible, and slice the track. I have between 4-10 clips per song. I use the "next" follow action to have the next clip in the sequence play once the current one is finished. This is what works for me, although when I move to a macbook pro, I'll probably use the smart folders system and use finder to look up clip packs and drag them into a deck.
    Also worth noting, the Liine Lemur app ($50) looks absolutely fantastic. and it has OSC support and MIDI support over wifi or usb. The Mu M4L setting looks like it's definitely a worthy bang for the buck.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hashbrunz View Post
    Hey mmullen68, the way I organize my tunes is by having them externally saved in a folder named "Tracks" which is sitting on my desktop. In the project folder, I have a crate folder, which has various genres, then subgenres, then tracks (BPM-key-artist-song(mixtype) tags). I plan to make a fx presets folder aswell, but not necessary for now. the 3 root folders are my prep tracks folder (drag songs from itunes in there, play it, If I like it, I chop the cues and rename it in my "Tracks" folder), then my regular Tracks folder (mostly just for dragging tracks from the prep folder). once a song is on the deck, I warp it, making sure there are only 2 warp markers, trying to get it as close to a whole number as possible, and slice the track. I have between 4-10 clips per song. I use the "next" follow action to have the next clip in the sequence play once the current one is finished. This is what works for me, although when I move to a macbook pro, I'll probably use the smart folders system and use finder to look up clip packs and drag them into a deck.
    Also worth noting, the Liine Lemur app ($50) looks absolutely fantastic. and it has OSC support and MIDI support over wifi or usb. The Mu M4L setting looks like it's definitely a worthy bang for the buck.
    O nice, I thought about doing something like that but it seemed like itunes was better the way my sytem is set up but i could be wrong, like i mentioned fairly new to djing with live. I use a macbook just fyi but is there a particular disadvantage to doing it this way? it just seemed easier this way at least for now when i though about it compared to using abletons browser. Even in traktor tho i used the itunes tab on the left side for track browsing simply because i already had alot of lists built. alot of my tunes are in an artist folder, or artist Feat. ______ and then have another folder inside labeled with the album or compilation and then the actual track inside of that so the thought of sorting through all that in Live's browser seemed messy. I wish my files werte a little more organized or cleaner but the last time i tried to re-organized my whole library for traktor itunes jacked it up so i gave in and have always just used itunes. I've thought about ditching itunes a couple times and starting form scratch but idk im just used to it. the one advantage i see to your method however is with the clips being easily accesble or at least your accessing them the same way you access your tracks. for example if i make 5 clips from a track then those dont show up in my itunes library but for now ive just been saving my whole Live set sionce im still in the warping process but havent decided if i wanna go that pre-planned in the future if that makes sense? i guess worst case i could either import the individual clips into itunes OR find the folder and either drag from lives browser Or use a finder window since im on mac. Guess it just comes down to preference.

    Once question I have for you is on what you mentioned about warping , you said you make sure to only use 2 warp markers/ why is that? I def wanna make sure im not warping wrong! most of my tracks have 2-6 markers. I load the track. find the start of the song and add warp marker then set 1:1:1 here, then warp from here straight. then i set a loop of usually 2 or 4 bars and start going through to make sure all the beats on on but sometimes i feel like im doing something wrong, Im also a little unclear as to if it makes a diffence on the last warp marker and where its set cuz seems like the outro to a song can get a little off at the very end. idk maybe im just being to picky/precise with it, i h=guess if it stays in time and sounds ok with the metronome then its fine right? And should i be setting 1:1:1 on the first downbeat or the beggingin of the wave? for example if a song starts with a synth for a bar and a half before the first kick hits should the 1:1:1 be set for the start of the synth or on the first kick? alot of my songs i know the bpm for from traktor, or since i mostly play house and electro i know my tracks are sually 128 or 140,130 etc. so i was wondering if i know the BPM(from traktor) can warp from here atXXXbpm be used instead of warmp from here straight? i know im prob messing up somewhere because my tracks seem to need to much correcting if your getting all yours done with 2 markers. for the first time today i tried warp form here at bpm because i had a 128 song going off a little and that fixed it as opposed to using straight, need to try it on a few more tracks.

  7. #7
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    nevermind, warp with bpm doest work right, adds a ton of markers, will stick with straight. although i feel like something is still off. for example when i try to use only 2 warp markers on a 128bpm song i add the last one and the seg bpm changes to 126, is that right?

  8. #8
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmullen68 View Post
    nevermind, warp with bpm doest work right, adds a ton of markers, will stick with straight. although i feel like something is still off. for example when i try to use only 2 warp markers on a 128bpm song i add the last one and the seg bpm changes to 126, is that right?
    I generally do this:

    • Add 1:1:1
    • Find drift point of the track where the markers don't line up exactly with the beats (about halfway - and make sure its not wayyyyyy off by a huge half a beat or anything) .. continue to the end of the track and look for few bars before the end and drop a second marker and bring it back or forward as required.
    • Normally i find its drifted by about 1/8 beat by the end of the track so requires the second marker to pull everything back into sync.



    BTW I Always use iTunes - whenever I get new tracks I just create a playlist - drag all the tracks into Ableton, and go have about 15 cups of coffee till they finish analyzing - I'll delete the tracks from the Ableton set later but can grab them again easily from iTunes if required.

    But that way I can drag any track from my collection at any time and have almost instant access if needed.

    I used to create folders for each set but just started not making sense when most of my sets are preplanned and I can have the grid completely populated beforehand from iTunes - it was just doubling up on analysis when I deleted a set/old folders and wanted to include the same tracks again in a new
    set.

    Oh and you can set up a pitch bend buttons on individual tracks if you forget to set the second warp markers (which I frequently do).
    Last edited by deevey; 06-25-2012 at 06:29 PM.

  9. #9
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    what I do is move transients to fit on the beat every once in a while, if needed, although it usually is. I put the 1:1:1 right on the first kick rather than on the pick up. I usually put the warp marker towards the end of the song, on a very clear transient (suppose after a fade out the kick that starts the mainriff), that's the way I've done it before and it works for me now that I've switched back from traktor.
    If I really want that pickup I would just make a pre-intro clip telling me where exactly to start it, and have it follow to the actual 1. I was reading about a smart folder system somewhere for mac which seemed to be a great way to organize tracks without using the ableton browser (which I do admit sucks).
    I'm kinda hoping that the 4d will be fixed pretty soon, especially since it's going to a small business, then I can figure out the midi mappings better.
    any fancy ideas anyone has for using instruments or creativelike effects? I wanna add a dub delay and a parallel compression just for kicks, and since I used to use ableton for production it'll be oodles of fun messing with production business live.
    Also final question I have is does anyone categorize tracks with the clip colors? I thought it would be worthing investing some time separating genre/type of track with the track colors so I can see them clearly in a set.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hashbrunz View Post
    what I do is move transients to fit on the beat every once in a while, if needed, although it usually is. I put the 1:1:1 right on the first kick rather than on the pick up. I usually put the warp marker towards the end of the song, on a very clear transient (suppose after a fade out the kick that starts the mainriff), that's the way I've done it before and it works for me now that I've switched back from traktor.
    If I really want that pickup I would just make a pre-intro clip telling me where exactly to start it
    I always set the first kick at 1:1:1 as the initial start .. however if I want the intro .. instrumental or anything I just set the start to -32:1:1, -16:1:1 etc .... so its definitely going to be on time.

    And yep I use the colors to categorize my tracks ...

    green > brown shades for tech house - deeper stuff ..
    brown > dark orange for early progressive.
    Dark orange > Red for heavy progressive/early tech
    Red - Purple for complete madness
    Blue for classics I might want to drop in.

    I color match by key - Just use transpose instead, but you could of course color code that way if you were using MIK or something.

    There is also a free max plugin that was on the homepage blog a while back, which will shade your tracks a different color once they have been played for a predetermined period e.g. 60 seconds - which makes life very easy over a long set.

    Regards smart folders, it means alot of extra work renaming stuff and muchos extra files knocking around the computer.

    I just find pre-analyzing everything within iTunes (drag straight from iTunes when I buy it) and setting up 99% of what I'm going to play and color code accordingly beforehand in the grid easier - because all my stuff is organized in iTunes playlists and my Cue output in Ableton is set as my Computers master output I can pre-listen to tracks direct from iTunes if I need to.

    Regards Effects I just use 8 in total on every channel (8) from which I can get a bucketload of sounds from when layered (much like traktor)

    Beat-repeat, HP filter, reverb, flange, fade to grey, Gater, pitch up and pitch down.... just using these you can combine and create some pretty Amazing stuff.... e.g. reverb + fade to grey + Gater used in comjuction with pitch up/down can create a kind of stuttered synth sound.

    I also have set up a 3 band Eq / Gain and LP/HP filter per channel.

    You could check out Sugarbytes turnado as well some great effects which work really well BUT I found it too taxing on my ageing CPU unless you just want one instance at a time using a S/R (but I like multiple fx control per deck at any time).
    Last edited by deevey; 06-26-2012 at 10:38 AM.

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