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Eurorack, Ableton Live and finishing tracks
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Eurorack, Ableton Live and finishing tracks
claptondeep
I’m interested to hear from those of you who use Live and Euro (or other formats) primarily to make music. I’ve been thinking more about my workflow and I’m trying to further integrate Live and my 6U of Euro.

I use a beatstep pro for sequencing and would normally use Live as a glorified recorder, recording long jams in from the Euro on a couple of tracks. Recently, I’ve decided that although I have a lot of fun recording jams in, my setup is relatively limited and I’m not always happy that the jams I record constitute finished tracks.

I’ve started to become interested in Live’s session view, something that I kinda glossed over before (been using Live for a few years now). I’ve begun to go over my jams and cut them into 8 bar loops that I like, save them as clips and launch them from session view. I feel that this is a good way to grab the best of the jams that I’ve recorded, whilst also using some of the instruments within Live. I’d like to be able to use my beatstep to sequence the modular then once my jam is recorded, seamlessly switch it to control clip launching Live’s session view. Does anyone else do this?

I’d like to hear how others work with Live and modular, particularly those of you who sequence using a beatstep and are making dance music.
naturligfunktion
Hi and welcome to this wonderful forum! smile

There are quite a few threads on this subject, but the search function is kind of broken, so you have to search on google and add "muffwiggler", or if you just scroll around in this production techniques- section

That being said, I use ableton and modular and think they work excellent together. I don't really use the session view that much. Did experiment with that for a while, but it quickly became to confusing, so I went back to just record in the arrange view. So I usually multitrack my instruments, jam and muck around until it sounds nice, hit record and record for a while. Then I fiddle with the module and instruments until it sounds better and record another take. I do this until the takes start to sound boring.

Then it becomes a really tedious task to find the right tempo and sync everything. That you may not need to do, if you sync your beatstep to your computer. But after that you simply select the section you like the most, and if you feel uneasy about deleting those that you kind of dont know whether they are good, put them in the session view

Personally I use the session view to sample a shitload or records that I then use for drums. It is also very useful when I scetch out different melodies and harmonies on midi, and to have different ideas. Then again, this is just my preferance.

I do overdub a lot in my tracks, simultainously as I play the recorded jamz from before. Only problem is to work out the midi-sync, but that's easy buisness.

Please forgive bad grammar.
indifference point
If i'm multitrack recording a "live" take of sequencing/arranging on the modular then i'll use arrangement view.

Much more often I use session view which really shines when recording, for instance, 10 minutes of freeform tweaking a voice. Set a loop length then scan through the recording for a loop you like. Then duplicate the clip and move your bracket to another loop you like, maybe changing the loop length for variance. Rinse and repeat. Now you have a gaggle of "approved" loops you can launch in different sequences. I love the workflow of this method and it often illuminates a sequence/arrangement that i wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

And that's just one voice. With multiple voices/loops laid out this way it's super easy to launch different combos of voices/clips to again come up with combinations/sequences that you may have not arrived at any other way. Once you find a group of clips that work well together (but are in different rows), move or duplicate those into a new scene so you can launch all of them with the master launch buttons. Rinse and repeat.

From this I often like to use the clip launch follow functions to actually arrange everything. This can be cumbersome, especially compared to just laying everything out in arrangement view but again can yield creative results. Maybe you have a simple drums/bass groove that moves through clips/variations every 16 beats (i.e. clip launch "Next", 16 beats), but you also have a channel loaded with short glitchy loops/oneshots that you can randomly trigger (e.g. clip launch "Random" every beat). Much like self-generating patches, it's fun to set this all up, press play and watch the clips move through an arrangement based on the clip launch rules/logic you've set. One you get something you like, record into arrangement view and further edit there.

Bonus tip: in arrangement view you can right click on a recording and there's a function (can't recall the actual name atm) that will automatically send it to session view as a clip. You can do this across multiple channels and it will send them all to their respective channels in session view, in the same row.

________________________________
claptondeep
indifference point wrote:
If i'm multitrack recording a "live" take of sequencing/arranging on the modular then i'll use arrangement view.

Much more often I use session view which really shines when recording, for instance, 10 minutes of freeform tweaking a voice. Set a loop length then scan through the recording for a loop you like. Then duplicate the clip and move your bracket to another loop you like, maybe changing the loop length for variance. Rinse and repeat. Now you have a gaggle of "approved" loops you can launch in different sequences. I love the workflow of this method and it often illuminates a sequence/arrangement that i wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

And that's just one voice. With multiple voices/loops laid out this way it's super easy to launch different combos of voices/clips to again come up with combinations/sequences that you may have not arrived at any other way. Once you find a group of clips that work well together (but are in different rows), move or duplicate those into a new scene so you can launch all of them with the master launch buttons. Rinse and repeat.

From this I often like to use the clip launch follow functions to actually arrange everything. This can be cumbersome, especially compared to just laying everything out in arrangement view but again can yield creative results. Maybe you have a simple drums/bass groove that moves through clips/variations every 16 beats (i.e. clip launch "Next", 16 beats), but you also have a channel loaded with short glitchy loops/oneshots that you can randomly trigger (e.g. clip launch "Random" every beat). Much like self-generating patches, it's fun to set this all up, press play and watch the clips move through an arrangement based on the clip launch rules/logic you've set. One you get something you like, record into arrangement view and further edit there.

Bonus tip: in arrangement view you can right click on a recording and there's a function (can't recall the actual name atm) that will automatically send it to session view as a clip. You can do this across multiple channels and it will send them all to their respective channels in session view, in the same row.

________________________________


This has given me a lot to thing about, particularly the bonus tip! I’ll need to try recording straight into session view now. Do you use a beatstep to launch your clips?
indifference point
Quote:
This has given me a lot to thing about, particularly the bonus tip!


Nice! hope it helps.

I do have a BSP but only use it for my euro seq'ing, hadn't thought about going the other way into Live, but I use a Push to control Live.
Panason
Quote:
making dance music


Ableton Live's session view is not compatible with the "finishing tracks" workflow in my experience. Best to use locators on the arrange window, IMO, and if you want non-linear play, trigger the locators using the computer keyboard or anything that can send MIDI.
lisa
I record 5-9 minute jams, separate tracks, in the arrangement view. I make sure that it's tempo synced with Live. I then cut it down to 4-5 minutes in the arrangement view, which is really easy when the tempo matches.

Unless I had to do the mixing (which I suck at) I'd churn out full tracks from my jams in a few hours. w00t
indifference point
Panason wrote:

Best to use locators on the arrange window, IMO, and if you want non-linear play, trigger the locators using the computer keyboard or anything that can send MIDI.


I've been working with Ableton for a long time and haven't actually tried this way so I might give it a shot!
qu.one
i use session view to capture almost everything, not unlike the way indifference point mentioned. i then build scenes into deconstructed song pieces. before i had PUSH, i set my default set to have QWERTY keys assigned to scenes. i then play through scenes as if i'm performing live, and capture that to the arrange view by hitting the global record while "performing" the track. that's when i start to finalize what the track could be. i also trigger individual clips with various settings all while recording what i am triggering.

personally, this makes live feel so much like an instrument rather than a piece of software. plus, i never have to lay out a track from left to right in the more traditional sense. it's really great.

as someone who plays live a few times a year, this way, i can play any track i have as a live performance pretty much immediately.
indifference point
qu.one wrote:

personally, this makes live feel so much like an instrument rather than a piece of software. plus, i never have to lay out a track from left to right in the more traditional sense. it's really great.


Yes. This isn't a great analogy but it's almost like using a Rene vs standard linear step sequencer.

Of course this isn't an either/or situation and both views/methods have their place depending on personal preference.
dubonaire
I mainly use Session View. One thing I do that I don't think has been mentioned here is that I will often route a track to another track and print that track so I'm printing post the device chain. One reason for doing this is I am creating a bunch of samples to use with an SP-16, but it also means you can free up CPU. I also think it's a good way to audition the effect of different device settings. Live's internal track routing is super flexible and it's worth reading the manual to know the benefits of the different routing options.

This is also useful for adding lots of variation especially using Session View and Scenes to build and play tracks as indifference point as qu.one described.
indifference point
dubonaire wrote:
One thing I do that I don't think has been mentioned here is that I will often route a track to another track and print that track so I'm printing post the device chain.


Great point! Sorry if I'm piping up too much in this thread but I'm bored at work and do love me some Ableton.

You also reminded me of another great thing to do with session/clips: you can automate all parameters (effects included) separately for each clip, e.g. same loop/clip duplicated several times with different filter automation on each, then you have these ready to drop into your main arrangement.
Panason
indifference point wrote:
Panason wrote:

Best to use locators on the arrange window, IMO, and if you want non-linear play, trigger the locators using the computer keyboard or anything that can send MIDI.


I've been working with Ableton for a long time and haven't actually tried this way so I might give it a shot!


It works pretty well, and you can name the locators. The jump behaviour depends on your global quanitze setting if I remember right. You lose the follow actions from session view, or the ability to mix any clip with any other clip, but for me that was option paralysis ... The resrictions of the arrange screen help to work on the track's overall structure for actually recording a "finished" track within a reasonable time frame instead of endlessly jamming with clips.

Quote:

i then play through scenes as if i'm performing live, and capture that to the arrange view by hitting the global record while "performing" the track. that's when i start to finalize what the track could be. i also trigger individual clips with various settings all while recording what i am triggering.

personally, this makes live feel so much like an instrument rather than a piece of software. plus, i never have to lay out a track from left to right in the more traditional sense. it's really great.


I also played with that and its great for minimal live sets but to create not-so-simple structures this needs a lot of careful programming of the clips with follow actions or other trickery....or later editing in Arrange window...so I thought I may as well work directly on the Arrangement window and avoid the distractions of endless loops.

I've decided to move to Bitwig but there are similar things to consider with that too, I think.
dubonaire
indifference point wrote:
Sorry if I'm piping up too much in this thread but I'm bored at work and do love me some Ableton.


Nothing to be sorry about it's meant to be a conversation.
slumberjack
qu.one wrote:
i use session view to capture almost everything, not unlike the way indifference point mentioned. i then build scenes into deconstructed song pieces. before i had PUSH, i set my default set to have QWERTY keys assigned to scenes. i then play through scenes as if i'm performing live, and capture that to the arrange view by hitting the global record while "performing" the track. that's when i start to finalize what the track could be. i also trigger individual clips with various settings all while recording what i am triggering.

personally, this makes live feel so much like an instrument rather than a piece of software. plus, i never have to lay out a track from left to right in the more traditional sense. it's really great.

as someone who plays live a few times a year, this way, i can play any track i have as a live performance pretty much immediately.


THIS is the huge benefit of live (and bitwig). you might record a clip for about 30 sec or 2 min, then you chop it up and make two or more parts out of it cause after you recorded (let's say) 4 bars of the initial patch you start wiggling and tweaking it into something totally different. wonders of the world!
naos
Panason wrote:
Quote:
making dance music


Ableton Live's session view is not compatible with the "finishing tracks" workflow in my experience..

Same here. I haven't touched session view since 15 years at least. I should probably try it again, especially to find variations of ideas that have already been fleshed out. Never once did I even wonder what the hell "Follow Action" was...
whinger
That's pretty much how I work — get something going that I like, record 16 bars of it, do a handful of alternate takes so i have something if I need it. Then once I get something I'm happy with. I record from session view on the Push into arrangement. Then I start sequencing the loops and realize where there is a deficiency in the song, and go back to session and record new parts to add in. Rinse and repeat.

But… I'm not a musician, so my workflow may be best suited for amateurs. It works quite well for me, and I don't really know another way to do it. Before, I was paralyzed by not being able to do anything more than a single loop. So just a repeating bassline or whatever. But once I got into session view, I could loop that, and then take as much time as I needed to get a melody working over the bass, then add some drums; and before I knew it, I had some original music happening. It was revelatory. I'm sure that this is silly to everyone else, but I never thought I'd ever make music and it really changed things for me.

But I can't work in session view alone. I need to bounce back and forth between the two. Session is for sketching, and arrangement is for committing. For me, I mean.
efexx
Ableton is just a taperecorder now. Recording long takes of the master-channel of my mixing desk. Too much editing single tracks kills the vibe.
PhineasFreak
ive been using ableton with my euro ever since i first got into modular:


i use a midi clip in session view to sequence the modular via anything from just sending clock pulses to a roland sys1m or kenton to keep sync,

thruough using the sys1m as part of the modular rig - sending midi from ableton session view to put out clock, lfo, envelopes, gates, etc right through to

full midi to cv from midiclip in session view via usb interface into kenton pro2k mkii to create from 2 channels of 1v/oct and 6 cc/velocity/mod channels to 5 voice poly doing gate and 1v/oct and everything in between.


i then record the audio out of the modular back into ableton via audio interface into a session view audio channel, synced with other audio and midi via adjusting the delay to get the latency synced up.

once ive got any thing from a single 'hit' or stab as a short sample through to a 16bar complex loop, i then process it to sound as gorgeous as i can, and either switch to arrage view to layout a track with the collected audio recordings from my playing or load hits n stabs into sampler/simpler controlled by midi clip in session view to creat a loop which then goes as audio into arrange view to be made into a finished tune.


i have been slowly converting my whole setup over to do a live rig this yar so i'm kinda doing the opposite of the OP - increasing the amount of sequencing that is modular and doing as much processing and mixin as possible out-the-box in mdular format.

this has caused me to switch to an mbp running ableton, an apc40 mkii to control session view in real time and then the output of the apc controlled ableton laptop running sync and midi for the 3 cases of modular.

i hope to be able to run a show somewhat like surgeons mix of dj others tunes crossed with live modular techno but much more heavily weighted towards modular and also throwing in some samples and other material from ableton.

i havent best decided how to output the audio from ableton to mix with the modular audio - [guessing i'd be best with a usb audio interface, but i only have one usb slot on the mbp and the apc needs one too], so worried about tryng to run that much gear through a hub ito one port and getting troubles, and also if i dont have the kenton to do midi->cv then i have to do the entire sequencing of the euro via sys1m outputs which is less than ideal but the kentons awkward to bring since its a 1u rackmount and doesnt fit in my cases or convieniently loose anywhere.

advice welcomed...
rens
This is a great thread.

How are people syncing live and the modular world? Midi sync to a cv/gate sequencer? Expert sleepers?

Im using a usamo out to midi and thence to an engine, but sometimes usamo is fiddly.
dubonaire
rens wrote:
This is a great thread.

How are people syncing live and the modular world? Midi sync to a cv/gate sequencer? Expert sleepers?

Im using a usamo out to midi and thence to an engine, but sometimes usamo is fiddly.


Cirklon is my master clock. Live is a slave.
whinger
rens wrote:
How are people syncing live and the modular world?


I used to use a Kenton, but then I bought an Intellijel µMidi and now use that. It works beautifully. The clock out goes into a multiple that feeds a QPLFO and a Pamela's New Workout, and then gets distributed from there.
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