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View Full Version : Best HW/SW for 'performing' electronic music live? Help please!



Mr. Tea
04-04-2015, 11:06 PM
I've been having fun the last year or so making music but have more or less exhausted the pleasures of making a track, getting it sounding just right, putting it on Soundcloud and having one or two of my mates (and sometimes my mum) tell me it's kind of cool. What I want to be able to do is perform, or 'perform', music live in a way that allows the integration of prepared elements (beats, basslines, melodies, samples) with a good deal of freedom for improvisation, if that makes sense. So something that's more interactive than simply cueing up and mixing already complete tracks as you might in Virtual DJ or whatever, but not to the extent of actually playing melodies or basslines live, as I want to be able to do this by myself and I would only be able to play one instrument at a time. (Furthermore, my main instrument is bass guitar and I really want to avoid looking like a sort of Tesco Value Squarepusher.)

I already have Ableton Live which I've been using to make tracks. I gather it's not called 'Live' for nothing as it can be used for live performances, but in that case I guess to get the most out of it I probably need some sort of MIDI controller, right? Alternatively, if there's better software for this kind of thing, I'd be happy to splash out and get something more suitable, as well has a hardware controller.

I'm not looking to bankrupt myself but if there some cool things that can be had for a few hundred quid, that would be fine.

Any advice from anyone who does this sort of thing at any level would be gratefully received. I'll even sort out free tickets for my fist gig, how's that?

mistersloane
05-04-2015, 05:40 PM
Fist gig sounds great (see anal thread)

Mr. Tea
08-04-2015, 01:10 PM
Fist gig sounds great (see anal thread)

Very good, Jim, very good indeed. :)

Ahem: any suggestions for gear and SW to help get my first gig off the ground?

nomos
08-04-2015, 08:33 PM
I just finished teaching a survey of computer music tools and it really confirmed how much I like Ableton for all sorts of things. And if you're already making your music in Ableton then it makes it that much easier to prepare the various pieces from your tracks that you want to work with live. It's made for performance, which most software isn't, but it also doesn't lock you into a 2-track "virtual DJ" arrangement. Loads of good effects built in. Easy on the CPU. And I've found it more immediately compatible with more USB devices than some other systems. Plus, you can use Max for Live if you want to get weirder - automating and customizing how Live works, live video processing, and even incorporating a modular synth system like Oscillot (https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/oscillot/). That's where I think it really sets itself apart from other packages. I also know someone who does Live+guitar improvisation making heavy use of the Looper effect.

nomos
08-04-2015, 08:59 PM
I bought the Arturia er.. Beatstep (http://www.arturia.com/products/hybrid-synths/beatstep/overview) which I like as simple pad/knob controller that doubles as a step sequencer. I didn't need anything as elaborate or expensive as an Akai APC or Ableton Push.

Mr. Tea
09-04-2015, 10:16 PM
Nice one, thanks Paul. This is pretty much confirming what I suspected already - that Ableton is already the SW I want, or at least 75% of it, and that I just need to figure out how to use it for live performance and get some HW to free me up from the tyranny of mouse/keyboard.

That Beatstep thing looks cool. Blimey, 99 euro eh? Think I'll treat myself.

nochexxx
18-04-2015, 11:38 AM
hold off until the betstep pro (http://www.arturia.com/beatstep-pro/overview) comes out.

Mr. Tea
18-04-2015, 07:52 PM
Too late, mine turned up today. Doesn't matter, looks like I'll have plenty of fun with it anyway. Thanks again Paul!

Oss
20-04-2015, 06:30 AM
Check Integra Live: http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/05/20/new-open-source-modular-audio-environment-integra-live/

It's free and has a few incredible features for live situations.

droid
20-04-2015, 03:07 PM
Do you have an ipad? I was trying to get a cheap controller for DJng and realised I could just use the ipad. Conductr is looking very promising so far. Works over wifi and has a free (if limited) version.

https://www.conductr.net/

nomos
20-04-2015, 08:44 PM
Check Integra Live: http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/05/20/new-open-source-modular-audio-environment-integra-live/
I installed this today. Somehow I got a loop playing and it continued to play no matter what buttons I pressed, and even after I shut down the program :eek: I had to restart to get rid of it. Very weird.

Slothrop
20-04-2015, 10:41 PM
It's when it keeps going even after you turn off the computer and unplug the speakers that you really have to start worrying...

Mr. Tea
20-04-2015, 10:47 PM
I installed this today. Somehow I got a loop playing and it continued to play no matter what buttons I pressed, and even after I shut down the program :eek: I had to restart to get rid of it. Very weird.

Maybe it was in your head, maaan. Sounds like the premise for a very Dissensian horror movie.


It's when it keeps going even after you turn off the computer and unplug the speakers that you really have to start worrying...

You'll pray for the breakbeat to stop - and then you'll say AMEN.

Oss
22-04-2015, 04:41 PM
Yes the looper control is messed up.

Maybe Integra works best as a an fx playthrough. If you draw fx envelopes in a block and save the block, you can make a timeline with several tracks and arrange blocks with totally different fx or loop setups all over it and play through it as the timeline runs. You can trigget timeline skips on the keyboard. You can also chage fx parameter values by moving the cursor over the envelopes in the timeline view while play is off. There's a lot of great things in it.

Mr. Tea
22-04-2015, 06:53 PM
Do you have an ipad? I was trying to get a cheap controller for DJng and realised I could just use the ipad. Conductr is looking very promising so far. Works over wifi and has a free (if limited) version.

https://www.conductr.net/

Hey droid, only just noticed your post. No, I remain an Apple product virgin. My laptop is knackered so I'm going to buy a new one before I try and do any new things with music software. A mate of mine who uses programs like Serato and Traktor has good things to say about his Fujitsu Lifebook.

Having looked into it a bit further I think I'd probably be fine with basically an up-to-date equivalent of my current Acer, and maybe think in the long run about a desktop PC or Mac Mini and this external USB microphone/interface/soundcard all-in-one dooberry called Apogee One that someone recommended. But there's no point bankrupting myself on fancy kit while I'm still pretty much just messing about.

droid
23-04-2015, 11:47 AM
Pretty sure it runs on android - or touchable or some other ableton controlling software does. Get yourself a cheap android tablet for the same price as mid range controller and you can use it for other stuff as well (tentacle porn etc.)

Mr. Tea
23-04-2015, 01:19 PM
Pretty sure it runs on android - or touchable or some other ableton controlling software does. Get yourself a cheap android tablet for the same price as mid range controller and you can use it for other stuff as well (tentacle porn etc.)

My next purchase will definitely be a new laptop but I'll have to see if I can abduct my girlfriend's Android tablet for a couple of hours and have a mess about with this software.