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Live-looping in Ableton Live
Old 11th September 2008
  #1
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Raygun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Live-looping in Ableton Live

Hi all.

I've been doing a bit of research online to find some useful info about live looping in Ableton Live. There is plenty of info but it doesn't seem to fit in with what I'm trying to do. I've been playing around with the software and read the manual and I've talked to people about it but I just can't figure out how to actually make it work!

I'm in an act called Hurdy-Gurdy. We're two guys with hurdy gurdies and laptops. We've done an album which is 100% based on sampled hurdy gurdy stuff and it's assembled by making heavy use of Echoplex and Jam man's in combination with Logic sequencing.
Please check us out to more fully understand what I'm trying to explain..

MySpace.com - Hurdy-Gurdy - Stockholm/Falun - Experimental / Folk / Electronica - www.myspace.com/hurdygurdyprototyp or do a search on iTunes for Hurdy-Gurdy and the album "Prototyp".

We've done a few live shows and used Echoplex for live-looping. It's clumpsy and personally I don't like it. I really would like to move the whole live looping concept into the laptop. I have a Fireface 400 interface hooked to Ableton Live on a Macbook, controlled by a FCB1010 midi controller so I'm all set to go. I want to capture anything I'd like, at any given moment and be able to loop it and go on with the next thing and mute or un-mute what I've just recorded any way I want. I have both my hands occupied with playing the actual hurdy gurdy so I need to do this with my feet, controlling the FCB1010.

Of all the techniques I've run into, nothing seems to be possible without, at some point, using my hands. Can someone enlighten me with some genius info on this or is the project doomed to fail? Many thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Stefan
Old 11th September 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
You could definitely do it--it will just take A LOT of footplay.

What I might suggest is trying out Bome's MIDI Translator if you have not yet done so. You can translate any MIDI message into any key command. That way, you could assign a CC# to things in Live for which you cannot otherwise use MIDI, like adding tracks and moving around the cursor (assign CC's to arrow keys). That would probably remove a lot of your remaining needs for hands.

I used to do similar with the FCB2020 when I was using Live while playing guitar. It got a little too crazy for my blood. I spent more time concentrating on my feet, rather than playing guitar. Not saying it can't be done--it definitely can. It will just take some tweaking, fine-tuning, and general malarky.
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #3
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Raygun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wow.

Thanks, I will check this out!

Hehe.. yes.. I agree that this sounds way too much. I'm not a person who enjoy this aspect too much.. but whatever it takes to make it work!
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #4
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plaid_emu's Avatar
I know this can be done with minimal fuss.

There were some Ableton promo videos a couple years ago which featured an artist (can't recall the name) who did nothing but "beatboxing" with his mouth into a mic. He used Live in conjunction with a MIDI foot pedal for just such a task. Never touched the laptop during the whole set.

I only use it at home to compose and capture loops for playback in my MPC so I can't really help beyond that.
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 10 years
Yeah, you're talking about um... Kid something. It started with Kid. I was thinking of that video. I think the main difference is, the OP wants to improvise, whereas that guy was just live-recording stuff he had already written, so he had exact templates built for what he needed. I think the OP's case may be a little more complex, although you're right--it is pretty much the same thing.

Ableton - Movies

Kid Beyond. 2nd video. Neat, but not very informative.
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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sleepwalker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In short, if you are OK playing to a click, or a backing track, live looping is very easy and awesome. If you want to make Live's tempo match a loop played live, I'd give up. It's very easy to get live to loop if you have a tempo ahead of time, but the boomerang/echoplex style is a pain in the ass and requires 3rd party plugins, midi translators, etc.
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepwalker ➑️
In short, if you are OK playing to a click, or a backing track, live looping is very easy and awesome. If you want to make Live's tempo match a loop played live, I'd give up. It's very easy to get live to loop if you have a tempo ahead of time, but the boomerang/echoplex style is a pain in the ass and requires 3rd party plugins, midi translators, etc.
You could just set one of the pedals to the tap tempo, and tap it out as you play the loop. That would at least get you close for your first recording, from which point you could follow that one.
Old 11th September 2008 | Show parent
  #8
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Raygun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu ➑️
There were some Ableton promo videos a couple years ago which featured an artist (can't recall the name) who did nothing but "beatboxing" with his mouth into a mic. He used Live in conjunction with a MIDI foot pedal for just such a task. Never touched the laptop during the whole set.
Yes, I remember seeing this and I think the idea was born around that time that Ableton was the way to go. Haven't gotten about to do much about it until lately though.. what I can't figure out is HOW he does it. It looks pretty easy. Pretty much exactly how I want it to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehuman ➑️
I think the main difference is, the OP wants to improvise, whereas that guy was just live-recording stuff he had already written, so he had exact templates built for what he needed. I think the OP's case may be a little more complex, although you're right--it is pretty much the same thing.
Actually, I'm doing this with a backing track so tempo-wise I'm fine. Most of the time, I'm also fine with having exact templates. There are however occasions when I'd want to be totally free and improvise, which seems to be a pretty tough task in Live.

I guess my real problem is I can't figure out how to do this at all. I might be totally stupid.. but it feels like it's one of those things like.. for example when you try to learn how to make a basic formula in Excel and you have to spend three months in an Excel class... :P there is this very specific little piece of information you need but it's just not spelled out the way you need it to be.
I simply can't find any useful info in the manual and I haven't talked to anyone who uses Live who knows how to do it without using their hands and I can't just look at the program and figure it out myself. A good video with this kind of Ableton action would be great!

I'm thankful for the help and the suggestions you've made and I appreciate any input from you guys!
Old 12th September 2008 | Show parent
  #9
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
you need exactly 3 midi-trigger-keys to use the loop function (start, stop, LOOP ON/OFF)
or exactly 1 midi-switch-keys for a predefined beat-repeat function, playing a loop as long as it is "ON".
Old 13th September 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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spunkadellic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
this look s like exactly what you want...check out "kid Beyond"


http://www.ableton.com/_common/downl...kid_beyond.mov
Old 13th September 2008 | Show parent
  #11
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sleepwalker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
That's true, though you're still playing to a click that's been determined before you record your loop. I'm really waiting for the day I can record a loop and have Live match the session tempo.

Still, it's hard enough for me to play correctly let alone tapping a tempo simultaneously


Quote:
Originally Posted by thehuman ➑️
You could just set one of the pedals to the tap tempo, and tap it out as you play the loop. That would at least get you close for your first recording, from which point you could follow that one.
Old 13th September 2008 | Show parent
  #12
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Phelan Kane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have been showing the following You Tube clip to my students to promote the use of Ableton Live in a more traditional acoustic music environment. It is a multitrack loop system with a custom built pedal controlling Ableton live to loop Cajon, Electric and Bass Guitar, Wood Flutes and Jaws Harp, built by UK based student Darren Perry.

YouTube - Darren Perry - Multi Track Loop System - Ableton Live 5

You can pretty much do anything you need to with loops on stage with Live. You just have to work out what you want to do!

I am one of only 12 certified Ableton Live Trainers on planet earth. PM me if you want some more help.......
Old 14th September 2008 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
AFAIK he is using control aid with live. It lets you set up controlers in ways that you canΒ΄t in live alone. controlAid
Old 14th September 2008 | Show parent
  #14
Deleted 61b93a1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phelan Kane ➑️
I am one of only 12 certified Ableton Live Trainers on planet earth. PM me if you want some more help.......
Since you're a Live guru dude: How would you set up a multiple looper (several loops running at once) for use on gigs, in Live 6 or 7? A mini-tutorial would probably help several of us here.

Seems like there was talk in the Ableton forums about how recent versions of Live no longer worked for this application -- wish I could remember details, don't have the thread in front of me.

Thanks for any information!
Old 14th September 2008 | Show parent
  #15
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Phelan Kane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by percussion boy ➑️
Since you're a Live guru dude: How would you set up a multiple looper (several loops running at once) for use on gigs, in Live 6 or 7? A mini-tutorial would probably help several of us here.

Seems like there was talk in the Ableton forums about how recent versions of Live no longer worked for this application -- wish I could remember details, don't have the thread in front of me.

Thanks for any information!
Place the loops you want to use in different slots in the 'session' view. You may have to arrange the clips within 'scenes'. You can then navigate through the scenes via 'Computer Keyboard Control' or via 'MIDI Remote Control'.

Have a look at the attached PNG's for examples. Please read my attached PDF 'Ableton Live as a Performance Tool'.

Good Luck
Attached Thumbnails
Live-looping in Ableton Live-live-session-view.png  
Attached Images
Live-looping in Ableton Live-live-scene-launch.png 
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Phe Kane Live Presetation Basic.pdf (437.3 KB, 5155 views)
Old 14th September 2008 | Show parent
  #16
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Raygun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phelan Kane ➑️

You can pretty much do anything you need to with loops on stage with Live. You just have to work out what you want to do!

I am one of only 12 certified Ableton Live Trainers on planet earth. PM me if you want some more help.......
This was very interesting. Thanks a lot for contributing! This is exactly what I'm after. I will PM you later. Thanks very much!
Old 15th September 2008 | Show parent
  #17
Deleted 61b93a1
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phelan Kane ➑️
Place the loops you want to use in different slots in the 'session' view. You may have to arrange the clips within 'scenes'. You can then navigate through the scenes via 'Computer Keyboard Control' or via 'MIDI Remote Control'.

Have a look at the attached PNG's for examples. Please read my attached PDF 'Ableton Live as a Performance Tool'.

Good Luck
Thanks for taking time to post the info -- I took a look at the pdf.

I think I was unclear in my question. I' m wondering how to record multiple loops over each other on a gig using Live -- kind of a software equivalent to one of the fancier looping pedals.

Are there tricks to this? The fundamentals make sense (setting up your midi controller to turn recording on and off in certain slots in Session view); anything to watch out for?

Thanks again. Live is a great invention.
Old 15th September 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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Phelan Kane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by percussion boy ➑️
Thanks for taking time to post the info -- I took a look at the pdf.

I think I was unclear in my question. I' m wondering how to record multiple loops over each other on a gig using Live -- kind of a software equivalent to one of the fancier looping pedals.

Are there tricks to this? The fundamentals make sense (setting up your midi controller to turn recording on and off in certain slots in Session view); anything to watch out for?

Thanks again. Live is a great invention.
You might want to look into a keystroke app thats gonna allow you extended control in Live. Have a watch of the Kid Beyond vid & the Darren Perry vid. Kid Beyond uses MIDI Translator Pro to assign midi messages to multiple keystrokes. Control Aid does a similar thing on Mac Os.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spunkadellic ➑️
this look s like exactly what you want...check out "kid Beyond"

http://www.ableton.com/_common/downl...kid_beyond.mov
Darren Perry: YouTube - Darren Perry - Multi Track Loop System - Ableton Live 5

Bome's Midi Translator Pro - Bome Software
controlAid

You need this app so you can assign a MIDI message to execute a string of keystrokes (select track, arm track, rec track etc etc).

It's all very do-able. Your best to use a click track but you could route that to a discrete headphone feed on stage.

Hope that helps

P
Old 15th September 2008 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I saw Kid Beyond play live a while ago.

The first half of the show he used loop peddles/kaoss pad. It was great, and the rest of the crowd seemed to love it.

Then the second half of the show he switched to a laptop.... And althoug he was doing more complicated stuff, which if on a CD would prob work better than the first half, as a show it was lacking. Most of the crowd seemed to lose interest, guess they thought he was "cheating" or something. The laptop portion was definitely a less inpiring/interesting show than the more physical loop of gear.

Something to keep in mind whilst you're thinking of switching to a laptop.
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #20
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Phelan:

That makes sense.

I've got the bome app somewhere, never tried it. I can get the multiple keystroke thing going somehow.

I've seen Kid Beyond here in SF. So that's how he does it . . .

Thanks again for the detailed answers.
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
check this vid out

YouTube - Live Looping w/MIDI (Kid Beyond style)

it's a tutorial on how to set up bomes and ableton to do on the fly looping with a foot switch.

i'm sure you'll want to tweak this but its a good foundation for the basic set up.

also take a look at gloop and mobius

i've used gloop and it works pretty cool for what it is
i've never touched mobius but i've seen it recommended for this kind of stuff.

i think with a bit of thought you could get ableton and bomes to do the trick though... one tip if you dont want to do the first loop to a click is to turn off global quantinzation and go for broke
Old 31st July 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I took a class with Kid Beyond once. Super talented guy,
awesome beatboxer, great at doing vocal looping on the fly with a Boomerang.

However, the way he uses Live on stage (at least when I took his class) is that he has created Live sets
in advance for each song with different empty loops of fixed lengths, including one loop
for each set containing a click. He uses the click loop in his IEM mix to get started in each
, and then uses footswitches to trigger the different empty loops
that he records into with his voice.

Not to take anything away from him for doing this, he put on
a great show using this technique, and the audience seemed just as enthusiastic
for this part as the Boomerang part.
Old 4th August 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Exquisite Red's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'll bump this instead of starting a thread...

OK, so I've never played a live show with my synth rig (I drummed in the past, but never done anything "electronic" on stage), but that time may be fast approaching. I'd like to incorporate the computer and Live into the mix for looping stuff I've already composed (there will be no recording into Live at the shows). All the loops will be created beforehand.

I understand how the program works and how I will utilize it at shows... That's not the issue. What I'd like to know is how you guys that are working with Live in a live setting handle different/multiple songs... Like if you do a six song set, and every song has parts in Ableton, do you just load up the new song in Live in-between songs? That seems awfully clumsy, awkward, and slow.... Or do you just have multiple instances open and switch to the one you need to use? That seems like a computer crisis waiting to happen. I believe I would begin weeping and possibly urinate on myself if my computer froze up mid show.

How do you guys handle this?
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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synthoid's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exquisite Red ➑️
What I'd like to know is how you guys that are working with Live in a live setting handle different/multiple songs...
I put one set's worth of songs (about an hour) into a single Live Set.

The only issue is that you may need different instruments / effects for different songs, and if you aren't careful about how you do it, you can overload the CPU with too many active instruments, even though you don't need very many instruments at the same time.

If you give each song a stretch of time in the arrangement view, then you can automate "device on/off" from the timeline. The nice thing about this is that you can have different devices loaded up for different songs, but only the devices needed for the current song turned "on". If you use this trick you can load a practically unlimited amount of stuff into a single Live Set. Well, you still have to watch the memory requirements of individual plug-ins. But if you stick to Live's own instruments you can load a ton of stuff up in this way.

You can't automate device on/off from clip envelopes AFAIK. I have been meaning to play around with the chain selector in instrument racks to see if you can get a similar effect on the CPU load using it...

-synthoid
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Exquisite Red's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid ➑️
I put one set's worth of songs (about an hour) into a single Live Set.

...............

-synthoid
Thanks a lot, man. I never would have thought about automating device on/off. Great advice.
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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Exquisite Red's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I found a great (apparently very popular) tutorial video about live performance with Live. Figured I'd post it in here for anyone searching for some Live tips.

Moving from the studio to live laptop performance

Old 9th October 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm an improvising musician - I like to go right onto stage with "no plans", no pre-recorded material or click tracks, just the spirit of the moment. I've been using the Electrix Repeater for 8 years, because it allows me to start a loop without a click and build on it. I haven't been able to figure it out in Live until now...

With Live 8 you could set up the first track with a looper plugin, and use it as the master tempo. Just set the "Tempo control" in the Looper plugin to "Set & follow", and then record your first loop on this track. Live's global tempo is set by the first loop you record.

Then you can go on using all the other tracks and record like if you had a pre-recorded click track.
Old 13th October 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Automated Looping in Live 8

Hello does anyone have insight about live looping in a manner similar to the Kid Beyond style or using Looper in Live except in addition to using a MIDI controller, having the ability to program automated commands such as, start recording a second loop at a predetermined time point in a playing session then stop recording at a predetermined point in time, then be able to start and stop that loop automatically at predetermined times.

The idea being that your hands or feet would be freed up from triggering loops, allowing you to move from one instrument to another with greater freedom. The entire song would have to be laid out in the session.

I am running Mac OSX with Live 8, a Drum KAT10 as MIDI controller, and a Line 6 POD X3 Pro for Guitar input.

Thanks
Old 13th October 2011
  #29
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savyurrecords's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
To add my two cents.

I have used Ableton a number of times for live looping. This was before they had the Looper plug in. I also used a FCB1010 where each button press (10 banks of 10) would fire a MIDI note that I then assigned to a slot in one of my loop tracks in session view.

The routing (most important)
Create a track in Ableton to act as the input. This track's monitoring is set to IN as opposed to auto, I put the effects that I want to use on this track. Then I create my loop tracks, i use three. Each loop track gets its monitoring turned to off, its record button enabled, and its audio input set to the first track I created. Then whatever I play will get routed to all three loop tracks with the effects printed (handy). By hitting a button on the FCB it will cause a loop track to start recording. I hit that same FCB button and it stops and then loops.

The main issue (as mentioned) before is tempo. In my setup I have a small speaker set to the side that only plays a click track. Only I can hear it and I only really notice it as I start the song.
Old 13th October 2011
  #30
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🎧 10 years
I do a lot of guitar live looping. My whole rig is currently midi synced via ableton, and my pedals/drums/synth receive program changes and cc stuff. The looping is done OTB with two gibson echoplexes. I'm really interested in moving towards ableton for looping as well, since I like the vertical arrangement style.

There is a $300, midi-syncable looper that is coming out in a few months. I might just buy four of those, set each up on its own ableton channel, and continue doing what I'm doing.
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