How to prepare my finished Tracks for Live Performance?

Hey Guys,

a "simple" question about the Workflow in Live:


I have 8 channels in sessionview with my ideas for a song in it, lets say over 4 rows, ready to get finished in arrangementview.

Over these channels i got EQ´s and Compressors, for example to fit the bass to the kickdrum. But if im finished with this song, i will need the compressor and EQ settings "burned" onto the clips, and not as an device.

because I want to move my "mastered" clips back to sessionview for Liveuse.

Should i resample the audio into a new clip with the effect on it to get an finished clip for  Liveuse?

I think that is one way to do that but i red something about loss of quality if working with 24 bit in Ableton and resampling that way? I dont this true?


Excuse my bad english, i hope you can help me

Thanks a Lot






Bommel 6 years ago | 0 comments

2 answers

  • chaircrusher
    12 answers
    32 votes received
    13 votes

    You can load a session within a session. The way I've built my live sets is this:

    1. Set up the set of channels you want available during your live set.  I set up 8 audio tracks.

    1. 'Kicky' loops (kick drum + minimal other elements)
    2. Percussion1 (drum sounds except for the kick)
    3. Percussion2 (different loops, complementary to Percussion1)
    4. Basslines
    5. Lead
    6. Misc1 (pads, rhythmic synth parts, whatever)
    7. Misc2 (same as Misc2)
    8. Sound Effects (one shot samples, general weirdness)

    This initial template has no effects on any channels.  This keeps them from competing with the songs you are trying to record down to clips.

    Then, for each song I want to incorporate into the set, I drag it into the empty area to the right of track 8 in the session view.  Then, for each sound in the song, I record clips into the appropriate audio track on the left.  I try and make it so that each scene (horizontal row of clips) sounds OK if you trigger the whole scene.  So if your song has A, B, C sections they'd end up as separate scenes, perhaps with a few variations.  When I do it, I also try and make it so it's useful to mix and match clips from different scenes.

    Once you've recorded all the clips you care about from one song, delete all the tracks containing clips for that song, and start the process over with a new song.

    Once you've done this with enough songs to constitute a useful working set, then think about the effects you'll want on the tracks in your session view.  I use an APC40, so I set up one effect chain in an audio effect rack, and then replicate it across all tracks.  That way the effect knobs work the same on every track, and you can add effects to a particular track by clicking the track select; then the effect knobs light up showing their current settings.

    It's also useful to use the remap the pan pots to effect send knobs in the upper right of the APC40.  I never bother with panning in a live set, so I set up 4 effect sends and remap the pan controls to an additional return track.

    This isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to setting up for live performances with Live.  It means you're working with prerecorded material, and the 'live' part is a matter of tweaking effects and triggering different combinations of prerecorded loops.

    If you're good at real time drum programming you can dedicate a track to a drum rack, and bring something like an MPD8 which will allow you to add drums in new clips on the fly during your set.  One useful thing to do is to set up the drum rack with several complete 12-sound kits, then use a MIDI transpose effect to choose different kits during the performance.

    If you do want to do something like that with a VST on a track and mess with the VST live, keep in mind that each MIDI clip can specify a different preset bank/patch;  so you aren't limited to using just one sound for that synth.  You can change it by changing clips.  This requires some experimentation, as some synths don't change patches smoothly when you launch a new clip.  If you're using one of those synths it's probably better to drop it's volume when you change to a new clip that chooses a new patch.

    Use Color Coding to keep different kinds of clips straight.

    Depending on what controller you use, don't be afraid to add a second controller; it always seems to me that every controller on the market is just a few knobs or buttons shy of being adequate.  Just make sure that you use a CONSISTENT mapping of controls onto the knobs so that you don't have to think hard about what knob controls which parameter.  For example when I DJ I use a M-Audio XSession-Pro as a DJ controller, but also an Akai MPD 8.  I turn the MPD 8 sideways so the knobs and pads are arranged as 2 columns, then map the knobs and pads to the 'left deck' and 'right deck' effects.

    Do some planning outside of Ableton Live before you start putting together your live set; if you have a logical layout in mind for how your set is going to go together, it will make it much easier to fill out the plan with your various songs and other resources.  It's good to remember also that you don't need to have a ton of simultaneous tracks to be effective.  On a big sound system, subtle details will not be heard as well as they would at home, so it's good to not stack up too many sounds at once.  

    If you're doing it right your live set should be simple enough that you can play an acceptable set no matter what distractions there are around you -- nothing complicated to remember, and you know which knobs do what without having to think hard.

    Some things I find really important:

    1. As early as possible move your set to the computer you're actually going to use, and make sure that your live set isn't too CPU-heavy.  You want to run low latency during your live set, to make triggering clips more precise and you can't do that if you're saturating the CPU.
    2. Idiot-proof your controller.  For example I always remap the 'stop' transport button and the 'stop all clips' buttons on the APC40 to something else.  There's nothing worse than accidentally stopping everything in the middle of your performance.
    3. Practice performing with your live set.  That might seem too obvious to mention, but I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time in the studio but only play a show a few times a year.  It's easy to think you know what you're going to do, and that it's just 'pushing buttons' but until you try to run through everything a few times, you're going to be thinking too much about the mechanics of playing and not enough about the music itself.
    4. No battle plan survives first engagement with the enemy, and no plan for a live performance survives actually being in front of a crowd and have a big sound system blaring your music at 120dB.  Make sure you have every cable you need, your own plug strip and extension cord, and even your own direct box if your audio adapter doesn't have balanced outputs.   You can't depend on the club to have ANYTHING you need except a place to plug in XLRs and a mains outlet. If you want to uses a microphone, bring your own AND your own cable -- if the venue's gear is OK, that's great -- leave them in your kit bag.
    5. It's OK to have a drink or two before a gig, to settle your nerves, but save the party for afterwards.  Leave playing drunk and high to the real professionals.


    6 years ago | 1 comment
  • Bommel
    1 answer
    0 votes received
    0 votes

    Hey Chaircrusher,


    first of all: What are you, the Warlock? Next to the fact that you are technically very in detail i guess you payed the penny for my toughts...Thanks for taking the time to reveal your secrets ;)

    The first Tipp you gave me is near to that what iam actually doing, with the difference that i always tried to produce in the same template i would use for a Performance. so my Effect Racks for each channel are already built up, i also got 8 of them, i split them nearly like you do it.

    The progress you described after is the point where i was stuck, so you do resampling via "audio from" and choose the mixed/mastered output from the original channel you want to record the clip from on the right?  Because i heard this counts as one of the non-neutral operations in ableton, exept you working with 32bit settings and interface, im critical with this because i remember the days when i was messing with samplerates, as everyone i try to get the best result i can get and i dont want these "slightly hearable" failures you can get if youre not deep enough in this data-bit-byte-stuff.

    I also agree: i want to work with prerecorded material first, there are many ways to push the performance later with stuff like live-drumpatterns or synths if its getting boring on stage ( thanks for the advice with the midi-programchange! One more thing i didnt know) and the midifiles are saved anyway, so i dont need to recreate anything for live use,i just have to check the right patches.

    I use the APC20 with a livid code, so i got the effect-controllers i dont have on the APC "outsourced" to the livid. Livid builts awesome stuff btw, lovely handcrafted, feels like an instrument - and both controllers give me visual feedback. But i reprogrammed the APC-faders too and removed the dangerous stopbuttons.

    Thanks for your five rules too, The last sentence kinda made my night :)

    Would be nice to know which genre youre in mate!

    6 years ago | 1 comment

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