Live in theater applications. Does anyone have some tips or links?

I am doing the music/sound for an upcoming theater piece and I need some inspiration with regards to using Live in a theater setting. I hear it is a great tool for real-time and creative uses in triggering playback and interacting with things going on on-stage. however, I wanted to see if someone had some tips here on where I could get some more insight into this.


yukiovmking 7 years ago | 0 comments

4 answers

  • kleine Ableton staff
    10 answers
    49 votes received
    3 votes

    Here's an interesting link you might check out:

    See also some forum posts, e.g.:

    or an discussion on this subject here:

    7 years ago | 0 comments
  • zaloo
    4 answers
    8 votes received
    1 vote

    i've used Ableton extensively on hundreds of live theater productions in small and large houses for the past seven years, all over Los Angeles, Portland OR, New York and London.

    Ableton Live has served me and the productions very well.

    as Live was first engineered as a rock-solid playback platform and a close second as a musical instrument, my sound design has become more and more effortlessly musical. the panorama of sonic possibilities within Live as i sit at the tech table as a play is painstakingly layered together during technical rehearsal is exhilarating. no rendering in a DAW then shuttling over the frozen sound to see if it sounds any good in place, then trying to match the attack and decay with fades in a separate playback application. theatrical sound design and music composition in Ableton Live as it also serves as the playback platform invites as much perfectionist nuance as you would like to stand and the Stage Manager can call. i find my shows having as much nuance as a lighting design. in fact most cues are "lights and sound.. GO."

    there are quirks, as in the roundabout way you have to fade continuous audio material, through dummy clips, although this slightly convoluted method opens up a world of parameter automation with it.

    i wish i could print Scene (Cue) lists, it would make paperwork, if i'm forced to provide cue sheet, a lot easier.

    i wish the color coding palette had more nuance, like Logic, i use color coding a lot with the huge Sets generated for theater. tints and shades of colors..

    Ableton has ceded the theater market to QLab, especially in the video playback arena. recently QLab has acquired the ability to use live processing through AU and apparently pitch and time manipulation,
    which is something Live had over QLab, hand over fist. no more..

    because QLab has basically installed itself as the de-facto standard in live theater and performance applications, i've often been forced to defend my choice to use Live at major venues because the staff is not trained in Ableton. they regard Ableton Live as a DAW like Logic and i have an uphill battle sometimes. it's a shame that Ableton has ceded that market.. the makers of QLab are wonderful folk, i'm told, but i wish they were not perceived as the only game in theatrical audio.

    -john zalewski

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • ottoman42
    2 answers
    2 votes received
    1 vote

    I've used it for a bunch of productions. Here is a quick write up I did for one a few years back using QLab and Ableton.

    -Matt Otto

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • madlab
    5 answers
    6 votes received
    0 votes

    I've always worked with Live for my theater and dance work and it's a great tool, covering most of the needs for cue playing / triggering, crossfading between scenes, sound design,...

    You sometimes have to dig to find ways to manage complex stuff but I think that's the point with any software. Never used Qlab or the likes but I tried Seqcon, which is free and really dedicated to this kind of work and was developed by a friend, and liked it. With Live, I can manage projects from start to the show.

    6 years ago | 0 comments

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