Playing "LIVE" with Live

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If you're thinking about performing "LIVE" (ie. playing your own original music to an audience), you can always learn more about Ableton Live. Thus, to make full use of our comments section on blog posts, we'd like to open up the forum for you to share your thoughts and experiences on using Ableton Live for performance, or perhaps you'd like to ask a question about that feature or technique that's been bugging you for ages?

To kick it off, I thought I'd ask you about your experiences in trying to sync multiple Livesets for collaborative performance. I have attempted multiple approaches alongside my Haul Music labelmate, Craig McWhinney, including sync of our laptops via ethernet, sync of our soundcards via SMPTE, and various approaches to MIDI sync... first with one Ableton Liveset as the Master and another as Slave, then finally settling on both Livesets synced via MIDI with an external clock source from my Roland TR-909 (which proved to be VERY wonky!) and eventually from our favourite Master Clock, Craig's Elektron Machinedrum, which is TIGHT. Feel free to ask me any questions about these methods in the comments section. 

This is also a hot topic amongst Ableton Certified Trainers, and from time to time I'll report back on some of the discoveries made by my fellow Certified Trainers from across the world. 

Cheers, Mike Callander


Jez says:

Manual synch for the win!

mike.callander says:

Hey Jez,

Manual sync is a tricky beast, but has certainly been used a lot. The nudge function inside Ableton Live is very useful tool for this approach, as is good natural timing amongst the performers. DJs are generally pretty good at this as they've had lots of practice with cue points.

Cheers, MC

Co-founder and Ableton Certified Trainer at School of Synthesis. DJ and live on the weekends. 

Vestax DJ says:

Are you running both Vestax of the one Ableton session?

mike.callander says:

Hey Vestax DJ,

Nope, we are using two instances of Live, and each is controlled by its own Vestax VCM-600. That's why we couldn't successfully use ethernet / network for sync... it got the timing right, but couldn't distinguish between the first and second VCM-600... therefore a change to controller #1 could sometimes have an undesired change on live set #2, and vice versa. 

Co-founder and Ableton Certified Trainer at School of Synthesis. DJ and live on the weekends. 

mike.callander says:

Further to Vestax DJ's comments, it's worth noting that the BEST way to ensure sync is to use one computer... but that has its own limitations. The are some quality external sync options such as Innerclock Systems and some potentially interesting Max for Live options that I'm yet to explore. I'd love to hear from anyone using M4L for sync. 

Co-founder and Ableton Certified Trainer at School of Synthesis. DJ and live on the weekends. 

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