Ableton Live isn’t a perfect program for performance (hint: there’s never perfect software for anything), but maybe that’s not the point. As opposed to something entirely open-ended like Max/MSP or Reaktor (both of which I use regularly), what’s nice about Live for performance is that you have a basic grid, a fixed interface on which you can build what you need. Part of the reason Ableton keeps coming up is that there really isn’t anything else that does what it does: Cakewalk’s Project5, for instance, is interesting and even has rudimentary clips, but even Cakewalk admits it isn’t intended to replace the sophisticated clip management, scene management, and follow actions in Live’s Session View.

Against that fixed background, people have come up with fantastic custom solutions and hacks the likes of which I’ve never seen in any other software, ever. I spent last night at the latest meeting of the Ableton user group in Manhattan. Usually, meetings about software focus on features, but Ableton Live is different — most of the function focused on how people use their software. Live conversations invariably start with the questions of how you use Live’s sets and what hardware you use for control, because no one — no one — does it the same way.

At this meeting, we had DJs, a cellist, a singer-songwriter, guitar/bass players. There were people syncing Live to looping plug-ins, using it with turntables, controlling it with keyboards, foot pedals. There were people with elaborate multi-clip setups and follow actions, others using just a few minimal clips, others using Arrangement view. Afterwards, at the monthly Warper Party on the Lower East Side, Matt “Moldover” showed his unique way of combining Live with Reaktor, with Reaktor handling surround mixing, visual feedback on beats, and interactive audio-mangling and Live handling clips and beat sync.

Dave Hill from Ableton is a drummer, so he solves Live’s inability to switch meters by setting quantization to quarter notes, which lets him trigger sophisticated rhythmic changes live. (I’m practicing so I can get to that point instead of using the bar.)

I have my own approach which I’ve been developing over time to try to teach the basic methods, the common elements that seem to work for most people, and that now can take advantage of Live 6’s racks, which for me completely transform what’s possible. But so I can get out of my head a little more, I was curious what CDM readers do. Ordinarily I’d ask this on the forums, but this is an important enough question to send out to everyone. How do you use Live in performance / DJing / live applications? What’s your track configuration? Do you combine with other software (plug-ins, ReWire, Max/MSP, Project5, Reaktor, Reason) or stick to Live’s built-in capabilities? How many clips do you use? Are there restrictions you’ve hit that you’d like solved?

  • I mostly use Live by itself, just with a VST limiter in the Master channel to hold the peaks (BuzMaxi3). As for the configuration, it varies a lot dependind on what I want to do.

    When I'm CJing I use a template with 4 channels mapped to the faders on my Trigger Finger. The two top lines of pads are mapped to general control stuff (launch scene, scene up, scene down, tap tempo etc.) and the remaining lines trigger two lines of clips in the session view. Effects amd knob mappings are all added in real-time. I use solely internal effects to minimize the crashing odds. πŸ™‚

    As for the set per se: I use mp3 which have been synced and warp-marked along with acapellas and some special sessions that i call "mini-blocks", which are dragged at any moment into the set, played, recombined, messed-up with and then deleted when they're no longer necessary. In fact I often spend quite some time deleting channels live to make room for more mini-blocks. Everything is done non-stop, often with moments of cold-sweating panic deciding on what to do next!

    But CJing is not the only thing I do. One of my projects is called Concert for Harp and Notebook (, and the name is pretty self-explanatory. On these shows I record, loop, layer and generally f*ck up the harp in real time besides triggering an electronic "bed" of loops fo the harpist to play on top of. I use several different sets with different configurations on the show… on some songs I improvise beats, on others i record and trigger dozens of live harp parts and so on.

    I'm looking forward to by a MIDI floorboard to add even more triggers and be able to pull some "look ma, no hands!" stuff on the performances. πŸ˜€

  • I wrote a guide to how I create a virtual pedalboard for bass FX and looping here. I host the effects in Phrazor, and then trigger them through a midi track and record to a second audio track. Technically, this could be done in almost any DAW software. Ableton's just what I had sitting around.

  • The basic Logickal Live setup, for improvised glitch and experimental:

    Channels 1 & 2 set to resample master output, for catching loops on the fly or for playback of longer, ambient beds.

    Channel 3 taking input from 4-6

    Channels 4-6, each with an instance of Impulse.

    Channels 7-9 each with a sampler instrument

    Channels 10-12 with Operator.

    I'll have a couple of returns with delay type effects, perhaps a beat repeat or two. I'll then have a 3rd return with LiveCut, send it channel 3 pre-fader, assign 3 to Xfade A and the return to Xfade B.

    I usually begin my sets with nothing more than a hihat pattern clip on one of the Impulse tracks, along with maybe some ambience in an audio clip. I then build my sequences up from scratch, recording into the arrangement for later editing, etc. Of course, this setup is pre-Live6 and -Intel Macboox, and was based on having the most bang-per-processor-cycle as I could get while minimizing glitches and crashes. I can't wait to integrate Racks, Sampler and more AU instruments into my live sets!

  • My setup is geared towards simultaneously composing/performing in the most seamless way possible. I'm not thoroughly satisfied by my methodology, and I'm sure I'll be working differently by the time you read this! πŸ˜‰

    1) Tracks 1-5(?) or so each run a reaktor, impulse, battery, or some other plugin instance. Midi clips are captured on each track.

    2) Tracks 6-10 are audio tracks that are scratch pads for renderings from tracks 1-5.

    3) The rest of the tracks are audio and contains mixups of the rendered midi tracks, as well as any live guitar or bass I need.

    I like this setup because it lets me keep several working versions of my midi stuff in different variations. I have yet to develop a method of seamlessly working with it all though.

  • Hi (yeah, hi, cheers for the link πŸ™‚

    I have 6 channels of audio, then a channel for Reason and then 5 Midi channels. I map the faders of my Novation X-Station to the faders for the audio channels, then one for the cross-fade, then one for the master.

    I don't use a limiter, as people started to complain that the volume started going quiet (i.e. it was compressing) so I just try to keep the mix under control with the faders.

    I have other controls on the X-Station mapped to some global effects (a beat-repeat on the output, a reverse effect, a filter, a delay).

    I have a Faderfox LX2 mapped with the blue buttons for triggering and stopping the current audio channels, the greens for the 5 midi channels and up/down navigation, and the reds for arming the midi tracks for record.

    I send the midi channels to Reason via Rewire. Lately I've been using a standard set of five Combinators through a 6-way mixer with the volume controls mapped to my Kenton Spin Doctor. I have a row of controls on the X-Station mapped to the four Combinator buttons and knobs. If I need to switch sounds, I'll midi-focus to another Reason window. This means I can load lots of stuff up front.

    I also have a Kaoss pad wired through my X-Station with a wireless radio mic plugged into it. So I can capture and loop effected trumpet sounds should the mood take me (although I'd rather use a mixer so that I can make more use of the X-Station's fun on-board synth).

    The most important thing in a live set-up is to keep it the same way for a while, so that your body learns where everything is, and you can play your setup like an instrument. Not that I really take my own advice πŸ™‚

    What I'd like in Live is to be able to map the grid of my LX2 to the currently selected and next five rows of the session. I find the biggest problem with (mostly) mouseless input is this need to go up and down all the time. Means I can't switch things up that're in the same channel when doing that always sounds good. I bought a license for Bome's midi translator, but I never liked any of those virtual midi loopback thingies – they always seemed to mess up my computer.

    I'll be having a play with racks in preparation for my next gig (nothing organised yet..) so that should be interesting. Also might have to grab a Remote SL as a replacement for my ailing and nightmarishly difficult to configure Spin Doctor. Be nice to have the controls labelled πŸ˜‰

    Anyhoo. That's just the sort of question I'm never asked, so cheers!

  • @Logickal – Livecut roxorz. It becomes an addiction!

    @All – Fuck, my previous comment is full of typos. But I think you get the gist. πŸ˜‰

  • Hi, I'm in a 2-man Tech-Dub band from New Zealand called Pitch Black. Our setup is pretty elaborate because we wanted to have 16 audio outputs from Live into an analog mixing desk so we can do extensive dub mixing on stage, trigger video clips, and have a crash-proof setup.

    We run Live on two Tibook 500's, each feeding 8 individual audio outputs via two RME Multifaces. The Tibooks are both chasing MIDI clock from my controller keyboard, a Roland A-37. The A-37 and a ReMote25 are used to trigger Scenes and Clips in Live and use MIDI CCs to control plugins/effects/levels etc. I use the Remote 25's programmable buttons to trigger scenes, and I have a cardboard overlay for each song to remind me where each scene is, and what knob is mapped to what.

    One Tibook handles the rhythm section: mono kick, snare, bass, hats, stereo perc, stereo drums. The other Tibook handles the "instruments" as 4 stereo pairs. The "Instruments" machine also has a MIDI track sending MIDI sequences to a 17"Alubook that does video (using Modul8 software) Every scene has its own video sequence plus there are "overrides" under the keys on our MIDI controllers so that I can hit say, a huge reverb dub snare and there appears on the screen a shot of a seed pod exploding.

    Once the Macs are loaded at the start of the gig they do not have to be touched at all until they are shut down at the end of the gig. All the control of Live is done from the MIDI keyboards. In fact the Macs are off to the side of the stage and we do not need to look at the computer screens at any time. No accusations of email-checking here, we'd much rather jump up and down!

    One Live Set is used on each machine for the whole gig. Our Sets are about 110 tracks wide and about 250 Scenes deep. There is a trick of combining lots of songs accross the Session View left to right top to bottom. You just keep adding new tracks and new scenes so all your songs end up diagonally and top-to-bottom accross the page. Each individual song has roughly 10-20 scenes and is 5-15 tracks wide on each machine.

    The clips and scenes for each song are set to receive on a different MIDI channel. Song 1 on channel 1, song 2 on channel 2 etc. The MIDI controller keyboards are set up with one patch per song, each patch transmitting a different MIDI channel. Between songs I push the patch increment button on the A-37 controller and the ReMote 25 changes patch, the Akai sampler changes patch, the hardware FX change, and the next song in Live is instantly available under the keys.

    As a safety measure, each Live set has a track (which is normally muted) playing a stereo rough mix of what the other Tibook is doing in any given scene. If one Tibook crashes, we can unmute this track and "fly on one engine" while we re-boot the other Mac. The MIDI is routed so that if one powerbook dies it doesn't take the other out.

    The 16 individual audio outs from Live go into a Behringer 24 ch desk on stage. We have 4 hardware FX sends on this for our dub mixing. (Two Boss SE-50s, one doing 2 delays, the other doing 2 reverbs). I play the keyboards and Mike-the-other-half does the dub and also manipulates the video from a second ReMote25.

    I can move around anywhere in the song construction using the scene buttons, and Mike also has control over the structure by using the mutes on the mixing desk. The dub mixing is the other major part of our spontenaity on stage. If things are going well and the crowd is loving it, we can stay on one scene and build up intensity with the dub and mixing desk manipulation, or if its not happening, we can get the f*#@ out of there instantly.

    We are still using OS9 (gasp) on stage because our Tibooks are so elderly (one Gb of RAM max) and the sets so big OSX just doesn't wanna know! But we have OSX.4.2 partitions with Live 5 and Logic etc that we use in the studio.

    We can play a 90 minute set with this showload, or 2 hours (a new record folks!) if things are really rockin'. Our theory has basically been to do all the technical headspace stuff in advance in order to allow the conditions for spontenaity on stage (and leaping around like an idiot)

    Live rig specs:

    Tibook 500 x 2


    1Gb Ram

    5400 rpm internal HD

    RME Cardbus/Multiface

    Live 4.0.2

    Alubook 17"


    Modul8 video software

    Roland A-37

    ReMote25 x 2

    Akai S3200 sampler

    Boss SE-50 multiFX x 2

    Behringer 24ch desk

    Please check out our live video and downloads at

  • After much tweaking I have settle on a set-up that seems to work best for me:

    a) I set up two channels with pre-warped tracks (now at around 70 clips per channel), trying to leave enough empty spaces so I shuffle clips between channels if the mood strikes

    b) Instead of using the cross-fader I set up an EQ III on both channels, cut the High and Low for each and assign the top 4 knobs on my REMOTE to High/Low Frequencies…this let's me specify which freqs I want for each channel. Also makes for ultra-smooth crossfades (no clashing frequencies).

    c) I also add Auto-Pan setup to gate 1/8 notes to one track and the same thing inverted on the other. Then map REMOTE's knobs to control "Amount". This makes for nice transitions where the two tracks kind of bounce off each other..sort of an "auto-transform".

    d) I have another three seperate channels for beat loops (electro, house, breaks)…when these are going I will use the technique mentioned above to cut the bass out.

  • Damn I love CDMu commentors. I've only used Live for a little DJing but have been running thought experiments on how to integrate it with my VJ sets. You guys are inspirational!

  • hello, i have an experimental project 'scalar' which i use live for. i run live in session view only. i do this because i like to trigger clips or sections of clips on the fly. this gives me alot of control on each portion of the sound i want to play next. i use an exsession controller to trigger clips, tweak effects and mute parts, etc. i have an audio track which i use for recordings of noises and found sound etc. this gives my sound a unique and non daw ambience edge. then i usually have three midi tracks: one for lead or something like that, one for bass and the other for drums. i sequence the drums, bass and lead into clips. lots of clips in each column. i usually record or create my own basses/drums and use a vst or audio unit for the lead to give it a bit of dynamics or changing harmonics. i like giving my drums a kind of blown out sound so lots of compression, distortion and chopping. i use follow actions alot triggering a series of clips. i run my output from my computer through a tube preamp into a recording device or pa. what i make isn't exactly 'great' sounding. its a bit harsh but its what i want from my project. live lets me sketch things out and take an idea to a full fledged composotion without hassle. it also lets me get all my audio parts meshed with my sequenced midi parts in a way thats organic and sounds right. its cool to read how other people use live. it truly is an instrument. everyone seems to find thier own way of using it that is as unique as their own sounds.

  • WarpedEye

    This is fantastic inspiration, thanks guys! I'll be trying your ideas out in the coming days.

  • ChungkingXxpress


    Thanks so much for this topic! I'm a complete newbie… just started using Ableton 5 (unfortunately, I unlocked mine about a month or two before they announced 6. grrr) with the intention of using it to DJ at first and do remixes/tracks later. What's the 411 on the ableton manhattan group? I couldn't make it to the warper party… πŸ™

    But back to this topic… can anyone recommend an app to map a USB Joystick to MIDI? I've got one of those nifty Adaptoid N64 to USB dongles that I'd like to use as a controller… solo or in combination w/Trigger Finger (which I'm also just starting to suss out). I've tried USB Overdrive for keyboard mappings but haven't come up with a configuration I like yet.

    keep the suggestions flowing!

  • Im also from New Zealand, and my setup is really simple. a novation X station (which ive renamed the sex station) covered in white tape with numbers written all over it, half the keyboard dedicated to scenes (seq) and the other half to live samples. i use a korg MS2000

    (midi clocked) to play live while triggering the seq and samples, aswell as the knobs set up for filtering, dubs, volumes ect…

    aswell as using the desk for aux dubs

    one day i will have the PC setup like paddy's triggering video and stuff like that. im working on it at the moment. sending out CC iinfomation from midi clips to a dedicated computer im halfway thru building to take care of all the visuals.

    after ive written a track i break everything down into seperate tracks and re-arrage it all

    kinda a live remix version.take the track on a different journey.

    also run a good PC laptop that seems to handle things pretty well, one crash only (3 years)

    so yep. its great fun.

  • ChungkingXxpress, you could use a program called MJOY to convert joystick to midi (works with usb joysticks too). The interface is not without weirdness, but it does work…

    For my own live set, I have an input channel for sampling dry recordings, then this goes into another channel with some effects. I typically improvise a lot of glitchy noise with circuit bent equipment and record dry loop into the first channel, then toggle effects on and off in the second while listening on headphones. The result of this get resampled into a third channel which I then bring into the mix and leave looping while i go back to the start.

    I also have some midi channels with 'automation' clips, these are clips containing only midi automation envelopes that I route via midiYoke back into live. I can then trigger any of these clips and so have many parameters and effects controlled in differnt patterns.

  • I use it like a huge groovebox basically. I construct a lot of my songs in ableton so all i have to do is the transfer all my song's loops into one project. I can then mix and match loops from all my songs to create spontanious interesting performances.

    For normal djing I use it in a similar way to Dance tracks digital's method: Look here. IMO, thats the best way to DJ in live.

  • i use live for a two hour mix radio spot each week, which i currently have set up to 4 audio channels, three of which contain clips and one with a musolomo looper instance, which has a midi track routed to it. A send passes audio to the looper channel, letting me grab snippets of audio to play back from a combination of the three audio clip channels; each of these channels has a highlow pass eq8 on it, then a rack of delay, distortion, bitcrush and beat repeat variants, then a eq3 to modify the sound further. Im running on a bcr2000 and maudio keyboard after my triggerfinger died on me. Im currently thinking about the mappings to add in a new xsession pro, and salivating to switch over to a mpd24. Peace…


  • Hi…

    Great topic and its info that I've been looking for for ages…

    Im a producer for a trip-hop band called Devil's Cartel… …we've only recently started doing live gigs and it posed quite a problem…basically we wanted to keep quite close to the album yet still add quite a strong live element on stage…that was sorted with the bassist, a new keyboardist, a vocalist and myself running Ableton 5 and a Juno60…

    Basically I've set out the entire set on 1 timeline (45 minutes) and split the original track into 5 sections…rhythm, bass, pads, leads and fx etc ….ive drawn in the song tempo already so that whatever effects I use on the individual tracks are still in time…our music varies from 90 -168bpm :o)

    From there I have 2 UC16s controlling individual effects on the individual channels…so ill run 4 DBglitch VSTs (all set to different parameters and basically bringing the effect in via the wet dry mix), Ohmsboy Delay, a cruncher, auto filter and then finally Blockfish to handle any overload on the delay (which can get a bit wild at times)…each row of the UC16 will control say the rhythms effects or pads or whatever….

    I will then have another 3 tracks wired through to an individual output track and that will run the same line of VST's…these are basically just to add a little more spice to the track and it sounds great filtering out the main rhythm, into the loops, picking up the delay, running it all through a glitch effect and then dropping back into the main rhythm again…the beauty with this setup is that I can do this to any track with the effects on it…

    Im still not happy with this setup though, and im hoping to create more of a live template where basically I will build the track up as the song goes along….we have tried this in the past but I tend to go a bit awol and the band is left wondering wtf I am in the track…so it may be best to limit that aspect for now… :o)

  • Pingback: the lokey massive » Blog Archive » Create Digital Music ΓƒΖ’Γ’β‚¬Ε‘Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β» CDM Asks: How Do You Set Up Your Ableton Live Sets for Performance / DJing?()

  • ok, let's see.

    i'm changing the way i use live to a mouseless interface (made by the Phat Conductor… but I'm charge of porting it over to PC… it's a bitch (macros are limited to 2 at a time & all the key commands are handled differently) but it's coming… soon)

    anyways, here's the old setup:

    track 1: "scratch" track, input on resample, output to cue headphone mix.

    this track is for dragging loops in, cutting them in pitch and tempo to the music, it's good to preview your resamples too to make sure you've got the loop right, then drag to tracks 2-4 when you're ready

    track 2:

    track 3:

    track 4:

    track 5:

    track 6:

  • goddamnit i hit the send button.

    track 1: “scratch� track, input on resample, output to cue headphone mix.

    this track is for dragging loops in, cutting them in pitch and tempo to the music, itâ€ââ€ΕΎÂ¢s good to preview your resamples too to make sure youâ€ââ€ΕΎÂ¢ve got the loop right, then drag to tracks 2-4 when youâ€ââ€ΕΎÂ¢re ready

    track 2: this is an audio track, the inserts are EQ4 set to be a dual HP/LP filter, a Beat Repeat set to INS with 1/4 interval and 1/8 grid for hiphop juggles and a Utility set to "difference" (for phase cancelling on mixed down music) frequency 1 and 4 mapped to knobs, and on/off for beatrepeat and utility mapped to keys

    track 3: same as 2 but with in set to the impulse on track 5 for resampling of the beat

    track 4: same as 2&3 but with in set to Ext IN (microphone) for live beatboxing. the beat repeat on this track has the offset and grid set to knobs as well…

    track 5: BLANK impulse loaded up with chopped up samples from track 1 as i go. and sequenced live. transpose and time are mapped to controllers. also a beat repeat on this track mapped like track 4's. there's also a mapped arpeggiator on the impulse as well for cool flam.

    track 6: Operator or other VSTi synth (often changes during performance, as this is the "play over everything" option. Mifi IN on this is the controller on channel TWO (all previous assignments are channel ONE). this allows me to map the synth knobs (some vsti's map themselves) that i'd use other wise as well as my mod wheel which is explained below:

    All 5 tracks (2-6) are mapped to side A of the crossfader, and send B is maxxed on all of them, which brings up the crossfader and the sends:

    the x-fader is mapped to both my Mod wheel and the M key, modwheel for groovy movements, M for quick cuts.

    Send A (POST): filter delay

    Send B (PRE): supatrigga on 1/8 granularity and slow probabilty OFF (sounds like poo).

    Send B feeds to send A at about 60%. to smooth the glitch crossfade.

    The master has a BeatRepeat on INS, interval 1/4, grid 1/24, variation 10, no triplet and on/off mapped to the N key. this allows me to do cool glitches with the n and m keys. Then finally, a saturator on the master on default settings to prevent clipping.

    My controller has a "16 channel" mode for it's 16 knobs, to where each knob sends a single CC on a different channel. This CC is 7 and controls each track's volume. with one button i can flip from either FX/synth to a mixer, very cool.

    Phew, that was a bit =) This template allows for cool live cutting up in the cue track and either feeding it in as another loop or as samples in the impulse which are recorded live. the "beatboxing" channel goes over really well with the crowd as well, nothing like having a beatbox from an audience member happen and then glitch it up when he's done, the crowd loves that =)

    I'm gonna use this template next month with a 7th track for guitar & guitar rig =) to record the guitar, i have my Sustain pedal mapped to the master scene play button and have "select next scene on launch disabled". so i'll have a blank scene (no stop buttons on the currently playing tracks so i don't stop them) with record enabled on the guitar track and hit the pedal when i wanna record a riff, hit the pedal when the riff is near over, and the riff loops back perfectly, bam, it's a sample! (input on track 2 will be set to my guitar channel so i can repeat this process).

    anyways, i think that's about it,…. hopefully that wasn't too much overload. =)


  • Hi

    I use Live to play loops. First i made my loops with Reason, Pro Tools, Live and external hardware, then i start to build blocks of loops that work together and leave the open possibilitie to use them in a live situation. I control live with an Alesis Photon 25, assinging only the faders to the knobs controler, i assing the loops in real time, i mean i strat to play some loop, then add other and i start to hear what i need in that moment so i put live in midi edit and choose the loops i will play next, so basically i go in and out with volume of my loops and triggering them, sometimes four or five at the same time, this with the help of my controler. Some times i combine with max/msp but not in rewire mode, i use max in background and i have some functions assigned on my controler, so when i move a fader or pulse a key i modify or trigger something from max while live is sounding by itself.


  • Ghosties

    Live6=DJ fun.

    I set up 4 tracks and load them with songs to mp3jay, set the a/b's so i can crossfade and cut. In 6 i built some various effect racks, set them up as sends, and set up keystrokes to turn things on and off. The tracks need to be cued and tempo sync'd, just minor details. From there i will creat a few more tracks for extra beats/sounds/etc.

    An evolution x-session handles all the basic knob/fader bidnis, and the computer keyboard is loaded with keycommands.

    For non dj performance, somwhat the same but with a lot more tracks.

    Or Reaktor.

  • For djing in live 6, i have a nu systems laptop and m-audio fast track pro, i did have three faderfox modules the dj2/lv2/lx2 exellent in their own rights, but 9 batteries where needed or power suplies, not really suitable for pluging in to a dj booth with space and power supplie shortages.

    so i have just purchased the bitstream 3x a better choice for this reason.

    put to side the controller, this is how i aim to set up my live template.

    i have 6 main channels deck A and deck B each with two channels next to,labled either mix A1/A2 and B1/B2,or follow A1 etc depending on what i use them for.

    i can either pre programme some mad breaks and loops to cut in on the second channel to deck A/B leaving the third channel to A and B for dropping a full track to cut in in places, really the choice is down to the individual and the set you are doing, you could just drop in full tracks on all 6 channels, but i still class the deck A and deck B as my main sights to mixing irrespective of what i place in each ajacent slot, i still mix deck A with B as you would turntables etc the other channels are just for dropping in excitement.

    I then add various effects as master effects to deck A and B the usual gains and eq amongst others then I may add some to to the connected tracks A1 etc.

    But I also add various copies of some effects that are in the master deck channels A/B, and assign the same controller but reverse the order off the effect so as say deck A effect comes on and A1 and A2 go off so instead of using the main channel faders to mix I use the effects to swap from track to track , a good example being a filter on deck A mixing into A1 etc as the filter on say deck A comes in the copied filter on say A1 fades out so you have more than just a basic crossfade a better blend in which you will be surprised what will mix, you can also spice it up by adding as second effect to the same controls in similar way for those stubbon clashing mixes a reverb will tame down the fade etc, you should get the point , don’t forget though you will have to be ables to switch the effects on A1 off via a control button if you want to use it as normal via the faders.

    Basically sky is the limit its all on your imagination, along with return and sends for sending further effects into the mixe and maybe a grain delay with joystick/ribbon controler for mangling the overall sound on the main master.

    On top off this sampler or operator and impulse drum macine, with loops set up

    to trigger in , you can also take some samples of the songs key points, and keep these ready to drop into sampler etc to add to your own midi loops so you really get that remix going.

    As I said all on the imgination, the most difficult part is what to assign where and how much control you have.

    Last point that I failed to mention, this is where the pros will be seperated from the blaggers because off the effort put in, I cut all my tracks into 16 bar lengths and use follow action, so with this I have key display of where my tune is at and where to mix in .

    I blank out the rest of the tracks name in the other following sections so I have blank canvas to right in reminders of what and where I will mix, ie; say second track section from end I wright in mix, again you should get the point.

    All my tracks are coloured white.

    Obviously you don’t have to wright in you can just mix on the fly, but for more complex mixes in say a club envioroment it helps to know where you are at and what is next if you want to be the best.

    So hence I save all my tracks in 16 bar sections with just the first section named and the rest blank.

    If you are using pre programmed sections in A1, A2, B1, B2, etc I use another colour say grey and have the clips volume down i.e a blank clip that plays through using follow then where the audio clip lies this will be white so I know where it comes in so I don’t get confused when also cutting in effects and loops manually – no cluttered mixes.

    It goes on!

    I have dreamt of things such as ableton when a small boy at the age of about 11, mixing tape to tape – jive bunny style lol, I used to dreamt of a way to make the music mine.

    I would never off thought the spectrum zx and such computer based stuff would have evolved to this, so much to learn and not enough time in life to do so, now at the age of 37, I hope this helps some off you rock the dancefloor, good luck.

    These mixes will be up on my website for xmas.

    Summing it up:

    DECK – A / MIX A1 / MIX A2 / DECK – B / MIX B1 / MIX B2 / DRUMS / SAMPLER/

    Or what ever other additions or variations.

  • Peter, what's the name of the Live skin in that screenshot?

  • SonicTransfer Patch, I think. From this site (which is also home to the new Live 6 skin editor

    and lots of terrific tutorials):

    Sonic Transfer

  • Thanks! I've been looking for an excuse to download the skin editor anyway….

  • Hi Folks, great info you have all provided, however being as green as I am in reference to LIVE, I need all of your invaluable expertise and advice.

    I make a living as a full time children's solo music and movement entertainer and please pardon the simplistic nature of my setup, but this is currently what I do: Record all of my original music on Garageband,mix to iTunes and load'em all on my iPod nano. I plug into my Fender Passport little P.A. and use the minus lead vocal tracks as my backing band for each show.

    Does this work for me? I get away with it, however because I wear a wireless headset mic and move all over stage and on and off, the overall continuity of my performance lacks a b it when I have to run back to the iPod to pause so I can speak to the kids/parents, etc.

    I have always wanted to have a setup sort of like a sequencer chain, where I could perform 2 or 3 tunes in a row and then everything stops so I could speak. Having said that I would always like to have the option of cutting off the music at the end of the 2nd tune and doing this from a distance (remotely…footswitch or other method).

    a friend mentioned Abelton's LIVE to me however I'm not very familiar with it's capabilities. If someone/or someones would be so kind as to recommend a setup that might work for me using LIVE, I would so very much appreciate it.

    Aside from the Passport I do have 2 other PA heads both 12 channels each. I currently own a Macbook which I would hope to use to run LIVE.

    Thank you all in advance, for any advice.

  • Manny

    I want to get into Ableton but I get unwanted pitch (probably midi) sounds when I press any buttons on Ableton's interface — very annoying.

    Please help me.

    Manny—-saxyartsy at yahoo

  • poorsod

    Obviously I'm a bit late to the metaphorical party on this post and I doubt anyone will read this far down, but I thought I'd throw in my own personal set-up.

    Bear in mind that I've only done about two gigs so far so I haven't really had enough feedback on how well the follwoing works. I am also having a little trouble CPU-wise at the moment (you'll see why), which I am working on streamlining – perhaps with the help of another computer or maybe a Receptor.

    Although I never leave the Session View, my live sets are very structured. I have one non-stop Ableton document with all the clips I need laid out over about 30 tracks and 60 scenes (hence the CPU issue!); each scene is a section of a song with the start and stop messages relevant to that section.

    Everything is mixed, balanced and mastered in advance on my desktop computer so I don't need to worry about errant levels and clipping, or whether I've got enough cowbell. I stick rigidly to the set list (there are around six relatively lengthy songs) because I know it works and I don't need to worry about tempo or key changes.

    Most of the clips are bounces of several instruments in order to save on RAM and CPU (I originally had about 300 loops). However I also have about six soft synths and loads of effects, largely Guitar Rig, running in real time.

    Meanwhile I keep myself busy with my BCR2000. I never touch the mouse and I know the set well enough to play without even looking at the screen.

    My job is to launch scenes sequentially at the right time with the scene control buttons I've assigned. This means the structure of each song is quite rigid but not fully sequenced, so I can go back and replay a section the audience is loving or equally gloss over the rubbish bits.

    Within the songs I leave myself room to mess around as well. Throughout the set I tweak the hell out of the pre-mapped dials on my controller – this might be shuffling drum patterns, fades, mutes, distortion drives, filters, delay… you get my drift.

    Basically the set is more geared towards simply making good music, rather than showing off improvisational skills and so on. If I ever get the money for something more performance-oriented like a Lemur, I might approach live music from a different angle.

  • poorsod


    I try to make my songs noticeably different from the studio versions. This can mean truncating to, or elongating, the 'chorus' section, re-instrumentating parts, re-structuring songs or adding all-new connecting sections.

  • accc

    hi i was wondering if anyone could help me set up my ableton. i have just brought a m-audio firewire 610 but cant seem to make the channels off ableton follow the correct channel into the mixer. is there any way of making the channel playin on ableton follow the correct path into the mixer without all the channels coming through each channel off the sound card thanks chris

  • Tekmatic

    accc, in Ableton, you need to set the output of each channel.

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  • RDiiO

    I want this skin for Live 9!

  • RDiiO

    I want this skin for Live 9!

  • RDiiO

    I want this skin for Live 9!