Eat your heart out, Ableton/Serato The Bridge.

Native Instruments’ Traktor runs four decks at once without breaking a sweat, and there are various ways of incorporating sampling, scratching, and vinyl in a live rig that are pretty easy to set up. But lately we’ve seen some unusual options to build more elaborate setups. Rane even offers a digital mixer with two USB ports so you can, among other things, get four decks in Serato by running two computers at once. (Hey, never knock the brute force method of solving a problem.) And The Bridge, introduced to great fanfare by Ableton and Serato, synchronizes the transport and basic set information between Live and Serato. That’s to say nothing of the solution of using Ms. Pinky inside Live.

But none of this compares to Ilan Kriger’s method of getting four “decks” out of Ableton Live. He simply runs four complete instances of Live — one copy of Live 5, one copy of Live 6, one copy of Live 7, and one copy of Live 8 — in order to spread them out like the four decks in Traktor. (I’m not even going to ask Ableton whether this violates your license. Maybe you could start selling Live six packs?)

He uses a Mac for the job, but a PC should work, too. (Actually, that’d be an interesting performance comparison; you’d need to make sure your ASIO drivers on PC allow multiple apps to access the same interface.)

Go ahead. Hit the comment button. Tell us that this is an insane, impractical solution to the problem. (Really? Wow, I … didn’t … expect you to react that way. I must have entirely missed that.)

And good work, Ilan. Now, Ableton engineering teams, see how important the work you do on each release is? You never know when someone will run all of the different iterations you’ve built over the past four years at one time. Got it?

I think we need to invent a new prize for Only Because It’s There ingenuity. Suggestions? What should the trophy look like?

Ilan’s setup, blogged and translated by Google from Portuguese into English
Original Português

It’s a “tutorial,” in case you want to replicate the results. (In which case, I’ll have what you’re having.)

I will say this: inter-application communication is important, even if this isn’t the most practical example.

Original video (Português):

  • So essentially he wants to visually see wave forms similar to 4 decks in Traktor. I get it. There has to be a way to unlock the wave form view in just one instance of Live to see multiple clips. I'm from the old school of Djing where I could visually see on a piece of vinyl where to drop the needle…takes ALOT practice but doable. In Ableton of course i just set the cue points on clips and assign pads to each of those to trigger. I know from using Traktor I can set cue points from visually seeing the way. Interesting to see how people figure things out though…works for people who stuck with Ableton Live since day 1 and worked out certain effects rack that don't work well in updated version but still want to use those custom settings. I wonder at what point my MSI Wind would bleed doing this.

  • def70

    i don't get it. you can run multiple instances of life at once.

  • I don't get it either, couldn't he just have ran live 8.1, 8.0.4, 8.0.1 and so on?

  • hmmmmm

    <cite>Go ahead. Hit the comment button. Tell us that this is an insane, impractical solution to the problem. (Really? Wow, I … didn’t … expect you to react that way. I must have entirely missed that.)</cite>

    hahaha! sorry pk, but that will probably not work. you know a handful of cdm readers will not read the whole article and feel compelled to tell the world this is the most ridiculous setup and you are a fool for writing about it. there is no way to avoid it. …but those idiots are the very reason i read the comments at all.

  • Mastah Lee

    How odd. Like def70 mentioned, there is a flag you can set ( I think in the preferences but might be on the command line) so you can run multiple instances of Live.

    I'm not able to watch video on this machine, but if what regend says is correct then perhaps that's an area Max For Live can help solve once we get access to the clip waveform by opening pop-up windows to display as many waveforms as you want. Its never been something I've personally been concerned with so I never really thought of it as a problem. Interesting.

  • tobamai

    Can anyone offer a translation? More than anything I want to know why he was compelled to do this. Is it really just to see the four waveforms at once?

  • @tobamai it's so you can see 4 wav forms at once while you're launching clips. you can do this in any combination of versions I'd image. This primarily to mimick what Traktor does.

    TO ALL: don't discount this method. I think this is vital…eventually we'll need to see video in Ableton so that we don't have to lug around LCD's CRT's for multiple camera/angle video mixing.

    i personally don't need to see wav forms but i will need to see 4 streams of video on my laptop screen in the near future and would rather do this in one instance of Live than in 4.

  • fredo

    this is an insane, impractical solution to the problem

  • Grok

    I've been using Live since version 1, and my estimate is that more then 90% of features added 'till version 8 was bridging the gap between Live and other DAWs on market. I suppose it makes sense if you look at it from economic / market point of view, but as far as creativity and innovation goes…IMHO Live is amazing tool for LIVE uses, or rapid sketching of ideas etc., and I think it made such impact just becuase of that – its session view is amazing (for too many reasons to count). I would love if they went deeper into that direction, but obviously their marketing / strategic team had different say on the subject.

    Tons of users use Live for DJ-ing, and I used it too ("used" as in "I switched to Traktor"), but they practically totally neglect that part of their user base. Now, I'm not sure regarding the numbers – maybe percentage of users using it solely for DJ-ing purposes is too small to care about it, but somehow I doubt it (hey, there's even quite populated forum called abletondj). People've been crying on Live forum about multiple waveform view and multiple / colored cue points as long as I can remember, but to no avail. I mean – colored cue points / warp markers could be implemented by single programmer in like what – 15min programming session? The time will tell, but I think they are just shutting their doors for more and more users…

    Maybe it's just me, but I would be way happier if they focused on something like modular UI, session view improvements, live performance workflow innovation etc., opposed to adding one more DAW feature that Logic already does 3x better.

  • it's not possible to have multiple programs accessing the same ASIO driver on a PC, is it? i know that sonar, live and reason all take over the card unless running in slave mode… so i don't see it happening on a PC but maybe i'm missing something.

    anyway, i appreciate the method, but it's worrying enough that 1 instance of live might decide to crash on you. multiply that by 4 and you're just asking for problems..

  • I think there is probably a more efficient way of accomplishing these means.

  • Hello,

    I'm very happy that you liked (Peter), if you want I can do a english version from the video?!!

    I want to see the 4 waveforms because I like to do loads of live reedtis, and sometimes is very hard to know where you are with many channels running on the same time.

    @Berend – If use 8.1.1 and 8.05 the second Ableton doesn't produce any sound.

  • ezhiki

    maybe one can try a gettin couple of netbooks,

    istall live demo, prepare all the stuff they need via usb hdd on their main desktops.

    Then you grab those guys and put them into your backpack or smth.

    Now you have two separate decks packed with all the stuff you prepared beforehand, and since you are performing > no need to save anything (even if you have there are some choises left).

  • griotspeak

    i agree with grok here, actually.

    Live, for me, is an instrument. I go to Logic for linear minded stuff. Max4Live really emphasized this for me. Live is a big ole looper for me.

    a pretty, pretty looper.

  • griotspeak

    o, and i do wish i could view multiple clip contents.

  • Amazing! or Scaring!

    but cool sure!

    People searching mind blowing options and of course the non-trivial discussion about "how ableton has left the northstar"…

    Where will be the "alternative" code programmers who develop a simple grid matrix with OSC… wait… ReNoise maybe?



    Can't you just run the other instances of Live as rewire slaves?

    They would be in sync and you could control them through the master's mixer and midi.

  • s

    Seriously, I don't understand why Ableton doesn't make it easy to show more than one waveform at a time. Or allow session view and arrange view to be to be on two separate windows.

  • s

    also like how the CDM is referred to a mega blog in the translation.

  • Ah, I really love this. I want to mix with Live, but I can't get behind chopping up tracks ahead of time. That's the main reason why I've stuck to Traktor—I can drop cue points and loop completely on the fly on multiple tracks simultaneously. And I do, quite often.

    Of course this is possible in Live, but not with the same kind of control (or if I'm missing something with the software, I'd love clarification).

    A lot of veteran mixers seem to scoff at mixing by sight, rather than by ear. It's not a matter of ignorance to music theory, and it's not "cheating," the way I see it. It's just a different way to access the music. Of course the waveforms don't express everything about the sounds they represent, but they do provide a useful subset of information across a range of time which simply can't be accessed by ear alone. And knowing what's about to happen a few bars in advance is invaluable when improvising.

    Maybe I've drifted off topic here—re-reading all the previous comments it seems that maybe my point of view is not so unusual after all among this company—but Ilan's technique is a pretty serviceable step toward using Live in the way that makes Traktor, or Serato, or any of the other applications that treat waveforms a bit more conventionally, and that excites me.

  • @John: and the interesting thing is, the *view* he's showing is absolutely possible to build. In other words, while this is a slightly ludicrous way to solve the problem, it also serves very well as a proof of concept.

  • Hey PK,

    Thanks for posting this up! I have never thought about it, but being able to see more than one deck in ableton would be a wicked improvement. I mainly dj with life and it would be great to see where one track is up to whilst dropping the next tune, without having to switch between tracks! and @Grok, couldnt agree more dude. Its about time they intergrated some kind of cue points (with a "label-able") style marker (logic style) so one is able to jump around the track intime and could asign these markers to midi, or 1 thru 10 on the keyboard etc.. And why not make them different colours @ the same time! But of course we will never see this, as ableton is in fix it mode for god knows how long… (sorry, they are doing the right thing). It just seems like it should have been done ages ago! i mean, as Grok said the warp markers are already there! 15 minutes, new update


  • Michael

    I think it should be up to us to implement this. I would like to see better documentation for creating M4L devices with UI's outside of the device view, and a Live object for displaying the waveform of a clip.

    Then it's problem solved, however we want it.

  • def70

    on the pc asio4all allows multiple apps to access the asio-drivers, at least on my maudio fw 410. syncing via midiyoke.

  • lalaland

    i love routing traktor through live with, the possibilities are amazing… and i stay with better interface of traktor for djing but enhance it with live's world

  • Hm… I think he's making it all very difficult for himself. The simplest way would be to just switch over to Sequencer mode. You've got all the waveforms right there, man. Hold on, I'll show you:

  • PooPoo the Korruptah

    i like the comments about aAbleton turning their back on what they originally had and going after the whole "lets make a DAW" thing. So true, In The Beginning Live was truly outrageous and it still could be throwing us all offguard if they had of gone more modular and TRUELY LIVE orientated.

    Maybe after they fix up their current mess they'll look into what they originally had?

    Oh, wait, with M4L theyve left it up to everyone else, right?

  • df

    "i organize my stuff with itunes" – there's the problem, not with live. Case closed.

  • @df you never tryed?

    Loads of people use it:….

  • @Andreas I have already try this way, but to play entire tracks it's kind of hard.

    I play on the arrangement view, when I want to play videos with my A/V project (M.I.K.E A/V)

    Check it out:

  • I rather build an app in Max or Pd to do this. I know not everyone can, but it's still easier than to learn to use this setup properly and flawless. Don't you think?

  • dtr

    I can definitely see the advantage of multiple clip displays but in my opinion it shouldn't be limited to that. I also want to be able to 'lock' multiple track device chain windows. It always bugged me that going back and forth between say the 2 or 3 tracks your working on while producing takes so much clicking. With the recent opening up of the Live API and emergences of automap-like controllers it became easier to switch track focus with a button press but still I'd like to be able to keep a number of track views visible, regardless of whether it displays the clip or device chain.

  • dtr

    Btw, the advantages for live performance are also obvious…

  • Ilan is crazy! Great crazy, if someone doesn't try something it would never spark debate/// I can see the advantage of mulitple waveforms and if ableton hasn't seen the benefit yet Ilan has proved that it's possible…..

    Where i work is similar, if you can build it in excel, and then prove it works they'll invest in programming it properly…

    I think Ilan's solution proves the concept it correct as a development for live….

    I'm sure having seen the miss pinky demo that this could be built in Max4Live with the option to float the windows so i imagine my second screen is going to come in handy!

    Good work Ilan!



  • i can definetly see the reason why youd want multiple waveforms visible, but yeah. that is a very impractical way of doing it. hell, get max for live and get your groove one with darrens crazy clip control device and the loop brace device from whoeverthatguywas (sorry, whoever did it).

    also: isnt this what the ableton/serato collaboration "the bridge" is made for?

    but you know.. it does look like a bit of fun, and i just happen to have a dual monitor setup here and too much time on my hands. hehe.

  • RCUS

    @ Ilan: You are one crazy man but I like your style. the brute force technique is an oft used method for me when i can't figure something out.

    Props for sticking it to the Abes with this one. We really need this in Ableton, and i really don't understand why we can't have it.

    @Andreas: I'm going to give your method a go tonight, but as an APC40 user i'm already seeing I may feel a little disoriented working left to right with my current setup. there's no way i'm re-thinking my live DJ set for a looong time as i've put much work into it, so its vertical clip launching for life! But it's worth a go since i've never actually tried DJing in arrangement view and it would be very nice to see all my waveforms at once for drops, breaks etc.

    One area of concern though is having your clip start control mapped to an encoder for needle dropping. i'm interested to see how this would work in Arrangement view. I have my APC mapped to select tracks and directly bring up the waveform in Session view, i'm just wondering how this will work with 8 tracks stacked up in Arrangement.

    If i can press track select and still needle drop on individual tracks using this method and somehow get passed not working vertically, i hame be sold. i'm thinking "Back to Arrangement" might be a good button to map out now using your method, and then perhaps I can switch between your method and Session view.

    My biggest issue is, i'm trying to keep my hands off the lappy as much as possible. The thought of watching someone on stage doing what you did in the video for an hour makes me wanna break out my MC-505 and go back to on the fly hardware sequencing!

  • Annoyed

    This video is retarded.

    Why would you run four Ableton to emulate 4 decks when you could use 4+ channels in one version as if they were 4 decks.

    My current set up runs 10 channels, 4 of which are my audio clips.

  • @ RCUS How did it go? I think Session view and Arrangement view run simultaneously so you can do whatever makes sense in Arr view and what makes sense in Session view. Maybe it gets messy? But I understand you don't wanna touch the computer. It's horrible to go trackpadding in the middle of a gig. I absolutely hate that.

    Maybe Ableton is concidering an iPad version, then it would have potential.

  • Pingback: Ableton DJ on 4 Decks like Traktor? « bassline8 – dj and producer – blog()

  • RCUS

    @Andreas: Didnt get a chance to try it out yet and I'm travelling this weekend. Next week for sure, and I'll report back here. Really interested to see if the encoder I have mapped to clip start position in session view takes over the entire project start in arrangement view?

  • James

    Is it really possible to run more than one instance of Live with the same version? I cannot find that preference.

  • tibastral

    You can run multiple instances of a program by running directly the program from the terminal (

    $ /Applications/ableton_live/content/MacOs/bin/ableton_live_binary

  • Brian

    the person that made this video cant possibly understand the power of live

  • poopoo

    It's the software equivalent of double neck guitar.

    Also there is an 'Allow multiple instances' option in Live.

  • James


    thanks for that, my folder structure is slightly different than that, maybe a different version? i'm on 8.1. instead i just went "show contents" on and opened a file simply named "Live". this seems to allow for multiple instances.

    is the multiple instance preference a pc only one, or has it now been removed in version 8?

    any reason why live would not be happy running multiple instances on mac os?

    there are some things that you cannot do with live running as a single instance. what if you have two tracks playing and you want to nudge one track forward briefly?

  • Pingback: Set-up maluco para discotecagem 4 Decks no Ableton Live « AIMEC()

  • Juliano


    The preson who made this comment can't possibly undestand Illan's knowledge in Ableton.

    Why would one do that?

    1) Cause it's possible, and this only, is already a great answer.

    2) To see different waveforms while mixing using the software he enjoys without having to move to arrangement view and putting a track bellow each other. As he already stated he uses arrengement view when working audiovisual.

    3) Because Ableton themselves haven't to version 8 implemented multi wave viewing. This is kinda frustrating to the djs.

    One has to do it, and I bet Ableton as a company that think forward enjoy pretty much this kind of solution so they can re-discuss what is missing in their software (and, clearly for Ableton djs this is a missing feature).

  • WTF? Shame on you puritans that will try to censor any different use of Ableton's User Interface.

    They're not bulletproof, but besides liking their UI, we all know different styles require different techniques.

    Those who antagonized this original attempt to adequate the software to these specific needs should reevaluate your concepts, values in creating original material.

    I bet you suck, send me your stuff to prove otherwise, much love for diversity and fresh thoughts!

    DJ wannabes accepting the limitation of the software to be able to drop some beats the same way back in '92. These instances could trigger multiple video, beats and pieces to create a real live environment, not only playing back mp3 files.

    Waveforms to visualize audio/video samples is key to cutting-edge artistic creations, but of course, you didn't know that.

    Ilan congrats on thinking forward and trying to work around limitations to achieve uniqueness, I've googled you up and really dug your work, keep up the great job you're conceiving.

    Respect, BMC

    PS: Haters, are you sure you that wasn't it too Mexican for you standards? Break paradigms.

  • You're an idiot.

  • Pingback: EXELL A32 A164 | Materials Find()