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  • #31
    Originally posted by Rabid

    I agree with you. Look at what has happened to FruityLoops over the past two years. It evolved from being a nice rhythm machine to a DAW. The problem for me is I don't need another DAW and FL will never compete with Sonar. Same with Acid. When vs. 4 came out with MIDI and VSTi support it almost killed the product. I never heard so many complaints about a bad implimentation of a new feature. Maybe they got it right with 5 but I am almost afraid to look.

    I wish all these great little mini-studios would stop trying to be full fledged DAW's that support every format and every way of making music.


    When aspects of Live or FL are drastically changed--i.e. an old functionality is completely removed and replaced with a markedly different tool for accomplishing a similar task, I too get a bit frustrated, as often something is overlooked, and the new way might lose crucial apsects of doing things the old way. That said, both of these apps. seem pretty good at adding features that you can choose to use or not, and it is fortunately not often that things are fully removed. Sadly a few of the changes from Live 3 to 4 and now 5 are keeping me from using, mainly the removal of the "select on launch" feature, which is crucial to using Live as a live looping device with a midi pedal and instrument (guitar, bass, keys, etc.). Without this feature, you have no way of deleting fulbbed clips on the fly, making Lve 4 and 5 worthless as live loopers. The FL3 to FL STudio 4 seemed fairly smooth to me, and their product is as solid or possibly moreso than Live on my box. FL's midi recording, editing, and quantizing capabilities far exceed Live--FL Studio 4 and Live 3.0.2 are actually quite a compliment--FL does midi very well, Live does audio extremely well. The converse is also true, FL's audio implementation is not so sweet (but you can still use FL4 and 5 just like 3 without audio, with more features), and Live's midi implementation is functional, but not exactly "deep".



    • #32
      <<Whereas with solos you have to perfectly hit all of the solo buttons you want at the same time, in perfect time with the music to get the sound you want, and are limited to however many buttons you can press at once. The crossfader is crucial for live use of Live.>>

      I press only one solo button at a time, it's to isolate a single loop. But I'll give the crossfader thing a serious look.

      I'm back home now and will be working with Live later tonight, so I'll be posting more observations on specific functions, along with screen shots.

      I will say that I feel so far, Ableton has done a very good job of upgrading Live without degrading its essence. For example, the MIDI implementation is not as deep as big-time DAWs, but it adds a welcome, easy-to-use dimension to Live.
      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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      • #33
        <<To me Live is like an instrument which can be taken to a gig and played live, you can create on an instrument or take it to the studio and record it. You can arrange on an instrument and use an instrument to help you produce. To me, this is what I want Live to stay focused on just as is says on their box, create, produce, perform.>>

        I agree 100% that the brilliance of Live is that it created a type of software that never existed before, and did it superbly. The key for me is that it continues to do it superbly, and has retained that "musical instrument" feel. When I use Sonar -- which I think is a great DAW -- it feels like I'm in the lab. When I use Live, I feel like I'm onstage.

        Okay, back to playing with Live
        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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        • #34
          Okay, let’s deal with the issue of audio quality head-on. Some people have dissed Live for “bad audio.” I think this is a bad rap, and is the result of people not knowing how to take advantage of the various Warp options.

          First of all, if you don’t have to warp anything, the audio quality is going to be just fine. Like any program that stretches audio, you encounter problems only when you have to stretch, as stretching is an inherently difficult process. Acid and Sonar deal with this by a complex combination of DSP and crossfading, which works more often than not – providing you don’t stretch too far (especially downward), and if the acidization markers are applied correctly (which sadly, is not the case with many libraries). REX files work great with rhythmic audio – better than acidization, in many ways – but falls way short compared to acidization for sustained sounds.

          Live does not require any specific file format, like acidized or REX; iIt will cheerfully accept any WAV or AIFF file. When you bring a file into Live that needs stretching, the program defaults to parameters that work well for beat-oriented material. But load something like sustained bass, and the sound will probably be pulsating and annoying. That’s because the program is trying to treat it like a drum part, which it isn’t.

          The key to maximizing audio quality is to check out the different stretch algorithms in the Warp section. Download the Attachment to see the options. A bass part from the “Dr. Fink’s Funk Factory” (which I’m reviewing for Keyboard magazine) sounded dreadful at first. But after switching over to the Tones option, with a small Grain size, the fidelity was almost identical to the unstretched version, even when slowed down by 20%. Speeding up worked over a very wide range. Past –20%, switching over to the Complex stretch algorithm still gave totally useable sounds when stretched to –40% (!). That’s pretty remarkable.

          After a while, you get a feel for what algorithm works best with what type of sound. I cannot stress enough that choosing the right algorithm is the key to getting Live to sound really great when you’re doing lots of stretching.

          The only significant limitation I’ve found is with the beats mode, if you have a repetitive pattern but then something sustains (e.g., a 16th note pattern, but with an open hi-hat that sustains for an 8th note with nothing else playing underneath). If you set beats to 1/16th, a beat marker will occur in the middle of the sustained 8th note; this may produce a slight discontinuity, depending on the sound itself and the amount of stretching. In context, this usually isn’t noticeable because it falls on the beat. In fact, with some sustained sounds, I’ve used the Beats algorithm specifically to impart a more rhythmic effect.

          So the bottom line is this: If you think there’s a problem with the audio, isolate the loops that are causing the supposed problem, and experiment with the stretch algorithms. I think you’ll be surprised just how gracefully Live handles stretching when it’s set to the right option, and how excellent the fidelity can be. Granted, stretching will never be 100% perfect, but Live comes very close if you know what you’re doing.

          By the way, Re-Pitch will always give great fidelity with small stretch amounts, but will throw melodic content out of tune. For percussive material and sound effects, though, this is the option to try first.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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          • #35
            As an ending to a nice thread and great review I think it would be helpful to find a way to post any controller setups that users might submit. I know there are a lot of controllers out there, but there are also a lot of readers.

            Sure, it is easy to set up a controller, but I know that I am always looking for ideas. Someone may have a setup for the Korg Kontrol 49 (hint hint) or Emu XBoard (hint hint) with tricks that someone else may not think of. So, make that a submission of the setup and a description of the setup and use.

            My friends have big houses and new cars. I own music equipment.


            • #36
              Originally posted by rnbeatz I think Live is on the right track. ... I would like to see them implement a better sample player that could read pre-existing libraries like Logics EXS24 or some Akai's.
              I know what you mean, Live + Kompakt is a great combo.

              Oh, and have you seen Sasha's Ableton Live controller?
              What's the lesson you learn, when you've learned all the wrong lessons?


              • #37
                Hey Craig,
                I just picked up Live 5 a couple of weeks ago and I love it. Really enjoying your take on it so far and there are some great tips in here!
      ][DJDM Game Stuff][Myspace


                • #38
                  Hello all + Craig,

                  Thanks so much for the thoughts and ideas going on here.

                  There is already a lot to wade through so I'm going to step carefully through the comments and try to help out where I can. My aim is to eliminate confusion and/or inaccuracies and, with some luck, inform you about what places Live in its own category of performance-minded DAW (with the most diverse and interesting user base I know of).

                  Before I get started on individual points, I want to say big ups to “Gus Lozada” and “thie1210” and “rdh3t” for their ideas on Craig's very special Solo button request.

                  Of course everyone works with Live in their own way, but that crossfader option by rdh3t struck me as especially clever. I love that in Key or MIDI Map Mode, you can actually assign a key to either side of the crossfader or the center position, so Craig can be a happy guy! How cool is that? Oh and not running the other way at all Craig, just thought I heard my mother calling . . . ; )

                  See ya in the next post,


                  Dave Hill Jr.
                  Public Media and Artist Relations Manager

                  Ableton AG

                  Check out Live 5!
                  Create. Produce. Perform.


                  • #39
                    I've been using Live since version 3, and I use it for every project. I even stopped using Logic because Live is so fast. Would it possible that in a future version of Live, you would be able to seperate the mixer from the arrange? This way, you can have 2 monitors and you wouldn't have to flip back and forth all the time. This would be pretty cool since most programs already do this. Thanks!


                    • #40
                      I'm glad to see Lives getting the recognition it deserves.. i feel the pro audio world has over looked live for years..

                      I'm a ableton/Protools user. I've been a live user from ver 3..

                      Live hands down is the most creative musical app i have used... It has done the one thing for me that my other DAW's have killed. allowed me to have fun creating again!

                      The versatility, flexibility and the new angle on DAW recording is priceless to me. It has more pros then cons. every upgrade has given me great new tools... abletens integrated synth Operator sounds great. in a world of high priced software live/operator are a nice change for the high quality apps they are...The new live 5 plugins are just to fun. Beat repeat is so much more then what the name suggests.

                      My only complaint's would be i wish i could render out mulitable tracks at once for mixing in protools.. and with rewire it disables all vst plug ability's..

                      but for the most part live 5 gets my 5 thumbs up.
                      "Any experiment of interest in life will be carried out at your own expense."


                      • #41
                        So I finally got some hard figures on the upgrade prices of Live compared to some other programs...I probably should have done this earlier

                        For customers who purchased Live 4 before May 1, 2005

                        Downloadable upgrade to Live 5: 119 EUR/USD from the Ableton web shop
                        Boxed upgrade: 149 EUR/USD from dealers worldwide and the Ableton web shop

                        Accommodation for recent buyers of Live 4

                        Customers who unlock Live 4 for the first time between June 1, 2005 and August 15, 2005 receive a version 5 serial number at no charge.
                        For customers who purchased Live 4 between May 1, 2005 and May 31, 2005, downloadable upgrades to Live 5 are available for 49 EUR/USD from the Ableton webshop.

                        Upgrading from Live 1, 2 and 3

                        Downloadable upgrade from Live 1, 2 or 3 to Live 5: 169 EUR/USD from the Ableton web shop.
                        Boxed upgrade from Live 1, 2 or 3 to Live 5: 199 EUR/USD from the Ableton web shop.

                        To see how this compares to other companies, Apple Logic upgrades are $295. I've also been told they charge $200 per issue for technical support; Ableton's tech support is free. Sonar upgrades from Version 4 to 5 is $179.

                        So actually, it seems Live's upgrade policy is pretty reasonable.
                        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                        • #42
                          <<Would it possible that in a future version of Live, you would be able to seperate the mixer from the arrange?>>

                          Of all the wish list items I've ever heard for Live, I think this one is great. With so many people using dual monitors, the idea of a detachable session view or arrange view makes a lot of sense...I know that with Reason, being able to detach the mixer has been extremely helpful.

                          BTW let me give a letter of introduction to Dave Hill -- he is a person who doesn't love Live because he markets it, but markets Live because he loves it. He was totally into the program before he went to work for Ableton; he's also a very talented musician AND author, so he can discuss the program on a very high level. It's great to have him participating in this thread, as he knows more about Live than just about anyone I know...welcome to the party, Dave!
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by dave hill jr.
                            [Of course everyone works with Live in their own way, but that crossfader option by rdh3t struck me as especially clever. I love that in Key or MIDI Map Mode, you can actually assign a key to either side of the crossfader or the center position, so Craig can be a happy guy! How cool is that? Oh and not running the other way at all Craig, just thought I heard my mother calling . . . ; )

                            See ya in the next post,


                            Why thanks, Dave. Part of the reason I love Live so much is that you can use the features in many personal ways--a friend once said it was like a software Rorschach test--everyone uses/sees it in a different way. The open-endedness is refresing compared to very dogmatic apps like pro tools, etc. Back to the crossfader--I use a DM2 as one of my controllers controlling Live--it has a crossfader and two transformer buttons that are like slamming the crossfader hard to either side. Like Dave mentioned, one can assing keys/midi buttons to either side as well. It is great for being able to say turn on the crossfader "b" button of your snare, percussion, and keyboard chord tracks, then hit the transformer button for a measure, or just a beat, and instantly mute all of the tracks with the "b" crossfasde button on. Quite a powerful live remixing tool, this instrument called Live.

                            Dave, I wonder if you could maybe do me a slight favor over there at Ableton HQ--I've been trying to get some sort of response on the forums for awhile to no avail. I really do love Live, and it has changed the way many people (including myself) create and perform. That said, I'm really dissapointed with some oversights in the transition form 3-4, and 4-5. Cheif among these is that the removal of the "select on launch" option in the preferences menu since version 4. This crucial feature was the only way to use Live as a live looping device, so I'm stuck using version 3. The feature was essential to looping because 99% of loopers are triggering loops to record with midi pedals, and 100% of people make mistakes at some point. Without "select on launch", the clip you triggered to record via midi is NOT selected while it is recording, thus hitting the "delete"key (or using the midi ox/Bome's workaround to trigger a "delete" via midi translation) does NOT work--the clip is not "selected on launch", thus delete doesn't effect it.

                            Every hardware live looping devices recognizes that people flub clips on-the-fly and need to delete them, it is a given. Removing this feature from Live makes 4 and now 5 worthless as a looping devices--no one is perfect, no one wants to go on stage and know if they mess up at all, they will have to loop their mistake or stop playing their instrument to use the mouse to select the clip, then delete it. This whole thing is especially frustrating because the feature was put back into 5 during beta testing then removed. And now Ableton has a "Kid Beyond" video on their site touting live looping capabilities--I'll bet $20 Kid is still using 3 so that he can delete flubbed clips with Bomes. This is just bad marketing period, giving a totally false impression of 5.

                            Live 3 is the best looping device in the world, it is sad that be the removal of one feature, 4 and 5 are worthless live loopers. I would love to hear that Ableton is working on re-institution of "select on launch", and that they are working on making a midi mappable "delete", to avoid using workarounds for deleting flubbed clips like ox/Bomes on pc, or midipipe/control aid on map. Two seemingly minor details stand between 4 and 5 being worthless for live looping and being hands-down the best looping devices on the planet, why??? The live looping market is a fairly established and rapidly expanding one that Ableton is completely missing with their last two products. If I were in charge of Ableton marketing, I'd think that it would be a good investment to fix these oversights and try to open up a whole new market in live looping performers looking to go beyond the severe limitations of hardware loopers.

                            Sorry to go off on a loopy tangent, but this has really been frustrating me and Ableton has not responded at all on the "select on launch" issue/removal. As you might have guessed, I do live looping performances fairly often using Ableton 3.0.2, and Fl 4 rewired into so I can record live beat making via midi into the FL step seq. I use a handul of controllers and fcb 1010 midi pedal to contol Live, and record loops of bass, guitar, and keys in Live, while making live beats in FL via a midi DrumKat. I'm totally jonesing for some of the midi and vst features of 4, but this "select on launch" problem is a total roadblock in terms of using 4 or 5 for live looping. Again, sorry for the rant, but it sure would be nice to know that it will be addressed in the future, and to not be left in the dark.



                            • #44
                              Originally posted by GregRule
                              Hey, Craig. It seems more and more folks are using Live as their "auxiliary audio device" on big tours these days. At Winter NAMM, for example, Kelly Clarkson's MD was showing how he uses it onstage with her, and how flexible it is in terms of on-the-fly arrangement changes ("take it to the bridge," "repeat the chorus," etc). Might be cool to devote a couple of paragraphs to using Live as a "live band enhancement tool". How easy is to set up songs in Live so they can be instantly rearranged onstage, and how transparent (and reliable) is it when doing so? As you know, when it comes to high-profile gigs like that, one glitch could spell the end of a person's career.

                              This is more what I am looking for. I mainly want a midi sequencer (audio would be nice though) that I can make up the arrangement as I go. Live5 can do this? Could I use a midi pedal to choose song sections?


                              • #45
                                Hi Craig and all!

                                Thanks for this brilliant report...i've always worked in ACID,and now i'm switched to Live...i even built a portable machine to use it at my band's rehearsals and gigs...

                                Regarding the specific control question,yes,parts of the songs can be rearranged on the fly,by using for example a footswitch that sends midi notes,and assigning each of those notes to the different scenes...right now ,after finishing my "portable PC" ,i'm starting to build a midi footcontroller,based in a pic microcontroller,for triggering scenes with my feets,while playing guitar...hope i can keep dropping by here,if i'm welcomed,and keep you updated...

                                Thanks again!

                                my creations...


                                my music...