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  • #91
    Hello Craig,

    Thanks for doing this. Live is a great, even elegant program in many ways. I would love to hear more on differences between 4 and 5.

    Umm . . . Notepad is a free accessory bundled with Windows to view readme files and general text editing. It has never been, nor would it be marketable as, a retail program.

    I didn't ask for more chairs. Ablelton added them for us on their own. I'm just asking for more comfortable chairs.

    I want to be clear: I'm not asking for new features. However, since they added MIDI support, it would be nice to see it fleshed out a bit. And, yes, I agree with the poster who asked for patch name managment for external MIDI hardware.

    Now, why would Ableton want to invest the time in refining these existing features when what makes news (and hooks new users) is adding powerful new features? First, because it's just the kind of thing a cool company like Ableton does. Second, by not getting caught up in a feature race and strengthing the very hip stuff they already have, they can focus on one area which every major DAW has let slide for the last several years. MIDI sequencing. Every DAW out there is so focused on audio, beat detection, pitch correction, etc. that MIDI has just been left to rot. I can name more than a half dozen programs I own that actually have worse MIDI implementations today than they did five years ago.

    I see a chance here for Ableton to pick up where everyone else is leaving off and do something very creative. Adding cool MIDI tools would not require a bunch of CPU muscle and, in the tradition of Live, could give us a new way to look at something that's been around for a while.

    just my thoughts,
    Wayne

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by DJDM


      I have an entire live set that consisted of a lot of full production tracks in 4 using the various time stretching settings. Mostly "Beats". For most tracks this worked well but with more tonally dense rhythmic material it was only moderately effective until you ramped up or down to the track's base tempo.

      After upgrading to 5 I ran the "Complex" setting through the paces with various tracks and immediately went back and reassigned many of the samples. I have to say it's amazing! It handles the most richly textured files elegantly and nearly flawlessly with very smooth results. Now I'm not in such a hurry to bring the tempo right into base speed or use reverb to hide artifacts.


      Hi DJ DM,

      Great to hear!

      For a completely different take, Complex Mode is also a great sound design tool and powerful studio ally. Hint: make sure and try a few transpose or effect parameter clip envelopes for maximum fun! (yet another tip gleaned from Robert Henke).

      Cheers,
      Dave
      Dave Hill Jr.
      Public Media and Artist Relations Manager

      Ableton AG
      dave@ableton.com
      www.ableton.com

      Check out Live 5!
      Create. Produce. Perform.

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by markwayne
        Hello Craig,

        Thanks for doing this. Live is a great, even elegant program in many ways. I would love to hear more on differences between 4 and 5.

        I want to be clear: I'm not asking for new features. However, since they added MIDI support, it would be nice to see it fleshed out a bit. And, yes, I agree with the poster who asked for patch name managment for external MIDI hardware.

        Now, why would Ableton want to invest the time in refining these existing features when what makes news (and hooks new users) is adding powerful new features? First, because it's just the kind of thing a cool company like Ableton does. Second, by not getting caught up in a feature race and strengthing the very hip stuff they already have, they can focus on one area which every major DAW has let slide for the last several years. MIDI sequencing. Every DAW out there is so focused on audio, beat detection, pitch correction, etc. that MIDI has just been left to rot. I can name more than a half dozen programs I own that actually have worse MIDI implementations today than they did five years ago.

        I see a chance here for Ableton to pick up where everyone else is leaving off and do something very creative. Adding cool MIDI tools would not require a bunch of CPU muscle and, in the tradition of Live, could give us a new way to look at something that's been around for a while.

        just my thoughts,
        Wayne


        Hi Wayne,

        Thanks for the post. I too am having a little trouble understanding exactly what you are getting at. I think you mean you don’t want us putting the wrong feature in Live or doing so in the wrong way. I must attest, neither do we! Ableton spends a huge amount of time considering and testing how a new feature or concept is to be implemented before actually coding the implementation. When I first came to the company, I was blown away by the development teams’ commitment to keep Live simple, elegant and intuitive for its creative and extremely diverse user base. Even now, each time I visit Berlin, I see a team completely in love with their baby and passionately debating what is next and best for Live.

        Rest assured, Ableton’s philosophy is to be 100 percent committed to making Live as stable, intuitive and easy to use as possible, and to include the most requested features in such a way that we never jeopardize what makes Live so popular and fun.

        If there is some specific new feature you are seeking or unhappy with a change, please let us know by putting a post it in our forum and articulating as clearly as you possibly can. After doing so, you will likely find debate, ideas, encouragement, disagreement and usually some colorful discussions on how to improve Live. If you post sits idle please give us a second chance.

        Since we're in a forum now, could you provide some specific examples of exactly what features you'd like to see simultaneously expanded and simplified? What might flushing out the MIDI be for you? Do you see a way to do so without making Live more complicated or Word like?

        Thanks in advance for helping me understand your ideas here.

        Cheers,
        Dave
        Dave Hill Jr.
        Public Media and Artist Relations Manager

        Ableton AG
        dave@ableton.com
        www.ableton.com

        Check out Live 5!
        Create. Produce. Perform.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Anderton
          One problem I ran into occurred when trying to freeze the MIDI track driving the Impulse synth; I received an error message that said “Track Routing Choose Entry ‘4-Beats’ ‘1-Impulse’ Prohibits Freeze.” Well, that didn’t tell me much, and the manual didn’t mention anything about conditions that prohibit freeze. But I know some of the Ableton people will be looking at this thread, so perhaps we’ll get an explanation.


          Hi Craig,

          Support tells me that you can only freeze one track at a time. Here you have Impulse sending to multiple tracks. Make sense?

          Cheers,
          Dave
          Dave Hill Jr.
          Public Media and Artist Relations Manager

          Ableton AG
          dave@ableton.com
          www.ableton.com

          Check out Live 5!
          Create. Produce. Perform.

          Comment


          • #95
            Howdy Dave,

            putting the wrong feature in Live or >doing so in the wrong way.
            Right as rain. Just because I mention that I would like to see a couple of extra MIDI tools within Live does not mean I want to see Live become Digital Performer. I love the fact that I can use Live on my old laptop.

            Live's stabilty, forgiving VST hosting, stingy CPU usage, and solid sync capabilities are THE most important features for my money.

            However, I really see MIDI in general as a very neglected technology at the moment. I think that some simple, yet elegant MIDI editing tools would greatly enhance Live for everyone.

            I'm not looking to Ableton to cop DP, Cubase, or Logic's paradigm. I think that MIDI editing in those programs has actually gotten worse rather than better as they have focused on audio. Reason strikes a pretty good balance. But I would expect Ableton to come up with something fresher than emulating hardware.

            In short, I want Ableton to take MIDI sequencing as we have known it for the last twenty years and turn it on its ear. I'm thnking of something like the chaos generator in Stylus RMX combined with event list editing to allow open-ended MIDI commands and maybe even sysex.
            Or, Imagine the power of providing a set of hardware or VI control templates where you are no longer just sequencing notes but patch parameters at the same time. But hey, I know Ableton can come up with something far simpler and cooler! These things sound involved. But, because we are talking about an established protocol like MIDI, there would be a number of items that could be modular, maybe even a plugin?

            examples of exactly what features >you'd like to see simultaneously >expanded and simplified? What might >flushing out the MIDI be for you?
            You know Live 4 introduced a couple of fun little MIDI tools. In fact, these tools are so fun I would love to make them a part of my composition process. To make that happen, however, I need, at minimum, some form of name-based patch selection, quantization, and transposition and a drum machine style overdub mode. I don't think Live should jump into the DAW bloat race. But there is a good deal of power that is frustratingly out of reach at the moment.

            thanks for letting me use the bandwidth,
            Wayne

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by markwayne
              Howdy Dave,
              examples of exactly what features >you'd like to see simultaneously >expanded and simplified? What might >flushing out the MIDI be for you?
              You know Live 4 introduced a couple of fun little MIDI tools. In fact, these tools are so fun I would love to make them a part of my composition process. To make that happen, however, I need, at minimum, some form of name-based patch selection, quantization, and transposition and a drum machine style overdub mode. I don't think Live should jump into the DAW bloat race. But there is a good deal of power that is frustratingly out of reach at the moment.

              thanks for letting me use the bandwidth,
              Wayne


              Exactly, and as I went into detail at the top of page 4 of this thread, program change and name management on the track level, more quantizations choices, and combining a midi and audio track into one would be at the top of my list.

              Comment


              • #97
                <<Support tells me that you can only freeze one track at a time. Here you have Impulse sending to multiple tracks. Make sense?>>

                Yes it does, thanks Dave. I'm used to freeze in other hosts freezing all tracks involved in a multi-timbral device, so I just assumed But yeah, it's different to freeze multiple tracks feeding one device as opposed to one device feeding multiple tracks!

                I'm sure glad I don't have to code this stuff, just use it
                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                • #98
                  Hi Craig,

                  Thanks for this forum/review/discussion group. It's a great idea! Just wanted to weigh in on a couple of things:

                  I too hope that Ableton does not try to make Live all things to all people. I use Logic and DP (started out on Dr. T KCS and Studio Vision). Each upgrade brought welcome features --- and increased complexity. As someone who does not do this for a living, the learning curve is considerable particularly if you step away for a couple of weeks then have to "get back up to speed".

                  That's why Live and Tracktion were a breath of fresh air! The creative experience became fun, less encumbered, and much more immediate. I still use Logic alot (and I'd use Tracktion more if it supported AU instruments), but I find that I open Live first when I want to capture that moment of inspiration.

                  In fact, because I feared that it was going the way of the other apps, I shied away from Live 5. This forum and discussion is very helpful. I'll spend some time with the demo over the next couple of weeks.

                  Now opinions please on a feature request (or am I the only person who would find this useful?): I would very much like to be able to see more than one control envelope on a clip at one time. I love the way DP superimposes multiple controller envelopes so you can see relationships say between pan and volume or resonance and cutoff -- or all four if need be. (I also prefer superimposition to the multiple drop down approach of Logic.)

                  Lastly, I use live for beat oriented stuff for sure, but my real interest is in it's use for creating evolving non-repeating textures and ambient spaces. The probablistic control of follow on actions and the ability to have loops of different periodicity are really really cool.

                  Cheers all.
                  George

                  PS

                  Not to gush, but your reviews and articles are ALWAYS helpful and have been for years. Thanks.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Auto-Warp is a gem of a function and quite frankly, verges on the magical. To give you some background, prior to Version 5 you could use the “elastic audio” feature to painstakingly pin an existing tune’s rhythm to beats. For example, I took a song from the 80s that was recorded on analog tape with a somewhat iffy tempo, and thanks to elastic audio, was able to put loops on top of it to “modernize” the tune. It was so cool to be able to do that, I didn’t mind spending a considerable amount of time moving warp markers around.

                    Live 5 does pretty much the same thing, but automatically. To insure that the tempo fluctuated a bit, I tested this function with a fairly long song recorded on analog tape (a cover version of Julian Cope’s “When I Dream”). After bringing it into Live, the program needed a few seconds to analyze the tune (presumably it was looking for transients, downbeats, etc.), but then the file showed up in the Clip Display, warp markers and all.

                    Well okay, but were those accurate guesses? I switched over to Arrangement view, and started dragging over loops into the arrangement from Sony’s “The Electro Set” loop library. The results were perfect. Not “pretty good,” or “surprisingly good given the complex nature of the task,” but perfect. Granted, the tempo was regular, but it was subject to analog drift and certainly lacked the metronomic precision of today’s tunes. Yes, in some cases you will need to tweak the warp markers, but the Auto-Warp function will save you a ton of time by putting you “in the ballpark.” Well actually, not just in the ballpark, but in front row seats on the third base line.

                    Click on the Attachment to see a screen shot of the original file and the added loops. Notice the long, continuous waveform at the top (the original song) and below it, the various loops I laid in. At the bottom, in the Clip Display, is the Auto-Warped song file. I didn’t have to move one marker…now that’s pretty cool. And Live did not guess based on overall length, because there’s a fade at the end, and the song doesn’t end on a measure boundary – let alone a beat. Impressive? Very much so.
                    N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                    • Complex Mode is a new stretching algorithm that’s designed to work with complex material. Well, time-stretching is a difficult enough task without trying to apply it to program material, which may include a mix of percussive sounds, sustained tones, unpitched components, and more. It’s a major task to deal with analyzing and stretching all this.

                      Yet I must say Complex Mode gave a very good account of itself – I was able to take a tune recorded at 125 BPM and do about plus/minus 5% time stretching without the sound becoming “funny.” No, it’s not perfect; if you have a beautiful, audiophile quality recording, it won’t exit the stretching process unscathed. And if you need to transpose, all bets are off. Still, Complex Mode is a valuable addition to the stretch options and really does make using program material viable.

                      Click on Attachment to download a ZIP file that contains an MP3 example of Complex Mode in action. This has the tune referenced in the previous section about Auto-Warp (a cover of “When I Dream”), along with the one or two added drum loops, sped up by 5%. Unfortunately, to fit the space requirement for attachments, this example is rendered as a mono MP3 at 64kbps. Although this doesn’t do justice to the stretching, if you’re at all familiar with what an MP3 recorded at 64kbps sounds like, you’ll appreciate that the sound quality is really quite good.
                      N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                      • Live Clips are a simple idea, but they save time and effort. Basically, a Live Clip loads not only digital audio or a MIDI pattern, but also any devices that are part of the Clip’s “chain.” For example, if you have some groovy MIDI drum pattern that drives the Simpler but also goes through Beat Repeat and Reverb, you can save the whole thing as a Live Clip for later recall. This is really handy for those times when the signal processing is a necessary, important element of the sound; you don’t have to save each processor’s preset then recall them all to get the same sound – just load the Live Clip.

                        One other small, but important, point is what happens if you drag a Live Clip into a track that already contains devices and/or clips. The existing devices are not replaced, but the clip settings are updated. For example, suppose you have a Live Clip with a good synth patch setup and a riff in a major key. You also have a matching riff in a minor key, but you came up with it early in the song, and have it saved as a Live Clip driving a different instrument. You can load this Clip into the track with the Clip that has the synth patch, and drive its sound instead.

                        Click on Attachment to see what happens when you load the “Warm Strings” Live Clip. It loads the Simpler instrument, Reverb processor, all Clip settings, and a MIDI pattern into the track.
                        N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                        • I really like hands-on control, and Live has always made it easy to tie parameters to external control devices through a simple “learn” process. But it also takes this one step further by making it easy to assign QWERTY keyboard keys to particular functions, so you can use your keyboard as a control surface to trigger clips and such.

                          Live 5 has excellent support for the Mackie Control and Mackie Control XT – but only the Mackie Control. This makes sense, because it’s an extremely popular control surface, and also, many other control surfaces have a Mackie emulation mode. I was somewhat surprised that there wasn’t support for the Evolution series of control surfaces, given that M-Audio distributes Live and acquired the Evolution line. However, it seems that perhaps Live is using a plug-in architecture for control surface support, because you specify it under Preferences, and there’s a drop-down menu that looks like it’s just waiting to be populated.

                          Anyway, although I don’t have a Mackie Control so I couldn’t test the implementation, on paper it looks great: It takes advantage of the motorized faders, you can expand with the XT, there are bank select options when you’re using a single Mackie control and need to control more than 8 tracks, transport options, mute, solo, send, pan, etc.

                          I’ve always felt that operating Live without some kind of control surface was like going to a movie with a blindfold on – you’d get only half the experience. I like the Mackie Control, and can see its support as a real useful add-on to Live. Now, if they’d just support my Radikal Technologies SAC-2k…well, I can still use the “ learn” mode, which works just fine.

                          Oh, and one other thing: I find myself using the "Computer MIDI Keyboard" a lot to trigger notes into the MIDI sequencer when I don't want to deal with going over to the main keyboard. It's also great when you have a laptop on a plane!
                          N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                          • If you were expecting Live 5 to become a MIDI powerhouse, you’ll be disappointed. If you were expecting MIDI to be expanded to the point of getting complex and fussy, you’ll be happy.

                            There are only a few new MIDI features.

                            MIDI Note Deactivation: You can selectively “turn off’ a note (or group of notes) without deleting it/htem. It’s not a huge deal - until you create a short loop with a cymbal crash at the beginning, and wish you could bring the crash in every now and then instead of all the time. Perfect: De-activate and activate at will. It also lends a lot more flexibility when using the MIDI Note Editor live: Select, for example, all the closed hi-hats, then deactivate during a more cooled out part, and bring them back in when you want more rhythm.

                            MIDI Editor Preview: This really should have been there when Live first added MIDI, but better late than never. With preview on, when you click to add a note, or click on the virtual keyboard, you hear the note. Clicking further to the right of a keyboard key gives higher velocities.

                            The preview function is particularly useful with drum sets, as you don’t have a “drum map” MIDI view, and sometimes you can’t always be sure which key that weird percussion sound corresponds to… Better yet, this can be enabled individually for each track.

                            Better MIDI Quantizing: Now you can do quantize strength, which is the most important MIDI quantizing feature to me – it’s a great way to tighten up timing, without getting robotic. You can also quantize the note start and end.

                            And for MIDI effects, there’s – tra-la – an arpeggiator. Yeah, it’s cool.

                            So, what about MIDI, anyway? It’s kind of a controversial aspect of Live. Those who were raised on Logic, Digital Performer, etc. see what’s missing: No event list, no notation, limited editing options, etc. But if you’re willing to keep an open mind, Ableton has come up with a new, and valid, approach to dealing with MIDI. Whether it fulfills all your needs is something only you can decide, but you can get a hint of where they’re going with the MIDI effects – I could definitely see these growing in the future. That way, you need only drag in the plug-ins you want, rather than be faced with all editing options, all the time.

                            Given the approach, about my only wish list item is to be able to see more than one envelope at a time in the MIDI Clip Display. I’m a big fan of using controllers to add expressiveness, and often, I want to relate one controller’s settings to another. I don’t know how many other people are into controllers so much that this would be a limitation, but it makes a difference to me.

                            I had hoped to get a little further along in the review tonight, but made the “mistake” of deciding to install review copies of Steinberg’s Groove Agent 2, Virtual Bassist, and Virtual Guitarist, and try them out with Live (I was hoping that maybe Live could record Groove Agent 2’s MIDI patterns, like Cubase SX does, but it doesn’t). Well, I got pretty hung up in checking them out, and they made great “test cases” to check out Live’s MIDI functions. Guilty pleasures, anyone? If there’s interest, I’ll do a quick review of these as well when the Live review is finished.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • Ableton should implement Propellerhead ReMote. Anyone who has seen Reason 3's controller integration will agree it's the best way of doing this.

                              ReMote is a standard protocol. Same as for ReWire.
                              Regards,

                              Marco Raaphorst
                              http://melodiefabriek.nl

                              Comment


                              • Ableton will give you two unlocks, so you can install on laptop and desktop – Ableton relies on the “honor system” that you won’t use them at the same time.


                                That's refreshing. I wish other companies were as enlightened in that regard. I certainly don't mind, even, if an app won't allow two copies of itself open at the same time on the network. But when they forbid non-simultaneous use on different machines (in this era of portable computing), it's an awkward and intrusive restriction on what seems like ought to be a legitimate use. (Still, I respect the publisher's wishes. My product is 1's and 0's, too.)
                                .

                                music and social links | recent listening

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