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Ableton Live 4.0

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Mike Flynn, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Hi peeps, I'm finally getting my first serrious PC, this thing...http://www.hoojum.com/html/product_cubitp4.htm - and I really want to set up my own home studio. I did an interview with the cool as **** <b>Matt Garrison</b> yesterday - I may well see if I can run it here (like my Wooten piece) but he was raving about Ableton Live and the new 4.0 version due out soon. I really like the look of this, as compared to say Cubase or any of the other studio packages, I think the fact that Live is designed for working with mainly 'live' performances (i.e. not a lot of computer generated loops etc) this would be the package for me - plus it's a bit cheaper than Cubase, and there are a **** load of plug-ins and drum machine add ons available - I have read the FAQ on this but I just wondered if anyone here could second Matt's recomendation or suggest something better?

    There's also a deal to get Live 3.0 now for $350, with the upgrade to 4.0 only costing an extra $50 - which is cool for me - as that's about the top of my budget for this stuff...
    your advice is appreciated



    Mod Edit:- Please fully mask all swear words.
  2. I've played with the Ableton Live 3.0 demo and indeed it does look like a really cool piece of kit. I'd like to get my hands on a full version as and when I upgrade my PC. It does seem to be well placed for live work, provided you've got a decent / fast audio interface and a robust laptop / PC live setup. The downside from a bass playing point of view is that you would need hands to operate it... And if those hands are otherwise engaged in operating your bass... well you get the picture. However I reckon it would make a very cool performance piece if somebody played guitar / bass / whatever and you could loop them up and drop them in over pre-prepared loops / rhythms. You could time-stretch, manipulate, process the new loops as required and make quite a cool sound. You would need to have some pre-prepared loops up your sleave though so that you could build an improv piece in a live situation. Otherwise I think it would be quite tricky to click mouse buttons, etc. and still keep audience interest.

    On the other hand the big plus is that you can "record" your performance and edit it all later, allowing you to save what you played and tweak it later if need be. The fact that it takes VST plugins (and now VST instruments) opens it up to a really wide range of possibilities.

    Question is: Would an EDP (Echoplex Digital Pro) and external effects unit be a better investment for live work / loop-based performance? This allows you to loop up stuff using a floor board, allowing you to get on with playing bass instead of operating a laptop. Ask Steve Lawson for more details about this...
  3. Thanks for all of that - I see the problems you outline - and I really want a decent home studio not a performance device - I already have a Boss RC20 and that's great for live looping, and i use it a lot - is Cubase or something similar my best option then? I have a friend who can do me the old Dongle crack etc. - I know it's not the most stable way of working - just can't afford the £350 Cubase costs new...let me know

    Thanks again

  4. As a home studio, I don't think Live is what you're after. It's tied in a lot more to loop-based stuff than Cubase or Sonar. Cakewalk Sonar Studio edition is relatively well priced (£180) and to be honest will do a heck of a lot of stuff that Cubase will do. It also accepts VST effects and instruments, and has Rewire support. You could get some nice plugins with the extra cash. It also means you don't have to worry about the dongle stuff.

    Another possible option if you don't need to MIDI control is Adobe Audition - formerly Cool Edit Pro - which is around $300. It's very versatile and a nice platform for recording audio and editing.

    Just my £0.02 worth.
  5. Thanks MKS - I have read lots of your sticky FAQs above but a nice simple answer is very welcome - I'll look into the gear you mentioned - I hate using cracked stuff sometimes - and I know people that use cracked versions of Cubase (Shhhh!) and it has a tendancy to crach and not work with stuff like Amplitude - but that's mainly due to the fact they don't have the lastest version of CB.

    One other quick question - what audio interface (digital-direct-box etc) would you recommend? Again I don't mind spending a bit for a good one - but anything around £150 would be ideal - but I know you get what you pay for etc...cheers in advance.

  6. Internal soundcard (PCI) for a desktop machine or external (USB or firewire) for a laptop / Mac?

    You might want to consider the M-Audio Delta44 (£130) - it's audio only so if you need MIDI inputs it won't help. This might not be a big consideration now, but in the future if you ever want to sync up an external HDD recorder with your sequencer you'll need MIDI to send time code info back and forward.

    EDIT: Having just looked up your shiny little box of a PC, I'm not sure that an internal card is what your after! Would it fit?? :) Probably your best bet is to stretch finances if possible to something like a firewire interface... The MAudio FW410 is my object of desire... Only 2 audio inputs though. Also consider MAudio Mobile Pre. 2 in / 2 out.

    External boxes come in USB and Firewire variants - beware that USB boxes tend to limit the number of inputs at the highest quality level - so if you need more than two or three inputs at 24/96 or higher then check the manuals carefully. It's quite a good idea to download manuals of any soundcard you're interested in - they're often available at the manufacturer's website. They'll tell you what the limitations without having to actually go out and buy the thing. You'd think that reading the manual was the last thing that we'd recommend, right?? ;) Firewire gives lower latency, but on the whole costs more. The plus points about USB and firewire cards is that they draw power from your PC and so don't need extra power units.

    The big question is how many inputs you need and in what form. If you can only see yourself needing 2 then there's a huge number of cards available. Some "offer" more than 2 but these tend to be 2 line level alongside 2 digital inputs. Some boxes offer a mic/line input using neutrik XLR/TRS inputs which is quite nice. 4 audio ins would be nice because then you can record separate bass, effected, looped inputs and mix and edit to your heart's content later.

    Sorry I've rambled a bit here... Hope some of this is useful! :D Let us know how you get on.

    By the way, check out Sound on Sound's website and forums (http://www.soundonsound.com/). Lots of good practical advice and comment from the guys over there. Martin Walker is resident PC expert. His FAQ section is mine of really useful info.

    All the best,
  7. bassplayerdude


    Jan 23, 2003
    It's a pity that since the apple takeover emagic have gone mac only. Logic Express is really great and very good value and I know that Matt Garrison uses logic a lot for recording.
    As far as audio interfaces go, if you only need two input channels the M-Audio Audiophile USB is very good. They go for about £160.
  8. Except for the fact that the Audiophile uses RCA/Phono inputs... Which is a bit of an inconvenience if you're trying to plug in basses or mics....
  9. bassplayerdude


    Jan 23, 2003
    Very true. You may also wish to consider the digidesign mbox as a full featured software and hardware package with those all useful mic and instrument pres.
  10. bassplayerdude


    Jan 23, 2003