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Performing with Ableton

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by eJake, Aug 8, 2019.


  1. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    EDIT: I changed the title of the thread because it seems that my question has evolved into something different. In addition to the I/O tips, I would love to hear any info/tips/youtube links/anecdotes of using Ableton in a live performance setup (IEM, I/O setup/interface, CPU, Mixers, Analog or Midi instruments, etc...). As soon as I get my mobile rig going, I will be doing small gigs to get my feet wet but I expect to rock festival type stages within a year or two.

    Original Post:
    Hey y'all!

    Excuse me if this is in the wrong forum. I'm about to take my live looping Ableton rig out into the world. I need to buy a new interface to get more I/O. I'm going to go usbc/thunderbolt because it seems more reliable than USB A.

    I'd love some recommendations for interfaces as well as what to do with the I/O. FOH only wants stereo outs right? Then ill need at least one monitor out as well.

    Any tips that you think would apply are welcome. I've been performing for 20 years but this will be a first into this type of thing.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  2. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    what kind of I/O do you need?
    Quantum 2 has four inputs, four outputs (plus additional headphone out) and MIDI.
     
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It might be overkill for a solo act, but if you'll use Live 10 with a band, consider an XR18 or similar compact digital mixer. That will give you DAW interface + band monitor/IEM mixer (w/ wifi control for multiple on-stage mixes) + MIDI.

    So if your bands already use a digital mixer, you may already have the gear you need.
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  4. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I think 4 in 4 out would be cool. I'll need at least 3 outputs (stereo to FOH, output for IEMs). Input wise I usually have a mic for vocoder and the DI from a 200w carvin head for bass/guitar. If I had more inputs I'd prolly DI the guitar separately to avoid the cable switching.
     
  5. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Thanks for the suggestion. I don't currently have a digital mixer with any of my crews but I'm not mad about having a ton of extra I/O. Do you have experience running this rig live? Is it reliable?
     
  6. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    I actually have two Thunderbolt Claretts. they're a step up from USB of any generation in latency and stability.
    I've heard and read that Quantums have lower latency than Claretts and Claretts have lower latency than UADs.

    I'd say the overall stability depends more on your computer. From what I know no Windows laptops under 1.5kgs have good enough Thunderbolt for audio interfaces, so usually all live performers I see are using macs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  7. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I will 100% be using Mac, no question. I have begun automating the arm and record buttons for my live looping using the IAC Driver and midi (a la Elise Trouw). EDIT: IAC only comes with Mac.

    I am currently researching getting a Mac Mini 2018 for this purpose as it may prove to be more reliable than the MacBook Pro.

    I have looked at some Claretts and will def look into the quantum's as well, thanks for the tips!!
     
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yes. I work a fair bit with an event band that runs Live 10 on the BL's MacBook pro, connected via USB. For a while, that band used an XR18. Now, we're on an X32 Rack (still using the XR18 for rehearsals).

    It's been rock solid, running occasional stem tracks and some automated channel processing. No direct experience w/ the rig for live looping, although that bottleneck should depend on the host and CPU demands rather than the interface.
     
  9. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    There has been talk of problems with the USB ports on the new Macs. Something about the T2 chip, I really don't understand but thats why I have been looking at Thunderbolt/USBC.

    Do you happen to know what year MBPro your BL is using? I currently work on a 2014 IMac with a USB Focusrite 2i2. I have very few problems doing what I need to with this setup. I believe the problems that I do have would be fixed with an SSD and maybe a better understanding of bussing.

    I think I might change the thread title here because it seems like my question has to do with people using Ableton reliably in the field as well as I/O.
     
  10. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    holy crap anyone have any experience with this?! Ethernet wired systems (like the 2018 mac mini) can output without an interface! crazy talk...

    If I hire my own engineer, they could have control over every channel im running! That person could help me mix the show but could also be a conductor of sorts. They could mute certain tracks at predetermined times or add effects from FOH to the overall mix or individual tracks. Really they could be a band member from behind the soundboard. Cool stuff.

     
  11. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Ableton's proven reliable. In the event band that uses Ableton, the BL is using a 2013 MBP which is also solid. (I also had one for several years, and worked it hard without trouble, FWIW.)

    My work buys me a new MBP every 3-4 years, so I've currently got a 2017 MBP, which I don't recommend for audio. On a 2017 13" Retina MacBook Pro, I've had a couple interfaces not work via USB-C hubs. But with only two USB ports, a hub is pretty much essential for the way I work with audio. I'd happily go back to a 2013 or 2015 MBP (w/ legacy ports) instead.
     
  12. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    You might post your question on the board below for a broader audience of people using Ableton Live. (not just bass players!)

    Ableton Live - Gearslutz
     
  13. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Thanks for the comment, I am aware of gear slutz and will probably go do a search or two and see what folks are saying over there.

    I have been a member here for many years and have come to trust peoples responses on this forum more than other places. Maybe its because I'm a bass player and I trust other bass players, maybe its because bass players are awesome...?

    Even if I don't get tons of answers, I think a couple threads like this will help TBers in the future.

    EDIT: Seems to be good info on GearSlutz, thanks!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  14. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Sux that good interfaces (like the Apogee Quartet) get really expensive really fast. Course, you may not need 192kHz 32-bit floating-point fidelity and a handbuilt high-end DAC to get superb live performance results, so hey.

    Btw a number of compact interfaces out there tout just 2-channel out, but also have the separate headphone monitoring, line out to IEM mixer, etc. onboard, so they're always worth a look just in case.

    Dunno if the latency passes muster compared to some others, but the Yamaha USB mixers seem to have a lot of hands-on control that pushes a stereo mix out, have mountains of inputs, and don't cost as much as a small studio. Similar concept to the XR18 mentioned above, but in a desktop format and available in miniature flavors.


    That Dante setup looks really slick, though...and I think that even with a port-less device, high-speed routers these days are SO fast that you could interface via local wifi with good results. That aside, I've seen guys do some magic with the Ableton Push controller either with their own electro music rig or as part of an ensemble, as far as using the software goes.
     
  15. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I have heard this sentiment elsewhere. I'm really hoping that the Mac Mini with 4 USBC ports and the Ethernet will do what I need it to if I decide to go that route.
     
  16. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I really want to try the Dante system. I have a phone call scheduled with an old friend tomorrow who is a professional sound man to chat about using Ethernet on bigger stages. If I go that route, I will only need an interface for inputs.

    I don't really have any experience in the details of modern interfaces. My ideal machine is utilitarian. A studio engineer buddy of mine told me the other day that the musician is more important than the pre amps to get a good sound.
     
  17. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hollywood
    Thread is related to my interests. I perform electronic music using Ableton, though not usually bass guitar related. I run a NI audio interface (not the latest model that was just released). I get good results with it. I’m curious to see where the thread goes, and if I can add anything.

    Somewhat related-
    Here’s Multiplier’s rant about USB hubs on MBP, with an example of hardware conflicts.


    He’s a bit of a character but I generally enjoy his videos and find them useful and interesting. You’ll find some gems on using Ableton.
     
  18. thewildest

    thewildest

    May 25, 2011
    Montreal
    I use Mainstage (similar to Ableton) on a Mac Mini, and have never had a problem; my interface RME Fireface UCX) uses firewire, and the whole has proven to be 100% reliable. I also use multiple channel strips combinations including MIDI (through an Axon AX-50).

    Inside Mainstage, I loaded Komplete wich has GuitarRig and lots of soft synths. Each multi-channel patch gets changed with a small midi-foot-controller, the only thing that uses USB

    At home I connect the Mac mini to a large monitor, but live I use a 8” monitor. All fits in a 1/2 U rack unit. Sometimes I am amazed to see all those sounds packed on that small cubic foot box.

    I go out stereo, through an RC50, and then to two channels. The RC has separate exits for monitoring. Here an example if you want to see how it all goes together, playing an interpretation of “Floppy Hat” from the late Allan Holdsworth.

    I hope this gives you some ideas, any questions please don’t hesitate.
     
  19. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Really cool man! That AX 50 looks awesome!

    Any way you could post a pic of the front of your rack? I had not thought about a super small monitor like that.

    Are you using the Mac Mini 2018 or the 2014ish one? Has anything ever failed horribly?

    How long have you been performing with Ableton?

    Really appreciate input from folks in the field thanks!!
     

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