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My New "Live" DJ Setup

IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  93
Posts :  2822
Posted : Jul 12, 2011 01:26:11
Hi there!

I am having a BLAST with my new setup and figured I would share it so that others could try it out if they want. The required pieces of hardware/software are:

Ableton Live
Akai APC40
2x iPad (first iPad running TouchAble, second iPad running Omni TR)
Omnisphere 1.5 (yeah, you have to buy it)
Axis Mundi MIDI device
Terekith mixing racks

The basic premise is that I get bored when DJing as I play longish psytrance tracks and I feel kind of lame doing a mix and then dancing for 6+ minutes, so I wanted to introduce some live synth/fx elements to make it more interesting.

At first I tried sending off the tracks that I was playing to send/return channels that had FX racks on them (with EQ to take out the bottom end and a high shelf to soften the highs a bit to avoid muddiness) and fucking around with those, but I found that even with my EQ and whatnot it still muddied up the mix sometimes.

So, I thought that it might be better to use a synth and route that to sends only, then use that synths output for return FX and whatnot as it would not muddy up the mix as much as sending the whole track out to a return.

So, I have 4 virtual decks in Ableton, each one has a Tarekith mixing rack on it. I really like the Will Marshal template idea of using the physical sliders on the APC for Bass and using a vertical workflow for mixing, so I have the first 4 sliders on the APC mapped to volume on the 4 decks, and the next 4 sliders mapped to Bass. I have the 8 Track Control knobs in the upper right mapped to mid/hig on each track respectively. I have the crossfader mapped to all the volume levels of my sends so that if I get into feedback/noise trouble I can just cut them out quickly.

I have Omnisphere on a 5th channel routed to sends only with Axis Mundis MIDI rack before it. I have 4 send channels that each have a FX rack in them that I turn on or off.

So basically I start a track playing, then I have a bunch of Omnisphere Multis (a collection of 8 patches) set up beforehand and use Omnisphere's WONDERFUL latch/timing settings to play in time. I trigger Omnisphere with TouchAbles built in keys/drumpads.

So, you have live synth work to do when you're not mixing and you can't play out of time..and as long as you adjust the Axis Mundi rack you're always in key/scale! Super SUPER SUPER FUN!

Tried this out for the first time ever on sunday morning and it was a blast.

If anyone has any questions or comments (or suggestions!) I would be happy to answer them
           If you want to make an apple pie from must first invent the universe
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Jul 12, 2011 19:23
Need to try the Axis rack, sounds cool

My 'life' setup;

Live 7.0.3
Korg microKONTROL

I don't use any sends in my dj setup, (though im wondering should I?) and usually only 2 channels (Im a purist that way i guess) with BlueCat's Triple EQ (stereo) on each, crossover set to around 700hz and bandwidth at 3 octaves, each band and each gain (on teh plug itself not Live's mixer) mapped to knobs on the microKONTROL (I was using fades for the same purpose but they suffered casualties mixing Spor and Noisia, so Im down to 6 fades. They arent made like a Pioneer DJM fade, fyi.), I like the BlueCat 3 band, others Ive tried tend to throw off the sync significantly, and the Live native 3 band colors the sound audibly.

Ive got an effect rack with 6 sets of fx, all chained so theres only one or 2 sets active at a time- the chains overlap so that the dblue glitch set can have some ringmod, and the effectrix can have some supatrigga. Lots of randomizing effects like that, I like how they sound; never the same and its almost like they're playing while Im just another dancer.

My live setup on teh other hand... Is a bit more. Ive got one channel as a dj channel, 2 Renoise rewire-in channels; for bass and kcik (Ive used renoise for about 8 yrs now, its hotkeys allow superfast efficient sequencing with all the ease and straightforwardness of MS Excel), 3 midi drum synth channels, a sfx 1-shot sample channel and an analog-sample channel, then my Wendy Carlos Rack of virtual analogs with a WOK CLOCKWOrK sequencing them (mapped to its own scene on the controller and very fun to play with, needs no screen looking either), then FM8 which ive found runs very light CPU for how good it sounds, as my main 'axe' for live playing, then a rack of 303s that is likely to be replaced with a single ABL2, the way it is now, it doesnt allow for slides or oct shift which is half the fun of a 303 .

All the foundation channels (bass-kick-percs) are mapped to toggles on the pad rack, as are toggles for Renoise channel switching (ive got active and inactive kick and bass for flexibility) and drum machine switching. The drum machine channels ive got mapped to one toggle with the opposite values mapped; one is -inf to 0db, the other is 0db to -inf so i can toggle from 808 sounds to LM-1 type sound without overlap, and a third perc channel is currently Elektrostudio Rhythmus whcih has a neat bunch of presequenced rhythms as well as allowing sequencing individual sounds in piano roll, and has instruments like guiro and tambo, that help fill out the rhythm section. Elektrostudio plugs are also a big part of my Wendy rack and are for teh EFFING WIN and FREE. Theres even an EKO Computerhythm emulation! Fuck you if you have ever played one of teh 20 in existence, but teh Ocet is just fine compared to the unimaginable price of the real ones. Not the most modern of sounds but I dig oldschool sounds (can you tell?).

Originally i was working with Renoise running the percussion too, but that was too much switcheroo between DAW screens to be worth it. Live is where the main stuff is going on, so its easiest having the percussion synths in Live (for now).

The CLOCKWOrK is an analog-sequencer vsti that Ive found to be the best sequencer vsti for live, no-screen-looking sequencing. Its mapped to its own scene with the knobs and fades as note values, and pad rack step mutes, and the 2 standalone fades are the division and note length controls. The last 8 steps are double-mapped to teh 4 fader clump. Its tons of fun to make neat designs with the pads, and they sound neat too Sequencers free up the effort otherwise spent on sequencing, and piano roll isnt my idea of intuitive interface. I can tweak a few knobs and the virt analog rack goes TWICKLE TWEET or WONKLE WINK while i tweak a 303 filter, while playing the FM8 with the other hand (ideally).

So as you can guess ive pared down loop use and maximized analog-feel in both sound and interface as much as possible, maximized CPU overhead, minimized the interface and maximized its intuitivity and flexibility to my specifications. Its lots of fun so far but Ive been hesitant to record a set, though Im just about ready I think... Just a few more changes to the 303 setup...

Ive tried integrating my PDA running Theresa midi control software wihtout success; it was more hassle than benefit being a single-touch stylus screen, and the buttons of Theresa are JUST small enough to be too small... Ive thought of an APC20 to augment the microKONTROL with actual clip controls as well as the Launchpad. Both of which would be nice but almost, idk, too Live-centric to warrant spending 200 bucks on, the akai nano-thingy is a much better buy for me at 70 US and i can map it to nav controls (which I have currently on anotehr microK scene sorta). I would rather wait a while though, til i can afford a Faderfox controller. They make me moist.

Look at that fucking thing

tell me you dont want it to have your Ableton-warped children.

Then check out its size.

Smaller than an iPad.

250 euro, around 300 US estimated.

That, and one of these;

and Id never have to let teh Korg out of teh studio...

I can dream...
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  31
Posts :  240
Posted : Jul 23, 2011 15:30
Well done guys! Thanks for sharing. This is really using ableton for djing at its full potential and im sure there are endless more possibilities.

Im still working on the basics but ive learnt a lot from this.


          StarLab - Label DJ/Artist for Digital Om Productions
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Jul 24, 2011 03:34

Ported Axis's rack to 7, still havent mapped a few scales, and 7 doesnt allow the nifty color coding of macro knobs, but otherwise its identical.

Untilthereislight; One thing Ive come to believe in teh years of using Live, is that no matter how complex it seems, its made for dummys. The complex appearance just means you're too smart; think like a dummy, and you ought to figure it out. The manual is pretty handy too (took me from late-version 6 to recently to finally crack the manual open, what can i say, Im a guy, we don't ask directions, we just get lost)           .
Axis Mundi
Axis Mundi

Started Topics :  75
Posts :  1848
Posted : Jul 24, 2011 05:33
Wow that's awesome I'm so glad you guys are making good use of my share
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Jul 24, 2011 09:50
I added your rack as well as another CLOCKWOrK sequencing a second rack of lo-mid synths, and reconfigured the original Wendy rack so they're all mid-high and up. the mid-mids are the 303-ish rack, mainly my old favorite Claw, also threw in Phoscyon and made some real 303 style piano roll sequences with octave transpositions and slides like i like. Got rid of ABL2 in the rack, it just doesn't play well with other sequencerless 303 emulators, and is best rocked solo. Phoscyon's main problems IMO are its benefits in the rack, though; the damn thing has no midi mapping for the sequencer, and what mapping it has, makes ABL2 MIDI learn feel somewhat like fellatio from 7 angels at once in comparison.... Phoscyon has that filter..... OOOOH THAT FILTER.... CANT YOU SMELL THAT -18db TRINODE FILTER... If that filter was stuck onto ABL2's sequencer and MIDI learn function, I would expect to see real TB-303s drop significantly in price, as that would almost, dont hit me!!, be better than teh real thing.

Im currently looking for more 303-ish synths, not 303-emu mind you, emphasis on the ish. Claw is the chief example of what I mean. Acid line synths that arent only square or saw waves, polyphonic, COLORFUL! Small, minimal interface, ideally but ill take whatever. If it does arpeggios cleanly and with color like Claw I WANT. One cannot have filet mignon at every meal.

Im also (shock and gasp) seeing about finally moving back upstairs to Live 8, for the live set at least, if the warp isnt too... Too much for my wabisabi... I might just move dj sets up too. The reason i went back to 7 was more to do with hardware limitation than anything, but once i warped my first track in 7 again, it was like going home. where Ive been hiding til now, that i have 8 capable hardware (9 x64 capable, whenever that happens), leaving... THE WARP.


CURSED warp....

Ive been putting off trying 8 warp again, im going to stfu and DO IT

edit; I DID IT, STUPIDLY EASILY. I dont think im going to get rid of 7, but, I think I just became a Live 8 user....          .
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  108
Posts :  1069
Posted : Jul 26, 2011 00:50
lol it realy doesnt take that much to get used to 8 warp... 2 fully albums warped s enough to get used to it  
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  231
Posts :  611
Posted : Oct 26, 2011 23:01
u guys dont use like cdj's and stuff?only Abelton? 

The Greatest Sophistication is figuring out how not to be sophisticated
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  93
Posts :  2822
Posted : Nov 2, 2011 04:08
Only ableton

CDjs are great, but ableton can do so, so much more.            If you want to make an apple pie from must first invent the universe
Soul's Alien
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  16
Posts :  46
Posted : Nov 25, 2011 13:18
Ableton 8
Halion Sonic

Trance Forum  Forum  DJing - My New "Live" DJ Setup
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