Ableton Live 9 Workshop Notes

Today I attended the Ableton Live 9 workshop at the Supper Club in San Francisco.

Please see this post for the background on the workshop.

The event was relatively small, but thanks to the size it felt very intimate and informal. The crowd wasn’t huge, but I got the impression that it was reasonably representative of the active EDM producers / artists in San Francisco. The old Demo Party organizer in me immediately started thinking about different types of events that could be arranged with a dedicated group of people like this, but more on that later.

I won’t go too much into detail about the topics discussed, but below are some notes of the stuff that I found particularly interesting.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the workshop was based on a Beta version of Live 9, and any of the described features and content below could change before it actually ships.

Part 1 : Timo on Live 9 and workflow

Audio to MIDI

By now I think most people have heard of the amazing new Audio to MIDI function in Live 9, what I did not know was that it offers 3 different algorithms to choose from, Harmony for chord heavy sound, Melody for monophonic progressions and Drums for percussion and drums.

Upgrade to 9 compressor or continue to use 8 version is an option

As part of upgrading to Live 9, you will be presented with the option to continue to use the Live 8 standard compressor, or upgrade to the new one. This is not the new Glue compressor, which is a different plugin, but the standard compressor.

MIDI Note Invert

The Notes drawer in a MIDI clip now has an invert button that allows you to select a set of notes in the piano roll and instantly invert their relative pitch.

MIDI Note Stretch markers

In Live 9, when you select a range in the Note lane the selected range markers can be dragged to stretch (speed up, slow down, reverse) the selected notes.

Session Automation Record Arm and Record Buttons

As part of the new Session view automation record capability, the Transport bar at the top of the UI know contains an Automation Record arm button, and an Automation Record button. Both are used when you want to enable / disable recording any parameter changes you do while playing back scenes and clips. With version you add automation points by single clicking, and you can create curves for smoother transitions.

Back to arrangement on a track by track basis

The arrangement view in Live 9 contains buttons that allow you to do Back to Arrangement on individual tracks instead of the entire set.

Consolidate to scene 9

Starting with Live 9 you can select a range in the arrangement view, right click and select Consolidate to Scene. This will create a new scene in the session view that contains a clip for each track you selected, with just the selected range of sound. This includes automation and effects.

Part 2 : Liam on DJ’ing with Live

Set global BPM though scene name

If you name a scene ??? BPM, the global clock will be set to that BPM every time you launch that scene. Perfect for smooth transitions and seamless tempo changes between song parts or tracks in a DJ set.

Use routing to create effects channels

If you get creative, you can create advanced effects channels that allow you to get very expressive when playing back scenes and clips live. (This is really all about coming up with the templates that work for you.)

Summary

Don’t let the fact that the notes from Liam’s session are fewer trick you into thinking that his set was not interesting. Since I’m not a DJ I guess there was just more that related to me directly in Timo’s part. Liam really showed how far you can go using Live and the APC 40, if you really know how to work both the software and the hardware.

The event was incredibly inspiring and full of new learnings, especially for a relative beginner like my self.

At the end I also got a chance to speak to Timo directly about the possibility of arranging more workshops and gatherings for EDM people in San Francisco. He indicated that there are already plans to try to strengthen the community and provide more forums and social events for people to exchange ideas, learn and share perspectives and initiate collaborations. I really hope that materializes, and if it doesn’t I will try to make it happen myself.

Finally, a huge thanks to Timo and Liam for taking the time and sharing from their wells of wisdom.

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