UPDATE: I have created an additional Max For Live device that makes this whole setup quite a bit easier to use by customizing push’s grid and eliminating the laptop from the performance. I’ll add another post with an easy to digest video once I get it totally refined.
This post is the culmination of a few years of work fine-tuning a stage setup for live violin / bass / soft synth looping using the FCB1010 midi pedal board, and now the Push. I will tie in my other forum threads that helped arrive at this concept.
The goal is to be able to improvise bass guitar and violin with multiple loopers while focusing completely on the music and none on the computer. While very complex, this setup is quite mature with lots of subtlety so I thought I would share my time-tested lessons. This tutorial also covers lots of major Live tips. It will be worth the time learning. Enjoy!
Download the Live set: http://goo.gl/Y17mWb
Video example (it moves slow so feel free to jump around): http://youtu.be/MCMO8mfmfYs
|Birds-eye view once all the pieces are assembled.|
The Purple Bus Channel
The core of the setup is the track labeled “** Bus” which contains a rack of Loopers. Each chain in the rack has a number and an instrument label, for example “1 – Violin”, “2 – Violin” – the numbers are important but we’ll come back to that. All Loopers are set to:
– Song Control: “Start Song” so the first loop that is recorded starts the song.
– Tempo Control: “Set and Follow song tempo”
– Record X bars and then: “+”
– Each Looper’s big “Multi-Purpose Transport Button” gets mapped to midi notes 1-8 as sent from the FCB1010. More on that later.
Chains 1-4 are for violin and have no effects. Chains 6-8 are for bass and have my bass effect rack (FCB expression pedals mapped to effect 1 & 2) before the Looper so those effects are recorded into the loop.
The parent rack’s first macro is mapped to the Chain Select Ruler, which makes sure that audio input is only going to one Looper chain at a time. Chain “Auto Select” is enabled, the chain ruler is hidden, and the whole rack is showing devices (see screenshot) – this is important and I’ll cover this later.
The (collapsed) white input group – Important!
- M:CC – global midi control – this one is important (and awesome!) and I will describe why below.
- I:B – bass hardware input and preprocessing
- I:V – violin hardware input and preprocessing
- O:B – bass post-processing to master
- O:V – violin post-processing to master
- I:R – resampling record for when I want to record a whole session’s master 🙂
Additionally, you can also include an empty effect rack to I:B and I:V with the chain ruler mapped to CC 125 in order to mute the instrument inputs when they are not needed (See 1st image in “White Inputs Group” section above)
- Pedals 1-10: Emit CC 125 each with the value of that pedal’s label to activate the corresponding Looper’s input.
- Pedals 1-10: Also emit a note value according to the pedal’s label – 1 = E1, 2 = F#1, etc, to start/stop recording on the corresponding Looper.
- Expression Pedal 1 = CC 126
- Expression Pedal 2 = CC 127
- CC 125 => Bus rack Macro 1 (chain looper select)
- CC 126 => Bus rack Macro 2 (bass effect 1)
- CC 127 => Bus rack Macro 3 (bass effect 2)
- Note D2 (pedal 5) => “clear” button on all Loopers
- Note A1 (pedal 10) => “stop” button on all Loopers
- Keys Q,W,E,R,T,Y,U,I to corresponding Looper’s reverse buttons (for fun!)
Live Instrument Tracks
Extra Credit 1: Violin Mic & Effects
Extra Credit 2: Push + Soft Synth
Tying it all together – Live Performance
- Lower your laptop’s screen brightness to the minimum value. You will only need it for basic visual cues.
- Read the Live Manual on how to use the Looper’s “Multi-Purpose Transport Button”. You can start/stop recording, start/stop overdub, and clear the looper all from one midi pedal.
- While playing, leave the Bus track selected so you can see which Instrument chain you are currently on, as well as a visual cue of the tempo on the Looper itself.
- Push is now your mixer. In Push, you can adjust mixer levels, sends, device effects, mute/solo, etc very easily. This is especially nice for adjusting (top-level) track effects in device mode.
- There are exactly 7 instrument tracks + 1 Bus track so you don’t have to scroll side to side in the mixer. We don’t have the brain cells to deal with extra complexity.
- After you are done with a song, hit pedal 5 to stop the transport, then pedal 9 to clear all the Loopers.
- When you create a song you like, drag the sample from the Looper onto the corresponding Instrument track. I use this feature to keep a log of my brainstorming.