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Ableton Live on Stage Part 3: One Master Set
By Fitz - 3/9/2007

If you missed it, see part 1 & part 2

One of the biggest limitations of Live is its inability to deal well with multiple songs. Traditionally each song would be self contained in its own Live set for maximum plugin and mixing flexibility but this won't work on stage because loading each set can be painfully slow. Want to wait 30-45 seconds between each song? I doubt the audience does. The solution is to bring all your songs into one big Live set. This will homogenate your sound a bit but is really the only way to go if you want to keep things moving.

Set Up A Template

The first step is to set up a template that has tracks for all your songs (drums, bass, keys, etc.) Here's what ours looks like:

ableton live tracks

Maestro & Pedal are special tracks I've created for controlling playback. I'll describe how they work in a later post.

The Keep It Simple Stupid rule is really important here to keep things manageable and processor load down. I recommend rendering soft-synths to audio where possible, eliminating efx redundancy thru good use of the sends and returns, and generally NOT trying to replicate every nuance of the studio on stage.

Import, Consolidate, and Structure

Once you got your tracks all set up you can start populating the scenes. Fortunately Live makes it easy to bring in parts from other Live sets via the browser on the left pane. Just locate your other live sets and then drag and drop parts where you need them. Setting up scenes varies with song structures but I generally use something like this:

ableton live song structure

Assign Keystrokes To Song Starts

Here's a useful tip for mixing up your set's song order: If you want to be able to play your songs in any order its a simple matter to assign a Live keystroke to the start of each song (I use the number keys). Tape a set list with the key codes next to the computer and you can jump all around with the touch of a button.

ableton song numbering

By Fitz - 3/9/2007 |