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Can we talk about Ableton Live, recording audio? DAW Software
Old 15th September 2011
  #1
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Can we talk about Ableton Live, recording audio?

Live seems to be the king of loop-electronica and all that mash-up stuff, but how do y'all knowledgeable types regard Live's audio recording and editing capabilities, for us guitar-drum-and-oboe types?

I though of asking the folks on the Live forum for opinions, but everything there turns into a bun-fight.

Thanks.

Old 15th September 2011
  #2
It works just fine - I regularly record and edit full bands through mixing to mastering using Live as my only DAW.
Old 15th September 2011
  #3
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Yeah, it works well, it's a full featured DAW. I am just re-learning it- I have the Suite upgrade on order now- but it was my main DAW while I was in school for a while, I'd do a lot of editing on it. I also used Digital Performer and Pro Tools for other classes, and I moved over to Logic for my personal use these last few years. I have a special place in my heart for Live (aww!) if you will.

On the other hand, though, while it will certainly work for you, what it is about live that makes it more attractive to you than the alternatives? In some ways Logic might be a better choice... that is, it has convolution reverb built in to it and an included mastering program with WaveBurner.

I'm not pumping Logic here... it was just the first example off the top of my head.

I'm not slamming Live, just trying to think what is making Live more attractive to you than others. You might have better choices out there, or it might be that Live really is best for you. There are some things about Live that are very unique to it.
Old 15th September 2011
  #4
After reaper and pro tools, ableton is my 3rd choice. Great daw
Old 15th September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mal View Post

On the other hand, though, while it will certainly work for you, what it is about live that makes it more attractive to you than the alternatives? In some ways Logic might be a better choice... .
1) I have an interface ordered with Live Intro on it.
2) PC

People talk so much about loops and vsts and mashing, I've never heard a Live word about recording and editing. I'd rather work with one DAW software if I can swing it.
Old 16th September 2011
  #6
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I do a lot of conventional DAW stuff in Live. That is, tracking, editing, comping, mixing. I use it to write and arrange too. Well, and I use it for live shows, haha. I use it for everything basically.

Live is kind of the Lego of DAWs. It's a simple interface with a bunch of simple but powerful built-in notions and tools (like racks, track-based routing, clips and scenes, etc. etc.) From those simple pieces you build up your own workflow and ways of getting complicated things done. If that way of working appeals to you, then there's nothing like it. If you prefer to have a rich set of built-in commands that cover what you're likely to want to do with one click of the mouse, then Live is probably not going to appeal to you. It's got a kind of minimalist aesthetic to it. Personally I find that to be a lifesaver -- it allows me to forget about the DAW and focus on music. But different strokes and all that.

If I were doing a lot of tracking of multiple live sources at the same time, I don't think I'd use Live, because comping multiple tracks simultaneously (e.g., comping drum tracks) is something I wouldn't want to do with it. For comping a single track at a time, I've gotten a workflow down that is fast for me, not quite as fast as comping in Logic or PT but almost so. For most audio editing tasks I find Live to be faster than anything else I've tried outside of PT.

The thing to do is pop up the free / trial version and try doing some stuff with it. The whole Suite version can be demo'd for free, so this is a pretty easy thing to do.

-synthoid
Old 16th September 2011
  #7
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Thanks very much for those replies.
Old 16th September 2011
  #8
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I have been told that many people will start their sessions in live and then transfer them over to another DAW like Cubase or PT or Logic. Why would someone do that? I ask out of curiosity as I am going to be getting into computer based sequqncing and recording.
Old 16th September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jalguitarman View Post
I have been told that many people will start their sessions in live and then transfer them over to another DAW like Cubase or PT or Logic. Why would someone do that? I ask out of curiosity as I am going to be getting into computer based sequqncing and recording.
Not a bad question................
Old 16th September 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jalguitarman View Post
I have been told that many people will start their sessions in live and then transfer them over to another DAW like Cubase or PT or Logic. Why would someone do that? I ask out of curiosity as I am going to be getting into computer based sequqncing and recording.
i think the majority of people who do this are those who have used another sequencer for years and are more comfortable mixing in a familiar environment.

there are also a small number of people who claim Live's sound engine is compromised in some way, but this is usually because they leave warping - time stretching - enabled on all tracks even though they don't need to. this is Live's default setting, i have it disabled and just use it when needed.

it's obvious that if every track in your song is time stretched there's going to be some degradation but it's surprising how many people this catches out!

i've used Live since version 3 and it's the most creatively inspiring software i've used.
Old 16th September 2011
  #11
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Well, I was talking to someone the other day who was wanting to mix in Logic's 64 bit environment, or at least he wanted to compose in Live and export to Logic to take advantage of 64 bit. Live being 32 bit will have some limitations especially if one uses sample heavy virtual instruments.

Also, while Live has very good plug ins, there are a couple things it is missing, namely linear phase EQ and convolution reverb.

On the other hand, it's not like one couldn't add those to live in the form of plug ins very easily and not expensively, either. I should also argue that I am still learning Live again... it may have linear phase EQ and I don't know it.

Also, it is often said that editing is accomplished in other DAWs easier than others.

Live is also sort of rudimentary with virtual instruments compared to some other DAWs, if one doesn't get the Live Suite and just gets the main package (I have Suite on the way). Again, though, virtual instruments are something that one would probably end up getting through third party softwares, but if you are looking for an immediate bunch of virtual instruments to get you going right off the bat, then maybe Live isn't the best choice.

There are a lot of things about Live that are very strong, however, and I don't want to sell it short. It has a unique workflow that lends itself to live work and composing very well. Ableton is pretty good at rolling out updates in an effort to keep it stable as well. It's a very nice application. If one were to add the full Suite, it's quite likely that those instruments will be somewhat more stable than third party ones will be for live work also, although I can't guarantee this.

Anyway, it is a full featured app, and if you are interested in the upgrade from Live Lite then I say go for it... there's a lot to love about it, jump on in.
Old 16th September 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmurphy View Post

there are also a small number of people who claim Live's sound engine is compromised in some way, but this is usually because they leave warping - time stretching - enabled on all tracks even though they don't need to. this is Live's default setting, i have it disabled and just use it when needed.

it's obvious that if every track in your song is time stretched there's going to be some degradation but it's surprising how many people this catches out!
Hah! Now there's a good bit of info. I've read a few things, by people who supposedly know what they're on about, saying unflattering words about Live's sound engine, compared to the Pro/Cue's of the world.
Old 16th September 2011
  #13
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I'm appreciate LIVE's take on editing/manipulation, big fan. But for recording "live" audio/midi IT's CRAP.
Ableton Live records everything POST LATENCY. Many people don't realize this.
This means it's tracks the audio/midi at the time that you hear it after processing/system delay (system buffer setting). Not at the time you actually played. This is a huge fault & something I pointed out years ago beta testing. It's the only known DAW to treat tracking this way.
There is a workaround but a it's a bitch to deal with. It's was ultimately my reason for ditching it after ver 8 failed to address the issue.
Old 16th September 2011
  #14
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well rhythminmind, i seem to have managed for a number of years now so i have to disagree - it's not 'crap' for recording live audio and midi at all. seeing as i do it on a daily basis i think i would have noticed if something was fundamentally wrong.
Old 16th September 2011
  #15
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I'm not just making crap up. You might want to test it out.
Just setup two tracks one with monitoring on as it normally would & one disabled. Set both to the same input & record audio/midi. Compare the timing. The track that you rec & monitor will be late however many samples your system delay is set to on the timeline. This is true for all source inputs. Live input, VI's, etc

Old thread on the issue Ableton Forum • View topic - Audio & Midi Recorded offset.

This screen-shot shows the symptom on both audio & midi tracks. Same rec input with & without monitoring enabled.

Old 16th September 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythminmind View Post
I'm appreciate LIVE's take on editing/manipulation, big fan. But for recording "live" audio/midi IT's CRAP.
Ableton Live records everything POST LATENCY. Many people don't realize this.
This means it's tracks the audio/midi at the time that you hear it after processing/system delay (system buffer setting). Not at the time you actually played. This is a huge fault & something I pointed out years ago beta testing. It's the only known DAW to treat tracking this way.
There is a workaround but a it's a bitch to deal with. It's was ultimately my reason for ditching it after ver 8 failed to address the issue.
I see that this was discussed at great length:
Ableton Forum • View topic - Scary thread about Live on KVR - please address!
Old 16th September 2011
  #17
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Forgot about that thread. =)
Quote:
he's just some ****** on the web.
Have to admit it still makes me smile.
Old 16th September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythminmind View Post
I'm not just making crap up.
i didn't say you were, mate. i just said i hadn't experienced any problems.

edit : i just tried your test and yes you are right. the easy way round this is instead of switching one of the track's monitoring inputs to 'off' leave it on auto and turn the track activator off instead. problem solved.

Old 16th September 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmurphy View Post
i didn't say you were, mate. i just said i hadn't experienced any problems.
Understood, If you run your system at low latency it's not an issue for most. The timing is negligible for many tasks.

Being a drummer it was a huge deal for me. It was driving me crazy laying down parts & then on playback hearing something different. The issue multiplies on itself with every overdub.

Obviously for most it's not an issue. I just find it ridiculous that it's not at least an option to record like every other DAW.
Old 16th September 2011
  #20
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yeah i can understand it being a nightmare for drummers.

does my (possible) solution help in any way?

for what it's worth i just tried it on some audio and it seems to work.
Old 16th September 2011
  #21
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Yeah thats helpful for live instruments that you don't need to monitor. Anything virtual or with realtime effects would still require the dual track setup.
Old 16th September 2011
  #22
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hmm. but you don't get output from the track with monitoring off anyway
Old 16th September 2011
  #23
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One track to REC what you play, One track to monitor.
Old 16th September 2011
  #24
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My own experience with Ableton :

- so fast and intuitive to work with loops and so on
- so fast to import sounds without browsing, for movie stuff, etc....
- work well also for song writing and more linear works, like a multitrack recorder / edit . But becomes complicated if you need to edit a lot of multitrack like drums. no groups , the ' coupez zone temporelle ' ( like the " suffle" in Pro Tools) works for ALL tracks.
- no virtual track , but no tracks limitation.

- Good plug in compensation. My Pro Tools LE ( 7.4 ..... old ) doesn't. with Convolution and Fat plugs, it's a pity in PT

I know do most of my work in Live

But, that sais, theses days I have to work with Pro Tools, and....... I comperare the same track in the original Session in PT , and the same song exported trac by track in Live. Starngly, I had the " sensation" that the Bounce / Final mix was better in Pro Tools. the very Famous thread of the " audio engine" is back .....

No.

Live is great. the interface is sometimes a bit ugly, but it works fine, even if you don't do electro loop based music
Old 16th September 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mal View Post
Live is also sort of rudimentary with virtual instruments compared to some other DAWs, if one doesn't get the Live Suite and just gets the main package (I have Suite on the way). Again, though, virtual instruments are something that one would probably end up getting through third party softwares, but if you are looking for an immediate bunch of virtual instruments to get you going right off the bat, then maybe Live isn't the best choice.
And then there are the additional Ableton Sampled Instruments which can be added... Ableton - Orchestral Instrument Collection
I wonder how they compare to 3rd party stuff.
Old 16th September 2011
  #26
I just read through the old thread over at Ableton Forum as I haven't been aware of this and came to the conclusion that I NEED this feature to have my keyboard playing recorded in time/on the beat.

The rattling of my keys is not the sound I listen to while playing, but the actual sound of a VI coming out of the monitor speakers. I intuitively shift my playing to compensate for the latency introduced by the audio driver.

However I understand that if I was playing drums, I would naturally hit the drums in time, not shifted forward. But then I would just turn off monitoring for these tracks while recording, as it is not needed here anyway.

All in all: it is in no way a fault/bug!
Old 17th September 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benson Paris View Post
I just read through the old thread over at Ableton Forum as I haven't been aware of this and came to the conclusion that I NEED this feature to have my keyboard playing recorded in time/on the beat.

All in all: it is in no way a fault/bug!
yes! this.

It's DAWs that compensate for latency on playback differently than on live play that drive me nuts. I've learned to play keyboards in time with a ridiculously long latency, having had to do that for years, even live. If a DAW scoots all that playing forward in time when playing it back, I have to manually scoot it all back to where it belongs. I want to hear what I heard while playing, with the same timing wrt the backing tracks as when I played it.

It should be noted that there is no way to "compensate" during the recording process itself for the latency of a software instrument that is being played and monitored. That's true for every DAW, it's just a physical property of the computer. The MIDI goes in, the audio gets computed, and then it comes out of the interface. That takes however long it takes. The question is whether or how the DAW adjusts the recorded MIDI after the fact. If the DAW thinks that you should hear the audio at the moment that the MIDI events hit the interface, then it has to push the MIDI events earlier in time. If it thinks that you should hear the audio when you originally heard it (while recording) then it has to leave the MIDI events in their original position wrt to the tracks that were playing back.

Live really does have a few problems when it comes to heavy-duty tracking in the studio, but the way it deals with latency is not one of them IMO.

One of the nasty things about using Live to track is that if you touch any control [edit:]while the global record button is on, it record the control movements as automation. This is a terrible idea sometimes. If you tweak a track level to make the cue mix sound better for example (while recording), that tweak is in there to stay, and the next time you play back, the track will start at its original level, then move with the automation, then revert to the original value. That's all wrong for tracking audio, usually.

-synthoid

Last edited by synthoid; 17th September 2011 at 04:17 PM.. Reason: bad explanation of Live's automation recording 1st time...
Old 17th September 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post

One of the nasty things about using Live to track is that if you touch any control on a record-armed track, it record the control movements as automation. This is a terrible idea sometimes. If you tweak a track level to make the cue mix sound better for example (while recording), that tweak is in there to stay, and the next time you play back, the track will start at its original level, then move with the automation, then revert to the original value. That's all wrong for tracking audio, usually.

-synthoid
Isn't that how an analogue mixer would respond?
Old 17th September 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razorboy View Post
Isn't that how an analogue mixer would respond?
?! no analogue mixer I've ever seen or heard of.

Maybe I didn't describe well what Live does.

Imagine an analog console that always records every fader movement you make, if the tape deck is in record mode. Cain't turn off the automation recording. Now you're tracking a singer, and in the bridge you pull down the drums a bit for her cue mix. When you rewind the tape and play it back, the drum fader moves by itself at the bridge. So you have to manually erase the automation. That's how Live works.

-synthoid
Old 17th September 2011
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
So you have to manually erase the automation.
right click the automated control and delete. simple.

sure, Live has it's niggles but they are so easily overcome that there's no way they outweigh it's positive aspects.
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