5753rd question on how to play live

I’m sure this topic has already been covered a 100times, but I have a more specific question.

Several times I have played daw-less - with synths and sequencers. the results were OK, but left a lot to be desired.

Where i feel really comfortable now though is producing in the box and that is in ableton.

How would you play finished tracks “live” now? I still don’t want to use a computer in a live situation . Maybe it‘s stupid, because i just could use a .mac + a push2, bit somehow i always feel like i‘n cheating.

Especially since I also have a certain affinity to maschine and i own a maschine+: what do you think of this combination ?
Produce in ableton and then perform with the machine? but how? just export separate tracks as audio and then perform certain instruments live?
Any better suggestions ?

thank you !

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Listen. If Kraftwerk switched to daws later on their tours, then anyone can and its not cheating. This ‘dawless thing’ has just made you think that way.


You can make it work however you want. Better to work out:

  • what constitutes performance for you
  • how risky are you prepared to make it
  • what can you transport

And go from there.


Stems and Octatrack.


I watched a couple of videos by the Chemical Brothers.

They have everything running as stems from Ableton into a big analog mixing desk and then a bunch of synths and FX etc. They can take anything out and switch to playing it live if they want or route it to some boxes to do crazy stuff with it.

I think that’s how I’d do it.


this is the way


a lot of great answers!
more from a psychological perspective, which is great and what i probably needed the most.

So let’s get back to the more technical side…

i could get over that stupid “cheating fear” and play with macbook an ableton push… but as long as i’m not ready for that,
i’m going to play stems with one ot these devices:

  • Maschine plus (great with it’s softsynths and possibilities)
  • octatrack (somehow my favorite, but i had the OT 3 times and i couldn’t wrap my head around it… but maybe NOW, as a stem player, who knows)
  • ipad (which i love, is very flexible, has even more
    synths than M+, but then again it’s a “computer””

so… any tutorials on how to export stems “in a smart way” and play them back on the OT (or M+)?

Just to make all the Dawless hardware nerds have a heart attack - record the whole set to your phone, hit play, then twist knobs and pull faders on a dummy midi controller to look busy while you surf the Elektronauts forum all night from your tablet.


…the ot is still the best live solution for all computer background producers who don’t wanna hit the stage with a bloody computer…

take ur main mix bounces, or split them into stems/busses as u like…
ship ur shit to ur ot’s cv card…

drop those files into ur static slots…hit play and enjoy ur music on stages all over the planet without any computer but exactly as u made them on ur computer…and whenever ur in the mood add some little shit to it, wiggle and twiggle whatever u want on top or along side, fade in, fade out, eq and filter the hell out of it, drown it in delays, get back to original with a blink, do some scene fukkery, solo it like a guitar hero with a real live music instrument at ur hands, but have always the confidence, once u activate a next one shot trig in a next pattern, there goes ur next finished track in perfect mix condition and also in any other way u want it in realtime…


Export stems each as 4 bars or whatever works best for you. Then use OT’s arranger mode.

@mpiecora made an excellent tutorial on that

EDIT: Forgot to include the link.


Calling this “DAWless” is splitting the hairs a little too finely, I think. It’s practically the same thing as using Ableton with a Push.


Whatever works or tricks your brain into having a good time.


Look no further - https://youtu.be/MF7k7dFaZ04

Two fully mixed/mastered tracks, arranged to play in a specific order. All they need to do is press one or two Push buttons and layer a bit of TR8 hi hats on top. The crowd goes mental and don’t care what they do. I bet they don’t give a monkey either.

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related question: i’m about to play live for the first time, using my OT. i’ve got a 15 minute slot (lol) at an Electronic Music Open Mic night in Bristol. i’ve got 15 minutes of material, but it’s got me wondering: how are people doing longer performances on the OT? i’ve got four tracks because there are four Parts. what if i wanted more songs?

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Turn it around, maybe your concerned your cheating yourself if you place any importance on performance and what that might feel like. Loading stems and playing them back to a crowd. Ok, sure, I suppose.

Thanks to all!
For more tips I am grateful, but even so far every comment has been a lot more helpful than you might think

Each bank has 4 parts, independent of each other. You’ve got a 15 min set with 4 parts in one bank, build up another 15 mins using 4 parts in the next bank.


I used to play 1 hour / 90 minute sets with my OT.

Theres 16 banks right? Each with 4 parts, so if there’s 1 part per song thats 64 songs. Thats a fuck ton.


As an audience member, I’d much rather have the second, good, version


I watch a lot of live performance and have dreams of one day doing some myself. Where hardware can be useful is in making a performance more dynamic, and that’s defintiely a good thing for the audience. Successful DJ’s are often the person in the room partying the hardest.

Best controller I’ve used, and seen used by professionals, is the Akai APC-40 MKii. A fairly underappreciate piece of gear that can transform an Ableton gig into something a lot more fun and visual. Pair that with maybe 1 synth for knob twiddling and a mixer and you likely have the best of both worlds.

Einmusik b2b Jonas Saalbach live at Preikestolen in Norway for Cercle - YouTube


Also one half of Bicep does most of his work on the right hand side of this screen:

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