Octatrack and Ableton Live


#1

Hi

Im quite new to the octatrack and was wondering how you guys are using it with Ableton Live? I want to make a template that would (a group of channels) that would give me the best interconnection between the octatrack and ableton live. Any tips?

Cheers


#2

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I would also like to know on a more general level. I come from software land and am new to hardware. How does one usually make a software sequencer and something like the OT or Machinedrum work together? What roles do you have for each piece of [virtual] gear?


#3

I´ve been using the ableton midi sequencer with the machinedrum. I prefer it to the internal sequencer when doing basic drum tracks. When I want something a bit more bizarre I use the internal sequencer and go crazy on the p-locks.

Any advice using the octatrack with ableton live for a seamless flow?


#4

Since a perfect MIDI sync with Ableton is only really possible with some expensive equipment, I tend to compose stuff on the OT then record it into Ableton and go from there.

You can’t really make use of scenes/timestretch playing over stuff you’ve composed in Live (unless you want to finely tweak your quantize settings for every track), because (in my experience) it’s always ever so slightly off and ends up being more trouble than it’s worth.

However, Ableton is very good at adapting to your recordings, and the OT kinda begs to be used by itself or as part of a hardware setup without the computer until you record.

Also: always be sure to set your tempo on Ableton and the OT before you record (unless you’ve found a way to sync without tons of drift)- great way to create extra work is to realize the Ableton tempo is still sitting at 120 when your track is 95.


#5

I´ve been recording basic arrangements in Ableton, usually ending up with 6-8 sound elements, then I slice up loops, export them to the OT via USB and mangle in the box and record the outcome. I was just wondering if there was a quicker and more streamlined way to do what Im doing.


#6

Well, you could use an audio interface with aux outputs and route the mix from Ableton out to the OT.


#7

Tried that, maybe I just have to get a bit more familiar with the OT to make it run smoothly. Is it possible to use the midi sequencer in ableton to set recording start and end points to OT?


#8

That would be great- and a genius way to remedy the sync drift pain in the ass Ableton gives. But no.

I think it’s best to look at the two as feeding into and off of eachother- pull loops from the OT in session view recording, send chopped/edited loops back to the OT via USB.

I wish there was a better way to sync the two, but the OT doesn’t send MIDI over USB an Ableton (MIGHT still…) syncs like shit. I haven’t tried to midi sync hardware with Ableton since the 9.1 update.

Maybe they worked on it.


#9

Cheers mate :wink:


#10

I want to use A+O :wink: like this:

Feed the O into an A audio channel.
Add a midi track on the A to play a VST synth (keep it independent from the O).

I thought I could prepare some simple clips and change synths with program changes from either the OT or my mpk25.

Might eventually be something for PUSH… does anyone use PUSH with OT?


#11

anyone experimented with using pick up machines for this ? you can definitely use midi to start and stop sampling with them…


#12

+1 for using Live to compose and OT to mangle and/or perform.

I started using the OT slaved to Live. I would run two return tracks out to the OT inputs and use sends to route audio to the OT. However the sync was not tight enough to capture clean loops from Ableton into the OT. The same was true when the OT was master and Ableton was the slave. Plus this took away my ability to use the OT to sequence external gear.

So instead I sketch ideas in Live and export them to the OT via USB.

Also when the OT is slaved to an unstable clock source, it causes all kinds of havoc with the delay if set to tape mode. Sometimes it sounds cool, other times not so much.


#13

Hi everyone,

I tried to find the solution on this forum and elsewhere but I’ve not found something answering my question.

I’d like to make Live to record the tempo changes made by the Octatrack.

At the moment the OT is the master for Live 9, Live is sync’ed at the tempo and to the transport of the OT. I’ve made an arrangement with tempo changes on the OT and I’d like Live to record those changes because it will be easier then to sync delays and syncable VSTs especially.

Is it possible ? If so, how can I do that ?

Thank you.


#14

My live setup is:

Ableton (as master clock)
NI Audio 8 (with 2 stereo pairs to Octa A/B + C/D in)
Innerclock Synclock sending sync to Octatrack
Octatrack sending Midi back to Ableton
(+ Launchpad and VCM600 for Ableton control)

The cunning part of the setup is that each group of 4 patterns (e.g. 1 part) on the Octatrack has a different midi note playing at the very start (with the notes micro timing dragged to the left a bit to make sure its triggered slightly early)

This midi note is mapped to a particular Ableton scene so as soon as I start a pattern on the Octa then the relevant Ableton scene begins. On Ableton each 4 OT patterns (e.g. 1 part) = 1 8x8 pattern Launchpad page in my set.

Obviously the midi note retriggers the Abe scene whenever the pattern loops - so you mute the Midi channel if you want to ‘go off on one’ on Ableton with the Launchpad or whatever. Unmute the midi channel and the whole scene triggers again on the next repeat of the pattern.

As each Ableton scene is mapped to a midi note you can easily trigger a bunch of scenes in one single OT pattern. I sometimes set up another midi channel with notes mapped to individual midi clips and sequence these instead - Set launch quantise to 16th in Ableton and certain clips trigger mode to ‘gate’ or ‘repeat’ and you can pretty much trigger abe clips like Renoise’s ‘Instrument Phrases’ from the OT. Map a clip to a range of notes and you can chromatically sequence it from an OT channel… Throw in sequencing abe dummy clips with the OT arpeggiator and things can get complex quickly :+1:

All the Ableton stuff can be controlled by my launchpad / VCM600 before it goes in to the Octa’s a/b or c/d ins + the innerclock box keeps everything completely synced. I can put the the macbook to one side, lid down and be confident that the set works the same each time without needing to look at the screen.

I spent a year trying to do an entire set only using 7 OT tracks and it was just no fun at all for me. As soon as I came up with my current workflow its all just clicked and I can use the OT to its strengths as an insanely powerful mixer / resampler / sequencer rather than running 7 x 128 bar loops and freaking out over oneshot trigs and constant bouncing :wink:


#15

Hi Wascal

mate this sounds like the prefect set up

am have real problems getting the Octatract to synced with Ableton and i would really like to combine both worlds software & hardware like what you have set up

can you please provide me with some finer details on how it is all linked together to get it working

i want to be able to control the hardware using the midi sequencer from the Octatract and still have some way of just firing off vst instruments and have them all synced

a video would be awesome :slight_smile:


#17

Some good stuff here. :slight_smile: An alternative to the innerclock below:

Getting Abe and hardware synced nicely comes up a lot on forums and one I smashed my own head in with for years… but it is sorted now.

Anyway now I have an Expert Sleepers ES5 eurorack module, sending midi clock from Ableton to my hardware and all is good. It is an expensive solution if you don’t already have a modular and an ADAT/SPDIF compatible audio interface though.

The way it works in my setup is:

Ableton > MOTU 828 ADAT Out > Expert Sleepers ES3 & ES5 > Hardware Midi In.

How it Works:

The ES3 turns the 8 Digital audio ADAT signals into large analog signals suitable for modular control but the ES5 piggy backs on just one of the 8 outputs and breaks that signal into 8 separate gate signals.

So you then have 7 large audio control signals and 8 gate signals. You can then use each of these gate output as a midi signal.

So I use 3 of these, 1 to drive the MDUW, 1 for the Monomachine and 1 for the Octatrack.

I use 3 separate ones rather than just chaining them as each of the Elektron machines respond slightly differently to midi clock, the Octatrack picks it up almost instantly but the mono and the MD are a little slower. It also means I have all midi channels available for all 3 devices, so no conflicts when sending lots of midi data at once.

Been very happy ever since. :smiley:


#18

Hi, I use The Octatrack as my main fx unit and for live recording/mangling loops.

Ableton sends the master clock to the Octatrack via the Saffire Pro24 midi out. The melody tracks from Ableton go thru my Analog 4 to input CD and the drum tracks thru my Rytm to input AB. The Rytm and A4 are synced via usb. (because I want separate midi out’s for the program changes) I don’t have to delay compensate the clock signal (ok… maybe 1ms) and everything runs straight - I think it’s because the Octatrack is my main audio output and Ableton is just feeding the OT.

I’ve played live with this setup for 3-4 times now and didn’t experience any problems.

BUT!

I wanted to expand the possibilities of the Octatrack by mapping parameters via Ableton. Like muting, record arming, track volume… Muting wasn’t any problem, track volume on the other hand… Every time I moved the fader the sequencer interrupted. After moving the fader it jumped back to the right position. It was like the clock signal was interrupted by the cc messages.
SO…

I’ve build an application with MAX to limit the CC message bandwidth. The clock message stops being interrupted when I put the limit at 2.7 - 2.8 kB/s. I’m a happy man, it took me a while to figure that out.

If anyone is interested in the application, shout :wink:


#19

Definitely interested in trying that application :wink:


#20

Here you go :wink:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5561948/OctaBridge.zip

It’s not ment for fast or a lot or fast actions though… when you send more than the limit, it buffers midi data and creates some latency. But for mutes and slight volume adjustments it’s perfect. Lets say it performs better then I thought it would.

It has a default limit of 2.5 kB but you can set it yourself, I can go to 2.8 till it interferes with the clock message.

I tested with midi from Ableton and midi directly from a controller. It works here, but let me know your experience :wink: Maybe it’s better to PM me, because i think it can go off topic.



#21

Here you go :wink:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5561948/OctaBridge.zip

It’s not ment for fast or a lot or fast actions though… when you send more than the limit, it buffers midi data and creates some latency. But for mutes and slight volume adjustments it’s perfect. Lets say it performs better then I thought it would.

It has a default limit of 2.5 kB but you can set it yourself, I can go to 2.8 till it interferes with the clock message.

I tested with midi from Ableton and midi directly from a controller. It works here, but let me know your experience :wink: Maybe it’s better to PM me, because i think it can go off topic.


[/quote]
Cheers - looking forward to giving this a shot :slight_smile: