February 5, 2011

Great Taste, Less Filling...

by Chris Randall

I hesitate to use the term "rehearsal," because that implies a poorly-soundproofed room in a warehouse somewhere in a bad neighborhood that smells like rock (that is to say a combination of stale weed, cigarettes, spilled beer, and exploded capacitors) and has a shitty Traynor P.A. from the late 70s. The nice thing about playing "electronica" live is that you don't have to bother with that shit, and you can just jam out at home for the most part.

So, anyhow, yeah, I've got this show in L.A. on the 19th of this month, wherein I will be performing as micronaut. I'll be performing almost entirely new material, either from the Bandcamp releases or as-yet-unheard. Pictured above is my set-up for the show, in its entirety. Interestingly, it doesn't look entirely dissimilar from my normal desk.

I'm hoping I can eliminate the computer from the equation in future performances, via an Octatrack/Tempest combination, but we'll just how that works out. For the now, that's what we're working with.

Got a picture or description of your live rig? Let's hear about it. I'm intensely curious as to what other people deem necessary to play on stage.


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Feb.05.2011 @ 9:04 AM
Because I went laptopless, my live setup was centred around a small mixer. Everything else was mostly optional, typically two samplers, a distortion pedal and delay pedal, but on occasion a standalone filter or oscillator would get thrown in.

But it's been almost three years since my last show, I think it would be a bit different now. I might rely less on samplers and move toward live looping since I use a lot more acoustic instruments these days. The good thing about having raw material stored on a sampler instead of a microphone and a loop pedal was that there was a lot less fuss at soundcheck.

Feb.05.2011 @ 9:25 AM
I have two live rigs for my two different projects. For 'the band' I use a Korg M3. Thats it. No laptops, no mixers, now anything I have to carry or plug in thats extra (ok, I bring a pack of extra cables and my own DI and power protection because you cannot trust clubs).

The other rig is still in development. Its probably going to be a laptop running Maschine and Renoise with some controller thrown in there. Might eventually add a multiport audio interface and a modular for processing, but thats a whole huge can of worms.

Feb.05.2011 @ 10:07 AM
I used to play Roland's "Strap on midi controller" (only phrase more embarrassing than "keytar")
my chain was MS2000R/Alesis nano synth->KP1->AirFx->Nord Micro Modular->DI

The Nord had a midi pedal and mostly was a smart volume with just a slight bit of compression and processing to keep my sweeps from resonating in the singers head and causing feedback.

I had the whole thing built into a box that looked like a snub nose amp. The lid had the AirFX and Kaoss Pad and was threaded so all I had to do was screw it into a mic stand, plug into the midi and hurry up and wait. I even had a bar light in it to see to change patches or turn it out for a little extra floor light.

Now I'm in a gypsy brass band where my set up looks like trumpet mouthpiece->rotary flugal horn. I'm teaching the band how to be pros with tips like not planning on showing up 10 minutes before set time. (which is actually 10 minutes after the set) and to say please and thank you to the promoters.

Feb.05.2011 @ 10:23 AM
mike kiraly
For me, not touching the laptop ever is the number 1 priority.
Like you, Ableton is the hub, but I am using an APC40 for clip launching and mixing duties and a Launchpad with nativeKontrol LPC which allows me access to almost every function I need, including loading clips, without having to touch the MBP.

I incorporate synths and fx based on the gig - I need to know that I am going to have adequate room and security before I decide to risk bringing hardware. Otherwise, I'll just use software.

Lastly, Maschine is becoming integrated. It really is a great tool and it allows complete access without touching the laptop. And the 1.6 update is pretty killer.

Feb.05.2011 @ 10:25 AM
mike kiraly
Related question: I was actually going out to today to mess around with a Tetra and a Slim Phatty to see if I can justify buying one. Any quick thoughts on the Tetra?

Feb.05.2011 @ 10:35 AM
My live rig for the band consists of an SP606 for our "backing tracks" and click track for the drummer plus the original V-Synth for all of my live stuff. One of the other members uses Ableton Live for hosting soft synths as well.

Ableton kinda sucks for hosting and playing soft synths live compared to other software so that wouldn't be my choice. Firing off clips live is where it's at for Live but the SP606 is better for us since we really need reliability over a computer's greater flexibility.

@Chris Randall
Can you tell us more about how you use Live for a performance?

Feb.05.2011 @ 10:44 AM
My setup is based on Live too. I have a monome 40h (I built it from the kit) doing clip launching via an Ableton remote script I wrote for it. Since I have two sets of 4 tracks, I set it up as two 4x6 grids. I basically use the two sets of tracks so that I can have two songs playing at once--I used to do it with one set of tracks but I could never have two beats playing at once, which got awkward. So I can use the separate grids on the monome to navigate within each song independently.

I use a Novation 25SL for most of my midi control, including track volumes, filters, and effects sends. I have a single send with a giant effects rack on it and I can choose which tracks to route through it, so it doesn't use so much CPU time.

I midi-sync a Korg EMX-1 to Live and basically use the EMX as a synth triggered by the 25SL keyboard. I'm working out some patch organization so I can quickly stop the EMX sequencer, copy parts from a bunch of different patterns (have a pattern where every synth part is a bass, a pattern where every part is a lead, etc) then restart the sequencer and improvise a groove.

Feb.05.2011 @ 11:39 AM
My theoretical live set up, as I haven't actually used it for this yet, is based around an MPC1000 running JJOSXL with the pads bouncing between "Next Sequence" mode and "Pad mute mode". I used to use ableton with an old partner and we would basically launch scenes (or horizontal rows, can't remember the live terminology) to arrange the sequence live and the next sequence function of the MPC can work the same way.

I would also be using a Novation Nova desktop for bass, lead and etc. duties with program changes and sequence data spitting out of the MPC. My trusty x0xb0x will have a roll to play as well with sequence data once again coming from the Akai. Add Kaoss Pad and Echo Park pedal and pretty much all my bases are covered. Mackie 1402 for mixing duties.

Only problem I see is that the MPC can only hold 100 sequences at a time, and if each sequence is only a section of each song it will not be enough (judging by the size of our old ableton set anyway). Will probably have to do a load in the middle of the set which is a bummer. ...I do still have this old mini-disc player sitting here tho.

link [www.flickr.com]@N05/5419109316/

Not a pic of my live setup per se, just more stuff sitting there I wouldn't take with me. (My x0xb0x just sound so much better through that crappy old boss mixer)

Feb.05.2011 @ 11:41 AM
CR - do you have an Octatrack yet? Mine (along with an Oto Biscuit) arrived yesterday but i haven't turned it on yet.

I have plans to use it in conjunction with a KMI Softstep but immature operating systems on both will make that a down the road sorta thang.

Feb.05.2011 @ 11:41 AM
I failed at link somehow, just copy and past that whole line instead of clicking the "link" part.

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