November 20, 2005

Live 5 Caveat...

by Chris Randall

Since this seemed to start a dull roar in my inbox from all my peers who think I'm hitting the pipe, let me state for the record that there is no way one could possibly record and mix "real" music in Live 5. For starters, the meters are nearly useless. There's no phase button, which implies that all Live users only own one microphone. The built-in EQ is whack, and the program and its various plugs are much heavier on the CPU than equivalent shit in Nuendo.

Also, I don't know how to explain this, but there seems to be some second-order distortion in _everything_. Every sound I record or import seems to develop soft edges and fuzziness that I can't explain. I thought it might be the audio interface, so I put it on my Big Box (Death Star) as opposed to my laptop (Tie Fighter), and it's the same thing. So all the above, plus the annoying manner in which Live handles presets for its built-in stuff, would keep me from ever finding it useful for writing "songs." But as a really sophisticated part of my modular, it is great fun. And I imagine it would be good live, as the name implies.

Your mileage may vary, of course. It's no Nuendo, but then again it costs a fifth as much.




Nov.20.2005 @ 3:55 PM
fuzziness must attributable to the pervasive, ubiquitous WARP thingy, no? even at 100% tempo. try disabling that for a clip... i wonder if you still hear it.

Nov.20.2005 @ 4:37 PM
there's been a lot of speculation about Live's rendering engine being shitty, haven't really noticed it within the program itself though. however I have to agree that the metering is extremely crappy and even for purely synthesised stuff it's not cutting it.

I've grown to like the way Live 5 handles presets though.. try dragging a whole column of clips into the library - instant save of the complete channel with plugins, etc.

plenty of things they are starting to overcomplicate as they add features, they sure -try- to go against Nuendo and the like, which is a bad move. hopefully Ableton recognize that before it's completely bug-ridden.


Nov.22.2005 @ 7:34 PM
whaddya mean completely bug-ridden? Is it really that bad? Shit I just bought it and am waiting for it to get here Fedex.

Nov.23.2005 @ 5:41 AM
Don't listen to them! Live 5 is wicked... Hated it at first, because the way you make tunes with it is different to almost anything else, but once you get into it, it's the best tool ever.
Who gives a crap about the rendering engine sound quality or meters when it lets you mangle loops that fast?!
And anyway, I know quite a few professional producers who make 'real' music in Live that sounds mint. If you've got the mastering skills it shouldn't matter about a bit of crappy metering or slight rendering distortion...
AAAAND, the thing's only meant for sticking loops together, so uber-accurate metering isn't that important. You should have sorted it out in whatever you made the loops in in the first place.
AND...FINAL AND.... yes, the distortion disappears when you turn Warp off, or set the time-stretch type correctly.

Jesus.... that was a good long rant. Sorry, I had to skive off work somehow.... :-)
Oh, i feel so much better.


Nov.23.2005 @ 4:39 PM
Yeah, well decent metering is kinda important actually. i used to use a plugin called 'inspector' that had a nice big meter that i used to watch for clipping when i made CDs in Waveburner (do they still make that?)

And having used Live 1.5 a bit in the past i already knew about potential Warp errors, which were pretty easy to correct.

I'm more worried about the 'bug-ridden' thing.


Nov.24.2005 @ 11:03 AM
Chris Randall
Speaking strictly to the bugs, it is crashing every time I try to access something besides the C: drive, which is annoying since all my audio work is done off my RAID.

In any case, yes, accurate metering is incredibly important if you plan to do anything besides stitch existing loops together. _Especially_ in digital land. And the only fuzz I want in my recordings is fuzz I put there myself.

That said, it is a fun and inventive tool.



Nov.25.2005 @ 3:58 AM
I can't remember Live 5 ever crashing on my system....perhaps it's something to do with your RAID? Not that posh myself ;-)
It's fine accessing my external Firewire drive.

I see your point about metering being important for other stuff, but Live is basically meant for "stitching existing loops together", and you should really be using something else (with better metering) to make them in the first place!


Nov.27.2005 @ 11:54 AM
Well I got it and it seems stable. I actually bought Live 4 to use on os9 and miss a lot of the features of the Live 5 demo, but i'm saving for a G5, soo. Tinkering with the "samples per buffer" setting on my MOTU 828 has made the most noticable changes in peformance.

It does take some getting used to, though. I can't wait to build up a big library of loops and sequences to drag into future songs. The fact that in Live 5 you can save entire "device groups" of instruments+sequences+effects together is awesome! Not to mention decent VST preset management.


Nov.27.2005 @ 12:04 PM
Oh also, Chris, the Utility plug-in has phase reverse switches for ya, 1 for each channel L+R. I dunno about the EQ plugin, maybe we can ask AudioDamage for a better one some day?

What is it about the metering you dislike? I just make sure there's no clipping and set the tracks' levels by ear. I found my "inspector" plugin and use it on the master bus for more in-depth analysis.

Have you tried the new 'complex' WARP mode? It's supposed to much more self-setting and transparent. Maybe the music you are making doesn't lend itself to looping? Because once you get all those markers set correctly, that distortion shit totally goes away. Otherwise the rendering engine seems totally solid to me.




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