Rack Gear And Ableton Outboard Questions

Posts 1 - 14 of 14
  1. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Mon 28th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    Hey guys,

    I'm very confused as I have ideas but unsure on how to put them together with my current hardware.

    Here is what I have:
    (All sourced from availability, not desirability)

    DBX 1231 dual Graphic EQ
    Behringer UltraFex II Multiband Sound Enhancer (Ex 3100)
    Behringer Composer Pro-XL Dual compressor
    Audio Logic MT44 Quad Gate
    Behringer Xenyx1002FX Mixer
    Behringer HA400 4-channel headphone amp
    Behringer Ultra DI (I have second broken DI, Could be fixed if needed)
    Scarlete 2i2 1st gen (on the upgrade list, I know it's defects, suggestions?)
    Dean Razorback guitar (with a killswitch)
    Digitech Whammy 5
    Ableton 10
    A fairly beefy PC
    A chef's wage XD

    I wish to create a guitar rig with Ableton being a big player for live (solo) playing (automation being a major part of that).

    I hated Dj'ing, I want to bring my guitar into it, so I can actually do something on stage.

    Essentially I want to build songs to play live, leave the guitar audio unrecorded (only leaving the automation of effects in their respective channels)

    I'm not 100% sure what I'm trying to achieve but maybe talking with others can clear the fog in my mind.

    I'm unsure about routing for best guitar to pc to speakers affects. Any advice on incorporating my hardware with my software would be very helpful.

    As you can tell I'm very confused and uneducated on the subject.

    I'm trying to blend the guitar into my more abrasive drum & bass style projects by doing it live and use less traditional ways of playing.

    I hope you can excuse that mess of words.
    Cheers guys :)

  2. 186161
    Spivkurl : Tue 29th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    I can't help you with ableton specific things, since I've never been able to wrap my head around that software.

    However, I think I understand what you're trying to achieve.

    From your list of gear, the thing which seems to be missing is an audio interface. There are a ton of options, both new and second hand.

    Mostly people go with USB connection for the interface, since it's very standard. I still use my focusrite 2i2 USB in my second studio. I upgraded from that one to a MOTU Traveler in my main studio, since I began to need much more I/O. The more inputs and outputs that can be used simultaneously, the more external processors and instruments you will be able to use before committing them to audio. This is always a necessary step before a mix down, though less so for live work (if you're willing to lug all your gear to a show).

    I end up using a patch bay in addition to the 8in/8out analog portion of the interface. This allows easy connection between instruments/processors/interface.

    You've already got a DI, so that's a big plus. It can really enhance guitar or other instruments when plugged into an interface. I am fond of passive DI's myself.

    As for going live, of course your guitar will be paramount. You'll need to decide what other hardware will be essential for what you intend. There is nothing wrong if it ends up just being a computer and you with your guitar. Then you'd need to choose if you are processing and monitoring your guitar with the computer/interface, or if you're just going to rock a big amplifier for guitar.

    I would arrange and mix the entire song in the DAW, including your guitar tracks... then when you go to do it live, you can mute the guitar in the project, and everything else will be there still.

  3. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Tue 29th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    I do have an audio interface (with a spelling error in the op) I've got a Scarlett 2i2 1st Gen. Hopefully to be upgraded to something with a MIDI I/O.

    Crazy idea maybe but I want to build my pc into the guitar rack eventually.

    I'll make a demo in the coming week to fully elaborate what I'm trying to do.

    In the meantime, PC aside, do you have any advice on routing? For example guitar-whammy-mixer-comp-eq and so on.

  4. 186161
    Spivkurl : Wed 30th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    I totally missed that in the list for some reason. Sorry about that!

    I have pretty much sworn of PC based stuff in the last several months. However, before that I was doing a decent amount of guitar>PC work. I almost always used just guitar-DI-interface in recent times, and either used virtual effects or "re-amping" after. I still occasionally mic and amplifier either in mono or stereo, but my studios have gotten rather cramped for this to be simple.

    Recently grabbed a POD v2 as well, and have used that a little bit. I like it for electronic sounds as well. I often use a noise gate after the pod, or before it for different effect.

    Sometimes I'll go for processing guitar with a modular synth.

    But, yeah, I've moved mostly to MPC 4000 and cassette recording as the center of my work. I will definitely be incorporating guitar again, but am still learning the workflow... and letting my hands heal.

  5. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Wed 30th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    Ableton by it's name 'Live' caters superbly for what you want to do and probably the best DAW for this type of application...I'm assuming that your pc is a laptop because if it's a desktop it'll be a hassle dragging that to gigs (not that it can't be done) There's a few things to take into consideration, do you have your own PA system or will you be relying on the house set up?..if your going to be using house systems it'll be really important to get the best DI available and one that can handle different senarios of cabling,impedance etc..a little research is required here. A typical setup would be... Computer (Ableton)/Audio/Midi Interface/Mixer/DI/PA System, also just to pick up on a point you raised about your guitar chain, I'd advise keeping your guitar and any effects you might add to it separate from your sequenced material and going into the mixer by it's own dedicated channel, the reasons are twofold, you don't want any latency with your live performance, sure a really top line interface will deliver near zero latency but there's always some, and you'll be using more of the PC's ram as well if you go inboard, added to this if a glitch arises your totally out of business sound wise. Another thing that you'll definitely need is a pad midi controller to initiate clips, sequences, arrangements ,samples etc within Ableton, a mouse just won't cut this in a live situation, so a dedicated controller is a must, and by virtue of this fact your audio interface must be midi capable. Because Ableton is designed to work in a Live situation you'll be using Session view exclusively and with all the automation at your disposal the sky's the limit, you can break your performance into triggerable sets, have one continuous performance or do things totally on the fly, whatever works best for you. A lot of acts do route their guitars etc through their PC's but they usually have someone separately doing the mixing depending on the complexity and size of the ensemble, simple is always the best way to go especially if your a solo artist...good luck and props to you for going for it.

  6. 2643700
    BaoBou : Wed 30th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    I am in a similar situation as OP, except I come from the other side of the equation, so this thread is very interesting to me.

    I started half a year ago with a guitar and a looper pedal (and some musical background). This was something I could see myself do live (at least in a busker/street musician battery-powered kind of way).

    Now because of the limitations of a pedal, and the mighty power of Ableton, I try to recreate that, with:

    * Ableton is my looper, which I start in the arrangement view. I insert a loop from looperman, or set a 4-bar window, or I clumsily create some drum track, or whatever.

    * My guitar is my basic instrument. I'll play a riff, or a chord progression, or something something. Sometimes I start from a Midi keyboard.

    * Add more instruments. I like getting all my toys involved so nobody feels left out ;) which unfortunately makes my tracks sometimes a bit crowded. This you can still easily do live.

    * Guitars, bass and microphone are hooked up through a Scarlett USB interface (I have the cheapest). The Novation pugs in directly via USB.

    * If I like the section I created, I will duplicate it, and make variations. Or maybe it feels like a verse, and it should lead to a refrain. Or I turn it into a bridge. Or whatever - I'm not very good at this, but Ableton fortunately is relatively powerful (copy/paste/duplicate/delete)

    I can easily see myself perform live using Ableton as a complicated looper. Creating a multi-part song (intro-A-B-A-B-C-B-C-bridge-etc/whatever), not so much. This would involve a lot of set-up and knowing where you're going, when what I like best is not having a clue how it will work out.

    So in short, I have:

    Guitar + Microphone -> pedals -> USB interface -> PC -> Ableton
    Novation -> USB -> PC -> Ableton (keyboard includes start/stop/record buttons)
    Logidy Midi pedal -> USB -> PC -> Ableton (again record and other functions I want while playing guitar)
    Abbleton -> USB -> output -> Amp (to have lots of noise)

    This is something you can use live, and I think it fits more or less what you want to achieve.

    One thing I havent't figured out yet (having the grand total of 2 weeks experience with Ableton, so take anything I say way a ton of salt please) is how to use the sessions view as part of the creative process. It looks insanely fun and powerful, and I am sure I can do more there, but not sure yet how.

    Does this help? And also, any advice for me? :)

  7. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Wed 30th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    PJB: not a laptop no, quite a beefy PC, 4.10GHZ, 16Gb Ram, SSD's and so on. I intend to build it into the guitar rack itself, complete with a touch-screen. I've got some very elaborate plans where that is concerned.
    P/A systems, I imagine I'll be dealing with different systems and would prefer things to be localised to the rig. I've seen a Behringer DI Pro that I intend to add soon.
    Of course when money is better the quality of equipment will be too.

    It seems I may have been doing things backwards. Guitar>mixer>rack units>interface>PC I'll experiment more with your advice.

    I was hoping to use Ableton as the effects processor (for the ease of complex automation) to avoid having to collect many expensive pedals, but it seems that may be impossible. Instead I think using the MIDI components of said pedals I could achieve a similar result. The latency is low for me but it certainly throws me off, mostly when playing fast parts.

    Where MIDI controllers are concerned I intend to buy some cheap controllers, take them apart and modify my guitar to house the buttons/pads ect. And of course keep one or more separate for the reasons you say.

    Session view is where I'll struggle for now. In my many years in Ableton that is an area I've neglected wholly.
    I would like to do things in arrangement view out of ease but then that can open it's own set of problems for a live situation. I must learn the other.

    Thanks for your advice PJB.

  8. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Wed 30th May 2018 : 4 years ago

    The core of what I'm trying to do is made possible by very complex automation. The music I create normally is not guitar orientated. It's more along the lines of Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Thrash metal all smashed together with a spice of insanity for good measure.
    So I'll not be playing in your more traditional ways, you won't really know it's a guitar making the lead sounds until you see it.
    So I need a way of implementing automation.

    I can't help you with the session view as I'm as clueless at you but I'm sure we could find thousands of tutorials on Youtube.

  9. 2643700
    BaoBou : Thu 31st May 2018 : 4 years ago

    Slippery, how bad is your latency? This was a problem for me until I started using the Asio4all driver with the Scarlett. It's 10 ms round trip, and that's plenty short for me.

    Regarding the effects, you can even use the midi pedal to control effects but as far as I understand, more effects means you'll need more processing power in your PC. I use my multi-effect pedal to do whatever I want (which is not a lot, I'll grant you that).

  10. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Thu 31st May 2018 : 4 years ago

    Man that would be so cool to have controller functions built into your guitar, and incorporating your PC into the guitar rig with a touch screen sounds awesome! just wheel the whole shebang in and off you go. Concerning Ableton's Session view and Arrangement view..think of Session as a place where you place clips be they recorded or samples etc, and a place where you can trigger them in a live or studio situation, whereas Arrangement is more of a linear work flow area as you obviously know and also my favourite place in Ableton, a place where you map out a whole song from start to finish, the awesome thing about Ableton is you can then drop a whole arrangement into Session view (along with all it's functioning automation) and use it like a clip, you can stack as many arrangements as you like in Session view and have instant access to them via your controller options, add to that the added ability to further automate anything in Session view and look out, brainiac territory for sure and definitely time to youtube Ableton tutorials, makes my head spin just thinking about it. :)

  11. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Fri 1st Jun 2018 : 4 years ago

    It's very low, I can't get you the exact number right now, I'll post back when I can. I've had ASIO for many years.
    A pedal can't cut it for the automation needed. To give you an example of what I'm talking about, this is the closest thing I've made which describes what I'm trying to do: https://www.looperman.com/tracks/detail/180143
    My PC can take a hell of a lot too.

  12. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Fri 1st Jun 2018 : 4 years ago

    It's gets me excited PJB.

    I'm looking forward to posting back my results, it may be a few months though.

  13. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Sat 2nd Jun 2018 : 4 years ago


    I've just bought a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD as an upgrade to the 2i2.

  14. 2160772
    SlipperyBiscuit : Sun 3rd Jun 2018 : 4 years ago

    Making progress, I would like some extra eyes on this signal flow. Thoughts? Any way to improve?


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