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Re: looping with a netbook
On Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 3:18 PM, TR <email@example.com> wrote:
> I was running it on a Gateway with 2 gigs of Ram and a 1.8 Ghz dual core
>processor. Seems that this particular machine could either run virtual
>instruments OR record/playback but not both.
> I should add that I was running mics in through an TC Electronic audio
> well as my guitar. My hope is to be able to do realtime remixing and
>dubbing and looping.
> I honestly don't think there is a laptop (let alone a notebook) with the
>resources to pull this all off.
I have to agree to that. But only if you mean it in the sense of how
you would do "looping, dubbing and remixing" by using the traditional
tools like a mixing console, various audio sources for input and
various external effect processors routed in effect send loops around
the console. Some years ago I tried to achieve that "in the box" by
MIDI clock syncing two laptops and piping audio between them digitally
(SPDIF and optical ADAT). But it still wasn't enough processing power
and I don't see any modern laptops that provide the power needed.
So what to do then? The solution is to simplify your setup to bring
down the burden of the CPU. This pretty much disqualifies Ableton Live
because it is designed to meet the remix concept where all options are
instantly accessible. But you can still use Live though, if you
restrict the numbers of effects active within the session. Think about
what exactly you need to do in your performance and set up Live only
for that. You will have to sacrifice the freedom to be able to do
whatever comes to mind with your audio, but since only you know what
you are excluding from your performance it won't be an issue for the
One typical example of this minimize-CPU-load strategy is to use the
same dub delay circuit for all channels and send audio there by
channel send knobs. The simple Ping-Pong delay in Live is very CPU
efficient and it can sound pretty cool if placed with "feedback = 0"
in a effect Return Track loop that is using its effect send knob to
send signal back into itself. After the Ping Pong you may put a
limiter or compressor. That's it as for CPU taxing. The rest is usual
control strategies like assigning some knobs or sticks to sweep the
Ping-Pong's filter range and its tempo division. And you may add a
button for its Freeze loop function.
Another example of "low CPU cost" techniques in Ableton Live that may
sound very advanced is to utilize MIDI Clips for control data
targeting any plug-in parameter. Now, you may be thinking that it is
not always possible to send MIDI directly to a track or a track's
plug-in from a MIDI Track, but there is a workaround for that! Send
MIDI through the computers operating system! If using OS X there is
the built-in IAC Bus system and for Windows XP I remember I was using
the third-party hack MIDI Yoke. Not sure how to go here if you are
using Vista or W7, but regard this a lead and look into it!
Myself I have chosen a different solution; to not add effects to
tracks. Instead I add effects PRE looping and create loops where
different effect treatments are recorded with the source sound. This
might seem to restrict your options, and it actually does in a
technically theoretical way. But as I see it it increases my
expressive options when performing. For example, a command to cut and
mutilate a loop will not only change the source sound but all effects
as well - and this does give more "listener experienced" power under
your fingertips. Ableton Live is designed to offer many options in
parallel and I stopped using Live and went with the free software
Plogue Bidule (it has a price tag today, but still low for what you
get) where I could build a system that lets me use an almost infinite
number of effect processor chains for my source audio input. Later on
the software Mainstage was launched by Apple and since I found it to
be a replica of my Bidule setup replaced my old pc with one from Apple
that could run both the Windows XP Bidule rig and a Mainstage rig
according to the same functionality and performance strategies.
Greetings from Sweden
www.looproom.com internet music hub