Live Performance Template for AfroDJMac Music Production Club!

One Year of the AfroDJMac Music Production Club!

March 2016 marks the one year anniversary for the AfroDJMac Music Production Club! I'm super proud of the club and extremely appreciative of its nearly 150 members! So this month, to celebrate, I wanted to do something really special.  So here's what's going on:

1.  Pack of the month for March is a Live Performance Template! This Pack will only be available to Music Production Club Members! This Ableton Live Project is all set up and ready to go.  Think of it like an instrument you can use to write and play your music. Read on for a written and video walkthrough.

2. This month only, every member of the AfroDJMac Music Production Club will receive my Live Performance in Ableton Live video course for free! The course goes into great detail about how you can use Ableton Live to perform your music live.  It's loaded with tips and tricks that took me years to discover. It's a $50 value for free!

How the Live Performance Template Works

I like to think of my Ableton Live Template as an instrument I have customized and must learn to play.  Once you get used it, it becomes second nature, like any other real world instrument.  First let's start with the video walkthrough:

The Philosophy Behind the Template...

First off, I want it to be simple.  The more complicated a setup, the more risk for accidents and problems. I wanted the Set to be useful for a person using any controller, not just what I own.

Using only 8 Primary tracks helps keep things organized and consistent with many popular controllers.

8 Primary Tracks. Too many tracks equals chaos, so I chose to have 8 primary instrument tracks. Each track is design for a certain type of instrument (Drums, Percussion, Bass, Chords, Melody, Lead 1, Lead 2, Transitions). By keeping those tracks consistent, you will always know what is on each track. Many controllers (APC40, Launchpad, Push) offer control over 8 tracks at a time, so this number works well.  I've loaded each track with instruments from various Packs I've created over the years. Feel free to swap these instruments out for something more fitting to your musical style. 

Each Instrument has the same channel strip.

Similar Effects for each track. All the instrument tracks have the same channel strip. That means when you jump to any channel you know what is going to be there. This Effect Rack allows you to independently cut the low and the high frequencies, as well as compress the track. The control "Comp or Pump" allows you to specify whether you want the compressor to listen to the audio on its track or be sidechained to the kick drum for a pumping effect. *Note the Drum and Percussion tracks have a "Makeup Gain" control in place of "Comp or Pump."

Route Multiple Tracks to Same Effects.  I like to think of my tracks in three groups: Drums, Music, and Full Mix. The audio on the Drums and Percussion tracks are routed to a track called Drum Processing.  The audio on the remaining 6 tracks (which are the melodic instruments) are routed to a track called Music Processing.  Both the Drum Processing and the Music Processing tracks are routed to the Master track. Each of these three tracks have similar Effect Racks on them so you can manipulate your sounds independently or all at once. 

*MIDI Routing Tip: On the MIDI FROM of each instrument track, I like to specify the controller I want that track to listen to. In my case all but the Transitions track is listening to Push 2.  The Transitions track is listening to my Novation Launchpad. I do this because I want the Launchpad to always have those transitional sounds handy. If you want certain controllers to control certain tracks, select that control in the MIDI FROM dropdown menu. Otherwise the default "ALL INS" will work fine.

Consistency. The Drum Processing, Music Processing, and Master tracks all have similar effects on them. This again, helps keep things organized and familiar. The BeatRep Rev TapeStop effect rack allows you to loop the audio in different intervals.  It also features an effect that reverses audio, as well as a tape stop effect (these two effects require Max for Live). This is useful for creating drum fills and new repeating loops. The Filter Space and Crush effect rack allows you to sweep out the lows and the highs independently, as well as add spacial effects to these sweeps. The high pass can have a delay effect and the low pass can have reverb. 

Extras for the Music Processing Track. The Music Processing track has a SideChain Pump effect rack designed for sidechain compression.  This device listens to the low frequencies on the Drum Processing track and compresses the Music Processing track accordingly. This effect can be quite subtle or an extreme pumping, depending on how the controls are set. There's also a Scratcher effect rack that allows you to mimic the sounds of vinyl record scratching of a DJ. To use it, keep the value at 0 and quickly turn the knob back and forth to create a time stretching record scratch effect. Be sure to turn the knob back to zero when done or you will get a little delay on your music. 

Full Mix Processing. The Master track also has the Master Channel Strip effect rack. This rack will help you give the full mix some finishing touches.  There's Glue Compression, EQ controls and control over a Limiter to make your tracks loud without peaking.  

A Template that Can be Used Over and Over!

 Use this template with any combination of controllers!

Use this template with any combination of controllers!

That just about covers it. I find my most productive sessions to be the ones that are the quickest to setup. This Performance Template will help you create ideas and start performing them. The more you use it the more familiar it becomes. I think you will find it to be very expressive. Feel free to change out the instruments, effects or make any modification that will fit your own style. You can use any controllers you like or none at all. I personally like to MIDI map the different parameters that I find myself using a lot. Much of how I set it up is covered in the video above.  

Enjoy this template! Start making some music!

ADM Live Packs featured in the Template

The Performance Template contains sounds from various Live Packs I've built, here are the sources of those sounds.