Friday, February 10, 2012

Warping Tracks in Ableton Live, for DJ'ing

I just put together an hour-long tutorial video to teach people how to warp tracks in Ableton Live, for the purpose of either performing live, or for putting together DJ mixes. Here's the video:

Essentially, this is a very basic video, so as long as you have a bit of familiarity with any type of audio editing software out there, and a basic knowledge of dance music and DJ'ing, you should be able to understand exactly what I'm teaching. After that, a bit of practice with a few dozen songs, and you should know exactly how to set your tracks up in Ableton.

Once you have tracks that are warped, you'll probably want to either perform live, or use the technology to put together DJ mixes. For my weekly radio show, Subterranean Homesick Grooves, I usually take one of three approaches to putting together a show:

1. Perform live and record the mix, while playing on either pitch-controlled CD players (I have CDJ-2000's) or on vinyl with turntables (I have Technics SL-1200 M3D's). Of the three ways to put together a show, this approach is the most fun and takes the most skill, although sometimes I won't be happy with a mix the first time, and I'll re-record the entire thing.

2. Set up the tracks in Ableton, and then perform live using Ableton and a Xone 4D mixer, with effects set up in Ableton and the MIDI controls on the mixer tied in to the Ableton effects devices. This approach is also pretty fun, and good because it's impossible to screw up your beat-mixing.

3. Set up the track in Ableton, and then lay them out in the Arrangement view instead of performing live, and use automation to control all the effects and volumes and EQ'ing. This does not enhance your skills as a DJ, and it doesn't let you show off your live mixing abilities. However, I have to use this approach to put together a fair number of my radio shows, because when I'm on the road without equipment, I can use this approach to put together a show in a hotel room.

This warping video ONLY focuses on how to warp your tracks, because it's such as important part of using Ableton for DJ'ing. It needed to be a video of its own. However, over the next few weeks/months, I'm going to put together several additional videos to illustrate how to create mixes using each of the three approaches that I've outlined above, as well as a video that just generally teaches you how to set up a mixer and Ableton and use it for live DJ'ing.

Thanks for checking this out, and I appreciate if you give a thumbs up if you found the video to be somewhat useful. Some of you are probably quite familiar with Ableton already and may find that most of this video is too basic, but remember that I have to make sure that people who aren't familiar with the software can understand the basics. Thanks for your patience in that respect.

If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section on YouTube. If I can't answer them adequately with text answers, I can clarify warping techniques with another short video.

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