Free APC40 Template from Denver / Colorado Ableton User Group @ Dubspot

Marc Wei (DJNSM) from Denver / Colorado Ableton User Group will be here Wednesday August 10th for a workshop to present his customized Akai APC40 Template that creates a consistent environment for stage that is logical and stable. He will also offer tips to save CPU and optimize your setup for efficiency and high performance. Marc will also be discussing his approach to remixing, studio/production setups, Live PA, synthesis, controllerism, and more.

Here’s what what to expect according to Marc:

Besides catching up with new friends, touring the facility, and playing speed rounds of Monopoly, I am going to be presenting my template for the crew, local users, and students.

Template – huh?

Templating is referred to as “end game” theory. You need to know all of the Ableton tools as well as have a solid understanding of your live performance needs, computer operation, digital information behavior,  the vision to create a standardized interface, and infuse best practice for a live on stage performance that transforms the interface to instrument.

The template is now available for download on my site (migrating to new project site soon). Password has been removed and I am starting public beta in celebration of Ableton Colorado’s 2 year anniversary and my visit to Dubspot.

This template is the product of over 1000 hours of work building my Livid Ohm64 Template (documented and downloadable here). Originally the port to the APC was performed to provide a back up should my Ohm64 fail or get stolen.

That release (from my November 2010 presentation) was far too complicated for the average user. I took the core methods and practices and made a universal baseline template. This template is a collection of some of the best end game, professional, and stage appropriate strategies to provide an instrument level control, discrete interaction, and an environment of stability promoting creativity to produce engaging sets.

This is also a work of Ableton art and I encourage any and all to dissect this template, ask questions, and expand and improve this work.

So, lets talk turkey – what is the deal on the template?

  • This is a ONE PAGE DESIGN meaning all set data is available on  the APC40. Nothing is “hidden” in (hidden) pages, all is visible, no need to look at the screen (very often)
  • Best Practice such as the use of the Ableton Utility (effect/function) providing decibel reduction overcoming unity gain issues inherent to the APC40 and many controllers
  • Dual effects processing for speed, elegance, and flexibility from our user base. Effects are from our GitHub Repository (free download, great stuff!)
    • Active Effects for dynamic control, 5 chains available
    • Sound Design Effects for extending the functionality of all material (5 chains available)
    • Designed with the performer in mind!
  • On board metronome with 4 variants available. Great for “tapping in” and playing with other musicians
  • Standardized controls for effects
    • Eliminate value (pot) jumping
    • Increase the users ability to control parameters in a live scenario
    • Remove default and confusing mapping of the APC making performances instinctual
  • Massive un-mapping removes dangerous default APC mappings
  • Uses default MIDI remote script – no additional software required – works out of the box
  • Low CPU use – expect 10-20% CPU (depending on your laptop)
  • Built by a musician with 20 years experience to bring the APC40 closer to an instrument level and not just an interface
  • Built on some of the most stable and flexible routing methods available to the Ableton platform
    • Ghost tracking for send and main channels
    • Dummy clips expand the UI and control
    • Intelligent focus elements through out the template allow the user to know important information fast and with great accuracy
    • Chain selection via dummy clips with focus allow the user to interface with all the critical data and never get confused
    • The platter drop zone is protected to avoid bad set drops
    • Operates using wave files to decrease CPU load
    • No use of insert effects (actually there are, but not like you may think!)
    • Pre-fader routing for wet/dry control on a channel level and more expression
  • Many buttons and controls are available for further customization
  • Takes FULL ADVANTAGE of the (Ableton) Platter system aka Drag-n-drop sets (*.als file)
  • Fully compatible with DJ (single file) sets as well as sandwich sets (intro, 2 cue points, end), conventional platters (1×2 all the way to 4×4 or greater)
  • The same interface and build will work for all music types, all tempo, all users. Just add a little discipline!
  • Overcomes inherent summing issues in gain and error correction on all digital and analog platforms
  • Provides the user a necessary set of boundaries to be more creative on stage
  • Emphasizes the critical idea of separation of studio and stage – a key factor in creating great music and performing a great show instead of performing your studio on stage
  • Allows for a “never stop” set where the player can decide what material to use and react to the room and keep it fresh
  • Based on the principle of decoupling (Object Orientated Programming) to keep all necessary data sets stable and portable (sets and template are not the same)
  • Re-routing of controls for a (more) logical control surface

This template is FREE an will remain FREE. There will be variants, but this is the CORE system to be built with and will stay FREE - and we are already planning on more fun in the near future.

Did I mention this is FREE?

So who the heck is this guy?

I (Marc) migrated to Ableton full time in 2008. Recent estimates place my time on Ableton at 8000 to 9000 hours. I practice 20-50 hours per week (and produce). I have been playing keys since the late 1970′s (I was young – I owned a Casio SK1 when it was new), programming since 1978, built my first computer in 1978, and I was officially warned by the FCC in 1984 for my “use of inappropriate language” on the (proto) internet aka the BBS system*.

* I still think this is so funny. It was frightening at the time. Very funny now.

Musically I have managed music stores, worked in studios, tracked thousands of hours of material, led projects in jazz, rock, electronica, and now Ableton. I am the lead organizer for our Colorado Ableton User group, built the GitHub repository, pioneered the Scratch Box (successfully decoupling scratching form the sound), and then there are shows.

I no longer can keep track of all the shows, collaborations, stages shared, and opportunities. They range from Fareed Haque/Garaj Mahal to Giacomo Gates to Ill Gates to Robert Walter to Cheb i Sabbah.  Recent events are listed here with only mild inaccuracies. My current project is DJNSM where I play music in the format of DJ (controller sets), hybrid sets (controller+analog synth+scratch-box), and in duo+ formats preferring bass players. Check out my partial bio here (partial in the sense that I am focusing on my Ableton and electronic music work more than anything).

I am honored to hang out at Dubspot and visit some friends. This is a grand opportunity to collaborate and share with others. Thank you for the opportunity!

  • dutchslice
  • 8/9/2011

wish the fx were momentary… dope though!