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Live Sequences


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I'd love to hear from some folks that play to sequenced tracks and/or loops on the fly and how they get this stuff to happen in a live situation. I realize the monitor situation has to be pretty good. Are u guys using stand alone units- sequencers & samplers?, Mac powerbooks? , is there a master clock involved? I realize this is pretty vague.....



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here's our deal.


We run midi sequences on about 30% of the songs. Mostly piano, organ, horn hits, occasionally light percussion just for some added zip. Mostly filler. I write the sequences on Cakewalk and save them as a MIDI file. My keyboard (Korg N364) has a disk drive built in and can read and play the sequences.


The instruments in the sequence are panned to the left and go into the board via the Left output of the keyboard. The click from the sequence (just a rimshot on a drumkit) is panned to the right. it goes to our drummer via the right output of the keyboard.


He has an 8 channel mixer by him that gets a line-level monitor mix in one channel, the sequence click in a channel, and his own drums in another (electric drums). He then can control each level independantly as he monitors through headphones. He used to have a speaker for a monitor, but nobody like hearing the click out loud.


I have a footswitch to start the sequence. he gets 8 clicks (in 4/4 time). 4 for his reference, and 4 to count to the band.


It works great, and we very rarly screw it up. On the rare occasions when we do, i just kill the sequence with the footswitch and we play it out live for better or worse......


No computers allowed on stage........


This message has been edited by aframe9999 on 03-27-2001 at 11:00 AM

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  • 2 weeks later...



Why do you say no computers on stage?

I am trying to incorporate live sequence through the use of a Powerbook.

I am curious about your comment.


I would like to hear what C. Anderton has to say about this techno use!


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I believe that the more technology you use, the more likely something is going to screwy. I like the idea of simplicity. my keys read the midi info, plays it, and that's great. Have you ever had your computer lock up for no apparent reason? It just scares me. Nothing like a crash 4 songs into the set and a 5 minute re-boot. I suppose that my keyboard could die any minute too. But it seems much less likely to me.


Plus, I think there has to be some asthetic appeal as well. If you're not a techno act, then a computer would make it look as if you were 'cheating'??? just having a keyboard on stage that nobody is playing looks better than a computer. In the audiences perception, a keyboard, even if nobody is playing it, belongs in a band, on a stage with musicians. A computer, from the audiences perspective, looks out of place.


this is just my opinion, of course.

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>>I would like to hear what C. Anderton has to say about this techno use<<


Well I use the sequencer as the drum part, not something that a drummer could play along with (although I'd sure prefer that...). So I just play along with whatever is sequenced. This isn't really the kind of situation being referred to, so I don't know if any further comments would have any validity.

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  • 3 weeks later...

what has worked really well for us is using a groovebox as a sequencer,a rack of synth's,a peavey midi controller, and a small mackie...with a roland keyboard amp as a monitor.


this works well live for a few reasons.

1) it is compact

2) instead of having the whole song sequenced and playing along to it i program 4 bar patterns (not always though sometimes it might be a 5 bar pattern....depends on the song and the changes) for the verse, chorus, bridge, ect.

this gives me the freedom to extend/shorten the different parts to the vibe of the crowd.....like sometimes that intro just has to be 8 bars longer...or the last chorus needs that "one more time"


i don't use the internal sounds from the groovebox except for the click that gets sent to a headphone amp for the drummer and me.

i use it to trigger my better sounding synths and sampler...and the crash factor has been nonexistent =)


our drummer also uses trigger pads with the roland td-7 brain to trigger it's internal sequencer which is really great for live as you can setup different pads to trigger different sequences.....hit the pad once the sequence starts...hit it again it stops....it also has a step sequence function where each time you hit the pad it will play the next step of your sequence. he also does not use the internal sounds opting for his rack sampler instead with a couple of cv pedals hooked up for filter sweeps and pitch bending.


after many years of trying everything we could get our hands on this has worked out best.


my biggest suggestion is to look into all the "groove" products geared to the dj market becuz they are small, powerful, and really fun to play with.


hope it helps a little


good luck


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