Advice for playing live, sloppy timing

  • Hi all,

    I played live tonight with my band. It was ok, but my timing was a bit sloppy. I'm mainly using mlr. The thing was that the sub woofers were very close to me and very loud which made me feel a bit lost. It was like having a huge latency in the lower frequencies.

    Have you experience similar issues with too loud bass or bad monitoring and how do you cope?

  • hee hee. i read that title as you were looking for advice on how to play sloppily!

    practice practice practice. for good timing that is.

  • For better timing, one thing I've discovered is that any time I bring in a new sample or restart one, it helps if I simultaneously press the buttons for other ones that are playing, that way I continually re-quantize stuff. I use mash, not mlr, but I think the principle's the same. I'm sure there's an easy quantize function for both mlr and mash, but I haven't found out how to do it, so I just do everything by ear and by hand.

    If the woofers are too loud, either turn 'em down, or wear headphones and listen to your mix that way, maybe? You need to do something to protect your hearing if it's that loud!

  • as far as i know, every version of mlr sends it's trigger when you release the button, not when you press it down.

    But like watson says, practice practice practice. Get used to the way the buttons feel under your fingers, exactly how hard you have to press to get the button to move, and work on your releases (gross).

    Monitoring is probably going to be an issue at nearly every place you play, and again, it takes practice to be able to play your best in really shitty environments.

  • "as far as i know, every version of mlr sends it's trigger when you release the button, not when you press it down."

    this is wrong. but the fact is that most people have quantize on. it is default on 16. most of the time, so it may look as if it is triggered when you release.

  • Kristoffer is correct, the button release data is, for the most part, thrown away in mlr.

    +2 for practice practice practice! I think you're on the right track getting out of your studio and practicing in a different environment. It'll get you ready for a live situation where the monitor setup might not be ideal.

    Also, quantization is a dark mistress, sort of a necessary evil when working with loops, but can also screw with your sense of timing. This is by no means a rule or anything, but I think many people who do more uptempo "dancier" stuff like to quantize @ 8th, whereas midtempo go with 16th. Experiment, with it though, see what works for you.

  • i stand corrected! thanks for the clarification.

  • it may be obvious, but I always keep in mind a simple rule:

    if I use quantize, it is the others' responsibility to stay in time
    if I do not, the responsibility is mine

    and another simple rule:

    trust yourself more than you trust anybody else

    which leads back to:

    practice, practice, practice!

  • also, if an overwhelming or disorienting bass sound coming out of nearby woofers was mine, i'd quickly adjust with an eq or filter. if it was coming from someone else's instrument, i'd move all my gear to a better location on the stage or immediately consult the other individual.

  • I can tell you from my experience being in a band that practicing at stage volumes can be very important to making hella fucking loud ass show much tighter. I wore earplugs to practice for over 3 year.

  • thanks for good answers. i do practice, practice, practice... ;-), but we only practise in my studio. i guess practicing at stage volumes and/or with bad monitoring is what is needed right now. yesterday i used a pair of headphones to save the situation. but that felt a bit weird, like i was secluding myself from the crowd and my band members.

    wearing earplugs or why not in-ear monitors sounds like a plan as well.

  • In-ear monitoring!

    I don't play with a band, but I've had problems in situations where there is no monitor for me ("Your just a DJ right? It should be fine...") and got totally mind-fucked by the latency of sound coming from the PA after I push buttons (I use mlr almost solely in live performance).

    I started in-ear monitoring straight from my interface and haven't had that issue since, though I always get a lil curious as to what it sounds like coming from the system. I would imagin you could get a mix from the sound guy without tomuch huff n puff.

    I also like the option of no quantization in the mlrv's. Once the bugs are thoroughly worked out I'll definately be moving to that for my live sets.

  • i have played for years in a band set up and i would just say make sure you in to a practice space togetheds and turn it up. Also be fussy with the sound person about your monitoring. Be real efficient with set up so you dont piss off the sound dude and then just insist they give you proseds monitoring. If you are being a bit jazz with your timing, the rest of your band will be. Always have a back up with headphones for those tricky bits. There is no shame in it. It makes you look important. I do this gig with a girl sometimes and we do some fancy molar looping stuff where she puts phones on. We put fairy lights round them to make her feel better. Try this if you too are a shy folk chick.

  • man, that's what i feel is the most crucial point. you have to be really good with people ;-)

    yes, i could have been much more picky about the monitoring with the sound guy. still, that's something i'm seldom am. this poor guy was just complaining about strange digital distortion in the mixing console so i thought that it was to much to ask him to turn the sub woofers down. i didn't even feel like asking him to put a low cut on the mic...

    therefore i feel that i must try in-ears at our next gig.

  • being diligent with the pre-cutting of samples before loading into mlr is also key. some samples that werent recorded by a metronome or standard tempo need special attention and practice so that I'm not late or early with the triggering of new sounds, which can sometimes be a buzzkill. it's all about the feel for the timing, which is dictated by mlr's tempo clock