Suggestions for Live Sample Triggering?

Hi all-- I learn so much from your experience in all these threads, and I’m hoping you can give some guidance here. I finally finished building out all the samples for a couple of songs. The goal is to trigger these samples live along with the rest of our band. In some cases they’re samples that I’d like to drop in while I’m playing sax, or in some cases they’re extra parts beyond/behind what I’m already playing on keys. All samples are MIDI files, in Slave Mode (musical), keyed to individual song states. The theory is to use one pedal as tap tempo, and another to move to the next state (instant) when it’s time to start the next sample. Most of the time, there’s only one sample happening at a time.

I tried to actually “play” the tunes in their finished form, and they were… unusable. Hitting a pedal to advance to the next state had a noticeable lag, so I could never make the next sample start on the beat. Trying adjust the tempo by small increments one way or another (simulating playing along a live drummer) ended up with sometimes getting a whole beat off one way or another.

I know lots of you reference playing samples live, but as it is my setup seems totally dead-on-arrival. Is it just (like anything else) a matter of practicing this to get a feel for the timing of state switching? Am I totally on the wrong setup for the kind of live performance I’m aiming for? Any suggestions or guidance would be much appreciated.

I tried something like this, and came to the conclusion that it’s not feasible to keep a MIDI track in sync with a live band unless everyone (or the drummer at least) is playing to the MIDI track, or to a click track that’s at the same tempo.

This is even if you get past the issue of a lag when starting each MIDI file playback.

I was trying to use this: to generate MIDI Clock and control MIDI file playback in Cantabile.

It’s fine to control the tempo of a delay, tremolo, phase sweep, or any other kind of regular, periodic effect by tapping the tempo. Any drifting is not “cumulative” - if you change your tap tempo then the effect responds immediately.

The problem with syncing a MIDI track is that any drifting accumulates. Let’s say it starts off fine, but then the band speeds up a little bit. The MIDI track is now a certain amount “behind” the band. It’s not enough just to tell it the new band tempo - you would have to tap a tiny bit faster so it would “catch up”, then revert to the band tempo… impossible to do in practice.

I think this issue would occur whether one was trying to adjust MIDI clock or MIDI tempo. Just maybe some software could be written that could do something a bit more intelligent - perhaps understand that each tap indicates the beginning of a bar or beat and use MIDI Song Position to adjust MIDI playback. Offhand, I don’t know enough about it… or whether one could control the Cantabile media player like that.

Of course, even if you synced things more-or-less right and stably, even a small amount ahead or behind could spoil the feel/groove. So I came to the conclusion - despite being a coder with my other hat on - that it wasn’t worth investigating this further.

However, if anyone has some ideas on this I’d love to hear them!

I totally agree. For my band, I have created clicktracks for the drummer, so that we always play in sync with the mediaplayers. I myself hear the clicktrack in my in-ear monitor as well but the bass player and guitar player do not.

I also use sample triggering in the form of “shots”: a mediaplayer playing a short wav or midi file when I hit a certain pad on my controller (which works fine as long as I hit the pad at the right moment…). I don’t experience any lag, though.

Thanks, both-- I suspected this was the final answer, but I hoped there was another way around it.

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We have created a file audio which has left and right channel, left channel has: click and backing track, and the right has backing track. So we send click+backing track to the drummer and I (keyboardist) and we send the right channel to the console. It’s the only way to play it right (at least for us).

Yes it’s possible! I set stem tracks in wav and midi stem files. Ableton live will allow you to set all of you songs with separate tempos and output routing. Running separate in-ear monitoring or stage monitor output to the band so they can stay synced to the track. The last piece of the puzzle is a drummer and band that can “sync” with a click track… if they cannot then you might have to scrap the idea…

Rig #1- Presonus RM16; MAC Mini Server i7 Quad 4 w/16G of Ram and dual 500G ssd’s; Sennhizer in ear transceiver and Sure wireless “talk back” mic mounted in the back… all in a 6U rack space on wheels… Running Ableton Live 9…