Spin Academy

Read Our Blog
Back to Blog

Spin Academy Blog - Posts by

This week we’re going to be covering how to sync multiple computers running Ableton Live.’ I will be covering all the necessary steps to sync two MacBooks running Live, but the process will be the same for PC users (albeit with the respective PC program equivalents).

Synchronizing the MIDI clocks of two computers running Live is an essential part of collaborating with another Live user.’ While it is possible to play together without connecting the computers, I feel that you put yourself at a disadvantage because you are not fully utilizing all of Live’s crucial ‘warping’ features.’ I have read many different articles on this subject and some have quite in-depth explanations using third party plugins and are, quite frankly, and bit intimidating.’ While I cannot speak to the effectiveness of these techniques on a PC or using other performance software, I use a MacBook Pro and the technique I describe below is what I use on a weekly basis.’ Everything you need is already inside your Mac and can be set up very quickly with a bit of practice.

The first step you will need to connect the computers in some way.’ The two most effective ways are by either connecting them with a single ethernet cable or by creating an ad-hoc wireless network.’ To create an ad-hoc network you simply click on the wifi icon in your top menu bar and select ‘create network’.’ This will prompt you to a window where you can create a name for your network and security.

Once this ad-hoc network is created, the second computer should be able to see it as an available wifi network to join.’ Select it like any other wifi network and enter the unique password (if applicable).’ You will notice that the typical wifi symbol in your top menu bar is slightly different than usual.’ If both computers have this symbol, you know that the network connection worked properly.

Once both computers are connected you need to sync them up via the Audio MIDI Setup application (which can be found in your utilities folder).’ Inside the Audi MIDI Setup app, you will see icons for the various audio drivers and MIDI controllers that you have associated with your computer.’ For our purposes here, you want the icon labelled ‘Network’.’ Double-click on this and you will be prompted to a new window called ‘MIDI Network Setup’, which is where things can get a bit tricky.

Before you adjust any settings in this window you need to determine how the computers will communicate.’ In a two computer setup there will be a ‘master’ and a ‘slave’ computer (i.e. one sending the signals and one receiving the signals).’ In the bottom right hand section labelled ‘Live Routings’ the ‘master computer will select ‘Network Session 1? from the top drop-down menu and the ‘slave’ will select ‘Network Session 1? from the bottom drop-down menu.

In the top left menu ‘My Sessions’ you will want to make sure you have one session enabled.’ By default it will be named ‘Session 1?, but I recommend that you change the name to something unique.’ If you were able to successfully connect the computers via ethernet cable or ad-hoc network you should see each other’s computers under the bottom left window called ‘Directory’.’ Both computers should double click on the name listed in the ‘Directory’ to create a new connection.’ This will prompt the name of the other computer to show up in the window on the right labelled ‘Participants’.’ Once the computers are connected this way I recommend changing the ‘Local Name’ to something unique if it hasn’t already been changed from the default ‘Session 1?.’ If the computers are connected properly you should be able to see the Port number, Latency and IP addresses.

All of the above steps are to get the two computers speaking to one another. Now it is time to sync Live together. In Live, open up the ‘Preferences’ menu (either through the top menu or by pressing command) and go to the ‘MIDI Sync’ tab. Under the ‘MIDI Ports’ section at the bottom you should now see two new items; ‘Input Network (Session 1)’ and ‘Output: Network (Session 1)’.’ Here, the only buttons that should be selected out of these two MIDI Ports are the ‘sync’ button for the output of the ‘master’ computer and the ‘sync’ button for the input of the slave computer.

Once the MIDI Sync for the two computer’s respective input and output have been set, a new button labelled ‘EXT’ will now appear in the ‘slave’ computer’s Live in the upper left corner next to the tempo selector.’ The ‘slave’ computer should click this ‘EXT’ button to enable the external control of the program.’ Once it is enabled you will notice that the transport controls and tempo of the ‘slave’ computers Live become greyed-out and cannot be adjusted.’ This means that the two computers are properly synced and the ‘master’ computer has control over the global tempo and transport controls.

When the ‘master’ computer hits the global play button both computers should now be playing together with both the tempo and arrangement position indicators showing the same values.’ Any clips that are triggered on either computer will now play on the same tempo grid.

Depending on where you are playing, there are a variety of different audio output options to hear both computers playing.’ Ideally, you would want both computers to have their own sound cards and have each output running into a master mixer.’ However, if only one sound card is available you could run an 1/8th inch to RCA cable from one computer into the ‘input’ of the second computer’s sound card.’ Again, depending on the equipment available your audio output may vary.

I hope that the explanation above was clear.’ I use this exact setup to connect with other Live users on a regular basis.’ One thing I have noticed is that these network connections are sometimes quite fickle.’ If you notice that they are not working together correctly, simply repeat the process.’ Sometimes it is as simple as the order in which the programs were opened or the names that you give your network sessions.’ If nothing else works you can also try renewing your DHCP lease on the network you are using through your main System Preferences network menu.

 

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Music News

Rails Rumble is a 48-hour hackathon for folks all over the world using Ruby on Rails and related frameworks to create web applications. 500 teams participate and, over a course of 48 hours, code their way to a web app. There were numerous music entries though none of them made it into the top 10. Most but not all are listed in the Music category. Here are the 12 most focused on music in alphabetical order:

Ambience – “Makes it easy for venues to play background music [and give you a say] – you simply register with a venue name and email, and we take care of the rest.”

Crowdly Sound – “Creating music around the world.”

Encore! – “A personal journal system for live events.”

Garage – “A community for musicians, bands and music lovers to get together and share their love.”

List Me – “Create and share lists of your top five music albums.”

Mind Peace – “This is an effort to allow people to spend few minutes and relax their mind and body by using power of classical music.”

MMGC – “Find movie, game and music covers.”

Musical Battle – “A game where you can create a playlist and challenge your opponents, two playlists will battle for votes in a limited time, the most voted is the winner!”

Songabilly – “Songabilly is our version of…a TV show where people have just a fixed amount of time to listen to a number of tracks and guess as many songs as they can.”

timeTune – “Music timeline. Albums visualization. Search your favourite bands easily.”

Trackcha – “Takes any YouTube or Vimeo video and magically finds out what songs are playing in it. Then it suggests to follow iTunes store to buy them.”

WhereToSing – “A tailored search engine for nearest Karaoke places around you or a cheapest one.”

 

DJ News

In this podcast, Billboard writer Kerri Mason talks about the rise of EDM to prominence over the last few years and how it has changed the musical and business landscape. Mason is recognized as one of the leading experts on the business of EDM — she has written features on major EDM festivals, Baauer and his rise to the top of the Billboard charts, and Robert FX Sillerman’s world domination attempts. They discuss the continued investment in EDM and whether or not there is a bubble. Definitely worth a listen…

 

 

Gear

French synth-makers Arturia have unveiled their latest piece of hardware, the MicroBrute. It’s based on its big brother MiniBute, but scales down some of the features into a smaller package. It is a 100% analogue monophonic synthesizer with a two-octave keyboard that comes with most of the same features as the MiniBrute. Some of its standout features include the Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter (LP, BP, HP), Brute Factor™ delivering saturation and rich harmonics, and a step sequencer.

It will begin shipping in November and comes with a proce tage of $349 USD. Check out their promo video to get a better look.

 

Top Mix

Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) has been pumping out forward-thinking bass music for quite some time now. He recently released his latest album Vapor City (on Ninja Tune) and it is arguably his most ambitious project to date. He recently made a podcast/mix for Resident Advisor where he blends all of his influences from footwork to jungle to DnB. I highly suggest you check it out here (you’ll need to login to RA to download the .mp3).

 

 

Top Download

Following in the vain of Rustie and Hudson Mohawk, Ganz (Netherlands) brings his remix of “Shoulda Known” by Louis Futon (Philadelphia). Pitched vocal samples with filtered sparkling chords builds into a feel-good banger that works as both a dancefloor starter as well as a lean-back head bobber.

 

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Music News

Far too many years in the making, YouTube will finally be hosting it’s own music awards show.  Airing on November 3, the voting will be fan driven (as would expected from a social platform) and the nominees will be announced on October 17th.  The first annual YouTube awards are presented in partnership with Kia and will be hosted by Jason Schwartzman.  They will be held at Pier 36 in New York, but will be live streaming from various locations around the globe iincluding Seoul, Moscow, London, and a location in Brazil. It will also feature performances by Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, and Eminem, all of which will be live-streamed under the direction of Spike Jonze.

YouTube has become a major player in the music industry over the past few years and has largely take on the role of new talent discovery.  The amount of music being uploaded and viewed on YouTube everyday is staggering, so it is only fitting that they have a fan-drive, large production event to celebrate.

Check out the intro video from Jason Schwartzman…

DJ News

In the wake of several news headlines related to “molly” and EDM partygoers (including the shutdown of the final day of the Electric Zoo festival due to multiple overdose deaths and a Gloucestershire man that died this past Saturday) one UK party spot has implemented a new drug testing system.

The Warehouse Project venue in Manchester will now have government employed scientists on site to test drugs that have been confiscated or willingly handed in by partygoers.  They will test for any harmful additives that might be a danger to the venue’s patrons and then publish warnings through social media.  The test launch of the project is set to happen on Saturday October 12th, with further dates to follow this year.

Gear

Native Instruments has unveiled it’s new flagship production hardware; the Maschine Studio.  The new and improved Maschine features two large HD color displays, a brand new comprehensive edit section, a jogwheel for precision movements, and some other overall improvements in functionality.  Coinciding with the release of the Maschine Studio is the new Maschine 2.0 software.  The new software will have an upgraded audio engine, a mixer window, five new drum-synths, and a “plug-in strip”.  The Maschine Studio will come bundled with the 2.0 software when it’s released in Novemeber (at and expected proce of about $999 USD), and existing Maschine and Maschine Micro users will be able to upgrade to 2.0 for a small fee.  Check out their launch video below…

Free Download

In a fitting tribute to the passing of former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, bass wizard Thundercat has released a track entitled “Bowzer’s Theme”.   The track is what you would expect with a name like that; beautifully moody chord progressions on a theme that takes you back to the golden age of video games.  Make no mistake, this is not a dance track, but music like this is in many ways a precursor to modern EDM.  Now let’s hear some remixes!

Best Mix

This week’s best mix comes courtesy of Montreal’s Kaytranada.  This 30 minute mix was down for the 2013 Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival and is packed full of upbeat dance tunes.  It starts off with heavily sidechained atmospheric swells, which morphs into a feel good 80’s disco flavor.  This theme continues, but flows briefly into 90’s RnB territory which slides into some variations on vocal house.  Overall, a feel good short dance mix that makes you want to smile and move your body.

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Music News
Today, Apple officially launched iTunes Radio.  This launch coincides with the release of iOS7, Apple’s revamped mobile operating system.  iTunes Radio will be Apple’s official venture into the word of streaming radio alongside established giants such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Rdio.

What sets iTunes Radio apart from its competitors is its integration with the user’s existing iTunes library and generating genre-based playlists based on their preferences.  Presumably, since many people are already using iTunes, the level of personalization with iTunes Radio should outshine its competitors and should adapt more quickly.

iTunes Radio is free and ad-supported, unless you subscribe to iTunes Match.  In that case, your iTunes Radio will be personalized AND ad-free.

 

DJ News
Ableton 9.1 beta was just released and is the first major update since its release in March.  The public beta has a few major updates, the first of which is dual monitor support.  This new dual monitor option will allow users to fully exploit Live’s two interfaces (session and arrangement view) simultaneously.  You could also use it to open a full mix window or a full monitor MIDI editor.

In addition to the dual monitor support, Live will also have an improved rendering engine.  This includes improved sample-rate conversion as well using multiple-cores to improve rendering speed.

For Push owners, Live 9.1 will have a brand new melodic step sequencer.  This feature will also extend to editing automation with step-by-step automation.

 

New Gear
Traktor announced the release of its updated S4 and S2 controllers last week.  Updates include adding eight color-coded RGB buttons for triggering FX and samples, jog wheels with higher resolution, and dedicated Flux Mode and Remix Decks controls.  The biggest update, however, is that the new S4 and S2 will work with all laptop/desktop Traktor software as well as the Traktor apps for iPhone and iPad.  This hardware extension is poised to take Native Instruments‘ mobile DJ offering to the next level.  With storage capacity and processing power of mobile devices ever-increasing, it seems logical that a line up of robust hands-on professional controllers would follow.  It will be interesting to see how many DJs adopt the mobile gear as their primary setup as more hardware of this nature is released.

Check out the video demo from Mad Zach…

 

Best Mix
The best mix is not really a mix, but a free preview album stream from Prison Garde.  A resident of Montreal and currently playing some shows out west (including Victoria’s Rifflandia), Prison Garde always brings the heat.  Check out the 909 and Moog-laden dance vibes of his latest studio effort, Fortresses.

 

Free Download
Australia’s Wave Racer has hit one out of the park with his remix of DCUP’s “Don’t Be Shy”.  Crisp snares, rolling arpeggios, and pitched vocal work all shine through the glimmering feel-good chord progressions on this track.  If this doesn’t leave a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.

Grab a free download at XLR8R.

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

1. Genre and BPM Range
The type of show you are playing will provide the framework of your genre and BPM choices for the night. Some shows leave you to decide on your own what to play, some might need a wide variety of genres and BPMs (i.e. Top 40 clubs), while others might have a very specific genre and style that you need to play (i.e. opening for a well-known producer). You should do a little research into the club you are playing and the other DJs you are playing with to get a general idea of what kind of music will go over best with the crowd.

2. Key Analysis
There are a few different software options for key analyzing your songs. One of the favorites among DJs is a program called Mixed in Key. Programs like this analyze the audio waveform of each track and determine what key they are in as well as their tempo. Results can be displayed in their traditional key form (i.e. A Major) or in a custom system called the ‘Camelot System’ that shows the key as a number and letter combination that is easy for DJs to use (i.e. 1a, 5b, etc.). Mixed in Key gives you the option to write this new info into the metadata of the digital file so that music programs like iTunes, Traktor, Serato, etc. can display it. This information can be very useful when creating playlists and also when you need to quickly throw on a track in a mix without being able to fully preview because you know that it will sonically fit with the rest.

3. Playlist Organization
In a previous article, I discussed creating “smart playlists” in iTunes and how you can integrate them into your DJ workflow. A huge part of learning to how DJ is this type of song preparation that takes place well before you get to the club. You can’t (and some would argue shouldn’t) always play out a set as a rigid playlist. Vibes on the dancefloor can change quickly and you need to be able to adapt to these changes equally as fast. Having all of your music categorized into sub folders of genre, BPM, ratings, color, etc. will help you tremendously in these situations.  If you think that you suddenly need to switch from a dubstep song in A minor to a trap song that will fit in key, a little playlist organization can make the search a lot easier.

4. Improvised and Transition Material
One topic that sometimes gets passed over is the issue of having song material that you can use to improvise with and/or transition out of an area that isn’t working. This can take many different forms depending on your personal style. Here are a couple of examples;
- A big melodic wash out without any drums or percussion to give the crowd a break.
- Playable drum kits, synths, or other hardware to break down the flow and give the crowd something tailor-made from your brain.
- A capellas (either from songs or spoken word) to transition between genres and/or BPM ranges.

5. Practice
This cannot be stressed enough; PRACTICE. Practice as much as possible. All of this preparation might not seem like it’s needed on a night where you’re running smooth and everyone is dancing, but nights like these are not common occurrences. Very rarely will you be able to play through a set exactly as you laid it in your iTunes playlist or in the mixtape that you made. Maybe the DJ before you played 3 songs that you were going to play. Maybe there was a fight on the dancefloor and the vibe of the room changed. There will always be unexpected twists and turns, and you have to be ready to deal with them. The best way to prepare for unexpected events is to have a complete handle on all of your equipment and songs so that you can react as quickly as possible.

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School here at Spin-Academy.

About Spin Academy

Spin Academy is an online DJ and music producing school. At Spin Academy our goal is to give you the necessary skills to unleash your true musical creativity, and carrier potential. We have a huge library of high quality up to date video tutorials featuring some of the most successful DJ’s and music producers in the world.

Questions? Give us a shout at support@spin-academy.com

Spin Academy on Google+

This is a premium lesson

To keep watching, you'll need to subscribe

HEY! You're just 30 seconds away from access to the secret tactics the world's highest-paid DJs use night after night to make dance floors explode and command the premium dollars from promoters and club owners. Subscribe now and get spinning!

Get a monthly pass for only $19.95

Sign Up Now! or cancel

verisign trusted

Password Reset

Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.