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Free/cheap equivalent of Ableton?

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To cut a long story short; I have a 'lite' version of Ableton Live 4.1.4 which seems quite interesting, but is almost completely useless as it is limited to 4 audio tracks of up to 4 clips each. I would buy it but it's much too expensive, especially since I'll only be using a small subset of the features, specifically the improvisational triggering of loops which I've created elsewhere. I think it could be quite valuable in deciding how to arrange songs, but I'd need more tracks and clips to be able to do that. Are there any alternatives?

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Are the loops dependent on the BPM of the project or are they static? And do you need them to continue to loop indefinitely after they've been triggered?

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They're static. I can never get the hang of making stretchable loops in these packages anyway. :) And yes, I could do with them looping indefinitely until I pick a replacement.

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I've been thinking and looking for free alternatives to this and couldn't come up with much.

If you want them to loop indefinitely I could only find one free prog. There's a sample player I found called Back 2 Basics. The readme and website are for some reason, kind of creepy to me. They don't mention music at all, rather they call it information.

BackToBasics

There's a mac and windows version there. Messed around with it a little bit, there's some preincluded sounds to mess with. I imagine you can swap them out for your own in the demo. The demo runs $40 and I guess you'd have to play with it a bit to see whether it's what you need.

There's Helios from Tobybear which is a VST. Unfortunately, it only loads one sample at a time. You can have multiple instances of it in a host for sure, but triggering all simultaneously from one controller would be a chore.

I can find lots of little drum samplers that let you load wav files as the samples to make your own drum kit. You can them just load your loops and trigger them that way. However, the loops don't sustain.

If you knew how to make soundfonts you could pack up all your loops in the SF2 format. Then you get a soundfont vst loader. And if you don't have a host then you can get a standalone vst host.

I can give you the links to all of this but I'm not sure if it's the best use of your time to get it all to work.

What programs do you have and what are you triggering the loops from?

Tony

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Hmm, I think I've found something approximating what I want, in the well-hidden 'Live Mode' of FL Studio. It doesn't give quite as much detail, or allow you to automatically have clips cut others in their group, but it should suffice. The major advantage over triggering everything from a sound font (or indeed a tracker instrument, which would allow something similar I think), is the automated synchronisation of new measures, which I find useful.

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Yes, I would have mentioned FL's "Live" Mode which is in fact kinda hidden, but could be useful. I haven't used it myself but I heard other people talking about similar features to what you need. Hope it works!

Tony

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Hmm, at a closer look it's going to be slightly awkward, because it won't let you use Live Mode on audio clips, only on patterns. That means triggering my audio clips in patterns, and making sure each pattern is long enough for the clip. Grr.

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