Help me find the software sequencer of my dreams.
May 24, 2011 8:39 PM   Subscribe

What sequencer+daw on the Mac handles clips/phrases in a song as links back to a master instance of the clip, rather than as individual copies?

I am used to hardware-based sequencers like the Yamaha QY700 or the one built into the Korg M1. These allowed me to compose phrases and copy those into song tracks. If I changed a note or parameter in the phrase, it changed everywhere the phrase was used in the song; I didn't need to update every instance of the note in the track.

I'm trying to move to a software sequencer, and so far have tried Ableton Live and Garage Band. But these really treat clips as copies, so any change in one clip has no effect on its copies. As far as I can tell, that means everytime I change a note in a clip, I need to re-copy that clip all across the song to make it consistent. In other words, I need pointers or symbolic links from the arrangement to the clip, not literal copies.

- I like Ableton in all other respects, so is there a way I can get it to do this? Am I missing something obvious?

- If not, is there another sequencer (for the Mac) that will do this?

- Lastly, is there a specific technical term for what I'm asking for? My Google-fu has failed me.

Thanks for the help, I'm not sure how much longer the QY700 will hold out!
posted by txsebastien to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know that MOTUs Digital Performer treats audio clips like this - I haven't really used it much as a sequencer, though. Might be worth a shot. Also, have you tried looping MIDI clips in the arrangement view in Ableton? As long as the looped clips are contiguous, a change to the clip being looped will effect if over the entire duration of the loops.
posted by Horizontally a Champion at 11:49 PM on May 24, 2011


Have you tried asking at the Ableton forums? I could've sworn there was a way to do this, but I haven't used it properly in about three years now, so I could be mistaken.
posted by Magnakai at 4:31 AM on May 25, 2011


Logic definitely supports making references to regions rather than copies. You have to hold down option or command as you drag to make that happen. The default mode for repeating a region is akin to references - but different because the looped region is spatially locked adjacent to the previous copy.

I just tried this in GarageBand, and option/alt lets you make a copy, but I can't see how to make a reference. If you loop a region, though, the looped versions reflect changes made to the first region in the loop.

I'm fairly new to Live, so I don't know if I'm not very skilled at using the Arrangement View or if Arrangement View just isn't as powerful as I'd like it to be.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:05 AM on May 25, 2011


I just tried this out in Logic, and the trick is to hold down option/alt + shift while you move a region. That makes an alias.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:10 AM on May 25, 2011


In Cubase, they are called Ghost Copies.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:13 AM on May 25, 2011


Looks like the feature still isn't implemented in Live as of 2009.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:17 AM on May 25, 2011


Thanks everyone. Other posts in Ableton forums confirm a no-go on this feature, at least for now. Until then, Logic looks like my best bet, although Cubase and Performer have this feature, too. Happy sequencing, folks!
posted by txsebastien at 5:10 PM on May 25, 2011


You should email Ableton support and complain about the lack of this feature. If enough people complain, it might be added.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:04 PM on May 25, 2011


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