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Revamped SONG mode with project and audio export

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  • Revamped SONG mode with project and audio export

    I believe SONG mode needs some major revamp for it to be easier to use and provide a faster and more efficient workflow. This would also allow the inclusion of a project and audio export feature.

    As it is currently the case, song mode should be triggered with two methods :

    - Arrangement view displayed by default when pushing SONG
    - Song record mode by pushing REC when already in SONG.

    Arrangement view :

    SONG main screen (the current sections list view is ok, but could be presented as a vertical timeline with the following indicators added) :
    - on the right : bar count
    - on the left : song duration timeline

    - On the bottom of the main SONG screen, we should have the following editing buttons for sections :
    -- CREATE : prompts for a name and creates new section
    -- EDIT : sends to section edit screen (see below)
    -- DUPLICATE : duplicates the selected section and places just after it
    -- DELETE : deletes the selected section
    -- LINK : allows selection of two or more sections that are linked together (whatever change you make to the first, will be applied to all the linked sections)
    -- SETTINGS : general settings of the song (see below)
    -- EXPORT : provides song exporting options (see below)

    - Rotary controls in the main SONG screen (with labels on the sides of the screen) :
    -- Upper right rotary : controls the selection of the section
    -- Lower right rotary : controls the value of number of loop iterations for the selected section to be played in the song (value can also be set to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 to play the section only partially)
    -- Upper left rotary : controls the position/order of the selected section in the song
    -- Lower left rotary : controls the display color of the section (the color should propagate to any linked section)

    SECTION EDIT screen :

    - Will present the set of 16 SEQS that the user will select to include in the section
    - Sections will be selectable either by touch or rotaries
    - The name of the section will be displayed on the top with ability to edit the name

    SETTINGS screen with following options :

    - SONG PLAYBACK MODE : Play Song Once / Repeat / Play Selected section / Play in random order
    - AUDIO EXPORT : individual audio tracks + mix-down / individual audio tracks only / mix-down only
    - AUDIO QUALITY : bitrate / samplerate
    - PROJECT/MIDI EXPORT : project + individual track sequences / track sequences only
    (if we stay with 4 available settings, they could be mapped to the rotaries for easier control)

    EXPORT screen :

    - Prompts for type of export (sequences, audio or both)
    - Browser prompt to select target destination path
    - Exports each sequence pad as a separate audio track pre-MIX & FX and stereo mix down post MIX & FX (based on settings selected in the SETTINGS screen)
    - Exports .ALS Ableton project folder and file with all tracks/sections and MIDI clips inside it, as well as consolidates any sample used in the project

    Record mode :

    - Song record should be triggered the same way as currently (Rec when in song mode)
    - This mode should count and record the number of iterations an and unchanged section repeats and generate automatically a new section each time there is a change in the sequence selection
    - It should then allow :
    -- arrangement and linking of sections in the manual mode
    -- resume of recording
    -- insertion of new sections through recording, starting on the selected scene.

    At the occasion of this revamp, it may be relevant to rename "sections" as "scenes" so as to reflect the Ableton Live paradigm.

    Export feature use cases :

    The proposed multi-track and mix-down audio export would also remove any concern about the quality of analog output and recording of the blackbox to a DAW, as it'll remove the digital to analog then analog to digital conversion and let us mix and master the final track with external means. The project and MIDI export feature would allow easy editing and polishing of the song in DAW (presumably Ableton but also others via the MIDI files)

    What do you think ? Does this proposition make sense ? Do you think we can hope an implementation of it in a future firmware release ?
    Last edited by jayneural; 01-23-2020, 10:48 PM.

  • #2
    As a general comment, nothing to do with the merits of the above proposal: explaining what isn't working for you in a workflow is often more valuable than providing a new implementation. You're answering the question before asking it, and your concerns have disappeared behind a specific strategy. My 2c...


    • jayneural
      jayneural commented
      Editing a comment
      Sockmonkey: Thx for the feedback. Not sure where in this post I’m rather explaining “what isn’t working” and why I would see more value to this or that. Just a proposition of workflow which I try to put in a “specs” format, to make my wish the easiest possible to understand (me not being native english, my writings could lead to unintended interpretations. I’ll do my best to avoid that).
      Last edited by jayneural; 01-23-2020, 10:26 PM.

    • sockmonkey
      sockmonkey commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry, I didn't mean to sound harsh. I just wanted to encourage you to post about the problem (which I want to understand), rather than proposing a specific solution.

    • jayneural
      jayneural commented
      Editing a comment
      sockmonkey: OK, no worries, just got the sense of your comment. It's true that my brain is a bit cabled like this (I'm kinda engineer type brain), I tend to think about a solution before even describing the problem. The other thing is that I don't like sounding like complaining, the Blackbox is already pretty amazing as is !

  • #3
    Attempting to revive this post where I'm basically asking for revamped song section as well as stem/midi export options.

    I see some of the features often requested here and there, so I have hopes these are now closer to the top of the priorities list


    • #4
      Definitely one of the more worthwhile improvements in my opinion. Song mode is more if an anoyance for me at the moment to be honest.
      Blackbox is my first sampler, i only started to record 8 months ago. Right now i just resample everything and produce a finished audio file.


      • #5
        I like song mode as it is right now: once you understand how it relates to seqs, it is pretty straightforward. After all, Aaron did insist in a forum post that the BB is more of a sketch pad (albeit a deluxe one) than a full fledged production station.

        Odd time signatures would be a nice addition. Also, a few optimisations here and there wouldn’t certainly hurt. For example, when you clear the events of a section, you have to reconfigure the section length to the desired value, which breaks the workflow.

        As for song export, resampling constitutes a good workaround. Yes, you need a free single sample pad available for this purpose: with a bit of preset organisation (eg having a main preset and a few specialised presets), the 16 pads limit can be dealt with quite elegantly as well.

        Beyond that, one can maybe hope for a song and seqs resampling feature without wasting any pads in the future ...


        • #6
          The current song “recording mode” is not very different from what I’m asking, it’s just I believe we should have more manual control on it for a more immediate control on the arrangement.

          The stem/midi export request should be technically feasible and, again, it would help a lot in quickening the workflow of bringing the project to the DAW and finish it. Rather than having to resample all the parts one by one.

          Everything requested here is really about immediacy and being able to sketch something exhaustive to a point were you’re encouraged to go ahead and finish it.


          • #7
            +1 for editable song mode.

            I’m not far enough along in learning to use this wonder of a device to comment on other items mentioned in the thread.


            • #8
              I never use song mode. Perhaps if it was better implemented, I might.

              I'd probably be happy if the recorded sections of the song mode, 1,2,3 etc were more like ableton scene launchers.
              Latest releases by My Blue Extremes.
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              Short Film - The Winter Ghost




              • jayneural
                jayneural commented
                Editing a comment
                and editable afterwards !

            • #9
              +1 although I can use the current version of song mode, I do like the non-real-time options to add sequences to parts and re-order parts or call out how many times played