I wrote a post last year “REQ: Live mashup performance tool” on how much fun it would be to be able to do live mashups: mix basslines, drums, guiter riffs and vocals from different songs in real-time. I just found out via beatmixed that there is a New-York DJ that has figured out the nuts and bolts: Toto a.k.a. Moldover.
- HARDWARE: He uses a PC laptop with Ableton Live (for loop control) and Native Instruments Reaktor (for sound FX). As MIDI-controller, he uses a Novation ReMOTE 25 (2 octaves). For audio output he uses an Echo Audio Indigo » io CardBus interface.
- SOFTWARE: he has organized an extensive collection of loops in Live into 8 columns or channels – I think “DJ1”, “DJ2”, “Beats”, “Percussion”, “Melody”, “Bass”, “Ambient” and “Vocals”. Loops are color-coded for the key they’re in (if any). Each channel has 1 FX configured which is the Reaktor plugin. There are also some effects on the master output (limiter, compressor, …)
- CONTROL: he uses the 8 white keys at the right to trigger each channel. The 8 sliders, which are nicely lined up right above the keys, control the volume of each channel. The 2 x 8 knobs control 2 FX settings per channel. On some channels these are equalizer settings (cut-off frequency), on others delay/reverb settings (depends on the type of ‘content’ of each channel, and what FX go best with that).
See him at work on this Youtube video:
Let’s estimate what a set-up like this would cost:
- laptop: you want plenty of memory (2GB) and CPU (Core Duo 2GHz), so something like a Dell Inspiron 9400 (1800 €) or Precision M90 (2000 €)
- Novation ReMOTE SL 25: 550 €
- Ableton Live: 500 €
- Native Instruments Reaktor: 400 €
- Echo Audio Indigo io: 230 €
So a total of 3000 to 4000 €. Some ways to make the price tag less aggressive: a Behringer BCF2000 instead of the Novation, Behringer F-control instead of the Echo Audio (using the laptop’s internal line-out is probably not a viable option, and the F-control comes with a lite edition of Ableton Live 4, maybe enough to get started) and start without Reaktor. Or go for one of the Live bundles (like Live + Evolution UC 33/e controller or Live + Axiom 49)