Monday, August 24, 2009

TBC Worship Rewind: August 23, 2009 #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists Ableton Live verses iPod MP3 click tracks

We had a streamlined band this week in the Main Auditorium (MA) - Drums, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, and two vocalists. Downstairs in the Lower Auditorium (LA) we had about the same, add a vocalist and subtract the Electric Guitar. I'm learning that fewer instruments get in the way of each other (both musically and audio mixing), however I'd really like as many people along for the ride as possible. With the Vocal Team (all TBC singers) and Orchestra cranking up again this fall, I don't mind a smaller group here and there.

One of our piano players who came to worship this past week came up to be following one of the hours. She mentioned, "I like it when you are on keyboard and leading worship - things flow from one thing to another nicely." I agree with her, but I'm in turmoil over it. I'd love to have things setup where there is flexibility between the a keyboardist and the worship leader. You know, the whole 'I'm reading your mind and I'll take you there' type of thing. However, because we are synchronizing two bands together between Main Auditorium (MA) and Lower Auditorium (LA) - there's hardly any room for flexing. About the only flex we have now is when I'm on an instrument and can add small flexibility.

One more thing I the 3rd hour, the vocalists (including myself) jumped the gun on the click track 4 measures before we were supposed to. Thankfully we had the rest of the song to think about how we would get out of the mess at the end. No problem, simply pray/play for a longer transition while the click could finish. You see, we've combined all our click tracks into a master "Set" track that rolls from one song to the next. Like this...
  • SET 1 (three songs, all one MP3)
  • ___ PAUSE click here, 30 seconds of silence (cue)
  • SET 2 (two songs, all one MP3)
  • ___ END click here, 30 seconds of silence (cue)
It flows nicely when it works - however, if we jump the gun, there's no flexing. We do have each individual song setup with 'cue tracks' so the MP3 operator can simply hit "next" to cue up the song, like here...
  • Hungry - loop and click 86 BPM
  • ___ NEXT when ready (30 second silence)
  • I Surrender All - loop and click 80 BPM
  • ___ NEXT when ready (30 second silence)
  • Revelation Song - loop and click 64
  • ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  • ___ NEXT when ready (30 second silence)
  • All for the Glory of You - loop and click 130 BPM
  • ___ END click here (cue)
But this doesn't flow as nice and there's lots of down time between every song.

Ableton Live vs. MP3 Player click tracks:
Yes, we could begin using Ableton Live and use MIDI triggering to add the flexibility back in...but I've decided not to go that route for several reasons...
  1. Lower cost of the system (iPods are cheaper than a 2nd computer, software + upgrades, MIDI keyboard/peadal triggers, etc.)
  2. Transferability between volunteers (people know how to operate an iPod, how many people know how to operate a laptop/software/looping/MIDI/triggering)
  3. Setup required (it's easier to setup an iPod, try setting up a laptop/audio.interface/MIDI.triggers/cables, etc.)
  4. It's solid state (iPod's rarely crash, if they are charged)
  5. Backups are easier (if something happens to the iPod, I still have the playlists on my iPhone, and my computer for that matter)
  6. Easy location transfer - imagine if the band wanted to travel to site #3, #4, and #5 in town with the same worship set? Easy...take the iPod with you.
  7. Potentially more confusion if the Ableton Live operator triggers too early/late
So at the end of the day, we are married to this out of necessity. As a result, the Main Auditorium (MA) and Lower Auditorium (LA) are able to coincide together. It jumps our seating capacity from about 600 to about 800 on a given hour of worship.

Is it worth 200 people? Yes. Remember, we count people because people count to God.

Watch/listen to last weekend's message

Set List:
  • Hungry (Falling on My Knees)>Kathryn Scott
  • I Surrender All>Word Music
  • Revelation Song>Kari Jobe
  • Hosanna>Hillsong United
  • All for the Glory of You>Mark Harris
Links to other setlists:

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