Kore, Komplete, Reaktor @ cdm

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Part of the appeal of using Kore is as a meta-host for multiple plug-ins. But that means, particularly in live performance, that you’ll want to conserve CPU resources. I personally don’t like to make things too unwieldy with Kore, keeping things to 8-12 channels and consolidating wherever possible. But even with a couple of instances of Reaktor, CPU conservation is a good idea.

Enter the power of the Channel On/Off switch. It’s actually in two places – see the X in the top left of the image here, as well as the one on the Audio tab at bottom. What’s nice about it is that, by “pulling the plug” on a channel, you prevent plug-ins on that channel from consuming CPU resources. (Many third-party plug-ins will keep using CPU resources even if no signal is routed to them. The “X” in this case switches them off entirely.)

So we know that switching off channels entirely – rather than just avoiding routing audio to them or switching off MIDI input – is the best way to conserve CPU when switching between instruments and effects. But how do you automate this in performance?

You can’t directly assign controls to the on/off switch, so your best solution is likely to enable and disable channels with performance presets. Performance presets will store the enabled/disabled state of all channels when they’re saved. To access them, click the Performance Presets button on the toolbar:

In the matrix, select the channels you want to be active and inactive for a preset (whether it’s a song, a section of a song, or just a convenient performance preset during a set). Choose Store. Repeat for each preset, and when you recall the presets, the channels you want to be enabled and disabled will be set up properly.

There’s just one catch. Currently, if you add additional channels after you’ve saved a preset, they’ll be activated in all presets by default. There’s a discussion thread about this on the NI forums:

Working methods for building-up live performance preset banks

For me, though, this means the best workflow is something like this:

1. Build up a set of channels with sounds/effects

2. Save each channel as a Koresound (File > Save performance as Koresound or right-click on a channel in the matrix > Save as…). This means you can recall these sounds in any combination for creating different performance sets.

3. Set up the final combination of channels, sounds, and effects you want to use for a set, and save each preset as a Performance Preset.

I actually like this way of working, as it means I consolidate presets for specific uses. We’ll be looking at some other performance strategies over coming posts, though, as there are a range of possible ways of working to suit different purposes. And some people will, of course, want to combine Kore instances in a host like Ableton Live or FL Studio for working live, while others will want to run Kore in its standalone mode. If you’ve got ideas or questions, we’d love to hear them!

6 Responses

  1. poorsod

    Peter, could you elaborate on the comment about bypassing third-party effects within Ableton please? I thought switching off the Device Rack was tantamount to switching off all the devices, including plugins, held within the rack.

    Empirical study shows that switching off third party effects with the on-off button in the Ableton interface DOES disable the processor and save CPU… although the manual has nothing to say at all.

  2. Peter Kirn

    @poorsod: I removed that reference because it was confusing and potentially misleading the way I wrote it.

    Basically, the way plug-ins *should* work is that they cease to consume resources whenever signal isn’t routed to them. However, because of the specification of the widely-used versions of the plug-in formats, often they *do* continue to consume resources.

    If you use the Ableton Live enable/disable setting, that should have the same effect as the enable/disable switch here. The main advantage of Kore in this case, though, is that you can automate those enable/disable switches more easily with Performance Presets. (I guess you could MIDI assign them and use ghost clips in Live or something, but that’d of course be more work.)

    What I’ve found does not work in all cases is using the Chain function within a Device Rack, which is ideally how you might set up a performance. That’s not Ableton’s fault; I believe it’s a result of the plug-in spec. It does work with Ableton’s own plug-ins, by contrast. It’s not a big deal in a simpler device rack, but could become a bigger deal in a complex set. So one strategy would be to use Chain to select different instruments in a Live device rack using their instruments and effects, and put third-party instruments and effects in Kore and use its performance presets.

    Hope that makes sense. That’s my understanding, anyway; what you’ll find is that this is often isn’t documented because it’s dependent on plug-in operation under the hood.

  3. poorsod

    ah cheers for the clarification Peter… My personal trick is to map Ableton’s macros to the device on/off switches when they are not in use… That is, fully opening a filter (with a macro) switches it off, etc

  4. Peter Kirn

    Ah, good call. Yeah, I had initially hoped the Live chaining function would open up some powerful instrument switching capabilities, but it’s tough to know which instrument is selected and does have that performance tax. So enable/disable is indeed the best way to go for now. I hope that these features continue to evolve over time — in Kore, as well. The developers have to first sort out resource management (which both have in this case), and then refine the user interaction over time. In the meantime, we trick our way into making it work. ;)

  5. [...] Controlling External MIDI Gear, Plug-ins Kore: The CPU-Saving Power of X in Live Performance How to Route Feedback Loops in Kore – On [...]

  6. Giorgo De Groof

    Hi Peter

    I would like to switch Kore2′s bank-presets using the FCB1010 from Behringer. Is that possible? This way I would not have to use a mouse or even the Kore 2 Controller.



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