This is an idea I've wanted to try for a long time and now want to try and tackle.
It works like this:
- You have two laptops each running a copy of Ableton
- You have a single controller like an Akai APC40 that is connected to one laptop, but the two laptops are connected by ethernet and you can relay half the control surface to the laptop that isn't connected to it by USB (half the faders, half the knobs, half the buttons, etc)
- The audio output of one laptop feeds into the input of the other laptop, and both are summed together before leaving the output of the other laptop and on to the sound system
- The cross fader can fade between the audio outputs of the two laptops
*** Most importantly, You have a custom M4L switch that's really big and let's you toggle the PLAY button to whichever laptop you wish. When you press the PLAY button, the laptop that it's directed to will start it's transport and fall immediately into sync with the other laptop, but non-linearly.
In other words, if the laptop that was playing its Ableton track currently was coming up to say, measure 129, the laptop you were cuing would start at measure 1 exactly as the currently playing laptop arrived at measure 129, no sooner, no later.
Is something like this technically possible? I'd like to build my live PA in a way that lets me DJ my own tracks, I have all tracks on both laptops so I can pick any one at any time and mix it into the track that's playing.
This would be a dream come true to achieve and I am willing to go as deep as necessary, remap the APC controls and force Ableton's transport to behave the way I want to accomplish this.
Any tips towards feasibility analysis and if it's a green light, how I might get started would be much appreciated!
Of course, if I can do this, I will share it as a module in some upcoming open source software I have been working on for quite a few years now. (I'll explain more about that software in a future post).