I am using Ableton Live 9 in conjunction with a MOXF8 in a live performance setting. I have them synced via midi clock (L9 master; MOXF slave). While the tempo gets set and maintained correctly in the MOXF from Ableton, the starting point of arps and tempo-synced effects has been inconsistent, particularly with arps that are musical phrases. If and when my playing is off time at all, the whole arp is off for as long as I have to play it. I'm okay with blaming this on the inconsistency in my playing, but it has seemed to me that there must be a way to harness the technological power and precision of computing to workaround (i.e. cover up) my inconsistencies.
I have read and worked through many of the Bad Mister articles and tutorials (very helpful for understanding the MOXF options available, thank you) and here's the solution I've landed on so far.
In the MOXF8,
Make sure the arp's HOLD setting is set to sync-off so that when a note message triggers the arp, the arp engine continues to run in the background even if nothing is being played.
Send (as the first note) a very short, minimum velocity midi note-on message on beat one to start the arpeggio precisely in sync with beat one of Ableton. (I've programmed this note into a non-looping session view clip that launches according to the global quantization, usually set to 1-measure). The note must be very short so that the arp engine launches but any playback of it is so short that it's imperceptible. It should also be at a low velocity so that any direct triggering of the tone generator (if the arp key mode is set to allow the direct note message) cannot be heard. Of course the note and velocity limits must be kept in mind as well for triggering the arp engine.
I want to be able to play as much material live (as opposed to programming or recording everything in advance), so short of hardwiring a midi clock into my own brain, is there a 'better' way to consistently line the engine up for live performance?