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"midi learn" for ableton live built-in effects/instruments


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7 replies to this topic

#1 thawkins

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    icelandic musician Lolur Momfat

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:50 AM

So MIDI controllers in Live are usually in two different modes, Track or Remote. Track means that all the MIDI comes from the controller and ends up in the track, stuff like notes and CCs that go directly to the instrument. Remote MIDI is used for controlling different Live knobs/switches that you have mapped beforehand.

 

However in 3rd party plugins I have noticed there's usually a MIDI learn button or even hard-coded mappings which allow you to mess with parameters by using your Track mode controller and sending the correct CC. It's pretty convenient to drop a VST on a track and have everything mapped already to the physical controller, so I started thinking what if I could drop a midi rack or instrument rack on a track and have the 8 knobs on my MPK Mini automatically control the rack knobs without messing around with the project MIDI mapping. The first benefit I see is that then I could just switch instruments by arming a different track and there's no fuss with control surfaces and locking and all that. Or just program a random off the shelf controller with the correct CCs and not have to map the knobs individually. 

 

Maybe M4L has something that will do this, or maybe I should look into the User Remote Scripts thing. The latter seems promising, but I wonder if it is possible to make it lock to the first rack if I arm the track, and of course it's once again down the rabbit hole of control surface scripting...  :catsupine:



#2 thawkins

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:54 AM

NB! In light of recent threads I feel that it is necessary to point out none of this has anything to do with equipment used by Aphex Twin or Drexciya, sorry.



#3 mcbpete

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 04:28 AM

In the case of your MPK Mini keyboard, I think Ableton already has that control surface script available in the Link/Midi -> MIDI -> Control Surface drop down menu

#4 thawkins

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 05:08 AM

Yeah there is a script, but that's not really what I am after.

 

Ideally I would like to control a VST's (or a rack's) parameters by sending CCs from a controller with only Track input enabled (not Remote). Live control scripts get their MIDI when the controller Remote input is enabled. Some VSTs can be controlled like this, so I am interested if there's any way to apply it to the built-in stuff in Live.



#5 mcbpete

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 05:35 AM

Is there a specific reason why you don't want 'remote' activate, from the manual it looks like you need remote to be on to do what you want:

Activating Remote for a MIDI Input allows you to create mappings from a MIDI controller to parameters in Live.

This switch needs to be enabled for: - Creating custom MIDI mappings to be able to control parameters in Live.



#6 thawkins

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 06:47 AM

The short reason is that I am basically just an insufferable turbonerd who keeps trying to make Live work in ways it is not really designed to. :sad:

 

The long version is basically this:

I have an Akai MPK Mini sending MIDI through Live to my external hardware synth running in multi mode. I got the MPK knobs mapped to the right parameters and so I can really easily switch between different sounds by just arming a different track in Live. Turning the knobs on the MPK changes the sound of that particular track in the external synth. No Remote mode necessary because it is just CCs flying through the ether to the synth directly. They will show up in the automation of a clip when recorded, which is nice.

 

Now I would like to do the same thing with a VST or built-in Live instrument. For some VSTs I am in luck and there's a hard coded midi mapping so I don't have to build a rack or manually map anything. With Live stuff it's more cumbersome because I have to use the MPK as a Remote and either use a control surface script or manually map stuff.

 

I don't like manually mapping because this limits me to 4 tracks (number of MPK programs basically) and now I can't just arm a different track each time I change sounds because I also have to change the MPK's program.

 

I don't like to use a control surface script because probably I would have to write one again (the existing MPK one is basically empty, I checked) or use the User Remote Scripts thing where you specify your controller in a text file and then it sort of works. Probably the latter is a way to solve this, but then the issue is that the way Live handles control surfaces locking to a particular rack or device is complicated - arming a track is not selecting a track, and in order to force the control surface to jump to controlling the first rack of a track I just armed (what if I armed several??) I would still have to write a script myself.

 

I have done the scripting bit before but this seems like such a simple and nice thing and I wish there was another way. Like a M4L device which you can put before a Rack and where you specify which knob listens to which CC in the track input and then you can map things however you want on the Live side.

 

Now thinking about it I am pretty sure someone at Ableton has already thought of this, but because they have their own MIDI paradigm doing it the way I just described would mess things up too bad.



#7 mcbpete

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:03 AM

This *might* be what you're looking for, not sure ... Plus it seems to have skyrocketed in price since when I bought it a few years back (was around 15quid) - https://isotonikstud...apping-utility/

#8 thawkins

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:08 PM

Thanks for the suggestion, at first glimpse it doesn't sound like it's what I am after, but I'll have a think about it and see.