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Ableton updates Live to v9.2.2

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Ableton has updated Live to v9.2.2. 9.2.2 Release Notes Improvements and feature changes: Added control surface support for the Akai MIDImix. Bug fixes: Under certain circumstances Live 64-bit [Read More]

Ableton introduces BeatSeeker by Andrew Robertson

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Ableton has introduced BeatSeeker by Andrew Robertson, a new device that syncs Live’s tempo with drums. Bands who use Live in their setup often use a click track to make sure they’re in time. [Read More]

Ableton Presents BeatSeeker – Sync Made Easy

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Drummers, bands and electronic producers rejoice! Your sync nightmares may be over!
Ableton has just released BeatSeeker, a new responsive Max for Live device that adapts Live’s tempo to stay in time with a drummer or other rhythmic audio.
Finally, bands can maintain their natural groove when performing with Live. BeatSeeker works by detecting the BPM of any rhythmic audio signal and matching Live to its tempo.

As we said, Beatseeker is not just for drummers. It can also be used by electronic performers and DJs to sync Live with turntables, or with any other rhythmic or percussive signal.

The device has been developed by Andrew Robertson, based on research at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London.
We’ll have more on this soon, stay tuned!

You can buy the device here for $ 29/24 EUR.

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Get dedicated hands-on control of your Ableton Live set with DDC

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

So, we all know we’d like to get our hands on software music making with something other than the mouse. Now — how? How do you actually make that physical knob or button do something useful on screen, and at the right moment?

There’s the brute-force method, manually applying MIDI learn. There are fancy dynamic ways of assigning controls. But the former is inflexible and requires extra work, and the latter means that you typically can’t “lock” every control where you need it. (That is, the automatic methods sometimes “outsmart” you to the point of not allowing you to do what you wish.)

DDC — “Dedicated Device Control” — is a solution for Ableton Live that finally keeps controls mapped to specific software without sacrificing flexibility.

It comes in several parts:
1. MIDI Remote Scripts (this means it doesn’t require extra software running or Max for Live)
2. An editor for making your assignments.
3. A capture tool for use with third-party plug-ins and Max for Live devices (that is, not just internal Ableton Devices and Racks).
4. A repository full of controller files to get you started.

The bundle costs US$ 17.50 and requires Live 9.1.2 or later (though it doesn’t need Max for Live or Suite), plus the (free) Java runtime.


What sets it apart?

  • Your mappings open in any set, automatically — you don’t have to do anything to existing sets.
  • It maps to the first instance of a device on any track.
  • You can have several pages of assignments.
  • You can control multiple devices.
  • Up to 32 encoders, 32 buttons (toggle/momentary) — and for each of six devices.
  • Control LEDs, too, for color feedback.

It’s the best of both worlds. It’s automatic — you instantly get control of specific devices without modifying your sets and without manually taking control. But it’s not too automatic — you still get the muscle memory-enhancing power of keeping things assigned, and the power to choose what assignments and pages you want. That would appear to make it really invaluable for live performance, in particular.

I’m giving this a try, but couldn’t wait to write it up. More like this, please.



Thanks to nerk for this one!

The post Get dedicated hands-on control of your Ableton Live set with DDC appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Control MIDI and Ableton from your iPhone, Android for handheld music

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015


Put control over Ableton Live in the palm of your hand — and control MIDI gadgets even without the aid of a computer.

That’s the vision of LK (the former Livkontrol), out today for both iOS and Android handhelds.

This isn’t the first pocket controller. But it might be the first pocket controller to become truly invaluable. That’s because there’s robust support for more than just sliding some faders on your phone or working with wifi.

Features, all borrowed from the tablet LK:

  • Wireless connections, but also
  • USB connection
  • USB to MIDI interface support, so you can use this as a standalone MIDI controller

And then you get a bunch of really attractive, useful layouts for control:

  • An Ableton controller, for Session View, Devices, mixing, and grid instrumental playback
  • Hands-on composition for clips
  • MPC-style drum pads
  • X/Y pad for tweaking (KAOSS style)
  • A MIDI controller with support for hundreds of parameters, with pads, faders, and knobs


Now, of course, a phone is a pretty tiny object. But I can see some use cases for this:


1. You want some quick hands-on control of a MIDI gadget. This plus our MeeBlip is pretty insanely compact, and since it has assignable parameters, this also suddenly makes the ultra-tiny black box the Ploytec make some sense, because you could fit both in your pocket. All you need is a proper USB MIDI adapter.


2. You’re working on the road. I love producing while traveling. But you tend to have zero space. Even an iPad mini plus a laptop is a little cramped in a bus or on easyJet. But plugging an iPhone into a 13″ laptop, that’s very possible. I may try this tonight on the Polish railroad, in fact.

3. Sound check. Here’s the one and typically only place I prefer wireless to wired. Being able to trigger your Ableton set (or whatever) while you wander around a venue is priceless.

I can also imagine it being useful for collaborating with someone else in the studio, though then I probably would use the tablet version.


Something else is really interesting about the LK developers’ approach, and that’s that they’re making the app work across Ableton Live, specifically, and generically with MIDI. I think that’s significant because a lot of heavy Ableton users now also want to work with external MIDI gear. (And yes, Ableton, that’s a major problem I have with Push’s inability to function in a useful way when the laptop isn’t on.)

The developers had some comments for CDM on that:

Since we set out to rebuild Livkontrol, our main goal was to provide a real cross platform solution for Ableton Live and MIDI control that could be able to deliver the exact same experience on every device, independently of the user’s personal choice or budget. We believe that, by releasing this phone version, we are one step closer to our goal.
Until future developments, LK for phone devices will be one of the products we will be focusing on, given this version’s versability and capabilities with existent modules. We find it extremely satisfying to have an Ableton Live and MIDI Controller right in our pocket, capable of estabilishing a low-latency connection or being a comprehensive but small sized studio controller, perfect for already busy work environments.

If you’ve already got LK on your tablet gadget, your existing license will immediately work on your phone, so give it a try and let us know what you think.


The post Control MIDI and Ableton from your iPhone, Android for handheld music appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Watch Battles Reflect on Loops, Ableton in a Live Band Setting

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015


On some deeper level, maybe it doesn’t matter how something repeats — whether it’s looped in a pedal, looped in software, or simply repeated by a human player, for instance.

On another level, given just how much repetition matters to music, maybe that’s why we care so much about how it’s accomplished.

Ableton this week released a visit to New York’s experimental rock trio Battles, in a film and interview under the header “The Art of Repetition.”

There, we get to learn more about the process behind Battles’ dense, hypnotic sound. The film is a bit long, but there are some telling moments.

Best quote: “Sometimes people ask if we use a click but we don’t. It’s just music.”

In the ensemble, both looping hardware and software feature prominently — what the band calls “computerness and pedal-land.” In “pedal-land,” bass/guitar player Dave Konopka makes heavy use of Electro-Harmonix gear from hometown NYC (see our recent story and accompanying comments on that topic), plus Line 6 and Boss units and the Gibson Echoplex. There, process is a physical chain of units — he’s capturing and “rephotographing” sound with individual pedals. (The EHX Freeze Sound Retainer is a nice snapshot tool.)

For guitarist, keyboardist, and Ableton Push instrumentalist Ian Williams, who’s naturally in Ableton’s spotlight, all that process is effectively digital. (I notice he’s got the Universal Audio Apollo Twin as interface, as well; I was recently singing the praises of the ability to do DSP live onstage.) The same relationships take place in software instead of being physically cabled between gear.

That said, I find it interesting that the recording process for the band involves a lot of “real-for-real” miking of amps and the like.


A lot of the video focuses purely on the compositional process. It’s also noteworthy to see Ian’s approach to Push. Now, to me, one disadvantage of Push is that you lose everything you’ve learned in terms of muscle memory and the sound you produce. But Ian argues that’s a feature, not a bug. “It keeps it kind of strange — that’s the key,” he says, and accordingly shows off Push chops as a way of getting past habits directly to “just listening” as you play. He also uses his multi-instrumentalist approach to make the keyboard sound more like a guitar, guitar more like a keyboard.

I’m fascinated by the way bands use laptops onstage. The reality is, I think we’re all so used to laptops that they aren’t the obstacle they once were — for audience or artist. It comes down not to a philosophical choice so much as an implementation choice, and you should definitely do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Here, it’s nice to see both working.

Also — duct tape on headphones and beds in the studio. You know it.

Enjoy, by way of dessert, the lovely “My Machines” video.

Battles is on Warp Records, so you get a nice connection between the world of the rock band and Ableton’s experimental electronic roots.




The post Watch Battles Reflect on Loops, Ableton in a Live Band Setting appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Ableton Does an Event: Loop to be “Summit for Music Makers”

Friday, July 17th, 2015


They moved from one flagship software product to adding one piece of flagship hardware. Now there’s a flagship event, too.

It’s called “Loop,” and it will be held 30 October — 1 November in Ableton’s headquarter city of Berlin. It’s clearly in part a summit for the Ableton Live community. But just as their recent book covered the creative process rather than Live per se, the event is pitched a convergence of creativity and technology generally.

It’s not just talks or demos, either. The event organizers are combining hands-on workshops and invites educators. There’s also a collaboration with CTM Festival to set up evening performance programming.

As they put it:

Loop is three days of performances, talks, and interactive workshops aimed at exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of music, creativity, and technology. Bringing together artists, technologists, and other creative thinkers, Loop is a collective exploration of what it is to make music today and what it could be tomorrow.

Talk titles include how to overcome creative blocks and how to get in the flow and what music looks like beyond genres. As in Dennis DeSantis’ book, there are deep discussions of what loops and repetition mean, how they relate to traditional drumming, and how to escape the grid and presets. I’ve been told these are just a few of many more topics and speakers to come.

Already in the speaker list (apart from yours truly) are (of course) Robert Henke, Holly Herndon, Henrik Schwarz, King Britt, James Holden, Money Mark, Young Guru, Dauwd, DJ / rupture, Daniel Miller, Matthew Herbert, and Electric Indigo. There are also people like researcher Rebecca Fiebrink, who is doing ground-breaking work in interactive machine learning and has an unparalleled research and development background.

Actually getting into Loop if you aren’t a speaker will be a bit of a challenge. There are only 400 participants in total, with registration by lottery. To maximize diversity, they say they are also grouping tickets by age and genders. There are links provided for SoundCloud and the like, though with the stated intention of seeing if you’re doing something — that is, it isn’t an audition.

Tickets are 250€ for a full ticket, though if you’re 18-25, it’s 100€.

Since I’ll be there in journalist capacity, of course, I’ll do my best to bring relevant information to you whether or not you make it to Berlin. For more information:


The post Ableton Does an Event: Loop to be “Summit for Music Makers” appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Ableton updates Live to v9.2

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Ableton has announced the release of Live 9.2. This free update includes refinements to Live’s audio warping engine, the introduction of latency-compensated automation, a new Tuner device, and [Read More]

Watch Ableton Push Tame Elektrons Live, Hear Music from Uruguay

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015


Gustavo Bravetti is indeed a man of mystery. The Uruguay-born artist is a live virtuoso of dance music, pulling out all the stops. And in his latest feat, he tackles a trio of Elektron black boxes.

Fortunately, it’s not all mysterious. The Ableton Push-controlled, Max for Live-based tool that gives him these octopus-like powers over the gear will soon be coming to you.

First, let’s watch. Even if this isn’t your own musical idiom, you have to concede it’s a nice rig, nicely played. And it’s a pleasure to premiere here on CDM:

The secret sauce is something called Performer. Built in Max for Live, it gives you snapshot controls over Elektron’s Octatrack, Analog Rytm, Analog Four, and Analog Keys.

The big picture:

Performer is a master snapshot controller made with Max/Max For Live (Cycling 74). It allows you to store, recall, and modify a set of parameters on the fly adding a considerable amount of power while performing live with the Elektron’s black boxes. If you have also the Ableton/Akai Push controller (other devices compatibility to be added later upon request), you can control and monitor most of the Performance’s parameters/functions from there, store/recall Performer’s Snapshots, change mute states etc, etc.

What you get is the ability to pull up parameters on the fly. That includes scenes, patterns, and track mute/level, plus performance knobs and pads, depending on the particular piece of Elektron kit. Each bank stores 16 snapshots, and you get a whopping 64 banks.

You can recall snapshots via pads on Push or from the Octatrack (or via the device itself). And recall can be quantized.

That means you can create structures by modifying parameters, call them up quickly (on the beat, if you choose), and then use your free hands to improvise still more. As is often the case, adding more structure has the opposite impact of facilitating more improvisation.

If you don’t own Max, a standalone copy is available.

The patch is now in beta. It’s not available widely (apart from on request), but we hear it’s coming soon.

But all of this is also a great excuse to discover the output of a rich group of producers from Uruguay. Our friend Cooptrol has put together a compilation of 26 artists dubbed Misterio.

Amigos de Cooptrol (Friends of Cooptrol) is a compilation of Uruguayan electronic music artists. The purpose of this compilation is to integrate and promote artists from the Uruguayan electronic music scene. These 26 tracks were produced exclusively for this compilation. The artists were given two simple guidelines: to make a “misterious” track, and to keep its duration under 3.30 minutes. The tracks are in alphabetical order of artist names. If you click on each track you can see the artist info and image.

It’s beautiful and diverse — and it includes the track seen here. Give it a listen:

Misterio by Amigos de Cooptrol


The post Watch Ableton Push Tame Elektrons Live, Hear Music from Uruguay appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Novation’s Launchpad Grid, Now in Color, for Ableton or iPad

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out.

But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification.

The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback.

Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute studio setup and a live performance by Buddy Peace:

That basic model does quite a lot.

Beginners: For beginners, you get a lot of bundles. Live Lite, a gig of samples, and the Bass Station plug-in are included.

Ableton Live users: In Ableton Live, you’re pre-mapped to Drum Racks, mixing, and Max for Live.

iPad owners: And this is a grid that works with just about anything. Ableton Live is the original use case, but the driverless model plugs into an iPad, too. There’s official support for Novation’s own Launchpad app.

Advanced users, customization: Linux, Windows, other apps, all work, too, because the Launchpad has class-compliant drivers. This hardware has also been well supported by the community for apps ranging from Bitwig to Renoise, partly because of its low cost. Because it’s simple to program, it’s a great choice for Max and Pd and Reaktor patchers, too.

But that’s all true of the whole family at the moment.

So, is this the Launchpad I’d get? Absolutely not.

Wait, what?

Yeah, I have to admit, I think Novation has nailed it with two models. The Launchpad Mini is incredibly small, so for a dead-simple grid to just toss in a bag, I’d opt for that model — partly because I don’t need all those colors. The Pro, meanwhile, is brilliant in that it works with MIDI, and much to my surprise will support standalone operation. It’s not necessarily the most responsive controller in terms of pressure sensitivity (I still like Push and Maschine for that, or the Linnstrument if I want to get really serious). But it may prove to be the most versatile. There’s more to say about the Pro, but expect our review as they arrive this summer. (I got to play with a prototype, alongside our own MeeBlip, this summer.)

All that said, I’m sure the RGB Launchpad will be perfect for some. And Novation has done a superb job of rounding out their lineup with options for every use case, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. That lets you be modular and carry just what you need, and that, I think, is a very good thing.

Plus, I still can’t kill my original Launchpad (serial #7, believe it or not), even after copious amounts of abuse. So I think putting your faith in this line isn’t a big risk.

Ableton’s Push remains the hardware to beat as an expressive instrument with lots of other features. But it’s not much use outside of Ableton, it’s not available in anything other than the flagship model, and it’s heavy (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re next DJ gig involves Ryanair).

Novation at the moment has pretty much every other possible base covered.

Now I just have to bide my time waiting for that Pro model.


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