“The Blue Hand” for Instant Mapping in Ableton Live

blue hand print

So you might be like “what the heck is that blue hand i keep seeing in Ableton Live?”.

The blue hand will magically take hold of the controls of the selected device… IF you have instant mapping enabled for a midi controller.

Whatever device you have last clicked on the header bar of with your mouse (or selected via key commands or midi) will have the blue hand, and will be controlled by instant mapping.

I used this guide to help me figure out how to set this up for my Novation Nocturn controller. I didn’t like the knobs being lined up numerically rather than mimicking the physical positioning of the 8 knobs in racks, so i changed the values to re-map them. I also set up my BCR-2000 controller to have a scene with a set of 8 knobs which provide instant mapping powers.

You can right-click on a device to select “lock controller” options for any available controllers. This will, as you might guess, lock that controller to controlling that device, until you deselect it. If you have more than one controller setup with instant mapping, you can have more than one blue hand. I will often temporarily lock one controller to a specific device to be able to control it while moving the view around, and using the second controller to manipulate any selected device on the fly. This is equally useful for live performance and for studio experimentation.

You can also use controllers to automatically control other things in Live.
To find out what your midi controller does in “control surface mode”, go to the menu and select “help view”.  In the  select “midi controllers” near the bottom and click on “To learn specifically about setting up MIDI control surfaces, click here.” Go to the next page and click on “Control Surface Reference“, then select your controller from the list. For these controls to operate as such, the specific controller must be selected under “midi-sync preferences”, and must not be custom-mapped.

In addition to controlling racks, you can also control any native Ableton device with a blue hand.
SO… it’s easy to control any audio effect, instrument, or midi effect rack with the blue hand if you have a controller with 8 knobs set up in a similar arrangement (2 rows of 4 knobs).
HOWEVER… it’s not at all intuitive to control devices directly with instant mapping, since it’s hard to tell which parameter is going to be affected unless you memorize them.
THEREFORE… i have made text files (just for you) which include the parameters controlled by the first 8 “instant map” knobs for each and every core Ableton device. You can reference these to see which parameters will be affected by which knob, before you even touch them. Yippee!

Here’s the lists. Click on the titles to download the text files directly:

BlueHand Controls: Audio Effects

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Announcing new “Tasty Mastering” service by PerforModule!

Announcing the official launch of Tasty Mastering by PerforModule.


After years of polishing various material for various musicians of various genres from various locations around the world, and having refined our technique and workflow to an exquisite degree for consistently tasty results, our custom hybrid analog + digital m/s mastering service is now available to the general public.

We’re offering a special launch deal (until September 1st) of only $20 to master a song (normally $40)!

Additionally, anyone purchasing mastering work will get 20% off any order at isotonikstudios.com (where PerforModule Ableton Live Packs are available as well as some insanely innovative max for live devices). Likewise, those who make any new purchase at isotonik studios will receive a discount for the tasty mastering service.

Click on the “Tasty Mastering” gif above to be transported to the Tasty Mastering website.
There is much more info there about the process and pricing as well as audio examples.

p.s. good luck finding the easter eggs on the site…

Just Possibly the Greatest Podcast Ever: The UBK Happy Funtime Hour

Just wanted to pass the word along, in case you are not already a listener, about the “UBK Happy Funtime Hour” by Gregory Scott and Nathan Daniel, which is the greatest (and only??) audio production podcast out there. It’s highly recommended!
It is informative yet goofy. It’s hard to keep track of how many useful tidbits have been garnered from listening.
In particular, i’ve reacted pleasantly various times to hearing suggestions for non-intuitive and unique techniques which happen to be things i have gleaned in my own production learning journey (which is validating both to my own process and to the authenticity of the material presented). I enjoy how the focus is on feel, results, and understanding of core concepts rather than on the [ahem] technical elitism which tends to suffuse internet forum threads.
What’s extra-groovy is that you can send in questions yourself! Go ahead and ask them a question (but make it a good one…)

In case you’re unfamiliar with Kush Audio well, now you can be.

“Maicro Management”: free fx for micro macro manipulation

You’d be surprised what impact values of less than one can sometimes have.

Sometimes you don’t want to add in a crazy, obvious change to a sound. Sometimes you need subtle precision.
Here’s an effect rack which allows for itty bitty adjustments to volume, panning, and width, as well as for adding in tiny touches of saturation, phaser, and reverb.

A few ideas for implementing “Maicro Management” effects:
-Use the volume knob to augment a volume change to have hundredths precision.
-Use the width knob to subconsciously dilate key sections to enhance drama.
-Use the panning knob to automate extremely subtle panning movement.
-Use the phaser to add a touch of life & crispness to dull material.
-Use the saturation to add in a sense of subliminal thickness.

Keep in mind, these are more practically suited for refining touches to an already mostly-complete mix than for initial drafting.

Maicro Management effect rackMacro Controls Include:

Maicro Volume: alter level by less than 1dB.

Tone: use this to set the tone response for the saturation, phaser, and reverb.

Maicro Panning: alter panning by values less than 1%.

Maicro Phaser: add in a touch of subtle phasing.

Maicro Saturate: add in a touch of gainstaged parallel saturation.

Maicro Reverb: add in subtle reverb. Can be useful to make “dry” or “thin” sounds feel like they have a “space”. The character and response of the reverb are also determined by the setting.

Maicro Width: narrow or widen the stereo field by less than 1%.

Multiplier: make the entire rack more intense in steps up to 6x. Do this to temporarily hear the result of the effects more clearly, or if you’d like the results to be not quite so subtle. By x6 the effects will have crossed well into being obviously discernible.

Click on the image above or here to grab “Maicro Management” now for absolutely free!  And enjoy it, friendly freaks!


Ableton Live Templates from Subaqueous

Reporting that Subaqueous has released 10 free template packs for Ableton Live based on songs from his latest album “Tides of Twilight”. Explore the production process from the inside out!
There are also available packs which delve even deeper into it, giving you extra tools, material, and videos.

Check out the album in its entirety for free HERE.

I personally really dig this music for being tasty and emotional, with a focus on subtle elements rather than the overt (and frankly annoying) “bro-ishness” which has been pervading popular electronic music lately.
I am way more into stuff (such as this album) which has dynamics, vibe, and heart than music which is appealing to the “lowest common denominator”. So in other words — it is highly diggable. Click the image below to be transported to the “Tides of Twilight” template packs…


-Animus of PerforModule

Free LANDR “Tone Sculptors” Ableton Live pack + other nifty stuff

I recently helped tweak and finalize a set of free audio effect racks in collaboration with online mastering service LANDR.
These are three effect racks suited for quick and easy “tone sculpting” of parts which are centered on low, mid, or high frequency ranges.

Check out the story about it and find download links here: www.ableton.com/en/blog/free-landr-tone-sculptors/
tone sculptors ableton

If you’ve never used LANDR, i highly recommend it as a way to test your mixes. Finish a mix and send it off to LANDR… listen to the master they send back to you, hear problems more clearly, and then go back to your mix and fix. It’s also a great way to get a new track ready for live performance before it has been sent off for professional mastering or officially released.

Also, check out the new ARCHIPEL ELEMENTS live pack, with drum racks featuring juicy recorded samples ranging in the 4 elements – earth, water, air and fire. Great material for sound design and experimental composition.

archipel elements
ALSO be on the lookout for the epic “DynaMixing Three” Live pack which will be releasing at isotonik studios this friday. This pack includes some of the most insane and advanced devices yet developed by PerforModule, featuring envelope followers which “automagically” adjust certain parameters in response to input characteristics. Some of these effects are “secret weapons” for sublime mixing and mastering solutions.
Check out the video overview for “DynaMixing Three” HERE.


(There is EVEN MORE incredible stuff going on behind the scenes which you will find out about soon.) 

P.S. Bonus shoutout to AFRODJMAC for being super groovy. You should totally join the afrodjmac music production club, because i said so. And because it is very affordable, and awesome.


Sometimes the simplest things are the most useful… introducing the free “Utilification” Ableton Live Pack

Here’s a {free} ableton live pack of effects that are made for simple yet extremely useful purposes, including fading, stereo panning, m/s encoding and decoding,.

It is highly recommended to grab these and implement them into your Ableton Live library.



Audio FX

“-inf to +0 Fader” — just like it says, this is a simple fader from negative infinity to zero decibels. When you want a quick and easy volume knob that goes all the way to silence and maxes out with no boost (unlike the “utility” device), use this.

“LR to MS Controller” — this will switch a Left-Right Stereo file to transmit its left channel as the sides and its right channel as the center, or you can swap those results so the right is the sides and the left becomes the center.
You can then tilt the center and sides channels, mute them, and alter their levels.

“MS to LR Controller” — this will switch a Mid-Side Stereo file to transmit its sides channel as the left and its center channel as the right, or you can swap those results so the center is the left and the sides becomes the right.
You can then tilt the left and right channels, mute them, and alter their levels.

[an example of using these controllers would be to make an MS recording into LR to be able to apply a stereo effect to it, then to return it back to MS again]

“Instant Muter” — Mutes the audio, plain and simple, the moment the knob is moved above its minimum value. Use this to be able to easily interrupt the audio flow wherever you want within a chain.

“Stereo Panner” — Allows for “stereo panning”. Using clever routing, this allows non-exclusive panning of audio wherein the content from the opposite side is moved over rather than being faded out (while maintaining overall level). This allows for more natural-sounding panning of stereo sources without losing material.
[For example, let’s say you have a stereo track with a guitar panned hard to the left side and a piano panned hard to the right. Normally if you use a pan knob to move right, the guitar sound would be lost. With this, panning right will gradually move the guitar over to the right along with the piano, rather than removing it.]

“Phase Adjust” — Select among 4 phase-flip options with one knob, and implement micro-delay to align waveforms more carefully, either between the source and the mix or between the left and right halves of the source.

“Utilify” — “Swiss army knife” which includes most of the above devices in one rack.  Use this as a more robust replacement for Ableton’s built-in Utility effect.

—>>> Download “Utilification” for Ableton Live 9 via Isotonik Sutdios <<<—

Free Ableton Live Pack: Midi Dynamics

Midi Dynamics BrowserPresenting Midi Dynamics, the latest PerforModule free pack.

It includes 4 simple yet useful devices specifically for controlling midi dynamics, and one silly device with various fun-ctions. Click image to grab!

Midi Dynamics

Included Devices:

Midi Compressor
Smooth out too-loud midi instrumentation.
Use this like you would an audio compressor, to attenuate midi notes which exceed a certain velocity. All notes exceeding the threshold will be attenuated. The further past the threshold it is and the higher the amount is set, the more a note will be attenuated. Notes below the threshold velocity will not be affected at all.
Example usage: Playing a synth instrument melody in which notes above a certain velocity become too harsh-sounding due to a filter resonance tied to the velocity. Use the midi compressor to soften only those too-harsh notes. 

Midi Expander
Smooth out too-quiet midi instrumention.
Use this like you would an audio expander, to boost midi notes which are below a certain velocity. All notes under the threshold will be boosted. The further below the threshold it is and the higher the amount is set, the more a note will be boosted. Notes above the threshold velocity will not be affected at all.
Example Usage: Trying out a melody with a different synth instrument, and the quietest notes are now much quieter than they were previously due to the new instrument’s velocity mappings. Changing the mappings or note velocities would take too much time so you just use the midi expander to lift up the quietest notes.  

[Midi Compressor and Expander Special Notes: You can use Live’s “Velocity” device by itself to attenuate or boost overall note velocity; however these devices are useful for more precise and careful dynamics control, by using the threshold to set a cutoff point. Notes nearby other notes do not affect each other’s response the way an audio compressor’s transients do, so imagine them as if they have perfectly fast & noiseless attack and release.]

Set the velocity to a specific value.
Use this when you want rigid control of the velocity of an instrument, to be able to use a knob or automation to set the level at any moment to an exact setting. This overrides input velocity and all velocity effects prior to it in the chain.

Velocity RNG
Add in a bit of random fluctuation to an instrument’s velocity.
At small amounts, this will add in a bit of “humanization” and make the playback of instruments less robotic sounding. At higher settings it will vary more sporadically, until at maximum, a note of any input velocity may result in an output of any possible velocity. Tip: record a midi track with little or no dynamic variation into another midi track, routed through this device at a low setting. The new midi track will now have random difference applied to each note.

This is a rack with various tools to quickly alter a midi instrument’s input. Macros include:
-Mutant DNA: adds in a random chance that played notes will instead “improvise” and play a different note. The higher the control is set, the more chance of a mutant note, and the further away from its original value it might stray.
-Force Scale? -Key -Major or Minor?: optionally implement a scale selector to force all notes to conform to a chosen major or minor key. Niftily see the choices in the macro control’s numerical box.
-High Octave+ -Low Octave+: Blend in added octave notes (Make sure the instrument you are using has enough voices enabled to cover the added notes).
-Random Velocity: adds in velocity flux just like the “Velocity RNG” device.
-Dynamics: the default position for this is in the middle (63.5). Turn this up to drive overall note velocity; turn it down to soften overall note velocity.