Controlling MIDI in Ableton Live with a Video Game Controller

joystick ableton
Get your video game controller to do stuff in Live.
DO WHY? Because doing so is awesome. Duh!
DO HOW? This is where it gets tricky. But not that tricky.

MIDI or KEY mapping? Key mapping alone is groovy, but you are limited to toggling between two values. That’s no fun for a filter sweep! With 0-127 ranges you can map that analog joystick to control knobs and faders with full precision.

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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+ <<<—

Handy Tip: Custom Metronome Sounds in Ableton

Sick of the default Ableton metronome sound?

Since it is already described more eloquently than i could, i recommend Sonic Bloom’s nifty guide:

Do that thing.

Here’s what my current metronome sounds like.


Updated set of free special racks to economize cpu: “The Enablerz”

“The Enablerz”

The Enablerz browser image
What they are:  An Ableton Live rack (one each for effects in audio tracks, effects in return tracks, midi effects, and midi instruments)  used to temporarily disable devices without deleting them, thereby freeing up some ever-precious CPU.

Features:  Frees up CPU of contained racks. Click-free realtime operation (feel free to enable/disable while audio is routing through). Input Trim & Output Gains.The Enablerz - Track

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Limitization – 3 free Limiter Devices for Ableton Live 9

Francis Preve ( ) posted something which inspired me to make Glue Compressor- and Saturator- based limiter device presets using their clipper functions. I went ahead and made them as one-knob fx as there weren’t too many parameters to deal with. I also decided to make a device similar to the performodule “hybrid” compressors which can be used to compare between the 3 limiter possibilities (calibrated with matching settings) in one device rack, which is a real time-saver. That one also has control over fine-tuning parameters for fully robust usage.

How to use: place one of these devices as the final device on a master track for a final master. Turn up the “push” knob to the desired setting (maximum is +9db). Try to boost it while avoiding any unpleasant distortion. The final output will not exceed 0db.
I would describe the GluLimiter as rich, the SatuLimiter as meaty, and Ableton’s Limiter as straightforward.
For the Try Limiter: Set the push knob as above. Try the 3 limiter choices and decide which one fits the piece most appropriately. Try different settings for attack and release (including auto-release if desired), and you can set the final output from -.5 to -.2 db. One workflow method is to turn push all the way up so the effect is extreme, set attack and release where they feel the most natural and dynamic, and then turn push back down to the ideal value. Then choose the limiter type that has the favorite character at those settings.
(turning the “chooz” knob during playback can cause an unwanted temporary peak. If that happens hit “shift-spacebar” twice to reset your peak meters)

Get the single-knob GluLimiter:

Get the single-knob SatuLimiter:

Get the triple-auditioning Try Limiter:

Performodule Fx



How to Organize User & Plugin Presets Like a Boss in Ableton 9 Using the Hidden Architecture

Problem: Hot-swapping… have to navigate to all these different folders. Wah! So annoying. End up neglecting certain folders of presets due to their unfortunate locations. Presets get sad and lonely, and begin to wither.

Ableton 9 has a built-in secret “Folder Architecture”. Fiddling around with how things appear in the browser i discovered that if you make a folder with the same name as one of the built-in categories (for instance: “Amp Simulation”) in your User Library Presets folders, any presets in that folder will appear in the respective folder of the same name in the “Categories” pane of the browser (instrument, drum, audio effect, or midi effect racks). Customizing this way provides more unified access to all factory and user-created content in the same location, which makes my life easier. If i want an amp coloration effect preset, for instance, i have one single folder i can open up where i see all user AND factory presets (and even vst and max for live presets) all in one nice list together, easy to hot-swap and preview amongst. How to do this? Simply save files in your user library, organized however you like, but in folders with specific names. That’s all! The text has to be verbatim. There are only certain folder names you can use, which i figured out with experimentation.  Continue reading