Photo (CC) Brendan Dawes.

It’s round, it’s mechanically-resistant, it’s tangible, it supports multi-touch and gestures. Yep – it’s the turntable, and outdoing it would mean reinventing the wheel, literally. And so it is that more than a few Ableton fans have wondered how they might work vinyl into their software axe of choice.

Ableton and digital vinyl vendor Serato have announced they’re doing “something,” and then announced at the beginning of October that an announcement would be announced on January 14, 2010 at NAMM. Oh, and they said it will “unleash your creativity,” which sounds good. (It’s better than, say, “Ableton and Serato’s creative partnership will unleash two dozen angry badgers,” or “if you own Ableton Live, what we will say in 2010 is that we will unleash an unspeakable, nameless evil, known only to the ancients, which shall bring about the endtimes.”)

Here’s the surprise – you likely won’t have to wait for Serato to get integrated digital vinyl control. It’s already working with Ms. Pinky, and that means more choice, more DIY possibilities, and a broader variety of ways to integrate turntables and Live.

You see, there’s this little thing called Max for Live, which allows the use of Max patches inside Live as seamless instruments and effects. And one of the best – if least-known – vinyl control systems out there has long featured Max integration: Ms. Pinky. People have already made use of VST plug-in integration, but because Max for Live also connects to the Live API for control of Live itself, the functionality of the two can be expanded.


Via our friend Luthier.Lab, we get a first look at the Ms. Pinky plug-in. And this should be just the beginning, as Ms. Pinky and its Max/MSP support could be a great construction kit for building your own solution – something that may not be possible with Serato.

Ms.PinkyforLive [Luthier.Lab – en EspaΓ±ol]
Google Translate (which has some very funny ideas about how to translate Spanish)
Discussion on the Ms. Pinky forum

While you ponder the possibilities, it’s time for a video from Daito Manabe demonstrating that not all turntablists sound quite the same.


  • f.e

    Villalobos would not be happy to know this πŸ™‚ Good old turntables into what ? Ableton Live ? Everything goes wrong these days…

  • Actually, for that, I'd suggest File > Render As Vinyl.

    Okay, if we could magically do that, that'd admittedly be pretty cool…

  • f.e

    That would be MAGIC

  • Danny P

    Max 4 Live needs to get released already, Seriously. Over 10 months since its announcement….

  • Danny, we should have more to share on that soon… I think it's safe to say they intend to release it. πŸ˜‰

  • ~.jsph

    Too bad I just sold my turntables. :-

    I'm jumping on Max for live ASAP.

    Good to know ms. pinky is m4l ready.

    Hopefully others will make their pluggos

    available on max for live because some of

    my favorites are hopelessly crashing live 8.

  • Back at the original announcement, the word was that some of the Pluggo patches would be ported to the new environment. Others are likely to be lost, though.

    Of course, this is just one example of what can be done with this sort of software in general — bigger than Ms. Pinky, bigger, indeed, than Max for Live. Once you start customizing your own inputs, you can really reimagine any software.

  • bitmap

    m4l really needs to come out soon.

    i hope the at least open up the beta to a wider group soon.

  • Very Special Thanks Peter!

    And guys don't forget that maxipatch Ao Beta sends midi (7/14 bits data) and OSC to ANY HOST.

    Logic seems a good target too…


  • I've been thinking about this recently. Even without M4L, it shouldn't be hugely difficult to control a great number of Ableton parameters using just maxipatch midi outs in via midipipe. Maybe that will be my weekend…

  • why is the turntable that way round?

  • Elbow

    The turntable is 'that way round' because the guy is probably a hip-hop/scratch dj type and they turn the decks sideways so that they have clear access to grab and 'scratch' the record without knocking into the tonearm. However, you have to reach over the tone arm to pitch the record up and down.

  • f.e

    Slighlty OT : about MaxForLive, it still drives me mad when i load my beautiful synths and effects i made with pluggo that i can use in ANY DAW on any platform… I really don't want to work with Live, i crave for a damn MaxForEverything. I'm a heavy MaxMSP long time user and i feel a bit betrayed, if i may say.

  • Continue using maxmsp standalone. It is linkable…

    Another option (that we was discussing in the past at CDM) is switch to another platform…

    I still hope any kind of programers develop a stretched matrix clip with volume control and so on… to defeat ableton (maybe standalone, maybe with Logic Mainstage 2.0)

    Continue working, sometimes software could be frustrating…

  • 4lefts

    that video was the business.

  • Leon Trimble

    Ableton and Serato’s creative partnership will unleash two dozen angry badgers – great! i say sample the feckers…

  • Right, I think if you want to run absolutely everywhere, you'd go with open source. You can even think of it in practical terms – literally, this is the power to compile the software for any device. It's not a philosophical question; it's a matter of fact. And as far as plug-ins, Pd runs as a VST, SuperCollider as an AU, and other things are possible, as well. And for that reason, and because it's often really easy to port simple patches between Max and Pd, it's really worth a look at Pd if you're a Max user, even if only as a tool to add to your arsenal.

    That said, if it's just a matter of creating instruments and effects for another DAW, I think plug-ins aren't always the most productive angle. Pd and SC do have these plug-in versions, but a lot of people use them with JACK on Mac and Linux. So, for Max, I'd absolutely try standalone, and consider whether there's a good way to integrate that standalone version with what you're doing.

    It's also worth noting that REAPER and (via SynthMaker) FL Studio each have their own take on how to integrate construction kits, each with their own advantages.

  • Mário

    Ms Pinky and Live? I would be surprised if they will try to do what i'm doing right now, make a software that can integrate, the vynil as an audio input for your computer and then work with the music coming from the 12" records, and i think that is what's going to happen, since live and serato are in this together, insted of having the turntable has a controller for your mp3's why not have a digital system that can emulate the most powerfull dj software and combine it with the old vynil sound? probably in 1 year i can have mine working.. but lets se what they're going to do!

  • I'm not sure Mario but nowadays I could merge classical vinyl with vinyl control and midi/osc output… and Ableton/Logic as sampler.

    There are all the possibilities, what do you need?

  • Mário

    Mudo, i was thinking instead of using something like serato or tracktor with the turntables as a controller for the mp3's why not have the turntables as a direct audio input in the software (of course it has to be another one) and use the same features as serato and tracktor and many more with this new program, this is more intended for the people that still like to play with the 12" records and don't want to turn to the all digital side, the point is you can merge the two sides of it into one completely differente program.

  • How to send Control data into any host (ableton, serato and so on) and maintain audio from your turntable trought software?

    Got I the idea?

    I'm really confused about your needs and develop…

    I could switch between "digital" Ms. Pinky control media and "classical" analog vinyl (I love their stability :P).

    I could sample, remix and mash up digital/analog media.

    What is your new feature?

    (Don't take it as a personal doubt, I'm just curious because I could give you some help, I hope)


  • f.e

    OT again, sorry for that. @Peter & Mudo : PD is not even close to Max, really. SC is very different, i use it but inside Max, as i do with RTCMix. But that's not the point, i've learned, used and teached Max for years and i still want to use it, period. I don't get how they can discard a widely used export format like VST/RTAS (and the idea of a working bridge toward numerous DAW) for a specific one to Ableton ?? BTW, Jack doesn't work on my PC, and rewire is still a one way ticket…

  • @f.e: You can do inter-app MIDI on PC with something like LoopBe, and inter-app audio with ReRoute (just download Reaper to get it).

    But yes, back to the original point, it's quite unfortunate — as I had noted previously — that VST got dropped. Not everyone uses Live.

    Pd is quite a lot like Max, though. Max/MSP and Pd are almost identical in their object support. Max certainly has a huge edge in usability as far as the UI, and I think Pd won't ever replicate its interface exactly. On the other hand, Pd is now developing a new UI system and plug-in architecture for customizing the UI. That may not make you *switch from* Max but it does mean Pd is becoming a more viable option or complement to what you're already doing.

  • Oh, and did you try the JACK Windows port? It's not nearly as mature as the Mac/Linux versions, I know…

  • I love pd too…

  • I salivate whenever I start contemplating what an ableton-serato collaboration would bring. Here's how I see it: this implementation here doesn't seem to have mch beyond the equivalent vst plugin pinky, namely an ableton integrated mp3 turntable. I'd like to see a more fundamental progression from ableton: make individual tracks follow different assignable tempo signatures, rather than force each to align to the master tempo. Live can already do this in a fashion by assigning a clip as the master tempo (so the human character of recorded drums can drive the swing and groove of the whole piece). But right now, the sole exception to master tempo is simply to turn warping off, which isn't very satisfying. Not very creative. So imagine if live, set at so master tempo, could take a timing signal from a record as well. Then you could loop drum breaks with tempo synct fx or whatnot as usual, but use a turntable to scratch say a freshly sampled piano clip. Or play two clips at two arbitrary bpms; there's plenty of loopable material that doesn't need a strict adherence to a single tempo to produce Harmonious results… So that's my suggestion/prediction, for what's it worth…

  • @Lokey: that should be possible via the Live API and Max for Live, just for what it's worth. And of course, this means that while the Serato-Ableton collaboration will work out of the box, if it turns out *not* to be quite what you expected, you (or someone else) may be able to hack it. πŸ˜‰

  • Nowadays is not more than pinkyvst integrate because Ableton doesn't open clip direct drop or something else (scott try to talk with them and no response) but… not all is lost…

    Solutions are coming, be patient!


  • Mário

    To Mudo:

    The thing that i want to it's not to use the turntables as a controller device, i will try to explain it to you,

    Imagine you're a dj and those sound effects built-in the mixer are boring, so you want something new? Instead of having a a analogue or digital mixer, why not have a (for example) one made in max msp with completly new effects? (ex granular) and still maintain the sound of the 12", and while you''re mixing the music you simultaneously create new beats (i'm talking about a granular drum machine) and use a generative music program?

    Got the ideia?

    Well this is in what in working on!


  • Yes, I was wondering about your words and I want to understand this…

    You could do it nowadays with maxforlive or maxmsp/pd and so on… (maybe with comercial closed plugs too)

    What it concern to this article?

    In the other hand… please share your work of course… but maybe at the correct place, no?


  • Mário

    It concerns that they maybe will try to do something like what i explained (but i maybe wrong, i don't know it was just a sugestion of what they would probably do).

    And yes of course, and the program is finished i will share it on the correct place!


  • They Ms. Pinky? They cycling? They Serato? They Ableton?

    Ms. Pinky is porting her software into maxforlive and (waiting to Ableton) she could give control from dvs to any maxforlive assignable command.

    With maxforlive (and maxmsp too nowadays) somebody could make that you want because it is equal plug a turntable or not… you are talking about audio input.

    Of course any kind of fx is interesant but, ¿Why all in one?

    Make your patch/approarch and people will choose the "way of use" (or abuse :P)


  • justjon

    what on gods green earth is vinyl?

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  • Pasar Ireng

    very interesting…(sorry to jump in very late tho.. LOL)