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.

accessorycontrolseditor

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.

More:

http://www.nativekontrol.com/DDC.html

Thanks to nerk for this one!

  • I’ve finally found something faster than CDM :))))

    Nice solution when working with channel strips or using only one device as your bread & butter.

    What I’d love to do with it would be mapping – for example – both ableton’s analog and operator to my novation sl mk2 the way that it would autmatically detect which map to use… That would allow kind of instrument-ish workflow with a standard midi controller.

    It’s nice to use two DDC scripts at once with one controller. Like being able to map faders to DDC1, and potentiometers to DDC2. This allows to switch their functionality independently – you get 8 pages of faders and 8 pages of potis.

    Great stuff. I hope the development continues, as Stray wrote somewhere that “it’s a part of a bigger project”.

    • stoersignal

      if i understood stray correctly the bigger project is a newer, more complex version of MapEase. anyway, can`t wait to see what`s coming 🙂

  • Igor Warzocha

    I’ve finally found something faster than CDM :))))

    Nice solution when working with channel strips or using only one device as your bread & butter.

    What I’d love to do with it would be mapping – for example – both ableton’s analog and operator to my novation sl mk2 the way that it would autmatically detect which map to use without sacrificing a control surface slot, a midi channel and time for mapping… That would allow kind of instrument-ish workflow with a standard midi controller.

    It’s nice to use two DDC scripts at once with one controller. Like being able to map faders to DDC1, and potentiometers to DDC2. This allows to switch their functionality independently – you get 8 pages of faders and 8 pages of potis. Especially if you have remote SL with LCD display with encoders still working as intended remote surface (lcd feedback), and potis + faders acting as another control surface. This way you get 3 blue hands from one controller, plus clever DDC mapping solutions.

    Great stuff. I hope the development continues, as Stray wrote somewhere that “it’s a part of a bigger project”.

    • stoersignal

      if i understood stray correctly the bigger project is a newer, more complex version of MapEase. anyway, can`t wait to see what`s coming 🙂

  • I’ve finally found something faster than CDM :))))

    Nice solution when working with channel strips or using only one device as your bread & butter.

    What I’d love to do with it would be mapping – for example – both ableton’s analog and operator to my novation sl mk2 the way that it would autmatically detect which map to use without sacrificing a control surface slot, a midi channel and time for mapping… That would allow kind of instrument-ish workflow with a standard midi controller.

    It’s nice to use two DDC scripts at once with one controller. Like being able to map faders to DDC1, and potentiometers to DDC2. This allows to switch their functionality independently – you get 8 pages of faders and 8 pages of potis. Especially if you have remote SL with LCD display with encoders still working as intended remote surface (lcd feedback), and potis + faders acting as another control surface. This way you get 3 blue hands from one controller, plus clever DDC mapping solutions.

    Great stuff. I hope the development continues, as Stray wrote somewhere that “it’s a part of a bigger project”.

    • stoersignal

      if i understood stray correctly the bigger project is a newer, more complex version of MapEase. anyway, can`t wait to see what`s coming 🙂

  • heinrichz

    very interesting.. are there any Maschine templates?

  • heinrichz

    very interesting.. are there any Maschine templates?

  • heinrichz

    very interesting.. are there any Maschine templates?

  • Matt Ogaz

    This is cool, but it looks like it still only works on the selected track.

    What I really want to do is automatically map the first 3 macro controls of the first effect/instrument rack on each of the first 8 tracks of a live set to the lower 24 knobs on my BCR2000. First column of knobs to track one, second column to track two, etc. This would give me immediate control of parameters on multiple tracks at once. Right now I have to manually map each live set. I haven’t yet found the tool that will do this.

    • James

      I think you could do this. Just name the racks separately and plug them into the editor. You could even name the groups in the editor vertically Macro 1,2,3. Then lock the assignments to different tracks. You might even find a way to script the lock button such that it didn’t require an assignment. Just a hunch, as I am just like you making sure I understand how groups, pages, and separate DDC control surfaces play a role in organizing assignments.

  • Matt Ogaz

    This is cool, but it looks like it still only works on the selected track.

    What I really want to do is automatically map the first 3 macro controls of the first effect/instrument rack on each of the first 8 tracks of a live set to the lower 24 knobs on my BCR2000. First column of knobs to track one, second column to track two, etc. This would give me immediate control of parameters on multiple tracks at once. Right now I have to manually map each live set. I haven’t yet found the tool that will do this.

    • James

      I think you could do this. Just name the racks separately and plug them into the editor. You could even name the groups in the editor vertically Macro 1,2,3. Then lock the assignments to different tracks. You might even find a way to script the lock button as a start-up action such that it didn’t require an assignment. Just a hunch, as I am just like you making sure I understand how groups, pages, and separate DDC control surfaces play a role in organizing assignments.

  • Matt Ogaz

    This is cool, but it looks like it still only works on the selected track.

    What I really want to do is automatically map the first 3 macro controls of the first effect/instrument rack on each of the first 8 tracks of a live set to the lower 24 knobs on my BCR2000. First column of knobs to track one, second column to track two, etc. This would give me immediate control of parameters on multiple tracks at once. Right now I have to manually map each live set. I haven’t yet found the tool that will do this.

    • James

      I think you could do this. Just name the racks separately and plug them into the editor. You could even name the groups in the editor vertically Macro 1,2,3. Then lock the assignments to different tracks. You might even find a way to script the lock button as a start-up action such that it didn’t require an assignment. Just a hunch, as I am just like you making sure I understand how groups, pages, and separate DDC control surfaces play a role in organizing assignments.

  • James

    reminds me of this earlier article

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2015/08/custom-minimoog-controller-reminder-hardware-software-go-hand-hand/

    In as much as I’ve focused more on finding that perfectly ubiquitous controller: fader channels neatly in a row. But with splayed out controls for software, I might want to either make something or look at devices that have a unique layout.

    You know, I had long found the interface of operator-it’s austerity imitating the overall aesthetic of ableton-to simply not translate to it’s power. I like my synths to look odd whereas I like the monochrome, muted design of ableton. But with the commercial controller options available, that conformity might make finding the right dedicated controller a bit easier.

  • James

    reminds me of this earlier article

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2015/08/custom-minimoog-controller-reminder-hardware-software-go-hand-hand/

    In as much as I’ve focused more on finding that perfectly ubiquitous controller: fader channels neatly in a row. But with blown out controls for software, I might want to either make something or look at devices that have a unique layout like this one for minimoog.

    You know, I had long found the interface of operator-it’s austerity imitating the overall aesthetic of ableton-to simply not translate to it’s power and ease of inspiration. Whereas I like the monochrome, muted design of ableton, I like my synths to look odd and idiosyncratic. But with the commercial options available, that conformity might make finding the right dedicated controller a bit easier.

  • James

    reminds me of this earlier article

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2015/08/custom-minimoog-controller-reminder-hardware-software-go-hand-hand/

    In as much as I’ve focused more on finding that perfectly ubiquitous controller: fader channels neatly in a row. But with blown out controls for software, I might want to either make something or look at devices that have a unique layout like this one for minimoog.

    You know, I had long found the interface of operator-it’s austerity imitating the overall aesthetic of ableton-to simply not translate to it’s power and ease of inspiration. Whereas I like the monochrome, muted design of ableton, I like my synths to look odd and idiosyncratic. But with the commercial options available, that conformity might make finding the right dedicated controller a bit easier.