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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

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

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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.

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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.

nexus5_editingclips

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.

Pricing:

The app is free, with most of the functionality included. You add US$4.99 for each of the following modules (this really cries out for a bundle, I think):

MIDI Controller (that’s the layout with all the knobs and whatnot)
X/Y controller
Matrix
MIDI Pads

Also, here are some demo videos for you. With KORG volca series:

And Ableton Live:

More:
http://www.imaginando.pt/

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  • Richard Ellicott

    u want push to work while your computer is off?

    • Bobby A

      yes please. at least as a dumb midi controller, if not something a little smarter.

      • Richard Ellicott

        it seems strange to me,

        you wanting midi controllers is to me just an activity of collecting shit you can play with when there are many other products for that purpose

        what’s the actual point of not using a computer?

  • Richard Ellicott

    u want push to work while your computer is off?

    • Bobby A

      yes please. at least as a dumb midi controller, if not something a little smarter.

      • Richard Ellicott

        it seems strange to me,

        you wanting midi controllers is to me just an activity of collecting shit you can play with when there are many other products for that purpose

        what’s the actual point of not using a computer?

  • Freeks

    Rather expensive for iPhone controller. TouchAble mini is 9€ and probably does all that too.

    Title was really weird:”Now you can control MIDI and Ableton from your iPhone”

    As like we have not been doing that for many years now.

  • Freeks

    Rather expensive for iPhone controller. TouchAble mini is 9€ and probably does all that too.

    Title was really weird:”Now you can control MIDI and Ableton from your iPhone”

    As like we have not been doing that for many years now.

  • heinrichz

    Great, this will make my 6plus useful in the studio..i guess its size will come in handy for once:)

  • heinrichz

    Great, this will make my 6plus useful in the studio..i guess its size will come in handy for once:)

  • Jonathan Hart

    Is the advantage over Touchable being that you can do direct MIDI connections without a computer as the host? Does anyone know of a good Lightning to MIDI adaptor that does MIDI out please?

    • Nuno Santos

      Yes, you can play with both at the same time and toggle between them instantly. You have iRigMidi 2 from IK Multimedia but you can also connect any USB to MIDI interface if you have a camera kit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFKUaEzT-7o

  • Jonathan Hart

    Is the advantage over Touchable being that you can do direct MIDI connections without a computer as the host? Does anyone know of a good Lightning to MIDI adaptor that does MIDI out please?

  • KID

    All these features are only available as in-app purchases.

  • KID

    All these features are only available as in-app purchases.

  • lockgroove

    touchAble Mini on my iphone 4 does all of that very well , bought it a year ago…anyway competition is not a bad thing.

  • lockgroove

    touchAble Mini on my iphone 4 does all of that very well , bought it a year ago…anyway competition is not a bad thing.

  • partofthepuzzle

    Peter, I think it this would be a more realistic and informative article if you listed all of the features that require in-app purchases and how much they cost. I couldn’t find that info on the imaginando web site. Thanks!

  • partofthepuzzle

    Peter, I think it this would be a more realistic and informative article if you listed all of the features that require in-app purchases and how much they cost. I couldn’t find that info on the imaginando web site. Thanks!

  • Vladimir

    Most midi control surface apps (TouchOSC, TouchAble mini, Control, TouchDAW etc.) do the same things.

    This isn’t news, Peter.

    • Not one of those is both an Ableton and a generic MIDI controller in the same way. And of them, I believe only touchAble has wired support. Plus, the layouts here are nice. So, yes, it is news, unless the requirement of every news item is to create an entirely new product category.

      • misksound

        It’s a clean interface, definitely. though, with a Lemur and an apple CCK, you could have this and more if you wanted. Bidirectional control would take a bit of scripting. a simplified UI would take a bit of canvas wizardry as well. just downloaded it – it’s a nice contender.

  • Vladimir

    Most midi control surface apps (TouchOSC, TouchAble mini, Control, TouchDAW etc.) do the same things.

    This isn’t news, Peter.

    • Not one of those is both an Ableton and a generic MIDI controller in the same way. And of them, I believe only touchAble has wired support. Plus, the layouts here are nice. So, yes, it is news, unless the requirement of every news item is to create an entirely new product category.

      • misksound

        It’s a clean interface, definitely. though, with a Lemur and an apple CCK, you could have this and more if you wanted. Bidirectional control would take a bit of scripting. a simplified UI would take a bit of canvas wizardry as well. just downloaded it – it’s a nice contender.

  • Frank

    So the new thing about this is it can work as a standalone midi controller, right ? Apart from this, there’s nothing Touchable etc. can’t handle already or do i miss something ?

  • Frank

    So the new thing about this is it can work as a standalone midi controller, right ? Apart from this, there’s nothing Touchable etc. can’t handle already or do i miss something ?

  • WetBoy

    There’s nothing ‘free’, there’s a 7 day demo period then you buy each module separately.
    Plus this isn’t new, just the recent update provided phone support.

  • WetBoy

    There’s nothing ‘free’, there’s a 7 day demo period then you buy each module separately.
    Plus this isn’t new, just the recent update provided phone support.