Get Your Ableton Grids in Order, Free, with Launchsync

In live electronic music, the endless free expanse of the computer screen tends to run up against the limited ability of your brain to tell just which freakin’ track am I on, anyway? In the studio, it can be annoying. Live onstage, it can be train wreck-inducing. Ableton Live’s Session View has for years exacerbated this problem. You can limit your options to eight (or even four) tracks. But that doesn’t always work. You might need more than eight tracks for particular routings of audio or MIDI. And unless you use Device Racks and chains, you’ll also need extra tracks …


MIDI Controller with Loads of Faders, Knobs, App Support: Livid DS1 on Preorder [Gallery]

The world has no shortage of MIDI controllers. There are big ones, small ones. There are, increasingly, loads of specialized controllers designed around apps. The DS1 is designed to be something different: it’s a mixing controller. And as conceived in a partnership between educational studio Dubspot and Austin, Texas boutique builder Livid Instruments, it’s meant to mix in any app. It’s a mixer for prodution, but also for DJing. With templates for a variety of tools, it’s made to be as comfortable in Traktor as in Ableton Live as in Logic. We’ve still yet to test whether it delivers on …


Scratch Anything, in a $20 Plug-in: MIDI, Turntables, and Hosts Like Ableton Meet

Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration. But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project. It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s …


VJ App VDMX Adds Automatic BPM Detection, Lovely Effect, Controller Features

Quick intro to Waveclock automatic BPM detection in VDMX from VIDVOX on Vimeo. Fingers getting repetitive stress injuries from manually tapping out tempos? Pay attention. The popular Mac live visual tool VDMX has long been the deep powerhouse of the VJ app field, with extensive modularity and customizability. Its newest update adds some major progress in synchronization and control, plus a rich set of new effects (ones regular CDM readers will no doubt recognize). The headline feature is BPM sync. The fruits of a collaboration with Wavesum, VDMX now integrates one-click automatic tempo detection inside the software. (See the video …


Hands-on with Livid Base Controller, and Streamlined Control of Ableton Live [Musikmesse]

One highlight of Musikmesse for me was getting to catch up with Jay Smith of Livid Instruments. Base, their touch controller (grid plus touch strips), is even more appealing in person than online. And it seems like it could really sit in a niche in controllers, even with lots of grids out there these days. By comparison, Novation’s new Launchpad S, while much cheaper, lacks pressure sensitivity. And Ableton’s Push also leaves plenty of room for Base. Push I still think is a terrific controller, even as it has some growing pains with its initial launch – I’ve had some …


Grids for Visuals: OhmRGB, Block Meet Vdmx, More Options from Livid

Livid Instruments is now best known as a “music” controller maker, but the DNA of the company comes from live visuals. Accordingly, the OhmRGB looks a bit like a visual controller – banks of faders on the left and right of a grid, crossfader, and groups of parameter controls all give you a hint that you might use this for two-channel visuals. The makers of Vdmx have a terrific, detailed tutorial on mapping OhmRGB to their popular semi-modular Mac visual software. Two Channel Video Mixer template for Livid OhmRGB Slim It’s just a test, but there’s also some wonderful mayhem …


Spray Cans and Beamers: Urban Projection Mixes Pixels, Live Mural Painting

Stylus – Episode #1: Projection Mural from Urban Projections on Vimeo. The movement forward in projection isn’t so much about projection mapping in the geometric sense as it is a chance to find a new materiality for digital imagery. In this work, the artists blend pixels and paint so that the different media can coexist. In a beautifully-documented project, Rebecca Smith and Pete Barber show off their technique for mixing live mural painting with projection and – via stylus – “digital drawing.” Thanks, Bec, for sending this info CDM. The artists, based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire [UK], write: S T Y …

RGB color grid? Mais ouis! Here, though, add in velocity-sensitive touch strips, too. Product photos courtesy Livid Instruments.

Livid Base: Colored Pads Meet Touch Faders, $399 [Gallery]

So, other than lots of new analog monosynths, the one thing we now have lots of is grids of RGB pads. Livid is betting you want your touch-sensitive, pressure-sensitive pads paired with some touch faders. So, unlike offerings like KMI’s QuNeo and Ableton’s Push, the grid at the bottom is coupled up with a set of strips for fader control at the top. That opens up some flexibility for expression or as a control surface. Specs: 4×8 grid = 32 pads (so, two groups of 16 pads if you want to think of it that way). Nine touch sliders. Eight …


Faders, Pads, Knobs: Livid’s Alias 8 is a Bread-and-Butter Controller With Things You Actually Want

As controllers get wild and creative and integrated with software, here’s one that might be simple and versatile enough to work with anything for some time. Photos courtesy Livid Instruments. Finally: a boring controller. No, that’s a good thing. We’re in an amazing era of controller hardware, witnessing an explosion of kit with fancy features, tight integration with software, and slick oceans of colored LEDs packed with sophisticated sensors. Only… wait a minute. Sometimes, you want something fairly generic that maps easily to a variety of software, not just the new Abletive Tracktletron DJ Studio Pro Scratchly Edition. Something with …

Crafted from aluminum, this DIY controller puts some of the store-bought options to shame. Photo by the creator, Adam Dzak.

DIY Maven: Apollo 13 is a Beautiful, Handmade Aluminum Ableton Live Controller

Years ago, when the phrase “controllerism” was still yet-to-be-coined and there was no official hardware for Ableton Live, DJ Sasha had one hell of a custom piece of kit. The Maven featured oversize, hard-to-disconnect plugs and beautiful metal hardware. Years later, it’d still make any Ableton user drool. What’s a Live user to do? Stop drooling, and start building. DIYer and musician Adam Dzak did just that. He created his own MIDI controller, constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, and used Ableton Live scripting to tailor control to software. The result is something a bit like the APC40 made by Ableton and …