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.


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.


Thanks to nerk for this one!