Ready to get more control – without a computer or mouse – using Ableton Push 3 in standalone mode? We’ve got some hacks for advanced parameter mapping from our friends Darren of Isotonik Studios and Elisabeth Homeland. And there’s a free download – no Max skills required.

We’re steadily building a guide to getting the most out of Ableton Push (all versions), Max for Live, and Push 3 in both controller and standalone modes. (Full links below.) But standalone operation is what I know a lot of you are keen on – which means some new considerations.

I’ve been talking a lot to Darren E Cowley of Isotonik Studios about this, as Darren has been assembling a video how-to series. This gets a little more advanced, and I think qualifies as a hack – but there’s some fun stuff here, and even if you’re not quite ready to dive into Max patching yourself, there’s a downloadable device you can play around with. Darren has worked with Isotonik Collective member Elisabeth Homeland for the patching.

I’ll flip the order here and start with the simpler example, just mapping to parameters. The conventional Ableton Live approach is built around the computer display and pointer – you have to click on a “map” button and then the parameter.

Here, watch what happens when you grab the parameter directly. Look, ma – no mouse!

Dig a little further, and you’ll see how it all works under the hood.

In the other video, Darren goes a bit deeper, including a hack to “safely” handle unmapping the control if a mapped Device is unexpectedly deleted. (Basically, think of it like the eject button for a USB stick or that stop button on a CDJ.)

There’s a lot of fun stuff here, though. Get a load of a Max for Live device that uses Push’s button grid to make big targets for audio tracks, with a visual metronome, big 3×3 record arm input and clip recording triggers, and monitoring and control indicators.

Again, you can watch to the end for all the secrets of how they pulled this off. I expect we’ll see a lot more of this, especially if Ableton expands Max for Live integration with Push and adapts the API to enable more possibilities in standalone mode. In the meantime, this is already fun — and it’s downloadable.

Dividing up the grid into triggers this way is especially interesting. Among other live use cases, I remember the Glitch Mob a really long time ago used Lemur touch controllers – the original standalone JazzMutant hardware, pre-iPhone/iPad – with big triggers they could easily hit, even with drumsticks. (See some now-ancient documentation.)

Get the download

The device is totally free, thanks to Isotonik and Elisabeth Homeland:

What does it do? Well, whatever they keep adding to it. (Now we’re talking!) You already get those custom triggers for the Note layout on Audio tracks (where the grid normally goes unused), plus the ability to grab parameters on the fly.

You’ll need Ableton Live 10 or greater, with Max for Live installed (on its own with Standard or via Suite).

More stuff by Elisabeth Homeland

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Learn more about Push 3

Here’s our evolving guide. A good place to start:

A launch breakdown of Push 3, including standalone mode, as a primer:

And some ideas for how to use this in your musical workflow: