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Augmenting Ableton: 5 Creative Tips With External Devices


One of the most fun ways to use a DAW is to add outboard devices – synths, MIDI controllers, and more. Today’s article is a guest post from Ableton Certified Trainer Mark Burnett sharing a few clever ways to use out-of-the-box devices alongside Live. Keep reading to learn how to experiment with MIDI-mapped VSTs, triggering FX with external sequencers, and more.

Why Experiment With Ableton + External Gear?

You might have experimented with MIDI controllers and run external synths through Ableton Live. Only when you start getting to grips with some of the more advanced capabilities will you have begun your journey down the rabbit hole. Be it hacking an old drum machine to act as a MIDI controller, or mashing together the signals of different external devices to create a Frankenstein’s monster of a synth, Ableton brings nearly endless possibilities to the table.

Apart from being a lot of fun, getting ‘off-grid’ with a hacked sequencer, or having a completely unique synth signal allows you to escape generic sounds and approaches to composition. It is this sort of experimentation that leads you to those bespoke beats and unique sounds that will give your music its own identity. So here are five tips for stepping outside the box with Ableton Live. (If you find yourself wanting more there’s an entire course available here)

Get creative, be inspired, go all the way!

Tip 1: Map VSTs to MIDI Controllers

What? There are many ways to route and manipulate MIDI information in Ableton Live. This tip is especially useful if you want to create customised Live devices for your favourite virtual instruments. Using this technique, it is