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Manipulate Audio Routing in Ableton w/ MIDI [How to]

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:08 am
by dr.mysterium
A.K.A.: Audiophile Routing of Korg Kaoss Pad (ext. fx) & DBlu Glitch vst
[tools needed- korg kaoss pad, audio interface with multiple inputs & outputs, & fx Vst's ]

The intention of this technique is to instantly route audio tracks through an effect on a different track momentarily when the effect is needed, without placing the effect on the track or the master track which can cause unwanted processing of your audio and un-needed strain on your processor(s).

There are many Ways to use your Korg Kaoss Pad, Pioneer RMX, or other external fx units. The Kaoss and RMX series differ from alot of other effect units because their looping, sampling, and glitching abilities literally demand that they be placed directly in the audio signal path.
Ableton->Audio Interface output->Ext. fx->speakers

This technique can be used to record your Kaoss Pad effects (audio &/or midi), while others simply use it as a live effect.

I would like to take a second to explain to you how I use an external effect with Ableton. Specifically the Korg Kaoss Pad, the KP3.
This technique can also be used to route audio tracks through an effect bus with vsts, without placing the effect on the track, or on the master track, causing unwanted processing of your audio and un-needed strain on your processor.

Digital to analog conversion of audio happens at the audio outputs of a computer, when either the headphone out or an audio interface is used. The Kaoss Pad also converts incoming audio into digital data at the inputs and from digital back into analog audio at the outputs. This in a way degrades the audio signal and it almost goes without saying, as this is a necessary evil. This basically also happens when audio is routed thru a vst.
But let me ask you this, -For your audio from your computer to pass thru the Kaoss Pad, does it ALWAYS have to pass thru the Kaoss Pad?(ie when your not touching it?)

Hard wiring, or hooking up an extenal audio effect unit to mixer outputs, audio interface outputs, or send/returns is close to permanent, especially on stage. Re-routing your fx audio cables on stage, per song, is a nightmare. I'll leave it at that. Try it sometime.
It's quite convenient to simply place the Kaoss Pad after your audio interface/mixer, in your signal path. You can then add effects to everything coming out of your computer/mixer, as you Dj, perform live P.A., or simply watch adult swim adding glitches and delay for fun.
What about when you want to record the Kaoss Pad effects your adding to a Dj mix? Do you just route the outs back in? How do you monitor the effected signal/recorded signal? What if you want to record the output on stage for looping?
If you add up how many analog to digital and digital to analog conversions are happening in most situations with a Kaoss Pad you might pull your hair out.
So then, this is where we sit with this problem. Degradation of the recorded signal. If your reading this from a search you probably know this situation.
Here's the key- the kaoss pad sends a configurable midi message out its midi out port (and/or its USB port) at the moment you touch it, and the moment you let go. This, my friend, is all you need for triumph.

I have hobbled together a method, that when utilized, causes all selected audio to be routed thru the Kaoss Pad -ONLY WHEN TOUCHED! and the routing returns to normal when you remove/ lift your finger!

In order to reach a complete understanding, lets build an example.
1. Lets create two tracks, one midi and one audio. In session view, Place a drum loop or synth line in scene 1 on the audio track, and vice versa on the midi track (drum or synth vst playing a pattern), so that you have a drum pattern and a synth melody playing audibly. Name them apropriately, drum and melody.
2. Now create a third track named KP3 and place an effect rack there and create two chains inside this rack. Name them the same, Drum and Melody. Turn the volume on this third track all the way down.
3. Here's the next trick - place a gate plug in on each chain, open the SIDECHAIN Tab on the gate plugin, select (drums/pre mixer) as the input on first chain. Click the monitor button and Shazam! You've routed the audio from the drum track into this third track using the gate plugin! Repeat this step for the gate plugin on the second chain to route the audio from the melody track here as well, and bam! your mixing signals from multiple tracks into a single track!
A.Your selecting the premixer option for the drum rack routing because you do not want the audio to cut out on the third track when the fader turns down on the first track.
4. So let's place the external effect plugin on this KP3 track to route this mixed audio to the kp3 and back!

Hopefully at this point I should not have to explain how to use the kp3 with the ableton external effect plugin, it's pretty self explanatory. Just don't use your main outs on your interface to route the audio thru the Kp3, use your auxiliary outs. Leave your main outs free for the master track out. Also, leave the mix knob at 100% so the signal is actually always being fed to the kp3, when your touching the Kp3 your simply 'opening the audio valve via midi' to monitor the return mix from the fx loop.
Here a mapping example to see where we stand.
1. Open your midi preferences tab in ableton and activate the remote input box for the kp3 midi input.
2. Now enter Ableton's midi mapping mode. Cllick the volume fader for track one and touch your kp3 pad to map the volume fader of Drum track one to this kp3 touch mid message. Set max to -inf and min to 0db.
A. Repeat this step for the melody channel as well. After exiting mapping mode, both these tracks volume faders should zip to minimum (-inf) and back (0.0db) when the kp3 screen is touched and released.
3. Now re-enter midi mapping mode and map this third volume fader for track 3 as well, except while you are in mapping mode, right click this mapping in the left browser listing and click the 'Invert range' option. Exit
Now the volume for first 2 tracks should turn down and this third track should turn up to full 0db when kp3 is pressed allowing the effected signal from the kp3 to be heard ( 3rd track routed to the master track), and when the kp3 pad is released the volume on the third track should return to minimum and the first two tracks volume should return to full volume routing the clean, un-effected signal to the master track.
Voila! Albeit crudely ( this mapping only works in this project), your audio is now being routed directly to your outs, and when you touch your Kaoss Pad, your audio is instantly routed thru it!
This midi mapped audio routing trick is also excellent for dblu glitch, just map a midi button for the volume swap trigger and to the mix knob on dblu glitch, and assign a midi fader or knob to the preset changer on dblu glitch, and your good to go! Press down the button and the audio is routed to the glitch track, turn the knob to change glitch presets, release the button in time for the drop! Quneo faders are great for this, since the faders are also buttons.

Eventually I'd like to explain how to clean this situation up with Clyphx, allowing one to preserve the delay effect trails inherent in kp3 usage, allow these midi commands to be synced to master clock (on touch and release!), allowing mutiple buttons for multiple audio configurations to be changed, and finally Clyphx would allow this mapping to be permanent across all projects.
So, Check back soon, &
Thanks for reading!

Re: Audiophile Routing of Korg kp3 (ext. fx) & DBlu Glitch vst

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:12 am
by Tone Deft
yo what?

Re: Manipulate Audio Routing in Ableton w/ MIDI [How to]

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:58 pm
by TomViolenz
....could you make a tl;dr version of this....

(Also I'm still interested in the method you linked all over the internet combining Midi streams with STC, Jack and any other script...any progress yet?)

Re: Manipulate Audio Routing in Ableton w/ MIDI [How to]

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:45 am
by dr.mysterium
Hoped you'd notice, and give it a glance, Tone Deft.
Glad to see your still diggin' thru.