Ableton as platform for custom remote project?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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Mr D
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: E.U.

Ableton as platform for custom remote project?

Post by Mr D » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:18 pm

Hi folks,

We have a little project we're mulling over here.

Basically what we want to do is build something that looks like vintage multitrack remote.

Here's a couple of pictures below by way of explanation.

Of course there's a million DAW remotes available, but they're all cheap-feeling plastic junk......our trick is going to be to build it like a piece of chunky vintage analog gear, metal panel, big solid switches etc.

So we're think about which DAW to try to do this with.

The idea is that at the beginning of your session you would fire up your DAW, link the remote and then basically turn off the computer screen for the rest of the session. Basically an analog tape workflow without the headaches of maintaining an analog (or digital) multitrack.

So my question to you guys is: is Ableton tweakable enough (via Max?) to create something like this? I know one can go a long way with just midi or even OSC, but how about Ableton sending out its meter readings so we could re-create these on our remote? And what happens if buttons get out of sync: for example, your remote buttons show a track arm is "on" but the button is in fact off in Ableton. So i'm thinking some kind of two-way communication is necessary, to keep the states synced.

And if we wanted to include punch in and out controls and timelime scrub, are these things hackable?

Sorry , a lot of questions, any advice would be appreciated!

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chapelier fou
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Re: Ableton as platform for custom remote project?

Post by chapelier fou » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:23 pm

Interesting project. Maybe post a list of functions and let’s see if they are doable ?
What you describe looks achievable.
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Mr D
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: E.U.

Re: Ableton as platform for custom remote project?

Post by Mr D » Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:23 pm

Thanks man!

So the idea is that this remote would be used in conjunction with an analog mixing console.

So it only really needs to the most basic of functions:

Track record arms
Switchable record or monitor path listen.
Transport controls
Track metering (record & monitoring).
A few memory locations
Audio scrub?
Punch in and out points with a crossfade length that could be anywhere from 10ms to a number of seconds.

The philosophy would be to keep it absolutely as bear bones as possible, only the most rudimentary and essential features.

We wouldn't even do track bounce. If people want to bounce tracks to a stem, they can do it through the mixing desk in real time and re-record it.

We also don't want to have loop. No recording in loop mode!

I realize that this would be an extremely backwards, limited workflow, but that's the whole point!

But if anyone else has suggestions of features that would be essential without going against this philosophy, please chime in!

Valiumdupeuple
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Re: Ableton as platform for custom remote project?

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:10 pm

If those machines send and receive midi (and are programmable), then the easiest solution would probably be to use them in "Mackie Mode" emulation.
You select the machine as a "Mackie Control" in Live's Control Surface preferences.
You need to program your machine to send and receive specific midi messages that Live understand as standard mackie commands by using
this midi chart. It is from the Live 6 days and I haven't used it in ages, but you'll find most of the features you need.

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