Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

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djbenski
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Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by djbenski » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:15 am

Is there an easy way to control external synthesizers using the Ableton Push 2 controller and if so, how would I set this up? I have a Moog that works great but having the ability to use it from just the Push 2 would be awesome!

jestermgee
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Re: Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by jestermgee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:39 am

If you have a MIDI Out port you can just create a MIDI track with an External Instrument device on it, set that to send MIDI out your port and if you have the devices audio connected to inputs on your interface, set the audio input on the External Device. Should then work just as a plugin would from Push.

I've never done it personally, but seems that should work.

djbenski
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Re: Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by djbenski » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:46 am

I see so what I specify the Push as the controller in the MIDI/audio preferences from within Ableton? Do I need to connect anything from the Push controller to the audio interface or Moog external synthesizer? I see two connectors in the back for that.

yur2die4
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Re: Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by yur2die4 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:59 am

It's actually slightly tricky.

So, playing notes into your moog from Push should be no problem as long as you have some kind of interface sending midi from Live into the moog.

It gets more tricky when you're determining which parameters beyond notes you want to have control of. To test if the moog even supports this I'd look in a manual or ask on a forum for that synth about midi support and the specs.

Then you can test controlling the moog from Live itself by creating an arrangement that controls those specific parameters over time and see how that works out.

Now comes control of the synth from the Push.

The moog probably needs to receive continuous control changes of specific numbers. Push itself just controls whatever 'device' is selected within Live. You would need some kind of device to control in Live that is controlled by Push but that transmits control changes to the midi out (into the moog).

There are a number of ways to do this. Some more sketchy than others. One option might be if someone has made a max4live device made explicitly for controlling functions of your model or synth.

Another way is to midi map the macros on an empty midi device rack to the same control numbers as on your moog. You should be able to test this method out now. You would first receive midi from the moog, enter midi map mode, map the empty midi rack to some parameters by fiddling the controls on your moog. Leave midi map mode. Finally, switch it so midi OUT from Live goes to the moog. What should happen in theory now is that when you move macros on the empty midi device, it will send out updates to that specific cc number which the moog should receive and therefore cause a change. In reality, you need to test this yourself because in my experience this sometimes works smoothly but sometimes is kind of choppy. Still, if you can move those macros with a mouse and have them cause changes on your moog, then it means that when your Push selects that midi device, and controls those same parameters, it will also send updates to your moog.

Finally, there are some tools in something called Clyphx which basically function similarly to the previously described method. But do not require midi mapping. Also, the Clyphx method has you select a midi out port from 'Control Surfaces' in Live's midi Preferences.

Aside from these methods, there is generally not an easy solution, and at Push 2's current state there is pretty much just this. Maybe several years from now people will take a crack at customizing the visual display.

djbenski
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Re: Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by djbenski » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:33 pm

Ah, I see. Thanks for the tips and insights!

I will have to experiment today with it. I can send MIDI IN/OUT from the Moog via Audio interface and then try this as an external instrument from the Push controller.

Play
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Re: Controlling external synthesizers with Push 2?

Post by Play » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:07 am

I find it strange that that controlling external CC parameters from within Live is so tricky. Im yet to dive into max for live and see what devices may be available to help with this. However I feel Live should just be better at this natively. It seems like it would be extremely simple for the "external instrument" device to be able to have parameters assigned to it the same way 3rd party plugins do. The device should just allow you to activate any CC numbers you want to send out on that MIDI channel, then allow you to rename the CC numbers to the name of the parameter and save it for instant recall. Would be amazing if I could save an "external instrument" device for each of my synths and have instant control of the parameters from Push 2.... Not to mention be able to record automation easily on the track... instead of only in the clip view, like it is now. Im no programmer, or MIDI guru... I must be missing something because as innovative as so much of Live is... I find this lack of external control surprising.

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