Akai Ableton Controller

2/14/2022by admin
  1. Ableton makes Push and Live, hardware and software for music production, creation and performance. Ableton´s products are made to inspire creative music-making.
  2. Working in partnership with software developer Ableton, the Akai APC40 Performance Controller offers a control surface that's specifically designed for performance with Ableton Live software.
  3. Dedicated Ableton Live controllers These high-quality hardware controllers were co-developed with Ableton to deliver seamless integration with Live. No setup or installation is required, just plug in, forget your mouse and get creative: jam in session view, tweak sends and FX, and discover new approaches that help you stay in your flow.

Working in partnership with software developer Ableton, the Akai APC40 Performance Controller offers a control surface that's specifically designed for performance with Ableton Live software.

Ableton Live
Stable release
Written inC++
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, macOS
TypeDigital Audio Workstation

Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation developed by Ableton for macOS and Windows. In contrast to many other software sequencers, Ableton Live is designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as a tool for composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering. It is also used by DJs, as it offers a suite of controls for beatmatching, crossfading, and other different effects used by turntablists, and was one of the first music applications to automatically beatmatch songs. Live is available in three editions: Intro (with limited key features), Standard, and Suite.[2]


Ableton co-founders Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf developed Live from homemade software that Behles and Henke had created to facilitate their live music performances as Monolake. They released the first version of Live in 2001 as commercial software.[3][4] Ableton Live is written in C++. Live itself was not prototyped in Max, although most of the audio devices were.[5]



Live's user interface is composed of two 'Views' – the Arrangement View and the Session View. Live utilizes audio sample or MIDI sequences, referred to as Clips, which are arranged to be played live (i.e. triggered) or played back in a pre-arranged order. MIDI triggers notes on Live's built in instruments, as well as third party VST instruments or external hardware.

The Session View offers a grid-based representation of all of the Clips in a Live Set. These clips can be arranged into scenes which can then be triggered as a unit. For instance a drum, bass and guitar track might comprise a single scene. When moving on to the next scene, which may feature a synth bassline, the artist will trigger the scene, activating the clips for that scene.

The Arrangement View offers a horizontal music production timeline of Clips that is more similar to a traditional software sequencer interface. The Arrangement View is used for recording tracks from the session view and further manipulating their arrangement and effects. It is also used for manual MIDI sequencing.[6]


The Intro version of Live includes four instruments (Impulse, Simpler, Instrument Rack, and Drum Rack) and the Standard version of Live additionally includes External Instrument, with users having the option to purchase additional instruments. By contrast, Live Suite includes all available instruments.

  • Impulse - a traditional drum triggering instrument which allows the user to define a kit of up to eight drum sounds, each based on a single sample. There are a number of effects available such as basic equalization, attack, decay, pitch shift, etc. Once the kit is defined, rhythms and beats are created through Live's MIDI sequencer.
  • Simpler - a basic sampling instrument. It functions using a single audio sample, applying simple effects, and envelopes, finally applying pitch transformations in the form of Granular synthesis. In this case, incoming MIDI does not trigger drums as it does in Impulse, but selects the final pitch of the sample, with C3 playing the sample at its original pitch.
  • Drum Rack - a sampler for drums. MIDI notes trigger individual 'Simplers' so rather than triggering one sample at multiple pitches, individual samples are triggered at predefined pitches, as is suitable for MIDI drum programming. As is usual with Ableton almost anything can be drag dropped to or from the drum racks; for example, one can drop an audio clip or any MIDI device onto a drum rack note.
  • Instrument Rack - allows the user to combine multiple instruments and effects into a single device, allowing for split and layered sounds with customized macro controls.
  • Analog - simulates an analog synthesizer.
  • Bass - a monophonic virtual analog bass synthesizer.
  • Collision - a mallet percussionphysical modelling synthesizer.
  • Drum Synths - 8 devices for creating drum and percussion sounds via synthesis.
  • Electric - an electric piano instrument.
  • Operator - an FM synthesizer.
  • Poli - a virtual analog synthesizer that combines subtractive and FM synthesis
  • Sampler - an enhanced sampler.
  • Tension - a string physical modelling synthesizer.
  • Wavetable - a wavetable synthesizer featuring two oscillators and re-mappable modulation sources.

Ableton also has available a massive selection of Add-on Sample Packs with which a user can expand the sound libraries for their instruments.

  • Session Drums - a collection of sampled drum kits.
  • Latin Percussion - a collection of sampled latin percussion hits and loops.
  • Essential Instruments Collection - a large collection of acoustic and electric instrument samples.
  • Orchestral Instrument Collection - a collection of four different orchestral libraries, which can be purchased individually or as a bundle: Orchestral Strings, Orchestral Brass, Orchestral Woodwinds and Orchestral Percussion. The Orchestral Instrument Collection is included upon purchase of Live Suite but must be downloaded separately.

Dedicated hardware instruments[edit]

Akai Professional makes the APC40 mk II, a MIDI controller designed to work solely with Ableton Live. A smaller version, the APC20, was released in 2010. Though there are many MIDI controllers compatible with Ableton, these Akai units try to closely map the actual Ableton Live layout onto physical space. Novation Digital Music Systems has created the 'Launchpad' which is a pad device that has been designed for use with Ableton. There are currently four different Launchpad models: Launchpad Mini, Launchpad X, Launchpad Pro, and Launchpad Control. Ableton has also released their own MIDI controller, the Push, which is the first pad-based controller that embraces scales and melody.[8] In November 2015, Ableton released an updated MIDI controller, the Push 2, along with Live 9.5.[9] Push 2, in terms of its design, features a new colorful display, improved buttons and pads, and a lighter frame.[10]


Most of Live's effects are already common effects in the digital signal processing world which have been adapted to fit Live's interface. They are tailored to suit Live's target audience – electronic musicians and DJs - but may also be used for other recording tasks such as processing a guitar rig. The effects featured in Ableton Live are grouped into two categories - MIDI effects and audio effects.

Audio EffectsMIDI Effects
  • Amp
  • Audio Effect Rack
  • Auto Filter
  • Auto Pan
  • Beat Repeat
  • Cabinet
  • Channel EQ
  • Color Limiter
  • Convolution Reverb
  • Corpus
  • CV Clock In
  • CV Clock Out
  • CV Envelope Follower
  • CV Instrument
  • CV In
  • CV LFO
  • CV Shaper
  • CV Triggers
  • CV Utility
  • Drum Buss
  • Dynamic Tube
  • EQ Three
  • Erosion
  • External Audio Effect
  • Filter Delay
  • Frequency Shifter
  • Gated Delay
  • Glue Compressor
  • Grain Delay
  • Pedal
  • Pitch Hack
  • Re-Enveloper
  • Spectral Blur
  • Spectral Time
  • Surround Panner
  • Resonators
  • Redux
  • Tuner
  • Utility
  • Envelope
  • Envelope Follower
  • Expression Control
  • LFO
  • Melodic Steps
  • MIDI Monitor
  • MIDI Effect Rack
  • MPE Control
  • Note Echo
  • Note Length
  • Random
  • Rotating Rhythm Generator
  • Shaper
  • Velocity

Live is also able to host VST plugins and, on the macOS version, Audio Unitplug-ins as well as Max for Live devices since Live 9.

Working with audio clips[edit]

Sasha playing a DJ set using Ableton Live running on an iMac G5.

In addition to the instruments mentioned above, Live can work with samples. Live attempts to do beat analysis of the samples to find their meter, number of bars and the number of beats per minute. This makes it possible for Live to shift these samples to fit into loops that are tied into the piece's global tempo.

Additionally, Live's Time Warp feature can be used to either correct or adjust beat positions in the sample. By setting warp markers to a specific point in the sample, arbitrary points in the sample can be pegged to positions in the measure. For instance a drum beat that fell 250 ms after the midpoint in measure may be adjusted so that it will be played back precisely at the midpoint.

Some artists and online stores, such as The Covert Operators and Puremagnetik, now make available sample packs that are pre-adjusted, with tempo information and warp markers added. The audio files are accompanied with an 'analysis file' in Live's native format (.asd files).[11][12]

Ableton Live also supports Audio To MIDI, which converts audio samples into a sequence of MIDI notes using three different conversion methods including conversion to Melody, Harmony, or Rhythm. Once finished, Live will create a new MIDI track containing the fresh MIDI notes along with an instrument to play back the notes. Audio to midi conversion is not always 100% accurate and may require the artist or producer to manually adjust some notes.[13] See Fourier transform.


Almost all of the parameters in Live can be automated by envelopes which may be drawn either on clips, in which case they will be used in every performance of that clip, or on the entire arrangement. The most obvious examples are volume and track panning, but envelopes are also used in Live to control parameters of audio devices such as the root note of a resonator or a filter's cutoff frequency. Clip envelopes may also be mapped to MIDI controls, which can also control parameters in real-time using sliders, faders and such. Using the global transport record function will also record changes made to these parameters, creating an envelope for them.

User interface[edit]

Much of Live's interface comes from being designed for use in live performance, as well as for production.[14] There are few pop up messages or dialogs. Portions of the interface are hidden and shown based on arrows which may be clicked to show or hide a certain segment (e.g. to hide the instrument/effect list or to show or hide the help box).

Live now supports latency compensation for plug-in and mixer automation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^'Ableton Live End Use License Agreement'. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  2. ^'Live comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. They share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, instruments, effects, and Packs'. Ableton. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  3. ^Battino, David; Richards, Kelli (2005). The Art of Digital Music. San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books. p. 3. ISBN0-87930-830-3.
  4. ^Slater, Maya-Roisin. 'The Untold Story of Ableton Live—the Program That Transformed Electronic Music Performance Forever'. Vice.com. Vice Media LLC. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  5. ^'Prototyping explained by Live co-creator Robert Henke'. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
  6. ^'A brief history of Ableton Live'. Future Music. Future Music Publishing Quay House. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  7. ^'Live 10 comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. They share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, instruments, effects, and Packs'. Ableton.com. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  8. ^'Using Push — Ableton Reference Manual Version 10 - Ableton'. www.ableton.com. Archived from the original on 2014-11-10.
  9. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2017-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Resident Advisor News: Ableton unveils Push 2 and Live 9.5
  10. ^'Create music with Ableton Push Ableton'. www.ableton.com. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  11. ^'The Covert Operators - Ableton Live Packs'. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  12. ^'Puremagnetik'. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  13. ^'Hands-on with Ableton Live 9: Audio to MIDI'. MusicRadar. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  14. ^Tusa, Scott. 'Getting Started with Ableton Live'. O'Reilly Digital Media. Archived from the original on 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-19. This user-friendly program was designed for live performances by musicians who wanted to use the recording studio like a musical instrument. As performers and recording engineers, they felt stymied by the non-real-time nature of typical audio programs, so they wrote their own.

External links[edit]

Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ableton_Live&oldid=1012300153'

Ableton Live is the most popular DAW for producers of hip-hop and electronic music.

It’s easy to see why. Live revolutionized the way artists write music with its innovative Session View.

But at its core, Ableton was always meant to be played…Live. Even in the studio the best way to use Live is to play it like an instrument.

The missing piece of the puzzle is the right MIDI controller to get the most out of Live’s functions for stage right down to the home studio.

But there are more Ableton controllers out there than ever before. In this article I’ll go through the top 10 hardware devices for controlling Ableton Live.

1. Ableton Push 2

Street Price: $799 USD

Let’s get this one out of the way first. Ableton created its own controller in-house to be the perfect companion to Live.

Now on it’s second version, Ableton Push 2 is the most comprehensive hardware Ableton controller available.

Now on it’s second version, Ableton Push 2 is the most comprehensive hardware Ableton controller available.

Push 2 gives you hands-on access to your entire production workflow. You won’t even have to bother looking at your computer screen if you don’t want to.

Push 2’s onboard high-resolution display, navigation controls, touchstrip and rotary encoders offer an insane amount of flexibility.

But they also come at a price. If you want the premium Ableton controller experience you’ll have to pay more to get it.

2. Novation Launchpad

Street Price: $149.99 USD

The main ideas for dedicated Ableton hardware have been around for a while.

Novation was one of the first companies to produce an Ableton-specific device with the Launchpad.

The 8×8 button grid may seem common at this point, but the Launchpad was one of the controllers that made it the standard.

The Launchpad features the classic RGB-enabled grid, plus an additional set of circular buttons around the edges for navigation control and transport.

This is a super straightforward controller that can get you controlling Ableton Live right away.

3. AKAI APC 40 mkII

Street Price: $299 USD

If you’re looking to get the classic playable pads of early music production stations for your Ableton rig, Akai’s offerings are the best place to start.

If you’re looking to get the classic playable pads of early music production stations for your Ableton rig, Akai’s offerings are the best place to start.

Building on their legendary MPC line, the APC (Ableton Performance Controller) was the original dedicated Live controller to receive Ableton’s stamp of approval.

The APC40 mkII is the latest flagship design in AKAI’s Ableton range.

With a selection of pads, faders, encoders and even a crossfader, the APC 40 mkII is pre-mapped to work perfectly with Ableton right out of the box.

The APC 40 mkII functions as a true music production centre with dedicated controls for nearly every important function of Live.

4. Akai APC Mini

Street Price: $99 USD


The Akai APC Mini is the compact version of the flagship Akai APC 40 mkII Ableton controller.

The APC Mini is a super affordable way to get Akai’s Ableton controller expertise into your setup.

This simplified APC has a grid, sliders and multifunctional buttons to take care of launching clips and scenes.

Despite its smaller size there’s still a ton of hands on music production you can do with the Akai APC Mini.

5. Novation Launch Control XL

Street Price: $159.99 USD

Not every Ableton user is completely focused on the clip grid.

Not every Ableton user is completely focused on the clip grid.

Novation’s Launch Control XL provides a great alternative for those looking for perfect Ableton integration as well as plenty of rotary controllers and faders to tweak.

All that plus dedicated navigation and enough pads to perform basic clip launching tasks make the Launch Control XL a great option—especially for dedicated knob tweakers!

6. Monome Grid

Street Price: $700 USD

No list of Ableton controllers would be complete without the original “grid of pads” controller.

Monome was the boutique controller that started it all.

Now called the Monome Grid, the idea that a controller as minimal as a simple square set of pads could be an expressive musical instrument was revolutionary.

Akai Ableton Controller

The idea that a controller as minimal as a simple square set of pads could be an expressive musical instrument was revolutionary.

Although it can do much, much more, Monome’s pad array naturally lends itself launching Ableton clips.

You could say that capability was what kicked off the Ableton controller craze in the first place!

7. Any MIDI controller

It may sound obvious, but I mean it! Any MIDI controller can be configured to work perfectly with Ableton.

One of the best things about Live is its extremely straightforward method of mapping DAW functions to MIDI hardware.

Simply hit the MIDI toggle in the top right corner and move a knob, slider or key or your controller—it’s as simple as that!

Ableton will automatically learn the MIDI CC or Note number and associate it with that function.

8. Novation Launchpad Mini

Street Price: $99.99 USD

The Novation Launchpad Mini is one of the most compact, straightforward Ableton controllers available.

It’s shares its format and design inspiration with the Launchpad MK2, but the whole package is considerably smaller and more stripped down.

If saving space and keeping it simple are your chief concerns, the Launchpad mini could be the right choice!

9. Akai APC Key 25

Street Price: $129.99 USD

So far, traditional keyboard keys have not been included on the controllers on this list.

The Akai APC Key 25 puts standard Ableton control features and classic keyboard input in the same compact controller.

This is as close to a one-stop-shop controller as you can get.

If you don’t already have a keyboard controller or you need inexpensive, portable Ableton control, the APC Key 25 is perfect for you.

One of the best things about Live is its extremely straightforward method of mapping DAW functions to MIDI hardware.

10. Novation Launchkey

Street Price: $149.99-249.99 USD

Here’s another one for the keyboard crowd.

Launchkey is Novation’s take on the hybrid controller style. It takes all the best features of the Launchpad and integrates them seamlessly with Novation’s premium keyboard controller tech.

Launchkey comes in a variety of formats to accommodate any desired keyboard size.

Akai Apc40 Ableton Controller

The pads, sliders and transport controls will let you stay mouse free while inputting complex musical passages with the keyboard.

Akai Ableton Controller

Controller freak

Getting hands on control of your Ableton Live sessions is a game changer.


Staring at a computer can get pretty tiring—even when you’re making music!

Akai Pro Apc40 Ableton Controller

Get your hands off your trackpad and into your music with these ten fantastic Ableton controllers.

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