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[Manual] Ableton Link and Control Loopers - MIDI Designer Q&A

[Manual] Ableton Link and Control Loopers

0 votes
asked Jan 3, 2022 in Advanced by MIDI Designer Team (Dan)
edited Jan 20 by MIDI Designer Team (Dan)

3 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

Ableton Link instructions via example page. Examine in Design Mode for details.

The pieces of the solution are:

  1. Link config (Config -> Connections -> Scroll down)
  2. Sync start/stop button
  3. Tempo knob (including tempo knob with external label)
  4. Beat knob (including buttons as subcontrols for visual click)
  5. 4 8-beat Looper Buttons with
    1. Mute buttons
    2. Reloop buttons
    3. Status displays

RELEASED IN 2.300 (FEB 2022)

Downloads: 127
Downloads: 127
Ableton Link Settings in Config -> Connections (scroll down!)
Ableton Link Settings in Config -> Connections (scroll down!)
Ableton Link Settings, Enable Switch
Ableton Link Settings, Enable Switch
Ableton Link Settings, Enabled
Ableton Link Settings, Enabled
Ableton Link Example Page
Ableton Link Example Page
answered Jan 3, 2022 by MIDI Designer Team (Dan)
edited Jul 13, 2022 by MIDI Designer Team (Dan)
+2 votes

Getting started with Ableton Link and looper controls

2.300 as of release 202201120813.  Not final, will update as we work towards release, and finalize with the production release.

Ableton Link - is a method to synchronize beat, tempo, and start/stop.  Obviously in Ableton, but also in many other iOS apps.  Link capability varies by device, some do not sync start/stop.  Many times sync start/stop is a separate option, and some apps do not sync start/stop.


What is looped - all control actions in MDP2.  Not specifically midi note values, but if you make a keyboard control or drum pad controls, the control actions can be captured and looped - which could transmit midi.

What is not looped - inbound midi is not captured for loop.  The inbound midi has to effect a control action in MDP2 - that control action is captured.  On play, that control will not transmit midi, but can drive subcontrols.

Link Running - the "link" has to be running (Link Start / Stop control toggled on) for the loopers to function.  You do not have to be connected to a link device, or even have the link connection enabled.  In this case, tempo & beat is maintained locally.

Capture a loop - when you press a Loop control button, the prior N bars of control actions are captured.  A temporary pop-up shows the number of beats, events, affected controls captured.

All MDP2 control actions are captured in the loop.  Not limited to the current page, etc.

When you toggle off the loop button, the loop is cleared.  The mute button silences the loop while keeping the data.

Toggling the Link Start / Stop control does not clear current loops

Loop data is not saved with the layout.

Reloop when the reloop button is enabled, that loop data will be will be included in the next loop captured.  On capture, the relooped track is immediately muted.

What length is captured?  Selectable on individual loop controls, or adjustable via a Loop length control, currently up to 64 beats.  The capture is N beats immediately preceding the Loop button press - there is no quantization back to a beat or bar beginning.

Building a looper control
- Start with three toggle buttons, for all three, under Midi select NO send/receive, label them Loop, Mute, Reloop (or as desired)
- For the Loop button properties, select subtype Link Looper, under Advanced select the desired loop length, under Relationships select the appropriate buttons created above for Reloop and Mute.  (Note - these have to be on the same page for the properties picker to find them, but they could be moved to separate pages after selecting).
- Option - create a dynamic loop length button.  Create a knob, select NO send/receive, on the LOOP button, select this knob for Length Knob.  This is effective at the instant the LOOP button is pressed.  It does not change length of an existing loop.  (But you can reload as desired to a different length loop.)
- If they don't already exist, you will need a link play button.  Link tempo and beat are optional, but useful.  Create a toggle and two knobs, under Midi select NO send/receive, for subtypes select Link Start/Stop, Link Tempo Knob, and Link Beat Knob as appropriate.

For a dynamic display, create a label and assign label value source to the Loop toggle control.  When the Loop is active, this passes the loop button name and (actions / controls) to the label.

Recap the basic set of controls to loop are:
1. Link Start/Stop
2. Link Tempo Knob
3. Link Beat Knob
4. Looper Button
5. Mute Button 
6. Reloop Button
7. Optional - Loop length button
8. Optional label - value source set to 4 above
Repeat 4-8 as many times as desired

Other uses - the Link Beat knob can be used to drive other desired action in MDP2 via subcontrol relationships, controllable via the Play and Tempo controls.  Again, you don't have to be hooked up to any other link device to use this.  You could create continuous panning LFOs, etc., avoiding some of the workaround previously used to generate continuous motion.  And this could get paired with the dynamic loops.  Lots of possibilities.

Testing still in progress:

- Beat control is 4/4
- no check for a "stuck" control.  If you depress a note control, but don't release it when you capture the loop, you will have a hung note.  This is what it is.
- Local vs remote loop capture - controls activated locally will send their own midi (or drive subcontrols), controls activated via midi will not send midi, but can activate subcontrols which can send midi.  (This is the same behavior that existed prior to looping - a control receiving midi does not also transmit midi, but can drive subs.)

answered Jan 5, 2022 by jkhiser (16,220 points)
edited Jan 13, 2022 by jkhiser
+1 vote

Page with eight loopers ready to incorporate into your layout

This page includes all controls necessary for eight loopers, ready to incorporate into your layout.
Downloads: 114
Downloads: 114
Image 1
Image 1
answered Jan 24, 2022 by jkhiser (16,220 points)
This is great. It's worth noting that you can share all of these between "loop" buttons: mute, reloop, and beats knob. Also, all three are optional. Also at the risk of repeating: the Beats knob only affects the Loop when it kicks off. While looping it has no effect.

Great work, thanks for sharing!