I love Ableton Live’s workflow and while I’m a big fan of Ableton Sampler, Operator, Impulse, Drum Racks etc… I do heavily utilize VST’s to extend Live’s range even further. I try to find plugins that not only sound great, but also integrate into and compliment Live’s workflow. One recent addition to my software rig is Sonic Charge’s fantastic pattern based drum-machine synth uTonic.
In this post, I’ll show you how to use MIDI to change patterns on the fly within uTonic. This will allow you to use uTonic as a drum machine in conjunction with your other Live clips and scenes.
uTonic’s pattern engine can play one of 12 different rhytmic patterns (a-l) in sync with the Live (or any host). Thankfully, uTonic supports pattern selection via MIDI. To select Pattern “a” you need to send MIDI note C3 to uTonic. To select Pattern “b” send note C#3 and so on.
USING MIDI CLIPS TO SELECT PATTERNS
STEP 1 – Insert uTonic into a MIDI Track
STEP 2 – Use the “Open Program” menu button to load a program. I picked “Alpha Blipp”
Step 3 – Create a MIDI clip, rename it “Pattern a”, and enter a MIDI note for C#. Playing the clip will select “Pattern a”.
Step 4 – Create a MIDI clip in Scene 2, rename it to “Pattern b”, and enter a MIDI note for C#3. Playing the clip will select “Pattern b”.
Now when you switch from Scene 1 to Scene 2, uTonic will switch patterns as well.
MAPPING PATTERNS TO KEYS
Of course you could also use a MIDI keyboard or program a matrix controller to send these notes as well.
EDIT MIDI CONTROLLERS/KEYS
You can also edit MIDI mappings within uTonic using the menu “Edit MIDI Controller/Keys”.
You’ll see an overlay for existing mappings.
Here is a little excerpt from the manual on mapping:
Rectangular markers (like those on top of the drum channel selection buttons) indicate assignable MIDI keys, while oval markers indicate that you can assign MIDI controllers. Click once in a marker to quickly enter MIDI learn for a button or controller (you will see a flashing MIDI connector symbol). Now, simply, press the desired key or turn the desired knob on your hardware controller and you should see a note name or a controller number in the little marker.
MIDI MAPPING VIA LIVE DEVICE CONFIGURE
Lastly, you can use Ableton Live’ 8’s device mapping feature to map expose parameters to the device.
Step 1 – Click the triangle
Step 2 – Click the “Configure” button
Step 3 – Move a control on uTonic you want to map
Step 4 – You’ll see the corresponding parameter appear in the device. You can now MIDI map this using CTRL-M.
Electronic Musician, Synth Programmer, Boulder CO