Setting up MIDI preferences

show more Setting up MIDI preferences provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Rick Schmunk as part of the Ableton Live 8 Essential Training show less
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Setting up MIDI preferences

If you've chosen to use Ableton Live as your computer music production software, it's likely that you want to create music with Live using a MIDI keyboard or MIDI controller. In this video we'll take a look at how to set up your MIDI devices to work with Live. First, connect your MIDI device to your computer before starting Live. In most cases you'll be using USB cables to connect directly to your computer. Other devices still connect via MIDI cables, and you'll need to connect them to a MIDI interface before the computer or in some cases your audio interface will have a built-in MIDI interface.

So once you've connected your devices and you are in Live, we'll want to go to Live's Preferences, which are under the Live menu--that would be in Options menu on a PC. I'll click that, and I'll go to the MIDI Sync tab. On this tab we see the devices that are hooked up to Live. If your device works natively with Live, you'll see this listed in this dropdown menu under the Control Surface column. In this case my APC40 is one of those devices. In other cases you'll also see your device, but you may only see it listed under the Input and Output columns.

Now I've got an E-MU keyboard hooked up here, so I see this as an available input device to Live. When I click on that I can see the E-MU, and I don't see any additional channels, and that's because this particular device only has one MIDI channel that it sends on. I'd choose that, and it's the same with the APC40. Now, if I have these devices hooked up correctly and chosen, when I play a key on one of those devices, I should see the light over here on the far right-hand corner light up as I press the key, and that's the MIDI In indicator.

The Output column choosers here, you'll use those when you actually want to send MIDI out of Live to an external device, and that could be a MIDI synthesizer or drum machine. That's actually an external device, and will bring the audio back into Live separately from there. The Dump button is used for those devices that have presets that control how the knobs and sliders work with Live. Now, in this case, you'll see these are grayed out. But if you have one of those devices you'd simply click the Dump button and navigate to your computer where that preset is located, and you probably want to look that up in your device reference manual.

In the bottom half of the window we see the MIDI ports, and all ports available to Live are listed here. In order for the ports to be active, the switches to the right of the port must be enabled. And we see that I've got this for both input and output for the currently available devices. So I've got that set to on for the E-MU, and that's why we saw the MIDI in indicator lighting up when I played the key. So when that's enabled, under here in the Track column, that enables Live's tracks to be assigned to send and receive on the selected port and related MIDI Channels.

The middle column for Sync is used when you want Live to send MIDI clock messages to an external MIDI device that has a built-in sequencer, like a keyboard workstation or drum machine. Set the external device to receive MIDI sync and enable the switch in the sync column for that desired device. In the Remote column we use this switch to activate the related port if you're using a MIDI Controller to send MIDI messages, like control, change, messages or fader values to Live. And we'll discuss this topic in more detail in the video on Controllers later, but for the APC40 we're definitely going to want to enable that switch, so that we can receive messages and send messages to the APC40.

So your external MIDI devices should now be ready and configured to work with Live, and you should be ready to start creating music.

Setting up MIDI preferences
Video duration: 3m 31s 7h 20m Beginner


Setting up MIDI preferences provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Rick Schmunk as part of the Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Audio + Music
Ableton Live
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