Ableton Collaboration Controllers

Swedish sound designer Christian wanted to jam with other musicians using Ableton Live, but it wasn’t working. Instead of playing cooperatively, it seemed like everyone would end up in their own little bubbles, locked in a volume arms race that typically results in one big sonic mess.

The solution? Custom controllers to gather loops from everyone, all orchestrated by a Teensy 3.5.

The resulting setup gives each musician their own channels, with someone controlling the overall mix, as well as their own sync button, headphone monitoring, and ability to contribute clips on the fly. The controllers connect to the Teensy via ethernet, which in turn talks to the host computer via a Max patch over USB serial using Open Sound Control (OSC) to talk to Ableton.

Clips start playing as soon as they are recorded, and looping status is indicated by eight RGB LEDs (red when recording, green while playing). Like a DJ cuing up the next track, the central knob acts as a crossfader, allowing the performer to experiment using headphones while only the loop is heard by the audience. Find out more about this unique system on Hackaday, or see it in action in the video below.