byAnderton04-30-201211:58 AM - edited 01-17-201304:45 PM
Control Rack Parameters Onscreen, or with External Control Surfaces
by Craig Anderton
Live lets you create “virtual racks” of audio processors (you can also create Drum, MIDI, and Instrument racks). As these can be quite complex, even encompassing parallel effects chains, you can assign critical parameters to easily accessed Macro controls for real-time tweaking or MIDI control. Macros can also control multiple parameters at once, so for example, you could assign EQ to pull back on the high frequencies a little bit while increasing the amount of overdrive.
Providing real-time control over specific parameters allows for greater expressiveness, but also, parameters mapped to Macros can cover a specific minimum and maximum range. This is very useful if you use a device like a footpedal for control, as you can limit its physical range to the parameter range you want to control.
Following is the step-by-step procedure for a guitar-oriented task: bringing the Overdrive's Drive parameter out to a Macro.
1. Click on the rack’s Show/Hide Macro Controls button.
2. When the Macro section appears, click on the Map Mode button.
3. After clicking on Map Mode, any parameter that can be assigned to a Macro Control will be highlighted. Click on an effect parameter that you want to assign to a Macro Control (in this screen shot, it’s Drive). Note that the selected parameter’s highlight will have small square brackets in the corners to indicate it has been mapped.
Even better, you can assign multiple parameters to a Macro Control. After assigning a parameter, click on the next parameter, then click on the same Macro Control’s Map button.
4. Click on a Macro Control’s Map button. The parameter selected in Step 3 is now linked to the Macro Control.
5. When in Map Mode, a list of Macro Mappings is visible. You can set a parameter’s minimum and maximum range as desired.
6. Click on the Map Mode button again to exit map mode. The Macro Control defaults to showing the target parameter’s name, and the target parameter has a small green dot in the upper left to indicate that it’s linked to a Macro Control.
7. To control a Macro Control with an external MIDI control surface, click on the MIDI Map Mode button in the upper right. MIDI-assignable parameters will be highlighted.
8. Click on the Macro Control you want to link to MIDI, then move the physical hardware control you want to assign. As soon as you exit MIDI Map Mode, the hardware control will change the Macro Control’s setting. Again as with step 3, note that the selected parameter’s highlight will have small square brackets in the corners.
Craig Anderton is Editor in Chief of Harmony Central and Executive Editor of Electronic Musician magazine. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.