Use the Ableton Live External Instrument Device

Out with the old, in with the new. When Ableton released Live 7 they simplified the way to bring in audio and midi from an external device such as a hardware synthesizer or drum machine. If you use external hardware and your not using the Live’s new External Instrument Device read on.

So let’s take a look at the old way of bringing an external instrument into Live. You would have to create an audio channel, select it’s input and arm monitoring. You would also have to create a separate Midi channel, choose then Midi Interface (Midi To) and Midi Channel.

Now for the new imporved method. Go to the Live Device browser (upper left side of the interface) and under Intruments drag an External Instrument device to a Midi track. On the device you can choose all the parameters that were previously spread over two channels: Midi To, Midi Channel and Audio Input. You also have the additional Latency parameter which is usefull if you notice your hardware synth or drum machine notes are coming in a little late. The best part of the External Instrument Device is now that you set it up you can save the preset and your now one click away from adding any hardware you have into your current song. I have seperate presets for all my hardware synths and drum machines.

Published by

Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

6 thoughts on “Use the Ableton Live External Instrument Device”

  1. That is a great upgrade indeed! Yet i wonder if it is possible to rewire reason to ableton using only one midi channel. As in, i write notes on ableton and reason synths play it? As if i was adding an instrument to a midi channel

  2. hi oliver, this is a great share but mine doesnt seem to work with my ms2000… Is this save preset option made for sysex messages>? Because it asks for none from a device like mine. Myabe doing something wrong?

    1. The external instrument device only links an audio channel to a midi channel. I think it also can add a program change. I don’t know if it utilizes Sysex. I would break out the Ableton manual and go step by step. Sorry I don’t own a MS2000 so I can’t be totally sure if that device has a glitch when being set up like this (it shouldn’t).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *