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Ableton Live and Cakewalk VS-20: Give Live a guitar-centric audio interface

August 1, 2010

OBJECTIVE: Make Ableton Live more “guitar-friendly” by adding hardware effects that cut latency, as well as a control surface.

BACKGROUND: Ableton Live 8 added some great plug-ins for guitarists, like distortion and a looper. The VS-20 gives Live a suite of BOSS COSM effects, as well as an audio interface that’s optimized for guitar.

live_11. Go Options > Preferences > Audio Tab. Select ASIO as Driver Type, and VS-20 as Audio Device.






live_22. Click on the MIDI Sync tab. Under Control Surface, select Mackie Control (not any Mackie Control variations).







live_33. While on the MIDI Sync tab, select VS-20 DAW Control for the Input and Output fields.





live_44. Also while on the MIDI Sync tab, for the Mackie Control Input MIDI port, assign Remote to On.



live_55. The faders (red outline) map to eight consecutive channel level controls in Live. Track Group buttons (blue) choose groups of eight channels—1-8, 9-16, 17-24, etc. Track Select buttons (orange) select tracks. DAW Output (green) maps to Live’s Master level control. Transport (yellow) maps to the transport.




live_66. For zero-latency guitar monitoring with effects, open the VS-20 Editor and choose your effect. Monitor the processed guitar with the VS-20 Direct Monitor control, and listen to Live with the DAW Output control. Set up your guitar input in Live for Ext. In, 1/2, and turn Monitor off so you don’t hear the guitar going through Live.









· Step 5: Just about any VS-20 controls can be mapped as desired using Live’s MIDI Map option, including the Patch Select and MIDI Backing knob (both outlined in violet), and the Track Select buttons (orange outline).

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