Ableton Live and Cakewalk VS-20: Give Live a guitar-centric audio interface
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.
1. Go Options > Preferences > Audio Tab.
Select ASIO as Driver Type, and VS-20
as Audio Device.
2. Click on the MIDI Sync tab. Under Control
Surface, select Mackie Control (not any
Mackie Control variations).
3. While on the MIDI Sync tab,
select VS-20 DAW Control for
the Input and Output fields.
4. Also while on the MIDI Sync tab, for the
Mackie Control Input MIDI port, assign
Remote to On.
5. 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.
6. 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
· 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