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 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).