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Posts from May 2011

Notes and Photos from My Talk at May 2011 Ableton Colorado Meetup on Integrating Third Party Instruments with Live

Last night I gave a talk on using third-party virtual instruments within Ableton Live at the Ableton Colorado User Group. I just did a post with notes and photos from this event including my current Synth Picks mindmap on my artist site.

Swing by my artist site to check it out.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

How to Configure Ableton Live to Work with Novation UltraNova (Update: How to Record & Transmit Automation)

Here are some notes I've made on how to configure Ableton Live to both edit patches on UltraNova and record the USB audio stream. Screen shots are from Windows 7.

  1. Download and install latest software
  2. Plugin-in UltraNova via USB
  3. Configure Ableton Options: Menu>Options>Preferences>Audio tab to select ASIO and the the novation USB driver. This tells Ableton you want to use the UltraNova as your sound card.
  4. Turn the Monitor knob on the UltraNova (the knob just under the mic input) all the way counter-clockwise to "From Host" so your only hearing output from Ableton.
  5. Make sure your UltraNova is on MIDI Channel 1
  6. Assuming your using the UltraNova as a soundcard - plugin headphones or outputs form Master Output 1 & 2
  7. Configure Ableton Options: Menu>Options>Preferences and configure Ableton to see UltraNova. Make sure you turn on Track, Sync, and Remote for both Input and Output.
  8. Insert the UltraNova editor plugin into a MIDI track in Ableton
  9. Insert an Audio Track into Ableton to recieve audio
  10. Ctrl-Click to arm both UltraNova editor and Audio Track
    Now when you play a key on the UltraNova you should hear it via headphones or speakers
  11.  You can now record audio clips from the UltraNova by clicking circles within the Audio track.
  12. To edit the synth using the plugin, click the MIDI track containing UltraNova plugin then click the wrench icon to launch the editor.

8/29/2011 Update: I've learned more about using the UltraNova with Live so I've added some two new sections below.

Automating UltraNova with Dummy Clips
If you want to use an automation envelope within a MIDI clip in Live to modulate parameters within the UltraNova via the UltraNova VST or AU follow these steps:


  1. Click the "Configure" button on the device holding the UltraNova editor
  2. Move a control corresponding the parameter you want to control from within Live
  3. You'll see the parameter appear in the list of device parameters. Continue to move controls for other parameters you want to map.
  4. Once you've selected all the parameters you want to use, click "Configure" again once you've specified all the parameters you wan to map.
  5. Double click on a blank clip slot in the MIDI track holding the UltraNova editor to create a dummy clip. You can now draw automation envelope for the parameters you configured. Play the clip to send automation to the UltraNova.

Recording UltraNova Knob Movements As Automation Into Live
When you press buttons and turn knobs on the UltraNova, MIDI Continuous Controller data is transmitted via MIDI and over the USB connection to Ableton Live if the Global paramater "Local" is "On". See this post for a link to the MIDI implementation chart for the UltraNova. 

In order to record this controller movement as automation data into Ableton Live clips (in either Session or Arrangement view) as you perform you need to remove the UltraNova editor from the MIDI track. This is necessary as the presence of the UltraNova Editor within a Live set will automatically turn off "Local On" on the UltraNova hardware to prevent MIDI loops. If this is the case the MIDI CC corresponding to UltraNova controller movement will not be transmitted. So, simply remove the editor plugin and you'll be able to record automation. In the screen shot below I turn the a "Tweak" knob associated with Filter 1 Frequency (CC74). I was able to record Arp On/Latch, and Chord memory buttons as well. I could record touch encorders but it was a little fidgety.


You could also use yoru mouse to hand draw envelopes for any CC the UltraNova can recieve.



Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Colorado Ableton User Group May 2011 Meet-Up


Update: See notes and photos from this event on my artist site.

I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Ableton Colorado User Group. Here are the details from the Meetup Page.

Our night is generally divided up into 3 segments. Beginner, Advanced, and End-Game. Each has a focus on Ableton and methods of the programming. At the same time there is much to take away if you are not a die-hard Ableton user or practitioner of another electronic music platform.
BEGINNER : How to defy death using Session and Arrangement View
Alternate Title : Lessons learned in Session and Arrangement View
Marc (DJNSM) will lead the discussion on these 2 views. Experts and beginners are very welcome to contribute in asking and answering questions!

  • Basics of the 2 views
  • Similarities and differences
  • Advantages in the studio and performing
  • A method to production for studio to stage and back again

ADVANCED : Making your VSTs environmentally friendly in Ableton
Alternate Title :Taming and Controlling VST with Ableton to extend your sound palette and make these settings manageable and increase patch recycling
Mark Mosher ( shows how to painlessly extend Live’s range and palette with third party instruments.

  • Step-by-step methods for wrapping instruments
  • Performance and deconstruction of a song using instruments to illustrate quick, unique, and creative results
  • Coordination of these elements with Live’s standard modulation, automation, and re-sampling features.

END-GAME : Large scale deployment and integration of mind control devices
Alternate Title : Did I say ‘Mind control device’? I meant Ableton and fail safe control. Original presenter Chase Dobson will be out of town as his back-line Ableton work on Mike Posner’s tour got extended to Europe and Asia (how cool is that?).

So we have David Henderson stepping in on Monome+Live+Launchpad. With Mike S. returning from the Gridfest there is a lot of noise about the Monome type applications and David is going to help ct through all the nonsense and get people dialed in on the Monome experience.

We will have Chase sharing his leanings, but not until he is in Colorado for break.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

U-HE ACE TIP: How to Modulate The Filter with an Envelope

U-HE ACE is my favorate analog modeled virtual synth and once you “grok”” the cabling you can do amazing things with it. If you find the cabling confusing, checkout my video from last year “U-HE ACE Tutorial: Patch Cables 101” which I’m happy to report is closing in on 12,000 views.

Via a YouTube I got a question from a reader on how to modulate the filter with an envelope so I thought I’d put together a quick step-by-step tutorial. Click the image above to see a larger version to follow along.

  1. Bump the “r” or release time on the amp envelope to give us more sustain time so we can make room for the filter envelope to work
  2. Patch a cable from  the output socket of ADSR2 to the socket under LFO2. Now the knob for LFO2 turns into a bi-polar gain knob.
  3. Turn the the gain knob all the way up for maximum modulation from the ADSR
  4. Turn cutoff to 0 so the filter is 100% controlled by ADSR2
  5. Turn the “res” up just to make the effect more pronounced
  6. Adjust the ADSR value to match the screen shot

Tweak to your heart’s desire.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Novation UltraNova Synthesizer 411


I’m now the proud owner of the Novation UltraNova synthesizer. I’m already creating some custom patches for it so stay tuned for some updates on Patchlab. I'm also considering building some larger sound sets so signup for the Newsletter and check "UltraNova" if you might be interestd.

I did a lot of research before buying the UltraNova and played all the synths in this price range so I’ll be sharing some info in this regard. To start with, I’ve put together this UltraNova 411 mindmap. This will save you time if you are looking for info to help you decide if this synth is right for you, or if you are looking for resources on the instrument. In a future post I’ll do a comparison to other synths in this class.

Nick at Sonic State and Stephen Fortner with Keyboard Magazine really spiked my interest in this synthizer so I’ve included links to their reviews in the map.

A lot of branches are clickable and some are expandable so click around.

View Full Sized Map on Mindmeister | Download ClicKable PDF

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Tone 2 Releases The Vintage Soundset for ElectraX


Tone2 has a history of creating soundsets that really take advantage of the vast features of their awesome synths such as ElectraX. Their latest soundset is “The Vintage Soundset” which goes fro $49 and I'm sure is no exception.

Vintage is an inspiring collection of 220 patches for ElectraX programmed by a team of professional sound designers.

With its oldschool synth sounds, phat basses, expressive pads, multi-layered sequences and dark atmospheres Vintage is packed with a rich blend of classic sounds, delivering the complete range from analog to digital with a fresh twist.

Vintage is suitable for Electronic, Pop, Techno, House, Soundtrack, Dance, IDM and a wide variety of other music genres.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

"Move Like This" - A New Album by The Cars Drops


This year, the founding members of The Cars reunited. Their new album from Move Like This just dropped. Links to the album are here

The band is now out on tour to support the album -

After a quick preview of some of the tracks I’m happy to report that Greg Hawkes has laid down his usual tasty synth magic.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer