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How to control Ableton Live with your iPhone [updated]

osculator and touchosc
With a new iPhone version comes a new method of using it to control Ableton Live. This post is an update to a previous post that is now obsolete. The best new method of controlling your iPhone doesn’t even require you to jailbreak your phone.

Summary:

TouchOSC is an iPhone / iPod Touch application that lets you send and receive Open Sound Control messages over a Wi-Fi network using the UDP protocol. Using this program on your phone along with Osculator for Mac, you can control Ableton Live with your phone.

Requirements:

  1. Wireless Router to create a wireless network for the iPhone to send OSC messages through
  2. An iPhone with 2.0 or newer software
  3. Purchase of TouchOsc and Osculator

Procedure:

First, launch OSCulator and Live.

We will have to configure Live so it will receive and send MIDI events with OSCulator.

In Live go in the Preferences, under the “MIDI Sync” tab and enable the Track and Remote columns for “OSCulator Out” and “OSCulator In” interfaces. This will enable us to record events and send control events to OSCulator as well.

TouchOSC configuration

Now, launch TouchOSC on your iPhone. Please make sure you have version 1.2 installed so automatic configuration will be enabled.

  • Click on the button under “Network” and choose the option corresponding to OSCulator (see picture to the right). TouchOSC will automatically fill the fields required for the network communications.
  • In the “Port (incoming)” field, enter 9000. This can be actually any port number you wish. 9000 is cool.
  • From there your settings page should look like the second image from the top (your “Host” field can be different, due to network configuration differences).
  • Select a layout, we will use “Beatmachine”.
  • Click on the “Done” button.

We will configure the yellow slider so it can control the volume of the first track in Live:

  • Touch the yellow slider to send an initial event.
  • The event “/1/fader” should appear in the main window of OSCulator.
  • In OSCulator, select “MIDI CC” as Event Type, and “cc0” as Value.

Now, let’s tell Live we want to use this MIDI control change to control the volume fader of the first track. This procedure also works for any button or control in Live.

  • Return to Live, and click on the MIDI button, located upper right. Live turns to MIDI Learn mode.
  • Click on the volume fader of the first track.
  • In TouchOSC, touch the yellow slider again. This will forward the event to Live, which will learn that we want to use the MIDI control change 0 to control the volume fader. A “1/0” label is now displayed next to the volume fader, like this:
  • Leave MIDI learn mode by click on the MIDI button upper right.
  • You’re done!

If you click the volume fader in Live, you will notice OSCulator will automatically detect a MIDI message and will convert it to an OSC message that it sends to TouchOSC running on your iPhone.

That means that TouchOSC and Live are synchronized both ways.