LiveControl2_2

Hidden beneath a detailed interface, there’s a lot that a computer might do. Amidst a growing variety of touch tools, musicians are surfing those capabilities with custom cockpits, fingers dancing across glowing rectangles.

Production and performance tool Ableton Live is really designed around mice and keyboards. For touch controls, that means turning to remote controls – and for now, a tablet (most often iPad). Developer Liine was an early adopter of the notion. Their classic, minimal Griid and Griid Pro were elegant and simple – but they’ve also failed to keep pace with ongoing controller evolution. They just can’t control all the things a Live user might like. At last, Liine has completed work on LiveControl 2, the “next generation” of this controller utility, with full support both for Ableton Live 8 and this year’s Ableton Live 9.

And it’s quite a release. With modules that keep access to settings like channel strips handy, and the ability to play notes and make your own MIDI clips, it almost reads like the feature list came straight from “Dear Santa” letters written by Ableton Live users.

The upgrade takes a different approach to the problem than other apps (notably, the very thorough Touchable controller app). It uses four modules which can be used together:

Launch does what the name implies, but immediately adds transport, BPM, quantization, and metronome features to the usual clip launching capabilities. There’s also a fader control, so at last you aren’t stuck paging between mixer and launch modes. Interestingly, you can also store clips in groups of Presets, meaning LiveControl is one of the first apps we’ve seen that allows you to create musical structures apart from Live’s own individual Clips and Scenes.

Modulate takes a cue from Lemur and allows you to assign multiple parameters to an XY pad, complete with physics and modulation. (Hello, bouncing balls and whatnot.) There’s also a Recorder for gesture recording and playback – familiar to users of Korg KAOSS hardware – and yet another Preset storage facility with morphing between settings.

Play is a harmonic grid, always in key by locking notes. You can change instruments via MIDI channel, so it doesn’t have to be committed to just one instrument. And unlike other tools, there’s also a full channel strip and macro knobs at the ready, so, again, you don’t necessarily need two controllers.

Sequencer lets you make your own MIDI clips just by tapping and dragging, complete with musical editing tools for keys, chords, faux-guitar “strums,” inversion and the like. I can imagine some of these features will be useful for on-the-fly melodies and chords when performing, too.

What’s striking about LiveControl 2 is how many apps it bundles into one. It’s little surprise that Liine is discontinuing their previous Griid and Griid Pro; it’s clear LiveControl is now where they’ve focused their energies, and there’s no comparison to what the earlier apps did. But you also get the X/Y physics and modulation capabilities of Lemur, the preset morphing of Liine’s Kapture, and the musical playing features normally restricted to other iPad apps or controllers like Ableton’s Push.

Perhaps just as importantly, having access to mixing functions in all these modules to me is a big deal; paging in and out of different modes can kill the usefulness of the iPad as a controller.

The melodic and sequencing functions seem especially capable, opening up lots of possibilities for quick playing and composition.

In fact, the only question I have is why Ableton isn’t building this sort of stuff themselves. Then again, with Liine being this thorough, perhaps they don’t have to.

A full review soon seems a must; stay tuned.

More on the discontinuation of Griid/Griid Pro from Liine:

Griid & Griid Pro will be discontinued as of July 1 2013. There will be no further updates, however support will continue until December 31 2013.

Frankly, while I know this may disappoint some, I think it’s the right move. My general preference is to get 100% support for fewer products than half-support for more – and sometimes that means pulling the plug on products that no longer make sense.

That still leaves, in particular, Lemur and LiveControl, which offer very different approaches but via similar tools. Lemur is a blank canvas for MIDI and OSC controllers; LiveControl remains Live-specific, though appears to do most of what Live users would need. Some comparison will make sense; we’d love to hear how you’re using these tools.

Lots more at the developer site:

http://liine.net/

LiveControl2_3

LiveControl2_1

LiveControl2_4

  • Samuele Cornell

    i have already touchable but this looks way more capable and it has a better interface overall ; seems a perfect match for Push

    • Vinicolaubeat

      Apparently touchAble 2 is coming, they ‘ve posted a screenshot last week…can’t wait for this one, current version has been the best friend of my Ableton Live, and honestly I was excited by this livecontrol2 release, but I feel a bit disappointed, interface is very cluttered, and simple tasks like launching clips and navigation is, in my opinion, pretty bad. Whatever, is good to see that users have more choices.

    • Samuele Cornell

      Lemur has the advantage of a customizable interface , but yes it will never be as straightforward as touchable ; sometimes the less , the better

  • experimentaldog

    This is by far the best one yet. The fact that it uses Live as a control surface instead of needing an extra Max for Live patch like Mu did is so much easier. Plus you can now use a hardwired connection instead of Wifi through iPad midi interfaces.

    • gLOWx

      You are right. The Midi remote script instead of M4L/Wifi Daemon is going to take a lot of headaches out of the equation.
      Especially when i spend yesterday a whole day wondering WHY my wifi link was not working anymore (but internet was working on PC/iPad)…whereas it was just a router bug.
      Restarted router, everything worked again ;)
      I hate Wifi :D

  • ST8

    Glad to finally get this out to people, it’s been a long development cycle. Enjoy :)

    Cheers
    Stu (ST8)

    • DrFaye

      Thanks sir, very awesome. Worth the wait.

  • nukage

    I haven’t done this yet, but I’m excited to add my own Custom pages to my own customized version of Livecontrol 2 – one of the best features of Lemur is the ability to customize the interface and definitely blows Touchable out of the water in this respect.

  • Derp

    No discount or free download for Griid owners? /me grumbles @ waste

    • gLOWx

      you don’t understood…it is free for Lemur users.
      You can download it for free if you want…but you need Lemur to run it.

      The only thing you could ask is a discount for Lemur…
      This is NOT a separate app, like Griid.
      That’s why it is more powerful (Lemur can tweak to death) and why they left Griid (no customization possible).

    • Joe M

      Not like it matters if they wanted to anyway. The way the app store works there’s no way to discount certain users.

      They’d have to update Lemur to be “free” and unlocked with an in-app purchase and make a special in-app purchase available to users whom have Griid installed. This would require a lot of work and an updated version of Lemur and may even be against Apple’s app store TOS. So basically, no.

  • Twumpy

    As a personal opinion. Having used both touchAble and LiveControl2, the latter takes the price as easy to use controller for Live. That said, there’s a picture of touchAble2 circulating in the web, but competition in this field is good for the user!

  • Cillian Warfield

    So this is a free lemur template rather than a separate new app? I’m not complainig, just I don’t think that was very clear from the article. Or maybe I’ve spent too long in the sun today…

    • Graham Thorne

      I am wondering the same?! Im confused…

    • Softcore

      Its a Lemur template combined with its own Ableton Midi Remote script.

  • Virtual Flannel

    Now all I need is the new iconnectmidi’s to drop! Come on iconnectivity!!!

  • Qbical

    Can’t find it in the article or on there website but any chance this will work on an old-fashioned Lemur?

    • gLOWx

      I don’t think so. Lemur hardware is abandoned. They don’t support/update it anymore.
      As you need a recent Lemur iPad version to run LC2 (V4), it will probably don’t work on his ancestor.
      I wish i’m wrong for ancient Lemur users…

  • Krzysztof Halewski

    Hi, could someone explain: can i use this app running on an ipad, connected to computer with windows8? I got PC machine and im sitting on a fence: buy apple or android tablet…

    • gLOWx

      You need an iPad and Lemur (iPad version). And yes, it works with any Windows/Mac and iPad.
      I even use an old Windows XP SP2 and old iPad 1 ;)
      Between iOS and Android, to me and for now, there is no real question : iOS all the way.
      And i’m not an Apple fanboy (Windows for almost 20 years).
      Just go to Apple Store and Google Store, compare number of big music apps on each other…and buy an iPad :D
      For anything else than music, Android is nice…but we are musicians here.

  • Softcore

    An obvious advantage of not having “closed-nature” apps like Griid is that an advanced Lemur user can “modify” the existing Live Control 2 Lemur template to suit his needs.

    Also it will be much easier for th euser community to contribute to ideas and further development of LC2 as opposed to being an app of its own!
    ;)

  • Jakub

    Can it replace also-discontinued Kapture Pad? Saving and recalling all device and mixer settings in the live set (with possible exception of some)?

  • Mark Hannesson

    I use Lemur with Max and (soon-next project) with Supercollider. Lemur is awesome. Easy to build your own templates, easy to tweak. Absolutely amazing that this can be done with an iPad.

  • leolodreamland

    doesn’t work very well. see the grumbles on the livecontrol site too. loads of em.

  • Rene Alexis Penaloza Munoz

    Last night I did a club gig and used TouchAble, it was fantastic. Buts this…this is a whole new league. Awesome.

  • Aaron Zilch

    This looks awesome. Haven’t had a chance to get hands on with any of the Ipad Ableton controllers but always liked the look of the Touchable stuff a bit more. And I’m pretty sure Charlie Darker was utilizing it for his sick and stable custom layout for his Live/Serato Bridge rig. But this looks like all the things I felt were missing from Liine, for my average workflow at least.

    Something to remember in all this is also that the feature upgrades in 9 allow for a lot of requested functionality for the Ipad apps to be manifested without the levels of Max and Python trickery and workarounds than were previously required. Pattern based automation recording, midi transformations, and many other handy performance/composition tools are now right there in the box. No potentially temperamental fiddling about required ;)

  • optikal

    can someone please tell me if I use this with an ipad and pc together?

  • optikal

    can someone please tell me if I can use this with an ipad and pc together?