CME Xkey Tip: Latching Sustain for Drones and Arps

I use my Xkey 25 Air pretty much every day in the studio. No matter what state my studio wiring is in, I can just turn this bad boy on and I’ve got velocity, pressure, mod wheel, pitch bend and octave shifts at my fingertips.

Because it’s so compact with no knobs to snap off – I also throw it in my pack for experimental ensemble sessions and performance where I don’t want to bring a lot of gear. In these situations I don’t want to have use a finger to hold the sustain button for drones and/or holding notes for synths that don’t support arp latch (U-He synths for example).

The good news is you can configure the button to toggle the sustain pedal on and off. Open the Xkey editor then:

xkey-sustain-switch

  1. Press “Read Selected from Xkey” button in the interface to load the current settings of the Xkey into the editor.
  2. Click the sustain button in the editor’s interface
  3. Change mode from “Push” to “Switch”
  4. Make sure the CC Number is set to “CC64: Hold Pedal On/Off”
  5. Press the “Save modified to Xkey” to save changes back to Xkey

That’s it! Now when you press the sustain button, it will toggle on as if you were holding the button down (or your foot on a sustain pedal). Press it again, and the sustain releases.

Drone on!

Mark Mosher
Sound Designer and Teacher of Synth Tech & Technique
http://ModulateThis.com

How to Use ElectraX Synth with Ableton Push Pad Pressure and Use Ribbon Controller Like a Mod Wheel

push electrax

I finally got my hands on a Push. I’m going through songs in my existing live show and tweaking synths to be even more expressive with Push’s aftertouch and ribbon controller. In this post I’ll be focusing on the wonderful ElectraX synth by Tone2 Audiosoftware but the same concepts apply to any synthesizer that allows for CC mapping in their Mod Matrix – including all the other Tone2 synths.

The image below (click to enlarge) illustrates how to map Push’s pad pressure (aftertouch) and ribbon controller in the mod matrix.

image

Ribbon Controller

If you are using Ableton instruments, the ribbon controller on Push is hard wired to pitch wheel. One advantage to using third party synths is synths like ElectraX, Absynth, and others allow you to map MIDI controller information right into their mod matrix. In other words you can map the ribbon to anything you like

In ElectraX if you want to disable mod wheel so it doesn’t change pitch got to Settings and set “Pitchwheel” to off. Now go into the Mod Matrix and map Pitchwheel. In the example above, I’m using the ribbon to crossfade oscillator 1 and oscillator 2 volumes.

Pressure

To map pad pressure, which is really exposed as aftertouch, go to the Mod Matrix and map “Afterto.” to parameters. In the example above I’m using pressure to close the filter and increase filter resonance.

Keep Up with Push Posts

I’ll be doing many more posts on Push in the future so keep an eye on this category http://www.modulatethis.com/ableton-push/. You can subscribe to the RSS feed for this category here http://www.modulatethis.com/ableton-push/atom.xml. The ElextraX category is here http://www.modulatethis.com/synth-electrax/ | http://www.modulatethis.com/synth-electrax/atom.xml.

Mark Mosher
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Synth Performance Video: Behind-The-Scenes "Dark Signals" Soundcheck from 8/23/2013 Concert at Dairy Center for the Performing Arts

dark-signals-soundcheck-watt2

Here is a behind-the-scenes video from my August 23rd show at the Dairy Center for the Performing Arts in Boulder Colorado.

The video was shot at my sound check by fellow performer and Electric Trombone player Darren Kramer using GoPro. The audio is from GoPro camera.

At this show I’m using Abeton Live to do for live sequenced playback. For live play, For this song called “Dark Signals” (from my second album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS)  I’m using a my Remote SL MKII  Keyboard along with Maschine (custom template in made with Control Editor) to play instruments in Live racks. As you'll see in the video I'm using pressure from the pads to modulate this synths.

Photo from Tech Rehearsal/Sound Check from Dairy Center for Performing Arts Electronic Music Concert

AudioCubes are receiving light commands via MIDI CCs from Ableton Live. I
never use on-board sounds in Tenori-On and instead use it as a
controller and pump MIDI into synths hosted in Ableton Live.

The visuals are based on live camera input processed in Resolume. The Resolume system receives controller and automation from the Ableton rig via MIDI. I’m using the house projector to display my visuals on a screen that’s the width the of the stage!

Photo from Tech Rehearsal/Sound Check from Dairy Center for Performing Arts Electronic Music Concert

It’s a little hard to tell from this video because audio is from GoPro, but the sound at this show was amazing thanks to Gannon Kashiwa who owns and operates GK:SOUND at the TARDIS in Denver. I’m working on a 3 camera edit from footage from the actually show performance which will have audio from the board – so stay tuned.

Enjoy,

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician | Composer | Sound Designer | Performer
Boulder, CO