Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

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majestic
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Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by majestic » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:07 am

I’m a modular newbie and I’ve been planning my first rack over at modulargrid.

If possible, I’d really like to save HP and money by sequencing everything from Ableton Live rather than buying a dedicated Eurorack sequencer. I’m planning on connecting my rack to Live via a Presonus 2626 DC-coupled interface. It looks like I can sequence a sound source in the rack by using CV Instrument in Live. Is that correct, or have I misunderstood how it works?

One other question: I'd like to do the same thing with effects; i.e. just route the audio out of the rack back into Live and apply FX via plugins. Is there any downside to this?

Apologies in advance if these questions have already been asked and answered!

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100000bps
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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by 100000bps » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:09 am

Yes, you are correct, there is also a very nice line of Expert Sleepers modules - Fh-2 + expanders, that will let you use Push & Live as a brain to your modular.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by redlester » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:55 am

majestic wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:07 am
One other question: I'd like to do the same thing with effects; i.e. just route the audio out of the rack back into Live and apply FX via plugins. Is there any downside to this?
That's what I'm doing. Some would say the downside is the workflow of having to use the computer at all, but as you're obviously OK with that then it works fine.

I've only just started too and frustratingly my Apollo interface has gone in for repair at present (back on my old Native Instruments one for now) but am still able to use Ableton with my rack because I have a MiniBrute 2S connected to the computer via USB then out into the rack via the patch bay.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by axm311 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:58 am

I am doing the same thing with FX, but haven’t yet moved to sequencing. In terms of potential downside, CPU drain is one. I have a powerful computer and a cv instrument glitches my audio much more than say, a fully finished track with plugins unless I raise the buffer a lot which I don’t like doing. The CV Tools Clock Out I use with no cup problems and syncs great clicking Pam’s New Workout

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by StrangeAttraction » Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:50 am

Yes, that's perfectly fine. I often send gates and cv sequences from Ableton to my modular via Expert Sleepers ES-9 and audio back into Ableton for applying fx and recording. Works great. You can apply further modulation in Ableton with LFO/Env/Sequencers from Max For Live, but as one person noted, the performance might vary. I have a 2015 i7 MBP and it's fairly insufficient once you setup up a few tracks with LFOs and modulation.
Good luck!

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by mr_karlos » Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:22 pm

I took my first steps integrating Live with Eurorack using the Mutable instruments CVPal kit. It will give you two cvs outs and two gate outs.
I now have an Expert Sleepers ES-9 with an ES-5 and a ESX-8CV. I used the Ableton CV Tools with a few customer Max for Live patches.
I use Live to sequence the rack modules. I use Live for mix and all effects.
You can also use the Expert Sleepers modules with VCV rack. This make it possible to try out Virtual modules with the physical modules in your rack.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by electricanada » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:26 pm

Sequencing is one of the things modular excels at, and is one of the most fun things you can do in modular. You don't need a sequencer module to make a sequence. You can make sequences out of many different pairs of utility modules.
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nios
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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by nios » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:31 pm

Midi to CV modules pretty seamlessly integrate a DAW at least for a couple modulation channels/gates and with basically 0 lag and not really caring about your comp's specs or how taxed your DAW is, as far as I've ever experienced. For example Mutable Yarns is a common one, and there is a miniature clone of that that's only 6hp and gives you up to four channels/gates under control. Squarp Hermod is also an interesting option giving up to 8 channels/gates and also is able to itself control other instruments via MIDI potentially, but although it's both a sequencer and steadfast DAW interface, it's also a more hands-off one compared to some other dedicated onboard sequencers.

As someone who's been using DAWs for forever I find it much easier/faster to make or play in a sequence on the DAW than it is to purposefully write something on a Euro sequencer. It just is. However, messing around with an onboard sequencer can sometimes get you to interesting happy accidents; some are very much designed for you to tweak by hand until you get something cool like the Metropolis, to improvise and compose entirely in the rack instead of slave it. It's a very different experience, although I'd say it's not an entire-thing substitute for external/midi and it's best to just have some of both if possible. In a very-small rack because a sequencer itself tends to be huge HP-wise a MIDI interface may make more sense. There are also various semi-random or Turing generator type things that iterate/evolve to come up with melodies on the fly to help inspire. However using those isn't really at all the same feel as composing, so it depends on what you're used to or what you expect in terms of actually making music with the thing or not - do you want to press a button and have the thing play itself, or do you want to be generally in control of what the layers are actually doing note/trigger wise while the rest is patched up in whatever fashion.

For applying software FX I'd say just record first, then apply fx to that recording instead of trying to get it all to work seamlessly live, unless you happen to actually-need it to work that way such as for performance.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by electricanada » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:21 pm

nios wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:31 pm

As someone who's been using DAWs for forever I find it much easier/faster to make or play in a sequence on the DAW than it is to purposefully write something on a Euro sequencer. It just is. However, messing around with an onboard sequencer can sometimes get you to interesting happy accidents; some are very much designed for you to tweak by hand until you get something cool like the Metropolis, to improvise and compose entirely in the rack instead of slave it.
Yeah, this nails it. Modular sequencing is best for improvising and finding happy accidents. It's fantastic for that.
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by Oktagon » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:38 am

Agree with others here that sequencing is something you'll probably want in the rack. Sequencing is conceptually very different with a modular (or can be) and you'd limit yourself but trying to do it all in Live. Also you'll want to minimise the amount of time you need to context switch back to the computer because it will break your flow. FX in Live makes perfect sense to me since I'll typically want to adjust these things during mixdown.

However you might find it useful to have the ability to arrange CV output from Live if you want to turn your modular jam into a finished track. So something like the ES-8 will always be useful, and can also be used to sync everything.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by majestic » Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:53 pm

Hey, thanks everyone for all this feedback - it's really, really helpful.
nios wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:31 pm
As someone who's been using DAWs for forever I find it much easier/faster to make or play in a sequence on the DAW than it is to purposefully write something on a Euro sequencer. It just is. However, messing around with an onboard sequencer can sometimes get you to interesting happy accidents; some are very much designed for you to tweak by hand until you get something cool like the Metropolis, to improvise and compose entirely in the rack instead of slave it. It's a very different experience
This really resonates with me. In my early rack designs (a couple of weeks ago), I actually included a Metropolis purely for happy accidents (and also because it just looks like so much fun). I removed it when I decided to use the rack with Live, but I'm rethinking that now. At the moment I'm probably going to go with the Five12 Vector and expander (i.e. the polar opposite of what I was thinking re size and cost!). :) It doesn't seem to be as immediate as the Metropolis but I need to sequence more than one voice, and loopop's review pretty much sold me on it.

I've also decided to go with an ES-9 rather than a new Presonus interface. Being able to route 14 individual sound sources back into Live is just too compelling. My only concern around that is availability - those things are super scarce! I literally can't find one anywhere in the world.

This community is fantastic, I'm really pleased to have found this site. Thanks again for all your help. :yay:

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by AXN » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:07 am

Had many sequencers in my rack, but sold m all, just leaving the voltage block for modulation/sequences and a Hermod as midi/cv converter. Using some max for live instruments for sequencing now: MDD SnAkE 3 Is like René2 and Mimetic Digitalis, ML-185 is like the Stillson Hammer and Metropolis. Euclidean Sequencer and Polyrytmus are like the Pulsar, etc etc works flawlessly.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by acmesound » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:46 pm

I use Yarns with Ableton and a Push (mk1—works great and inexpensive used) — it's a great combination that while not computer-free or knob-per-function, is pretty hands on. If I want to explore 'modular style' sequencing I use Reaktor blocks as a plugin in Ableton which offers 'modules' for everything from 'traditional' sequencers and rene-style sequencers to all the kinds of building blocks you would want to pair them with: clock dividers and multipliers, logic and probability modules, quantization/note-masking, LFO/modulation etc. If I want to be completely computer free and use my modular in a largely unscripted way I use the turing machine in Hemisphere Suite (O_c alternative firmware)—Hemisphere Suite also has applets for other kinds of simple sequencing—It's a very useful module to have around. I'd love to have something like a metropolis in my rack but I'm trying to keep my modular budget under control.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by majestic » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:30 am

AXN wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:07 am
Had many sequencers in my rack, but sold m all
Yeah, I think I'll start without an on-board sequencer and then add one later if the need arises. I'll take a look at the ML-185 and other sequencers under Max 4 Live, thanks for the tip.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by majestic » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:34 am

acmesound wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:46 pm
I'd love to have something like a metropolis in my rack but I'm trying to keep my modular budget under control.
Of all the sequencers I've looked at online, Metropolis is the one that really stands out as being super-intuitive and fun...its downside being that it uses a lot of hp and cash for a single track of sequencing. Very, very nice though!

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by acmesound » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:32 am

majestic wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:34 am
acmesound wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:46 pm
I'd love to have something like a metropolis in my rack but I'm trying to keep my modular budget under control.
Of all the sequencers I've looked at online, Metropolis is the one that really stands out as being super-intuitive and fun...its downside being that it uses a lot of hp and cash for a single track of sequencing. Very, very nice though!
It does look like fun (but $$$)—I've wanted one ever since I saw these two great sketches by Zaphyd (the Metropolis isn't alone here of course, there's brainseed and 147-2 magic happening too):




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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by AXN » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:39 am

majestic wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:30 am
AXN wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:07 am
Had many sequencers in my rack, but sold m all
Yeah, I think I'll start without an on-board sequencer and then add one later if the need arises. I'll take a look at the ML-185 and other sequencers under Max 4 Live, thanks for the tip.
Your welcome, think you’ll like them :)

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by Kattefjaes » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:47 am

majestic wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:34 am
Of all the sequencers I've looked at online, Metropolis is the one that really stands out as being super-intuitive and fun...its downside being that it uses a lot of hp and cash for a single track of sequencing. Very, very nice though!
It is- and there are loads of other fun sequencing and modulation sources too. Be prepared to mix and match your sequencing- from MIDI2CV or CVtools directly into the rack from Live, from in-rack sequencers etc.. The lifeblood of modular is how agile and re-usable modulation can be, and how it can flow through your patches- it'd be a pain to do it all in the computer, though that might be a better place for long, involved melody lines. Take the best of everything you fancy, and don't be afraid of frankensequencing, or franken-anything-else-ing. You are the navigator, find out what works for you (and don't be afraid to switch it up day to day).

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by electricanada » Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:12 pm

acmesound wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:32 am
majestic wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:34 am
acmesound wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:46 pm
I'd love to have something like a metropolis in my rack but I'm trying to keep my modular budget under control.
Of all the sequencers I've looked at online, Metropolis is the one that really stands out as being super-intuitive and fun...its downside being that it uses a lot of hp and cash for a single track of sequencing. Very, very nice though!
It does look like fun (but $$$)—I've wanted one ever since I saw these two great sketches by Zaphyd (the Metropolis isn't alone here of course, there's brainseed and 147-2 magic happening too):



No disrespect to the artist, because those are very nice little pieces, but...you could make those sequences with a LFO, a quantizer, and a little offset voltage from somewhere--no sequencer necessary, no Brainseed necessary. The expensive Metropolis is complete overkill for something so simple. Brainseed is also unnecessary for those performances, although it's a lovely module to have.
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by luisilloguerra » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:48 pm

all expert sleepers modules are back in stock! check PC

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by Black_Materia » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:56 pm

If your interface has an adat connection, you can also use the ES3 to have 8 CV or audio channels into the rack. I've been using this with live 10 CV tools, works great, and much tighter than midi.
I really don't feel the need for a lot of sequencers in the rack itself, with max4live and ableton's clip launch probabilities and follow actions, you can use the same principles of euro sequencers, but infinitely more ' 'modular' I do have a Pittsburgh micro sequencer, marbles and a wogglebug for self-generating and the typical eurorack tricks. But I can easily all synchronise them with my daw, use synced timebase effect plugins, easily transfer/duplicate a sequence around. Love the hybrid approach!

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by PlateOfShrimp » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:53 pm

I plan on getting a midi to cv module which should make things pretty easy. The new intellijel midi 1u and the expander when it comes out will do me good, but there are plenty of 3u modules that'd do the same.

As far as having a dedicated sequencer though, I get more vibey stuff with a sequencer module, but get actual arrangements if I record midi into a daw. Depends on what you're trying to make, but I see it as play vs. work. Love both options though, and I'm sure you'll make stuff you never thought of with the vector if you end up getting that.

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by adg672 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:29 pm

Euro sequencers are great and can be really creative but if you’re happy to use Ableton and M4L, esp with Push2, you’ve got so many cool options and a super fine level of control.

Grab an ES-9 and the expanders plus either Silent Way or these excellent devices (which all work well) and you’re sorted

https://maxforlive.com/profile/user/bhenry1790

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Re: Sequencing Eurorack from Ableton Live

Post by adg672 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:33 pm

Nice thing about the ES-9 and using CV/audio is you can send CV in/out of ableton and get some of the benefits you can get with euro sequencers etc

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