How do I turn the APC40 into a step sequencer without M4L?

Is there a way to structure a project to have it work as a step sequencer?  Or do I have to do some scripting.  If so, what file do I need to edit?


estevan carlos benson 6 years ago | 1 comment

5 answers

  • [mlp] Ableton staff
    24 answers
    74 votes received
    3 votes

    While my first answer to this post allows you to create a sequencer for a synthesizer, it doesn't work so well in a situation where you want to sequence a drum rack. I've worked out a way to do this however, it's a much more limited way of sequencing compared to those available for MFL.

    My sequenceable drum rack can be broken down into two main sections: the 'stepper', and a 'multi-channel sequencer'.


    The stepper's purpose is to count from 1 to n at a given rate, where n is a number from 1 to 8, and rate is a value from 1/128 to 1. n determines the total number of steps the sequencer will reach before going back to the start, while rate determines the (synchronized) rate at which the sequencer will step through the steps (duh).

    The stepper consists of two components: a clock (Arpeggiator) and a counter (Random). The Arpeggiator's Rate parameter controls the sequencer rate, while the Random effect (set in Alt mode) determines the number of steps in the sequence.

    Multi-channel sequencer

    The multi-channel sequencer serves two purposes: 1) a trigger source: for a given point in time, determine if a trigger should be played and; 2) a sound selector: when a trigger is received, play a specific note.

    The trigger source

    The trigger source consists of one a MIDI Effect Rack in which a chain represents a sound that the drum machine is capable of playing, i.e. a channel. Each channel consists of a MIDI Effect Rack wherein chains represents steps in time. Each chain in a channel consists of: a note filter (Scale effect) followed by a note offset (Pitch effect). 

    For the first chain, the filter should be set to the first note in the bottom left of the quadrant, and the note offset to 0. Subsequent channels' note values must be increased by one semitone and the note filter set to the channel number - 1 (e.g. so the value for channel 8's Pitch effect would be -7).

    Map the on/off toggles for each chain in the channel to the buttons on a single row of the APC 40. Those buttons will determine the steps where the channel will play its sound.

    The sound selector

    The sound selector consists simply of a Pitch effect and should be placed outside of the MIDI Effect Rack for the given channel. Map this to a fader on the APC 40. It will be used to control which sound will be played by the channel, i.e. the pitch coming from it will be the one sent to the Drum Rack.

    Now place the Stepper device in front of the Multi-channel sequencer, and follow this with a Drum Rack and have fun :-)

    Unfortunately I haven't yet figured out how to control the lights of the APC 40 effectively for this setup, but I'll be sure to post an update if I do. If you like I can post a link to a Live set of the instructions above.

    6 years ago | 0 comments
  • [mlp] Ableton staff
    24 answers
    74 votes received
    2 votes

    First, make sure the APC is not selected as a Control Surface in Live's Preferences. Otherwise the existing mappings will cause the device to act as a normal APC.

    Here's how to make a basic 8-step sequencer:

    1. Create a new MIDI track.
    2. Add a MIDI Effect Rack into the track.
    3. Add an Arpeggiator to the Effect Rack and set its Rate parameter to 1/16.
    4. Add the Random effect after the Arpeggiator and set its Choices parameter to '8', Mode to 'Alt' and Chance to '100%'.
    5. Add a new MIDI Effect Rack after the Random effect, but still within the first MIDI Effect Rack.
    6. In the new MIDI Effect Rack show the Chain List and add a new chain.
    7. In the chain add a Scale effect and only enable the note from the bottom left. Make sure to disable all other notes in the scale.
    8. Add a Pitch effect after the Scale effect (still in the second MIDI Effect Rack)
    9. Map the Pitch parameter to the first volume slider on the APC.
    10. Repeat steps 6 to 9 seven times, but for each repetition make sure you: set the enabled note in the Scale effect 1 up and 1 to the right (as if you were making a diagonal line from the bottom left to the top right) and; map the Pitch parameter of the Pitch effect to the next available slider on the APC.
    11. Finally, make a new clip in the MIDI track that contains a single note and that loops for 1 bar.
    Unfortunately there is one caveat I have not been able to solve with this idea. That is, starting/stoping the transport in Live will not reset the sequence to the first step, which can be very annoying depending on what you're trying to do.
    Playing the clip will start the arpeggiator, which in our case acts as the clock for the sequencer. Each fader on the APC will control the pitch for the respective step in the sequence.
    You can use this technique to sequence any synthesizer or effect (e.g. Corpus) in Live. There are many more possibilities (e.g. showing step position with the APC's buttons, toggling steps, adding swing to individual steps) using this technique as a basis, but I'll leave those up to you :-)
    6 years ago | 4 comments
  • mcbpete
    203 answers
    234 votes received
    2 votes

    It's a little pricey (the Push script is considerably cheaper) but it looks like nativeKONTROL's apC-CL3 script adds step sequencing to your APC. There's a full desription including videos here -

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • willrjmarshall
    3 answers
    7 votes received
    2 votes
    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • Davemarch2
    2 answers
    6 votes received
    1 vote

    does the APC sequencer work with the APC 40 mk2? it keeps telling me to download MFL which i have done or configure the max path? whats configure the max path?

    3 years ago | 0 comments

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