A02 - HOW TO USE THE SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS SIX-TRAK AS AN EXTERNAL INSTRUMENT IN ABLETON LIVE

INTRO

Using hardware synths with Ableton can sometimes be a bit tricky. Using External Instrument is fine for some synths but if you want complete control over mod wheels and other parameters like cut off and resonance you will need a different solution. Luckily the amazing CTRLR VST is here to help..

DOWNLOADS

Assuming you have an audio interface and USB midi cable you will also need the following:

  1. CTRLR VST - download
  2. Six-Trak Panel for CTRLR - download *

SETTING UP ABLETON

You will need 2 tracks in Ableton to use the Six-Trak.

  1. Start a new project in Ableton Live
  2. Add a midi track and load the CTRLR VST
  3. Add an audio track and set the Monitoring mode to "In" for the audio track and select the audio in channel for the Six-Trak

Basically you compose all the music using the midi track and then you will hear the audio via the audio track. 

SETTING UP THE SIX-TRAK

This will turn on options that allow the SIx-Trak to communicate with the CTRLR VST.

  1. On the synth press CONTROL RECORD + 1. This will enable/disable program change.
  2. Next press CONTROL RECORD + 4. This will enable/disable wheels and parameter changes.
  3. Ensure Midi channel is set to 1 (it should be). You can make sure by pressing PARAMETER then 36 then press VALUE and set it to 1 using the VALUE knob.

SETTING UP CTRLR VST

This will connect the VST controller to your hardware Six-Trak.

  1. Click open panel and load in the Six-Trak panel you downloaded earlier
  2. From the MIDI dropdown menu select Settings
  3. On the device tab set Midi In and Midi Out to your Six-Trak
  4. On the routing tab check HOST -> OUT device

Try it out by creating a quick tune and have the Six-Trak play it back.

(OPTIONAL) SET UP FOR AUTOMATION

This will connect parameters such as VCFCutoff to a macro for easy automation within the track.

  1. First right click on the CTRLR VST Ableton tab and select GROUP
  2. Next expand the CTRLR VST Ableton tab using the little arrow next to the ON/OFF switch (top left)
  3. Select CONFIGURE (top right)
  4. On the Six-Trak panel move the VCFCutoff, notice it will appear under the CONFIGURE button
  5. Select CONFIGURE again to turn it off
  6. Now select MAP on the group to turn on Mapping
  7. Select the VCFCutoff that appeared under the CONFIGURE button
  8. Select the MAP button for Macro 1 on the GROUP
  9. Turn off Mapping by selecting the MAP button on the Group tab

You can now control the Cut Off via the macro knobs and also by drawing it into the automation lanes on your track.

RECORDING

When you have written your part for the Six-Trak it is time to record and commit that work to an audio file.

  1. Select the RECORD button on your Audio track
  2. Hit PLAY and let the Six-Trak play the notes in generating the waveform. Once finished hit STOP.
  3. Now change the Monitoring mode to "Auto" for the audio track.

You can now hear the recorded audio.

Additionally as the Six-Trak is mono  I would recommend recording the Six-Trak in twice panning one recording hard left and the other hard right. This will create a stereo track.  Read more about this here.

 

* The Six-Trak CTRLR panel is a modified version originally by Muve. I have fixed the Cutoff so it can be linked to an audio effect macro. I also made a few cosmetic changes.