Dan Hume's Blog


TouchOSC Test With Ableton
December 1, 2010, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Performance Video

I finally managed to upload a video of a test I did with TouchOSC using my phone to control Ableton.

I used the custom layout I made in TouchOSC to control a track I put together in Ableton. In the video I’m using 5 fader controls, which are linked up to the 5 different audio loops I’ve used in Ableton. This then gives me the freedom to slowly build up the track and break it down.

Syncing Custom Layout to iPhone

After creating the layout for the interface, I needed to get the interface onto the iPhone. First thing I did was created a local network.

Then I went to the System Preferences on my iPhone and connected it to the network I’d just created. After that I opened up TouchOSC and selected Network. I then had to type in the name of the network in Host with .local at the end. I set the outgoing port to 8000 and the ingoing port to 9000.

I then used a program called Osculator. This is a program which receives OSC data from TouchOSC then  changes this data into MIDI CC data, which is something that most music software can easily understand e.g. Ableton. When I opened up Osculator, I set the ingoing port to 8000 and hit enter. After a moment a new section should be added in TouchOSC saying found host 1 displaying the computer network name:8000 (Osculator).

This now means both programmes, Osculator and TouchOSC, are communicating with each other. Now that this worked I was able to load my custom interface layout to my iPhone. I opened up my layout in OSC Editor on my mac, then clicked on the sync tab. I then went back to the TouchOSC on my iPhone and went to Layout, Add layout and then the name of my computer appeared.

I clicked on the name and the layout was automatically transferred from the computer to the iPhone. All that was left to do was to head back to them main menu in TouchOSC and click on the Done tab. This then brought my layout on the iPhone, ready to be mapped to Ableton!

Mapping iPhone To Ableton

This is what Osculator looks like when you open it up.

It’s a small box that appears in the middle of the desktop. Now that the iPhone and Osculator are synced up, I am able to any of the controls on my iPhone and it will send OSC data to Osculator and it will show up in the blank sections. I moved all the controlls one by one so that they all show up on the screen.

When they were all displayed in Osculator, I locked the data so that the data isn’t accidentally duplicated if I touch one of the controls on the iPhone. I assigned all the controls to MIDI CC and selected channel 16 for the MIDI data to be sent on. Channel 16 is probably the best to use to avoid any confliction with any other hardware. The value of each MIDI CC needed to be unique so since there are 12 controls I used the numbers 1-12.

Once that was done I was then opened up Ableton, where I was ready to complete the final step in this set-up. I had already put together a track in Ableton so all I needed to do was assign the controls on my iPhone to the controls in Ableton. I went into Preferences to make sure that iPhone was being picked up as a MIDI device.

I enabled the Track and Remote columns for OSCulator Out and OSCulator In interfaces. This will enable us to record events and send control events to OSCulator as well.

At the top right hand corner of the screen, there is a tab called MIDI. I clicked on that and the whole interface of the program is highlighted blue to signify it’s in MIDI mode. This enabled me to link up the controls in Ableton to my iPhone. To link up a control on the iPhone to Ableton, all you do is select a control in Ableton which will display 4 corner frames, to show its ready to synced up. Then select the control you want it to be synced by moving the control on the iPhone.

If you click the volume fader in Live, you will notice OSCulator will automatically detect a MIDI message and will convert it to an OSC message that it sends to TouchOSC running on your iPhone. That means that TouchOSC and Live are synchronized both ways.

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