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BeatStep + Ableton Live

A Midi Remote Script for Ableton Live 10 & 11 and the Arturia Beatstep controller

Beatstep_Q

Beatstep_Q is a MIDI Remote Script for Ableton Live 9, 10 & 11 and the Arturia BeatStep controller.
It turns your BeatStep into a fully-fledged control-surface for Ableton Live !

Comments / suggestions / bugs?

Just drop an Issue or start a Discussion and I'll see what I can do!

... and as you might imagine...
developing and maintaining all of this is quite some work, so if you like what I did, how about buying me a coffee?

Buy Me A Coffee

Installation

No real installation required... just copy the files, and you are ready to go!

  1. copy all files of the latest release into a folder named "Beatstep_Q"
    inside the MIDI Remote scripts folder of Ableton Live
    (located at ..install-dir..\Resources\MIDI Remote Scripts)
  2. start Ableton and select Beatstep_Q as control-surface in the MIDI-tab of the preferences.
    (make sure to activate both track and remote for this device!)

❗BeatStep's storage bank 9 is used during runtime. Any configuration stored to this slot will be overwritten❗

Overlay

The overlay-design provides indications for all assignments (including secondary-functions)
(I got mine printed here: Taktility)

overlay-image

Summary of Assignments

assignments-image

More detailed explanations on the assignments:

The script will set all encoders and buttons to send messages on the Midi-channel 10. To indicate a successful setup, the top-row will light up red and blue (about 2 seconds after plugin).

After initialization, you can recall any saved MIDI configuration and the control-layers will still work!

General (click to expand)

:black_square_button: BUTTONS

The buttons recall, store,chan and shift are used to activate the control-layers.

  • to maintain the initial functionality of the buttons, the layers are activated when the buttons are released !

  • all layers (except the "shift-layer") remain activated until the corresponding button is pressed again

  • holding shift and pressing chan will activate the "mix-layer"

  • holding shift and pressing recall will activate the "browser-layer"

  • double-tapping shift will activate the "shift-layer" permanently (until shift is pressed again)

  • the "if shift pressed" features are only available if the corresponding layer is activated permanently and shift is pressed

The stop button works the same (on all layers) as follows:

  • if the selected clip is currently recording: only recording is stopped (but playback is continued)

  • if the selected clip is playing: stop is triggered

  • "if shift pressed" : stop ALL tracks

While no layer is active, all buttons can be used to play midi-notes!
(>> use the transpose-encoder to change the assigned range of midi-notes)


:white_circle: ENCODERS

The transpose-encoder can be used to transpose the note-assignments of the buttons.
(a red button-color indicates that the lower-left button is at the note C-2, C-1, C0, C1, etc.)

The info-message also tells you the current assignment of the lower-left button (e.g. button 9)

  • encoder 1-4 and 9-12 : control the first 8 parameters of the selected device

  • encoder 5, 6, 13, 14 : send A, B, C, D of selected track

  • encoder 7 : volume of selected track

    • "if shift pressed": volume of master-track
  • encoder 15 : pan of selected track

    • "if shift pressed": pan of master-track
  • encoder 8 : track-selection (left-right) [💡 this is the same for all layers!]

    • "if shift pressed" and a "drum-rack" is selected:

      select drum-pad slot of the viewed 16 slots

  • encoder 16 : scene selection (up-down) [💡 this is the same for all layers!]

    • "if shift pressed" and a "drum-rack" is selected:

      select row of viewed drum-pads


Layers (click to expand)

:trumpet: SHIFT

If NO other layer is activated, pressing "shift" temporarily activates the shift layer It serves as a quick-access layer for frequently used functions.
The layer is deactivated as soon as shift is released!
double-tap shift to activate the layer permanently.

The lights in the first indicate the currently activated clip. (red for midi, blue for audio and magenta for return tracks)

The lights in the second row indicate the track-arm status:

  • red if the track is armed and not muted

    • magenta if the track is armed but muted
  • blue if the track represents a track-group

  • off if the track is muted and not armed

The assignments are as follows:

  • button 1-7: select track 1-7 of the currently focussed slots (red box)

    • double tap an already selected track to arm/unarm it
      • if the selected track is a track-group, instead fold/unfold the group
  • button 8: select previous scene (e.g. go 1 scene up)

    • if the control-layer is activated permanently, holding shift will switch to track-selection
  • button 9 : undo last step

  • button 10: delete selected clip

  • button 12: duplicate the currently selected clip and set the focus to the duplicate

  • button 13: duplicate the currently selected loop

  • button 15: start recording

    • if the currently selected slot is empty, start recording a new clip

    • if a clip is already present, toggle overdubbing the clip

  • button 16 : select next scene (if at the end, create a new scene)

    • if the control-layer is activated permanently, holding shift will switch to track-selection

All encoders are assigned as described above except for the transpose-encoder, which is now used to select devices in the device-chain of the selected track. (turning the transpose-encoder will automatically focus the view to the device-chain!)


:open_file_folder: BROWSE The browser works ONLY in the info-bar... it is not connected to Ableton's browser-window! (I know this would be nice... but the Ableton python-API does not allow it) The status-bar symbols indicate the following:
  • :red_circle: : the selected item can be loaded
  • :fire: ... :fire: : hotswap is active
  • :arrows_counterclockwise: : the item can be hotswapped
  • :black_circle: : the item can not be loaded directly (it's a collection of sub-items)
  • :file_folder: : the item is a folder (and can not be loaded directly)
  • :small_blue_diamond: a loadable item that is not selected

Most button-lights are simply there to help remember the button-assignments.

  • button 13 indicates if hotswap is on or off (red for on)
  • button 14 indicates if prelisten is on or off (blue for on)

The assignments are as follows:

  • button 1 : open sounds

  • button 2 : open drums

  • button 3 : open instruments

  • button 4 : open audio-effects

  • button 5 : open MIDI-effects

  • button 6 : open samples

  • button 7 : open collections

  • button 8 : select previous track

    • "if shift pressed" : select previous device
  • button 9 : go 1 item left

  • button 10 : go 1 item right

  • button 11 : go 1 folder-level down (if possible)

  • button 12 : go 1 folder-level up (if possible)

  • button 13 : toggle hotswapping the currently selected instrument/device

  • button 14 : toggle item-preview

  • button 15 : load the selected item (on the currently selected track if possible)

    • "if shift pressed" : load the selected item on a new track
  • button 16 : select next track

    • "if shift pressed" : select next device

All encoders are assigned similar to the "shift-layer".


:violin: CONTROL

Most lights are simply there to help remember the button-assignments. The lights of button 13 and button 14 indicate the status of their corresponding parameter in Live.

  • button 13 indicates the status of the metronome (red for on)

  • button 14 indicates the status of "automation arm" (red for active)

    • "if shift pressed" and an automation has been overridden, the button will turn blue
  • button 3, 10 and 11 will turn red if shift is pressed to highlight the alternative functionality

The assignments are as follows:

  • button 1 : redo last step

  • button 2 : fold / unfold selected device

  • button 3 : activate / deactivate selected device

    • "if shift pressed" : delete selected device
  • button 6 : cycle through the "launch-quantization" times (e.g. 1 bar, 1/2 bar, 1/8 bar etc.)

    • "if shift pressed" : turn "launch-quantization" off
  • button 7 : toggle between showing the selected "clip-details" or the "device-chain" of the selected track

    • "if shift pressed" : toggle between Ableton's session-view and arrangement-view
  • button 8 : select previous scene (e.g. go 1 scene up)

    • "if shift pressed" : select previous track
  • button 9 : undo last step

  • button 10 : duplicate selected track

    • "if shift pressed" : delete selected track
  • button 11 : duplicate selected scene

    • "if shift pressed" : delete selected scene
  • button 12 : tap tempo

  • button 13 : toggle metronome

  • button 14 : toggle "session automation record"

    • "if shift-pressed" and an automation has been overridden: "re-enable automation"
  • button 15 : change the assigned "pad velocity curve" (e.g. the midi velocity response of the pad)

    • blue for linear, magenta for logarithmic, red for exponential and off for "always max. velocity"
  • button 16 : select next scene (if at the end, create a new scene)

    • "if shift-pressed": select next track

All encoders are assigned similar to the "shift-layer".


:guitar: LAUNCH

In this control-layer, both button-rows (e.g. 1-7 and 9-15) represent clip-slots.
NOTICE: the stop button has a special feature in this layer (see below).

There are 2 possible ways to activate this layer:

  • tap store to control 2 clip-slots of 7 tracks
    • only the store button LED will be on
  • tap shift + store to control 14 clip-slots of 1 track
    • the LED's of store, chan and recall will be on

The button-lights indicate the status of the clip-slots, e.g.:

  • blue indicates a slot with a clip

    • a blue blinking slot indicates a clip that is triggered to stop
  • red indicates a clip that is playing

    • a red blinking slot indicates a clip that is triggered to play
  • magenta indicates a group-track (it will turn red if a clip of the group is playing) [or indicate a triggered clip in shift + store mode]

  • the shift button indicates if "re-trigger clips" or "stop clips" mode is active

The assignments are as follows:

  • the stop-button toggles the behavior of the buttons (indicated by the shift button LED)

    • "re-trigger clips" mode (shift LED OFF) : tapping on an already playing clip will re-trigger the clip

    • "stop clips" mode (shift LED ON) : tapping on an already playing clip will stop the clip

    (... the "if shift-pressed" behavior is still similar to the other layers, e.g. "stop all clips")

  • button 1-7 : launch the clips present in the top-row of the selection.

    • "if shift-pressed" : select the track to which the clip-slot belongs to
      • if the slot is a "group-slot": fold/unfold the corresponding group
  • button 8 : select previous scene (e.g. go 1 scene up)

    • "if shift-pressed": select previous track
  • button 9-15 : same as 1-7 but for the bottom row of the selection.

  • button 16 : select next scene (if at the end, add a new scene)

    • "if shift-pressed": select next track

All encoders are assigned similar to the "shift-layer".


:headphones: MIX

The lights in the top-row indicate the mute / solo status of the corresponding track.

  • blue for a track that is set to solo

  • magenta for an unmuted track

  • red if the track is both solo and muted

  • off if the track is muted and not solo

The lights in the bottom-row indicate the arm status of the corresponding track.

  • red if the track is armed

  • blue if the track represents a track-group

  • off if the track is unarmed (and no track-group)

The assignments are as follows:

  • button 1-7 : set the mute status of the first 6 tracks in the red box

    • "if shift pressed": solo the corresponding track
  • button 9-15 : set the arm status of the first 7 tracks in the red box

    • if the track represents a group, fold / unfold the corresponding group
  • button 8 : select previous scene (e.g. go 1 scene up)

    • "if shift pressed": select previous track
  • button 16 : select next scene (if at the end, create a new scene)

    • "if shift pressed" : select next track
  • encoder 1-7 : "track volume" of corresponding track

    • "if shift pressed" : "send A" of corresponding track
  • encoder 9-15 : "track pan" of corresponding track

    • "if shift pressed" : "send B" of corresponding track
  • encoder 8 : track-selection (left-right)

  • encoder 16 : scene selection (up-down)

  • transpose encoder : set volume of master-track


:musical_score: SEQUENCER

The sequencer-layer is only available in Ableton 11 or newer!

The sequencer layer has 2 different functionalities:

  • If shift is pressed, you can use all button-functions from the shift-layer!

NOTE: The first 6 characters of a clip-name are used to parse the tempo of the midi sequence!

E.g. a clip-name starting with 1/32_Q will be identified as having a tempo of 1/32.
Any characters after the first 6 are ignored. (e.g. a name of 1/32_Q what a nice clip is fine!)

:ant: SEQUENCE EDITOR (active if a MIDI clip is selected)

In the sequence-editor mode you can edit the first 16 notes of the selected MIDI clip.

  • the colors of buttons 1-16 are

    • black if there is no note or the note is muted
    • blue if there is a note, and it is unmuted
    • magenta if the note is unmuted and outside the loop
      • it also indicates if less than 16 notes are present
    • a moving red light indicates the playback-state of the clip
  • check the Ableton info-bar for info-messages!

The assignments are as follows:

  • multi-touch editing mode:

    • touch & hold one (or more) buttons and turn the transpose-encoder to change the assigned property of the selected notes
    • use encoder 1-6 to set which property you want to change
  • button 1-16 : mute/unmute corresponding note

  • shift + button 1-16 : use functionality of shift-layer

  • encoder 1 : set encoders to change note pitch

  • encoder 2 : set encoders to change note velocity

  • encoder 3 : set encoders to change note start-time

  • encoder 4 : set encoders to change note duration

  • encoder 5 : set encoders to change note velocity-deviation

  • encoder 6 : set encoders to change note probability

  • encoder 8 : select prev/next track

  • encoder 9 : change the loop start-time (coarse steps)

  • encoder 10 : change the loop start-time (fine steps)

  • encoder 11 : change the position of the loop (fine steps)

  • encoder 12 : change the loop end-time (fine steps)

  • encoder 13 : change the loop end-time (coarse steps)

  • encoder 15 : transpose all notes that are inside the loop

  • encoder 16 : select prev/next scene

  • shift + encoder 1-16 : change assigned parameter of corresponding note

:hatching_chick: SEQUENCE INITIALIZER (active if the selected clip-slot is empty)

In the sequence-initializer layer you can set the start-parameters for the midi-sequence
that is initialized if you press chan again.

  • buttons 1-8 indicates the tempo of the MIDI notes as "notes/bar" [1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4]

  • buttons 9, 10, 11, 12 indicate how the note-interval is filled

    • NOTE you can also use this to offset the notes!
  • buttons13, 14, 15, 16 indicate the velocity of the notes (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1)

  • check the Ableton info-bar for info-messages!

The assignments are as follows:

  • buttons 1-8: set sequence-tempo

  • buttons 9, 10, 11, 12 : set note-interval

  • buttons13, 14, 15, 16 : set velocity

  • double-tap shift : initialize a 16 note midi sequence with the selected parameters

  • transpose-encoder : set the note-pitch for the initialized sequence

  • encoder 1 : set encoders to change note pitch

  • encoder 2 : set encoders to change note velocity

  • encoder 3 : set encoders to change note start-time

  • encoder 4 : set encoders to change note duration

  • encoder 5 : set encoders to change note velocity-deviation

  • encoder 6 : set encoders to change note probability

  • encoder 8 : select prev/next track

  • encoder 9 : set pitch increment of notes

  • encoder 10 : set number of incremented notes

  • encoder 15 : transpose all notes that are inside the loop

  • encoder 16 : select prev/next scene

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Thanks to