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Alias 8 custom LED button lighting? Plus Instructions for Live 9 Arm/Disarm button LEDs

edited January 2014 in Software Discussion

Howdy. I received my Alias 8 last week, and I'm just loving it.
It's replacing//working in tandem with my old UC33e.
If I get used to the Alias, I may get a second one. I do a lot of on-the-fly recording and prefer the mixer style of recorders way over all the momentary controllers out there. The Alias so far fits the bill (although I do miss that 3rd row of knobs from the UC33e).

Okay, here's the setup. The question comes after.
Mac OSX Mavericks. Ableton Live 9.1 (Standard). 8 channels/tracks/VSTi's in Session View (which is where I do 99% of my work).
For all intents and purposes, I use Live 9 as a virtual rack of instruments/mixer/fx.

The Alias is assigned like this:
~ Knobs = Two effect sends per channel (tape delay & Reverb as master effects)
~ Level sliders = level per channel
~ Row One Buttons = Arm/Disarm toggle per channel
~ Row Two Buttons = toggle on/off, custom Live VST definition for eight parts in the plugin, Stylus RMX

How do I assign custom colors for the buttons, as in custom colors programmed by the Livid Editor?
I would like to do custom LED colors for the buttons, like this:
Row One: Red for armed, White for disarmed (or off)
Row Two: Blue for the first 4, Cyan (or another color) for the second 4 for "On" status, blank or another color for off.

Right now I have all buttons defined as Blue for on, blank for off via the Livid Editor. (127=blue)

I've read a few folks have wanted to use the first row of buttons like myself for the arm/disarm track buttons, but they don't respond/react/follow the status by lighting up. That's not the Alias' fault, that because Ableton made the Arm/Disarm buttons not send out midi commands like every other item (by design), and this will frustrate the hell out of many, many people.

For those wondering how to make the arm/disarm button work "correctly" in Live 9 with and Alias 8? Like this:
1) MIDI Setup as described in manual: Control Surface: None, Input: Alias 8A (a8aControls), Output: Alias 8A (a8aControls), Midi Ports Track & Remote selected to "On"
2) Use Live's "Edit Midi Map" command -- Command-M (Mac) or Control-M (PC) -- and learn/define all controls, as you normally would.
3) When you're done, and only when you're done defining all buttons, sliders, and knobs? Go back to the Preferences/MIDI/Sync Tab and change the "Control Surface" from "None" to "MackieControl". This works for me; the LEDs light up/go out according to the channels' status correctly. Even from a loaded/saved file that had them armed, the Alias reacts correctly.
4) NOTE: If you want to change any of the definitions? You need to turn the "MackieControl" back to "None" first. I found this out the hard way with the sliders. When you're done? Change it back to "MackieControl". Just trust me on this one.
5) FYI: For the Alias 8, I am actually using the default settings, no changes were made to toggle/momentary behaviors whatsoever (with the exception of the Global Color I chose).

Now that I've explained to you how to get the Arm/Disarm --LED connection to work... I want them RED, but only when armed.
I want my second Row of Buttons to be split colors (Blue/Other).
It would be nice if I could define the "Disarm" state to be white/other color.

How do I accomplish this? I'm not getting the results i want from the Livid Editor beyond LEDs being on 100% of the time, or, only having one choice of colors for all LEDs.
Please test it yourself and let me know how you got it to work for you, if this is possible.
I'll settle for all of Row A to be Red or off, and Row B to be Blue or off, at the bare minimum. (e.g. a different color per row)

Syracuse, NY, USA


  • edited January 2014

    The LED colors depend on the velocity of the note that is sent to the Alias 8. This is exactly how the online editor works. 

    In M4L there's a device called Expression Control which let's you map a note/velocity value to anything in live. So, in default settings, the upper-left toggle on Channel 1 will respond with a red light when you send a midi note 0 with a velocity in the 16-31 range. 

    I haven't tried it before but maybe you can map such a note message to the arm button of a track? To turn the led off, just send a note message with a velocity of 0.

  • edited January 2014

    I only have Live Standard; M4L comes with the Suite only, so that's not an option.

    Technically I could group a set of 8 additional channels with MIDI clips to change the colors of Row 2 Buttons/LEDs, which also controls my Stylus RMX tracks.
    Since I'm using Row 1 for arm/disarm, that method doesn't/can't apply.

    I was hoping the hardware had some sort of internal registry/definition per button LED, that I'm not seeing in the Livid Editor...

    Pssst... hey Livid; idea for the next firmware upgrade? Defining each individual button's LED with a custom on/off color status? :)

  • Nice how-to!!

    How do the LEDs behave now with the mackie remote script?

  • They behave just as simple toggle on-off representations for the Arm/Disarm buttons, like I wanted to.
    The second row acts just fine (since I've defined them as toggles in Live) and behaves the same, too.
    I haven't tried using them in any other function. FWIW I also have a Launchpad, I use that for clip launching. I use the Alias as a mixer function, primarily.

    What gets screwy is if you try to define a slider while it's in the MackieControl mode. It changes the scaling for some reason, or just totally screws it up (inverts it? makes it an infinity knob, or something? I can't tell). That's why you have to define all the other knobs and sliders with the MackieControl turned off.

    Still hoping to define those LEDs is a custom manner, though. Instead of the one-color-only setup.

  • Awesome, Moon! I'll be watching // listening for future improvements.
    I'm loving the Alias 8!

  • All of my previous note is sort of moot now with the Live scripting Livid has provided. Works fine for me for up-to-date versions (9.1.x). I just have to remember to reinstall the definition file every time Ableton updates Live.

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