There are many people out there using the Novation Nocturn (me included), since it was one of the first controllers that did a lot for little money. The tight integration between hardware and software does the trick. Having read about the Automap-feature made me really looking forward to get this device into my hands, since it’s always such a hassle to manually assign each and every control you have.
However, the Automap-feature turned out to be useless for me. It works only with AU/VST-Plugins. Not right in Ableton itself. You can control Live with it, though: Turn on a Midichannel in the Automap server software and manually map Midi-controls within Live (see Novation FAQ for this). But this technique clearly has not the same ease-of-use and awesomeness as the Automapping feature.
I want to easily control Rack-Macros on the fly. Without assigning the knobs individually! And guess what? There is a way! There is a small hidden feature inside Live called Midi Remote Scripting. I recently read about it on CDM, did a custom script for my Nocturn, and – tadaa – Automapping inside of Live. Peter shared his Config-files for both Korg’s nanoPAD and nanoKONTROL. So I will share mine for the Nocturn, so you will not have to read the whole article on how to do it yourself. Just follow the steps!
1. Turn on MIDI
Make sure, that you have your Input- and Output-Ports activated. Decide which Channel you want the Map to send on.
You should see something like this now:
2. Download the Config-File
3. Move it to the correct directory
Unzip the file and move the complete folder (including the UserConfiguration.txt) to the following directory:
Mac: [Your home folder]/Library/Preferences/Ableton/[your version]/User Remote Scripts/
Windows: [Windows boot drive]/Users/ [your Username]/AppData/Roaming/Ableton/[your version]/Preferences/User Remote Scripts/
The foldername (in our case “Nocturn“) is the name that will appear in Ableton’s list of Control Surfaces. Rename it if you like.
4. Check if MIDI-Channels match
The Config-file I gave you is set up for MIDI-Channel 1. If you also activated Ch1 one, go on.
If not, change the GlobalChannel in line 11 of UserConfiguration.txt.
Caution: if your desired Channel is 9, type 8 (as the 16 Channels are counted from 0 to 15).
5. Activate Control Surface inside of Live
In Live’s preferences go to the MIDI-Settings.
Make your selection like in the picture above.”Nocturn” (or the name you chose for your folder) will now appear in the list of available Control surfaces. Select it along with Input and Output on “Automap MIDI”. It’s important to choose the Nocturn as Input and Output, so the Nocturn always reflects changes you do with your mouse.
Now, if everything went right, you can control every device, that is in focus. The blue hand in the title-bar is the indicator for which device you’re controlling. Nice!
I know, for rack-macros it feels a bit strange to have Nocturn-Knobs 1-4 control the upper row and 5-8 the bottom row, instead of seperating the controls as it’s layed out on the Nocturn (feels a bit counter-intuitive). But this setting is the most flexible. Think of controlling EQ Eight with 4 bands, for example. Each 2 knobs control frequency and gain.
7. Niceness-Addon for the advanced ones…
If you have AutomapServer 3.0 as a PRO-Version, it is possible to assign Keystrokes to Nocturn-buttons. This comes very handy. Look at my example:
Shift+Tab brings you to your device-chain if you are in clip-view. If the focus is somewhere in the clip-grid, hit Alt+Down to bring focus to your device chain. If you have the focus once down there, you can navigate with the Left and Right buttons to switch between the different devices and effects you have.
With all of these Keystrokes layed down on the Nocturn you can tweak all of your effects without ever touching the mouse. Really nice…
If you have questions or problems, just let me know. There is always a way…
[UPDATE] I made this for Ableton Live 8.0.4. Can’t test it on other versions, sorry… I just got the info that it also works in Ableton Live 9. Cool.
(Consider flattering if you took anything out of that tutorial. Much appreciated, thanks!)