Last week Ableton announced a free beta Live Pack named CV Tools containing ten devices for Live 10 Suite that generate and receive Pitch, Control, Clock and Trigger CV right in time for Superbooth. Several other Certified Trainers and me got to show visitors the pack in action with four different setups in the Ableton room. If you have a modular synth, CV capable analogue gear or were considering to get something, this Max for Live Pack integrates modular gear and Live so they work like one. The pack will be officially released in mid June, Live 10.1 finally at the end of May.
A CV signal (short for Control Voltage) is an electric current that is designed to control analogue synths and sequencers. Basically a very low voltage kind of audio signal. DC coupled audio interfaces can be used as a source for voltage control because they allow signals within the CV range. Not all interfaces are DC coupled, so check if this is the case for your audio interface. Most of the Max for Live devices in this pack require an DC-coupled audio interface, but there are also a few of them that will work standalone inside Live, and they make the pack worth checking out even if you don’t have CV capable gear and such an interface.
The pack was created to allow for seamless integration between a modular synth and Ableton Live. With the included CV instrument the synth can be calibrated to be in tune with any other instruments in all octaves. Live can be used as the tempo leader or be set to follow the modular system clock. Other devices can send and modulate CV to and from a modular setup, which means that you could spend less on a modular forgoing any modulation modules and use Live with the help of the CV Tools for this task instead. The option to calibrate coupled with the extensive modulation possibilities might even make me consider getting a modular at some point in the future, now that the CV Tools makes the integration with Live dead simple.
Now let’s have a look at the devices that are included.
This Max for Live device allows you to control your modular or analogue synth or drum machine with MIDI, like a synth. It accepts MIDI in and outputs pitch, gate and envelope CV to offer flexible modulation and voicing options. It also features a tool to auto-calibrate the pitch so that your CV instrument is in tune. This is a pretty major feature as the calibration covers the entire MIDI-Note spectrum with an accuracy of a few cents, so that the common detuning of the highest and lowest octaves can be adjusted.
CV Triggers allows you to send multiple CV signal types from multiple MIDI notes in Live and operates like a MIDI-CV converter by taking notes in a MIDI Clip and sending out a Gate, Ping or Trigger signal to your hardware. This can used to e.g. sequencing drums, triggering envelopes or LFOs.
CV Clock Out
This Max for Live audio effect lets you sync your modular to Live. You can send Live’s Transport and Sync signals out to your modular.