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Ableton Live Now Arduino Compatible with new Connection Kit

Gareth Halfacree

Ableton Live Connection Kit

Audio software giant Ableton is best known for its Ableton Live music sequencer software, but the recent inclusion of Max for Live into the workflow opened up numerous possibilities for easily wiring Ableton Live into homebrew hardware - and not just music-related hardware, either. The company is now looking to make this process easier with the launch of the Max for Live Connection Kit, which includes ready-to-run 'devices' for connecting Ableton Live to Arduino boards, Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits, and more.

Using the new Connection Kit, Ableton explains, it's possible to connect external hardware powered by Arduino and Arduino compatible development boards directly to Ableton Live and use them as inputs or outputs. Using an Arduino, the company's examples suggest, you can control LED outputs based on tracks currently playing in Ableton, shift servos to build physical instruments playable on-demand, or use switches, potentiometers, or other inputs - including more complicated devices such as temperature sensors - to directly control playback.

The Connection Kit isn't limited to Arduino compatibility, however. Ableton has also bundled support for Lego's Mindstorms EV3 programmable robotics system and the popular littleBits educational kit though the littleBits Arduino Module. The software is also compatible out-of-the-box with Open Sound Control (OSC) devices, and can connect to internet-connected systems to pull down or transmit JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data or even live video.

All 11 pre-configured Max for Live devices are ready-to-run, but also adaptable: using Ableton's own Max programming platform, each example from the GitHub repository can be customised and tweaked, or used as the basis for a new Max for Live device as your own - and while Ableton is retaining copyright on the code examples, it has licensed them permissively to allow anyone the right to redistribute, modify, publish, distribute, or even sell the devices and any derivative works they may create.

The Connection Kit is a collection of Max for Live devices that allow you to connect Ableton Live with several hardware or software technologies. Some of the devices provide a relatively generic interfacing framework between Live and a specific technology (e.g. Arduino, OSC Send), but most of them are only simple examples of what you can do. Their purpose is to show you how you can connect and as such they are meant to be taken apart, studied, extended or completely transformed.


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