BLOCKS Dashboard beta allows easy integration between BLOCKS and Ableton Live. With BLOCKS Dashboard beta you can customise the Lightpad Block’s touch-responsive surface to control Ableton Live in a wide variety of ways. This article will show you how to use the Lightpad Block as a drum pad controller in Ableton.


This guide refers to BLOCKS Dashboard beta, which is available as an open beta to all BLOCKS creators. To learn more about BLOCKS Dashboard beta, including how to download it, click here.


Ableton’s MIDI Preferences

Go to Preferences → Link MIDI → MIDI Ports

Ensure that Track and Remote are turned On next to Input: Lightpad Block

Ableton MIDI settings

 

Using the Lightpad Block as a Drum Pad

Step 1: BLOCKS Dashboard Settings

Go to Browse → Factory → Drum Block Mode and select the following settings:

  • MIDI Mode: Single Channel
  • Note Channel First: 1
  • Base Note: C1;  most Drum Racks are mapped from C1
  • Grid Size: 4

Ableton Drum Rack Single Channel

Step 2: Create a MIDI track

  • Open a new Ableton set and load a Drum Rack instrument of your choice on a MIDI track
  • Record-arm the MIDI track

Ableton Load a Drum Rack

You should now be able to trigger these drums from your Lightpad Block.

Step 3: Set up the dimensions of touch

The Lightpad Block’s dimensions of touch can provide intuitive control over your drum sounds.

Strike will be automatically mapped to the velocity of each drum sound.

Glide, Press & Lift

You can set up different Glide, Press & Lift settings for each individual drum sound within the Drum Rack.

  1. Select the drum sound within that Drum Rack that you wish to control with Glide, Press or Lift.
  2. Right-click on top of the selected Simpler instrument and go to “Simpler → Sampler”Simpler → Sampler
  3. Assign Pitch Bend (Glide), Aftertouch (Press) and Off Vel (Lift) to the parameters you wish to control. You can also assign Velocity(Strike) to control other parameters.Glide, Slide & Press in Drum Rack

Slide

Slide transmits MIDI CC 74 by default.

You may change what MIDI CC message Slide transmits under the Global Settings of Drum Block Mode.

Change Slide

You can assign Slide to the desired parameters on a Drum Rack or an Audio Effect by MIDI Mapping. In this example, Slide is being set to modulate the amount of ‘Drive’ control of ‘Saturator‘ Audio Effect on the Kick Drum:

  1. Select MIDI Mapping on the top-right corner
  2. Select ‘Drive’ on ‘Saturator’
  3. Perform the Slide gesture on your Lightpad Block to map it to this parameter

Slide assign in Ableton

That’s it! You are ready to play some drums with your Lightpad Block and Ableton Live’s Drum Rack.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial! We will be releasing more tutorials soon which will explore other ways you can use the Lightpad Block with Ableton Live.