Transform Audio Signals into MIDI Magic with Midi Bang v1.2 in Ableton Live

MIDI Bang v1.2 is an inventive Max4Live device that breathes new life into your Ableton Live setup by converting audio signals into MIDI notes. The brainchild of expert device builder, francois, this utility sits seamlessly between your audio and MIDI tracks, functioning as a translator that speaks both languages. A simple audio signal is all that's needed to trigger a MIDI note, and with just 2ms latency, this translation happens in near real-time, keeping your Live session rhythmically tight.

The use of this device is influenced by an envelope follower - housed on your audio track - which enables MIDI Bang v1.2 to respond to the dynamics of your audio signals. This interaction results in the reflection of the audio signal's intensity in the MIDI velocity, making for a performance tool that offers the utmost dynamism.

Getting started with MIDI Bang v1.2 requires just a few straightforward steps. To incorporate it into your workflow, apply an envelope follower to the audio track of your liking, tweaking the device's gain until it's just right. Francois recommends a setting of around 30dB for optimum performance. Further, place the Midi Bang v1.2 device on a MIDI track and map it via the envelope follower button. Following these steps, your chosen audio samples - situated within a sampler or drum rack - are now set to be triggered by the audio signals delivered from the envelope follower.

Midi Bang v1.2 also brings additional dynamic to your MIDI performance by permitting the velocity of the MIDI note to be linked with the level of the triggered note. The dynamic control can be achieved by inserting a second envelope follower after the first one and mapping it onto Midi Bang's velocity potentiometer. To get the right balance based on your audio source, a gain around 12dB should help produce a proportional MIDI velocity level.

An especially attractive feature of this device is its capability for customization and fine control. With it, you can select the MIDI note you'd like to trigger just by clicking the keyboard visual within the interface of Midi Bang v1.2. The threshold required to trigger the MIDI note is automatically set to 50, requiring some adjustments to the gains of the two envelope followers for desired note triggering and velocity control.

Though it comes as a new release in the Max4Live directory and is still awaiting user ratings, Midi Bang v1.2 harmonizes meticulously with Ableton Live version 11.3.25 and Max version 8.5.8. With the small yet fast-growing download count of 41 since the addition on May 2024, Midi Bang v1.2 displays potential to be a space for creativity to flourish, becoming a must-have utility for both newbies exploring Ableton and experienced producers, awaiting to explore the MIDI magic.

It'll be interesting to see how this device matures and accommodates various creative challenges in music production and live performances. Grab your copy of Midi Bang v1.2, play around with it, and don't forget to leave your feedback to help the builder make the device even better in future updates. You can download Midi Bang v1.2 at and begin the magical transformation of audio signals into dynamic MIDI creations. Happy experimenting!

Example Usage

Imagine you're recording a vocal track, and you want to add a synthesized layer to it that perfectly follows your vocal melody. With Midi Bang v1.2, you can convert the dynamic energy of your vocal into MIDI notes that trigger a synth in real-time, creating a layered electronic texture that moves with your voice.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Record your vocal track on an Audio Track in Ableton Live.
  2. Insert an Envelope Follower onto your vocal track and adjust its gain to 30dB. The Envelope Follower will detect the volume changes of your vocals and send that information as control signals.
  3. Create a MIDI Track, and put Midi Bang v1.2 on it.
  4. Click 'map' on the Midi Bang device and then click on the Envelope Follower's output in the Audio Track to link them.
  5. On the same MIDI Track, add an instrument - it could be a Sampler loaded with a lush pad sound or a Drum Rack if you want to add percussive elements.
  6. On Midi Bang v1.2, click on the on-screen keyboard to select the specific MIDI note that you want to trigger.

If you wish to control the velocity based on your vocal volume:

  1. Add a second Envelope Follower after the first one and adjust its gain to 12dB.
  2. Map this second Envelope Follower to the 'velocity pot' parameter in the Midi Bang v1.2 using the same 'map' function as before.

Make sure to adjust the threshold on the Midi Bang device to ensure that MIDI notes are triggered when desired – the default setting requires the input signal to pass a threshold of '50'.

For minimal latency, set the Ableton Live's audio buffer to the lowest possible setting that still allows for stable performance.

With Midi Bang v1.2, you've transformed your live vocal performance into a trigger for electronic sounds, creating a dense, interactive piece of music that responds instantly to your voice.

Imagine you're in the studio, looking to add an organic touch to your next techno track by incorporating real-time drum triggers based on an audio input. With Midi Bang v1.2, you can do precisely that. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to harness the power of this Max4Live device to breathe life into your electronic set:

  1. Create a Dynamic Drum Layer: - Record a live percussion loop or import a drum loop with a pronounced kick drum onto an audio track in Ableton Live. - Insert an ‘Envelope Follower’ device onto this track, and crank up the gain to 30dB for a reliable trigger response.
  2. SetUp Midi Bang on a MIDI Track: - On a new MIDI track, load the Midi Bang v1.2 device. - Map the 'Envelope Follower' from your audio track to the trigger button on Midi Bang by clicking on the 'Map' button and then clicking the 'Envelope Follower' device’s output.
  3. Configure Your Sample Playback: - On the same MIDI track where Midi Bang resides, add a sampler or drum rack with the desired sound that you want to be triggered, such as a deep kick or a sharp snare.
  4. Velocity Sensitivity for Added Dynamics: - To have the MIDI note velocity reflect the intensity of the audio trigger, place a second 'Envelope Follower' after the first one on your audio track. - Boost the gain to around 12dB. Map this second 'Envelope Follower' to control the velocity knob on Midi Bang, allowing the MIDI velocity to mirror the input signal's level.
  5. Select the MIDI Note and Adjust Sensitivity: - With Midi Bang, select the exact MIDI note you wish the audio signal to trigger by clicking the desired key on the on-screen keyboard of the device. - Adjust the threshold to ensure Midi Bang triggers the MIDI note correctly. The default threshold setting is 50, but you may need to experiment with the gain on the 'Envelope Followers' for optimal performance, considering the dynamics of your audio source.
  6. Optimize Latency for Real-Time Playback: - To minimize latency and have the MIDI notes triggered as close to real-time as possible, set the Ableton Live’s audio buffer to the lowest value that your system can handle without glitches. Midi Bang v1.2 is designed with a minimal latency of 2ms, but system settings can impact this performance.
  7. Experiment and Refine: - Now that everything is mapped and set up, hit play on your session and start the real-time interaction between your audio and MIDI tracks. - Observe how the drum loop's dynamics directly influence the MIDI triggers, creating a responsive layer that moves with your audio. - Make fine adjustments to the 'Envelope Followers' gains and the Midi Bang threshold and velocity settings until the responsiveness is to your liking.

Using Midi Bang v1.2, every nuance in your drum loop can be a source for triggering MIDI instruments, adding a live-feel or complex rhythmic layers to your electronically-produced music. It’s MIDI magic, with your audio input as the wand. Remember to record your MIDI output, experiment with different sounds, and tweak to perfection. Enjoy blending the lines between the electronic and the acoustic in your productions!

Further Thoughts

Imagine creating a dynamic and engaging live performance where your drum hits trigger a symphony of accompanying instruments, all perfectly in time and modulating with the intensity of your playing. Midi Bang v1.2 is the Max4Live magician that will allow us to accomplish this feat.

Following a recent drumming session, I was inspired to set up a responsive drum-triggered bassline that would complement my acoustic kit. Here's how I realized this vision with Midi Bang v1.2:

Firstly, I miked up the kick drum on my acoustic set and ran the audio signal through an Ableton audio track. On this track, I introduced an Envelope Follower and cranked the gain up to 30dB, ensuring it's sensitive enough to detect each kick drum hit.

With a solid envelope signal, I dropped Midi Bang v1.2 onto a separate MIDI track and mapped the Envelope Follower's output to the trigger button on Midi Bang. I then loaded up a punchy bass synth preset into a Sampler on the MIDI track, setting it to be triggered by Midi Bang.

To make this setup even more responsive, I wanted the velocity of my kick drum hits to dictate the intensity of the bass synth notes. I added a second Envelope Follower after the first, adjusted its gain to 12dB for a more nuanced tracking of my playing dynamics, and mapped this to the velocity pot on Midi Bang.

Fine-tuning this setup, I dialed in the trigger threshold by watching the activity LEDs on Midi Bang, ensuring it lit up with each kick drum beat. Once the sensitivity was just right, each hit above the 50 dB threshold now sent a corresponding MIDI note to the Sampler.

Remembering the advice about latency, I ventured into Ableton's preferences, setting the audio buffer size to its minimum. This tweak allowed the Midi Bang to fire off bass notes with barely perceptible delay, maintaining the live feel of my performance.

As an added touch of customization, I clicked on Midi Bang's on-screen keyboard to set my desired MIDI note for the bass synth's response, matching the key of the song I was jamming to.

The result was a tight, responsive bass accompaniment that followed my drumming in real-time. Soft kicks resulted in gentler bass tones, while hard hits produced robust, confident notes—all perfectly in sync, thanks to Midi Bang v1.2.

In closing, Midi Bang v1.2 has proven to not just be a versatile tool for the studio but a performance-enhancing device for live musicians looking to blend electronic elements with live instrumentation seamlessly. Whether it's adding synthetic layers to an acoustic set or creating complex, responsive arrangements on the fly, Midi Bang v1.2 offers a world of creative possibilities for today's modern performer.