Many of the new midi controllers being released are not able to be programmed like the old ones. In the old days, you could (after reading in depth the manual) individually program which CC value & midi channel each button controlled. This was a nice approach for people who were using multiple controllers...and I prefer this way. Now-a-days, for some reason, and a really STUPID reason, manufacturers are not making the controllers programmable. They are predefined on certain channels and values...which can be a NIGHTMARE when trying to use them together. Controllers like the VCM 600, Novation Launchpad, VCI-100, etc, are all NON-PROGRAMMABLE. What a bitch huh! Well, there is a nice little solution that I have come upon, and its FREE for mac users. Its called MIDIPIPE (just google it). Its a nice little program that runs while you are running ableton or any other DAW, and lets you remap your controller. This particular blog will explain to you how to use the VCM 600 with the Novation Launchpad (one of the best combination of controllers in my mind)
Now keep in mind, my set up is a little different due to the fact that I already have a Microkontrol, nanokontrol, and trigger finger all mapped out...so I did a little bit of a work around (because I hate programming them)...but I will explain to you what to do.
Also, keep in mind, if you want to use Novations AUTOMAP, you will lose the ability to page through your session view, as you will have assigned a certain midi value to each clip, rather than the internal mappings that they have made for ableton...which are very convenient.
Also, realize that I am re-mapping the VCM 600 and NOT the launchpad...as I want the LED to all function correctly on the launchpad. One problem I have not figured out is how to get my LEDs to respond correctly on the VCM 600 with this method...so anyone with ideas on how to do that, would be great!
Ok, keep this in mind when dealing with the Launchpad.
It uses Midi channels 1,6,7,5 (for the top buttons "session" "user1" "user2" "mixer"
It uses midi channels 8, 9, 10, 11, 7 (for the right buttons "vol" "pan" "send A "send B"
What a bitch eh, when the VCM looks like this-
Midi Channels all correspond with track channels (ex. midi channel 1 is track 1, 2 is 2, and so on). This runs all the way for 1 - 6 in bank 1, and if you click into your new bank, they are midi channels 7-12. All buttons on the right (usually used for effects and such) are all on CHANNEL 13.
I never use bank 2 of the VCM because I dont like my sliders to change when I come back...so with this example, I will be left with open channels 7-12, 14, 15, 16 on the VCM.
I am left with open channels 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15 ,16 on the Launchpad.
So you can run the numbers and see that we have only a few TOTALLY open channels.
I have also opted out to NOT USE the "SEND A" AND "SEND B" and "PAN" on the launch pad because I already have nice knobs for them on the VCM. So, I can then use those channels too (9, 10, 11).
So basically, I need 6 channels for the 6 track channels on the VCM.
In my case, since I already use a few others for other things....my case looks like this.
OPEN CHANNELS - 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 15 (but you should also have 14, and 16).
You can move the channels using midi map to any of the open channels...and you should be good to go.
SO HOW TO SET UP MIDI PIPE
Its pretty much drag and drop. Just drag the midi in from the left, over to the right part of the screen. Select the VCM as your midi input and click "hijack".
Now toss in a MIDI ROUTER and route the channels you like. Mine looks like this.
After that, you need to select an output. (dont mind the control split thing you see there, that is something I use to define the parameters of the transpose values within my set...which is for another blog all together)
Select the output as MIDIPIPE OUTPUT1 and make sure PASSTHROUGH is clicked.
You now have it all setup to work around the the Launchpad. Now you need to go within ableton preferences to define the OUTPUT of your VCM 600 as MIDIOUTPUT 1...and also click the TRACK & REMOTE buttons in the bottom section.
AND WALAH!!! You should be up and running. To test it out, get into midimap mode within ableton, and move a slider or knob. You should see your new values instead of the old ones. Just map out everything you want with midipipe on, and you are good to go. DONT FORGET TO SAVE YOUR MIDIMAP SETTINGS within midimap so you can reopen them everytime. Midipipe doesnt use much CPU power, so it doesnt hurt anything running it...I always do.
The only problem now is that you have no LED feedback on your VCM 600...so whoever comes up with an idea...email me at firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE! Id love to know!
Hope this all helps! Enjoy all the possibilities of buttons and faders at the same time!