MIDI triggering in Ableton Live

In this guide, you'll learn how to use MIDI notes in Ableton Live to trigger LFOs in ShaperBox (TimeShaper, FilterShaper Core, VolumeShaper, PanShaper, WidthShaper, CrushShaper), VolumeShaper 4, PanShaper 1, FilterShaper 3, MidiShaper and PanCake.

When this technique is used, the LFO will play from the beginning every time a MIDI note is received. Thus, the LFO can be triggered in any rhythm you like — sidechain your bassline to a non-4/4 kick drum pattern, for example.

MIDI triggering is especially useful in Ableton Live, because it overcomes timing problems that can arise in Live when using latency-inducing plugins.


1. Enable MIDI Trigger mode

In ShaperBox 1, FilterShaper 3, MidiShaper or PanCake, select a 'MIDI Triggered' or 'MIDI 1-Shot' triggering mode. In ShaperBox 2, set the 'MIDI Trigger' mode to 'On' or 'On (1-shot)'.

Note: If you are a Mac user, use the VST version of the Cableguys plugin and not the AU version, as AU plugins cannot accept MIDI input.



2. Set up a MIDI Track

On a new MIDI Track, create a MIDI clip and add MIDI notes in the rhythm that you want to trigger the Cableguys plugin.

Any note will work, except when ShaperBox's Wave-switching MIDI Trigger option is enabled, in which case only C notes will trigger the LFO.



3. Route the MIDI track

On the MIDI track, set the upper Output slot to the track containing the Cableguys plugin.

In the lower Output slot, select the Cableguys plugin.

Now the Wave envelope/LFO will play from the beginning with each incoming MIDI note.