One Knob To Rule Them All: 3 Ableton Techniques For A Single Knob

MIDI mappers know: the more intuitive functionality you can pack into a single knob, the more fun it can be to perform live. The issue often one of inspiration – what could a single knob do that plays well? Today, Mad Zach has put together a great tutorial on mapping a single knob to switch drumracks on the fly, glitch out productions with beat repeat, and filter a track with advanced effects using Bento’s Mapulator device.

ableton livebeat repeatBentodrumracksmad zachmapulatormidi mappingone knob to rule them allsmart filtersTutorial
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  • Rudolf Hykl

    Any idea how to have the knob switch only on whole bars/rhythmically? Kind of the way Ableton clips only start in time with the music after a certain number of beats after you play them. Awesome tutorial!!

  • Larose

    Great way to use this technique with push! =D

  • Macario Sm

    Thanks Zach, really helpful advice!

  • DrunkenMaster2

    I’m trying to download the project file (after registration).
    It redirects me to my downloads page but the project isn’t there.


  • Jacob Hunter Gagnon

    Does this work with the newest ableton? I’m having a hard time mapping my knob to control the instrument rack….

  • Flore

    it’s weird, i can’t dowload the ableton file…. 🙁
    am i the only one ?

  • LucasNSalazar

    Im really wondering what the device behind the MIDI fighter pro is. It looks to me like a dedicated macro controller. Even if it’s not and I’m off, I would still like to know what its name is, and any info about it I can get. Thanks. Hope somebody can help me out.

  • casper

    why i cant download this pack ?

  • St.Graves

    I liked this alot. Hes got a good way of teachingS


    You’re the man, Zach

  • joe

    The pack that was released in April. The midi fighter 3d competition pack. Can i please have the password for this pack

  • Kilian Kerner

    How the hell did you get your keyboard to act as a strobe? 😀

  • Kilian Kerner

    How the hell did you get your keyboard to act as a strobe? 😀

  • Grant Reynolds

    very helpful, im actually gonna start using the drumrack alot more in my sets now thanks to you!

  • Jordan Meinecke

    The one knob midifighter fader mashup? Looks awesome wonder how much it’ll be.

  • moti

    Is it just the video, or is your keyboard blinking along the BPM?

  • Xawesm Jimenez

    Ok just saying, I said “One knob to rule them all” for the contest, and its used in the next post lol. I think that phrase sounds like a winner to me lol.

  • Arend

    In a fair and merit-based music world, Mad Zach would have almost unlimited fame and success. Every video he drops is a gem of serious skill and insight. Thanks and keep em coming.

  • Anonymous

    Great concept, useful examples, solid presentation. Bravo!

  • Sambo

    Please tell me the murder rack is available for purchase/download somewhere, because that would sound FAT in a remix deck

  • Nils Lobie Weedøn

    I prefer to switch between instruments using the Chain Selector – it makes it so you can still hear the decay and release of the last instrument you played even if you switch to a new rack immediately after. (Of course, you might end up with your kicks or basses running into each other sometimes, but I just sidechain them all against each other to prevent that.)

    Either way, great tut as always! I’m stoked to start delving into Mapulator for my new live set I’ll be building.

    • Mad Zach

      great tip nils! I really like that way too although I chose the method in this video because I felt it demonstrated some concepts that could apply to other uses in Ableton

      • Sean Fuller

        Good info Mad Zach! Maybe you could do a tutorial about the radness of chain selectors in the future? Such an amazing tool; esp for drum racks. Like Nils was saying, you can carry sound over into the next rack, but you also fade/cutoff the sound with the faders in the chain selector and nothing carries over and a bunch of other good stuff

        • Mad Zach

          definitely Sean I was thinking the same thing. Sometimes I also assign instead to the device ON instead of track ON. I’ll put something together soon 🙂

          • Speezy Speez

            one thing that is super simple but gets overlooked with the chain selector is to use it that the audio stream is not sent through the any chain that isn’t currently selected which makes perfect sense in terms of conserving CPU, but it can suck when you are trying to map out buffer effects that need to be receiving signal at all times in order to work the instant a button is pressed or a knob is turned.

            for example with supatrigga, if you have the device off, when you turn it on it takes a bar or a few beats depending on settings to buffer before it can start glitching things up. if you have two chains, one “dry” and the other with supatrigga on it, and then use a macro to switch between chains there is still a little delay while the effect buffers just like if you were turning the device on or off..

            in this instance it makes more sense to simply map a macro to either mute or unmute the dry / wet chains in the rack rather than using the chain selector. this way audio is constantly buffering inside the supatragga device but you can still control when it is audible.

            this issue pissed me off to no end when i was trying to get it to work using the chain selector.

  • Lylax


    I noticed that when you hit one “pad” on the midi fighter, its triggering 3 other pads. Did you set this up on your own or did you set the .alp download to do this also? Is it as simple as midi mapping the controller to trigger 3 samples?


    • Mad Zach

      thats actually not true, Each button only triggers one sound

      • Lylax

        I see now. thank you.

    • Lylax

      nevermind…..hold down apple button while dragging another sample on a sample in the drumrack will layer sounds in 1 drum hit.

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    Mapulator is the best thing for Ableton mapping since, well, since Ableton. I hope they are paying attention for Live 9.

  • Jack

    Is that a Midi Fighter 3D “Pro”?!?!

      • Mad Zach

        its a normal midi fighter pro with the clear rims (beatmasher model) because the rims are clear, the blue led’s fill the rings a bit especially when its dark out

  • Lylax

    very useful. thank you djtt!!

  • RockingClub

    Very useful tips. I really appreciate the music that’s played during the video! Thumbs up!

    • Mad Zach

      thanks! its mostly all original – with some great sounds by Lomovolokno too!

  • Dj Divine Justice

    Great tips!! I have that same soundcard.

  • Anonymous

    what is that plugged into input 1 of your presonus??

    • Spacecamp

      That’s his microphone (clipped onto his shirt) : )