Recreating The EQ Section Of Richie Hawtin’s Model 1 Mixer In Ableton Live

On the new PLAYdifferently Model 1 mixer designed by Richie Hawtin, there’s a unique approach to the actual mixing section. Instead of a ‘traditional’ 3-band EQ, there are two filters and a “parametric EQ”. But for many DJs, the only way they’ll be able to try this style of mixing is by shelling out over $3,000 on the mixer – so DJ Soo has created an Ableton device that allows anyone to try out a very similar workflow. Keep reading for a free download!

A Unique EQ Section On PLAYdifferently’s Model 1

With the much-hyped Ritchie Hawtin and Andy Rigby-Jones PLAYdifferently Model 1 mixer making its official announcement last week, we’ve gained another high-end audiophile mixer designed for a niche crowd of sound quality obsessed DJs. Alongside the Rane MP2015, Vestax/STP’s Phoenix, and the Funktion-One FF6.2, the Model 1 appeals to those looking for a throwback to the classic, rotary-style mixers of the past, but with modern features and design in mind.

Perhaps one of the most obvious changes on the Model 1 are the EQ controls, which are different from just about any mixer on the market:

Rather than the standard 3 or 4 pots to allow either cutting or gaining a frequency spectrum band (generally highs, mids, and lows), the Model 1 uses high pass and low pass filters to cut out frequencies and then a single cut/boost knob alongside a sweepable frequency knob for the mids. Although this is fairly typical in studio and live sound mixing consoles (generally used to isolate feedback-causing frequencies and cutting them), it seems like a first for a DJ mixer.

I was really interested in trying out this unique EQ setup, but shelling out $3600 just for the novelty of experimenting with the design wasn’t happening. Fortunately, the PLAYdifferently promotional literature – and even the labels on the mixer itself – is fairly specific with its parameters. Combined with the powerful macro features in Ableton, it’s not hard to create a reasonable emulation of the EQs using stock Ableton plugins.

Making the Model 1 EQ in Ableton

As mentioned, the Model 1 EQ consists of two filters and an EQ with a frequency sweep. We’ll start by adding the relevant Ableton plugins to controls those parameters:

  1. Start by loading up an Auto Filter, an EQ8, another Auto filter, and a Utility
  2. Select all the plugins and group all the effects in a single Effect Rack by right-clicking and selecting Group
  3. Start assigning controls to Macro knobs:

Low Pass Filter: Let’s map the Low Pass Filter first:

  • On the Auto Filter, switch the Filter Slope to 12 (see below) and turn the Resonance down to 0.

  • Assign the Freq knob to Macro 1 by right-clicking on the Filter Freq knob and assigning it to Macro 1.
  • For the most amount of transparency in the sound, we want the plugin to fully bypass when Low Pass is completely open – so assign the plugin on/off switch to Macro 1 as well.
  • Rename the plugin and Macro 1 to “LPF” by right-clicking it and selecting “Rename”

Sculpting EQ: Next, we’ll map the sweepable EQ:

  • Turn off all the filters on the EQ except for one Bell filter:

  • Select the activated EQ filter and map the Gain to Macro 2
  • Map the Freq knob to Macro 3
  • The Model 1 promotional material states that the mid EQ has a “wide” Q, so set the Q knob to a lower number – I used .5
  • Rename the plugin to “SCULPT” and Macro 2 to “Cut/Boost” and Macro 3 to “FREQ”

High Pass Filter

  • First, switch the Auto Filter to a High Pass filter
  • As with the LPF, change the Slope to 12 and the Res to 0
  • Map the Freq knob to Macro 4, as well as the device’s on/off button
  • Rename the plugin and Macro 4 to “HPF”

Gain

  • On the Utility, map the Gain knob to Macro 6
  • Since the Gain knob does not completely mute the sound (rather bottoms out at -35db), we should also map the Mute button to the same Macro, so that when the knob is turned all the way down, the volume is completely cut off.

Mapping Parameters

So once all of the Macros are assigned, we need to adjust the mappings so they function according to the Model 1 parameters. This will make sure that the final result is similar to the Model 1 in terms of what you’re able to control.

  • Click on the Map button at the top of the Rack to open the Macro Mappings window
  • On the SCULPT Frequency parameter, set the Min to 70 Hz and the Max to 7.00 kHz
  • On the SCULPT Gain parameter, leave the Min to -15 dB, and set the Max to +6 dB
  • On the LPF Device On parameter, set the Min to 127 and the Max to 126
  • On the LPF Frequency parameter, set the Min to 500 Hz and the Max to 19.9 Hz
  • On the HPF Device On parameter, set the Min to 1 and the Max to 0
  • On the HPF Frequency parameter, set the Min to 26 Hz and the Max to 1.0 kHz
  • On the Utility Gain parameter, set the Min to -35 dB and the Max to +8 dB
  • On the Utility Mute parameter, set the Min to 0 and the Max to 1

You’re done! This is now a reasonable facsimile of the PLAYDifferently Model 1 EQ section recreated in Ableton. You can map some more controls if desired: I mapped the Resonance controls of each filter to Macros as well as mapping the Q control on the EQ8 to its own knob to allow for greater control over the audio. You can also adjust the slope of the Filter cutoffs and filter types to taste.

The best way to play around with this would be to map to a physical controller with knobs – Midi Fighter Twister would work exceptionally well for a four-channel version.

This isn’t a frequency-for-frequency exact recreation of the Model 1, and due to limitations in the Ableton mapping design, finding the 0-point on some of these controls is a little tricky, but it will give you an idea of how the unique EQ section works.

Download DJ Soo’s Ableton Rack of the Model 1 EQ here for free! 

DJ Soo is a guest contributor to DJ Techtools, follow him on Soundcloud or Facebook

ableton liveeq mixingModel 1PLAYdifferentlyRichie Hawtin
Comments (24)
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  • Limited Lyle&Scott Jacket

    […] Want to try out the Model 1 EQ for yourself inside of Ableton Live? Here’s how. […]

  • john

    is there any video about how to use this Model1 emulation ? (this adg is a Model 1 Ableton emulation right 😉 ? )

  • Alexio Beez

    Unable to load this in ableton, drag or copy to folder, any ideas ?

  • Model 1 EQ. – Fukuman

    […] vídeo abaixo mostra um rack desenvolvido pelo DJ Soo para ser usado no Ableton Live. No site da DJ Tech Tools você encontra (Em Inglês) os detalhes da construção deste rack. Os detalhes do mixer […]

  • Gabriele

    Very good stuff, and helping tool; But I’m a principiant; To make it great , how I can use it? Pratically , I’ve to take it into a master channel of a track / project, or other?
    Please help me

  • Miro Momo

    i have absolutly no clue about ableton; is there a “for dummies tutorial” somewhere? is ableton live enough and how do i setup this with/in traktor?

    • max

      You can definitely set this up in ableton lite because it’s using stock ableton eq8’s. Just download the rack at the bottom of this post, double click on the rack and it will open in ableton. You can’t set this up in traktor.

  • CUSP

    I’m more of a parametric EQ fan than graphical… I prefer a 31 band EQ per channel. In my opinion, if you want to do anything more than what you can do on a standard DJ mixer, it’s totally worth incorporating a studio mixer, and a digital one at that. Ableton will allow you to emulate a good studio mixer, but it’s hard to beat a Yamaha LS-9, or Presonus mixer.

    • Ryan

      Yeah for sure, and having this one band of parametric is a great start. For djing, low and high pass are also super useful, this is a solid combo really.
      To make a sweet EQ setup, I combine some 3rd party vst to get a slightly unique sound.
      I laid out some of my favourite free vst EQs just the other day. Check these out if you’re interested: http://www.refineaudio.net/top-10-freeware-eq-vst-plugins-2016/

      I’d still love to have a play on that Model 1 though, looks like a brilliant step forward for dj mixers.

  • Daniel Rios Rendon

    anyone know if mapping a mixer like djm900 nexus is possible.. would love to play around with this but dont know if i should be mapping my mixer through ableton then running cd/line in from each deck? or will i have to dj with ableton for it to work properly?

    • Dirtylooks

      I have the same question! Would love to use this while playing off CDJs (not HID)

    • Kevin Schrader

      If you have a Mac, you can use Soundflower to send your audio from Traktor to Ableton without it leaving your computer. There is a Windows equivalent, but I don’t know the name of that.

  • Diogo Fukumoto

    Great map!

  • Eric Huber

    You just made my weekend that much better 🙂

  • Rob Ticho, Default Rejects

    This is why I think Ableton is so awesome. It’s super fun to combine routings, effects, and instruments with out spending a dime on hardware.

  • Roy Bear

    Nice! Thanks guys. I thought something like this has to happen, since the Model1 was promoted by Hawtin. Now I MUST create a Template for my S8 to use it in Ableton…

  • David Michael

    Super cool, guys. Tweeting it. This is the kind of thing DJTT is all about. 🙂

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Currently using a similar rack, based on the DB2/4 filter EQ mode, fell in love with mixing in that style after using a friends Xone mixer. Uses just a single EQ8, with the sharp slope mode lo/hi-pass at each end, with the resonances of both mapped to a single filter, plus a utility for gain.

    • Rob van Erp

      Crazy thing is , i own a db4 end never paid much attantion tho this eq, always used the iso mode, but after reading the introduction on the model one i took the time to use it more on my db4 and i am hooked to, so easy to get just that freq stand out or cut down and blend the trackt together….so i am courious to hear what more is possible with the model 1 type eq, i will be mapping my K2 to this map and have a go with it …thx DJTT

      • frenkee

        Same for me, got the DB4 and going to give it a try to put the EQ in Filter mode.
        going to map the K2 as well……

      • proben

        I’m also trying to get my head around the difference between this and the DB4 approach. I’ve been using the DB4 approach to mixing for some time and I love it; but being able to change the resonance while mixing is a significant part of that. But adding sweepable mid controls definitely seems appealing; this mapping (which adds Q knobs) might be the best of both worlds.