Treasure Map

Treasure Map is a Max for Live device that I created to control some non-mappable or hidden functions of Ableton with any MIDI controller. It makes MIDI controllers more useful and a little closer to what you'd be able to do with a Push. You can download it for free.

What problem does it solve?

Most DAWs have a terrible flow when it comes coming up with musical ideas. You click, listen, stop, click, click, listen, move things, turn knobs, do this over and over again... With a mouse... Or best case you use some keyboard shortcuts. I think this is a horrible workflow, it is the biggest enemy of a musician.

The session view in Ableton was a great improvement to this problem. And if you have a Push then you can get really close to a great flow with it.

But what if you have a different MIDI controller and you want to control Ableton close to how you would with a Push? You can map MIDI functions in Ableton by hittin CMD+M, click on the control you want to map and turn the knob or push the button on your MIDI controller. This design however enables mapping only the functions which are visible on the UI, ie. things like undo, navigating to certain clips, changing device parameters on the selected track etc. is not possible.

Additionally, there are hidden functions of Ableton that are used by Push and they are also not available on the UI (e.g. fixed length clip recording).

All these functions however are available through the Live API. So if only there was a nice Max for Live device that exposes them then more people would be able to use them with their regular controllers. That's what Treasure Map is.

How to use it?

Treasure Map is a Max for Live device so you have to have a compatible version of Ableton to use it. Here's how:

  1. Download the latest version of Treasure Map
  2. Create an empty midi track and add Treasure Map on it as a MIDI device
  3. Set the Monitor of the midi track to "In". It's needed so that Treasure Map can listen to the MIDI notes and CC messages no matter which track is armed
  4. Click on the "Map" button to open the panel where you can assign MIDI notes or CC messages to certain functions in Ableton. (Yeah you need to enter midi values manually. Sorry. You can use M4L MIDI Monitor device to... um... monitor MIDI.)
Treasure Map - Mappable functions
Navigation Previous track
Next track
Previous scene
Next scene
Unarm all tracks
Selected track control Arm selected track
Selected track on/off
Solo selected track
Device control Select previous device
Selected next device
Selected device on/off
Clip and global controls Fire slot – plays selected clip if track is unarmed, records in selected slot/clip if track is armed
Quantize selected clip
Delete selected clip
Stop selected clip
Duplicate selected clip to next available slot
Record in selected slot for undefined length
Record in selected slot for 1 bar
Record in selected slot for 2 bars
Record in selected slot for 4 bars
Record in selected slot for 8 bars
Undo
Switch clip/device view


Additionally there's an "Auto arm" button which arms the selected track automatically. Lastly the "Open Session Monitor" shows little floating window with a couple of useful attributes of the selected track.

I recommend to create your custom control surface. That and Treasure Map makes up a pretty powerful combo.

Alternatives

Here are some devices that solve for the same issue. I tried them but didn't quite work well for me:

https://maxforlive.com/library/device/5535/muter-armer
https://maxforlive.com/library/device/5250/futility
https://maxforlive.com/library/device/4900/remote-access-for-free
https://maxforlive.com/library/device/4530/selected-track
https://maxforlive.com/library/device/4023/undo
https://maxforlive.com/library/device/3921/tardis-navigator-cs