MIDI Effect Plugin Routing in Ableton Live

MIDI Effect Plugin Routing in Ableton Live

Get started with MIDI Routing in Ableton Live — it's way easier than you might think.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use MIDI generators like Plugin Boutique's Scaler and Xfer's Cthulhu to send chord progressions and arpeggios to your virtual instruments.

MIDI Routing using Ableton

It's actually really easy to set up MIDI Routing — or External MIDI Effect Plugins — in Ableton Live. In the example below we use Xfer's Cthulhu to send MIDI notes to Kilohearts' Phase Plant software synthesizer.

The popular VST MIDI Effect Cthulhu by Xfer being used as a MIDI Source in Ableton Live 11.

All you need is one of the several MIDI chord generators available on the market — we prefer Scaler 2 by Plugin Boutique or Cthulhu by Xfer Records — in VST format, in order for this to work in Ableton Live.

Ableton VST MIDI Routing

This is how you get MIDI Routing to work from a VST in Ableton Live:

  1. Add your VST MIDI Effect to your desired MIDI slot. In this example we will use Cthulhu on the first MIDI slot.
  2. Add your virtual instrument of choice to another slot in Ableton
  3. Change All Ins of the virtual instrument to 1-Cthulhu
  4. Change Post FX to Cthulhu as well
  5. Set Monitor to In instead of Auto

The necessary steps are all inside the red circle in the image above.

Ableton AU MIDI Routing

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use MIDI Routing from plugins in the Audio Unit (AU) format in Ableton Live. You need the VST version of your MIDI Routing plugin — like the popular Scaler 2 plugin — in order to be able to route the MIDI correctly.

This limitation only applies to Ableton Live. AU MIDI Routing works great in Logic Pro X.

We're hoping that Ableton will come around and change this, but as of now there is no way to use a AU plugin as a MIDI routing source.

What is MIDI Routing?

Hold up — what is MIDI Routing and how can I use it? MIDI Routing simply means that we take MIDI from one virtual instrument or plugin in your DAW and send it to another of your virtual instruments, whether it's a software synthesizer or a classical sample library.

Reviews

Best Speaker Simulator
Best Speaker Simulator

Find the best speaker simulator for your money — our favorite doesn't cost much at all.


Best Reverb for Orchestral Samples
Best Reverb for Orchestral Samples

Make your Orchestral Samples sound like the real deal by using the reverb effects best suited for the job. Here are our five top picks.


Best Free Piano VST Plugins
Best Free Piano VST Plugins

Looking for free virtual pianos? We've collected the most popular VSTs that are free and have a great piano sound.

Tutorials

How to Power the Mixcast 4 using USB
How to Power the Mixcast 4 using USB

In this tutorial we'll take a look at powering the popular Tascam Mixcast 4 with USB power — something the unit does not support officially.


Spitfire Labs Something Went Wrong
Spitfire Labs Something Went Wrong

This is how you get Spitfire Labs working again, if you've come across the infamous "Something Went Wrong" error.


MIDI Effect Plugin Routing in Ableton Live
MIDI Effect Plugin Routing in Ableton Live

Get started with MIDI Routing in Ableton Live — it's way easier than you might think.


macOS Virtual MIDI
macOS Virtual MIDI

Get up and running with Virtual MIDI in macOS — it's easier than you think. Here's a quick tutorial on how to activate the IAC Driver.


The Virtual MIDI Keyboard in Ableton Live
The Virtual MIDI Keyboard in Ableton Live

In this tutorial we explain how to use your computer keyboard as both a MIDI keyboard and a MIDI controller.


Learn the Arpeggiator in Ableton Live
Learn the Arpeggiator in Ableton Live

Find all there is to know about the Ableton Live arpeggio effect, the Arpeggiator.

Questions

The Limitations of Ableton Live Lite
The Limitations of Ableton Live Lite

Learn all the features and limitations of the cheapest Ableton Live version — Ableton Live Lite.


What is iLok?
What is iLok?

Here's everything you need to know about the software copy protection system called iLok.

News

Luftrum Autumn Sale
Luftrum Autumn Sale

Sound designers and plugin developers Luftrum are currently having an autumn sale.


Rodecaster Pro 2 released
Rodecaster Pro 2 released

Røde has released a brand new version of their popular podcast recording and mixing desk — say hello to the Rodecaster Pro 2.


Ableton Live now supports M1 Macs
Ableton Live now supports M1 Macs

After a long wait, Ableton finally delivers and lets M1 users run Live natively.


New Kilohearts Effect: Nonlinear Filter
New Kilohearts Effect: Nonlinear Filter

Find out more about the new Kilohearts effect called **Nonlinear Filter**.

 Music Rigs

Find the best tools when building your very own music rig, using reviews, tutorials and guides written exclusively for MusicRigs.com — for music creators, by music creators. Links to stores are affiliate links.