It felt like it should have come as part of the Ableton Live 10.1 update but it wasn’t ready and Ableton decided to release the update anyway. The good news is that CV Tools is now fully checked out and ready to integrate your CV-based modular and Eurorack gear with Ableton Live.
I’ve been using it since the beta version and these are a bunch of decent, creative and insteresting devices that bridge the gap between the MIDI sequencing of Live and the control voltage that modular synths like to use.
But the first thing you have to know is that in order to make a physical connection between Live and your modular gear you need to have a DC Coupled audio interface. This is any audio interface that doesn’t filter out very low frequencies and, sadly, most of them do. Control voltages are the same as audio signals except they are often static, like with pitch, or very slow moving like with LFOs. Regular audio interfaces will filter these signals out. So which audio interfaces are DC Coupled so that they will let CV pass? MOTU interfaces are the most common solutions but you’ll also find that RME interfaces have some outputs that are DC Coupled. Some more recent interfaces like the PreSonus Studio and Quantum series have DC Coupled outputs and so does the new Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Mk2. I’ve made a couple of videos about using CV Tools with the KA6 Mk2 which you’ll find at the bottom of this article.
There are 10 tools in this bundle of Max-for-Live devices:
- CV Instrument – Turns your MIDI sequencing in CV pitch as well as some modulation options for controlling velocity, aftertouch and accents.
- CV Triggers – A drum machine style sequencer that sends out triggers for controlling drum and percussion modules.
- CV Utility – Creates automation curves and modulation by combinging shapes.
- CV Clock In – Takes a clock in to control Live’s tempo.
- CV Clock Out – Takes Live’s tempo out to your modular.
- CV In – Takes CV signal into Live to map to software parameters.
- CV Shaper – Makes complex modualtion shapes.
- CV Envelope Follower – Uses audio signals to control parameters in Live.
- CV LFO – Various sorts of modulation.
- Rotating Rhythm Generator – A beat and polyrhythm generator that can also send out MIDI.
CV Tools is a free update to any users of Ableton Live 10.1 Suite or standard owners who also have Max for Live.