Using Third-Party Control Surfaces

  • Live Versions: 8.3 and above
  • Operating System: All

Live includes a number of control surfaces (also known as MIDI Remote Scripts) for natively-supported MIDI controllers. They can be selected directly in Live's Control Surface chooser in Live's Preferences → MIDI tab.

A control surface may not always be included for certain controllers but instead may be provided directly by the manufacturer, e.g. for Native Instrument's Maschine. These third-party control surfaces need to be installed manually.

How to install a third-party Control Surface

A control surface can be installed simply by copying the folder with the Python files into Live's Remote Script folder. Please make sure that Live is not running while copying the control surface.

Windows

\ProgramData\Ableton\Live x.x\Resources\MIDI Remote Scripts\

Note: This folder is usually hidden by default. The following article explains how to access hidden folders.

Mac

On Mac the Remote Script folder is located inside the Ableton Live application bundle. To access it, locate the Live application in Finder, right click on it and select "Show Package Content" in the appearing context menu. Then navigate to:

/Contents/App-Resources/MIDI Remote Scripts/

Next, start Live. The installed control surface should appear in the Control Surface chooser in Live's Preferences → MIDI tab. Activate the script by selecting it and assigning the according MIDI input and output port of the controller in the MIDI port choosers next to it.

Important notes:

  • No support for third-party control surfaces. Ableton does not offer support for the usage of third-party or modified control surfaces. If you run into any problems with third-party or modified Control Surfaces for your controllers, get in touch with the developer directly.
  • Don't copy files into a control surface folder. A control surface is usually a collection of files with the file extension .py or .pyc (Python or Compiled Python) inside a folder with the name of the according controller. Please never copy any other files into an existing control surface folder!
  • Store third-party control surfaces in folders with unique names. If modified or third-party control surfaces are installed in MIDI Remote Script folders that have the same name as our natively supported Scripts, this may prevent even the latter from working. Third-party control surfaces should be stored in folders with unique names. It would also be helpful to make a backup copy of the Remote Scripts folder before adding any custom/modified scripts to be able to restore it should problems occur.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Third-Party Control Surface stops working after an automatic update of Live

Due to constant improvements of the control surfaces framework, third-party or modified control surfaces might not work anymore after an automatic update of Live. If this happens, you’ll need to contact the  developer to provide you with an updated version (if available).

Third-Party Control Surface stops working after a manual update of Live

If the custom/third-party Scripts stops working after a manual update of Live, and this update doesn't contain any technical changes in the control surface framework, you'll need to reinstall the third-party control surface as they are not copied over automatically after a manual update of Live.

Additional Information

Article in Native Instrument's knowledge base on how to install and set up Maschine as controller for Ableton Live.