What is Aftertouch, and how can I use it?

  • Live Versions: 9.2
  • Operating System: ALL

Important Note: Changing the Aftertouch settings as described further down, works only on Push 1 !

What is Aftertouch?

Aftertouch, also known as Channel Pressure, is a MIDI message which certain MIDI controllers can generate based on the pressure applied to its keys / pads once these are being held.

Does Push generate Aftertouch?

Yes, and this has always been the case. However, since Live 9.2, the Aftertouch response has been improved, and a new Push User Setting has been added to determine the threshold upon which Aftertouch messages will be generated.

With earlier versions of Live 9, Push would send Aftertouch messages all the time.  As of Live 9.2, Push now sends such MIDI data only once a certain pressure has been reached on the pads.

How can I adjust the Aftertouch Sensitivity?

This can be achieved via the Push User Settings. While Live is running, hold "User" on Push. The LCD display will now show a number of settings to define various behaviors on Push, such as Pad Sensitivity, Velocity Curve, and Aftertouch Threshold.

Use the corresponding Push encoder to set an Aftertouch Threshold value different from the default (80).

How does this parameter work?

The Aftertouch Threshold determines at which point Push will actually send Aftertouch data to Live. A value of zero means that Aftertouch is generated all the time (with this setting, Push behaves exactly as it did in Live versions prior to 9.2).

A setting of 127 impies that no Aftertouch will be generated at all.

The actual range of MIDI values sent to Live will be scaled up to match the standard MIDI resolution: for example, a setting of 80 means that the 47 available values (127-80) will be scaled up to send Aftertouch values from zero to 127.

How can I test Aftertouch within Live?

Since 9.2, the Live Core Library has been revisited and its presets adjusted to accept Aftertouch. Most presets in “Sounds” and all presets in Operator have been updated to react to Aftertouch and/or Modwheel data.

Can I use Aftertouch with other Devices, or change how and which parameter is affected?

Depending on which Device you are using, there are different ways to assign Aftertouch.

  • Operator

    In Operator, you can define the parameter to which Aftertouch is assigned by clicking on the "Global Shell", i.e. the panel which contains the parameters "Time", "Tone" and "Volume".  You can choose two different parameters to be controlled via Aftertouch, each of them with a different "Amount".
Operator AT.png
  • Sampler

You can achieve the same in Sampler via the "MIDI" tab. Also Sampler supports two different destinaitons, with different "Amount" settings.

Sampler AT.png
  • Simpler

While Simpler does not let you configure Aftertouch directly, you can convert the device to "Sampler" to enable such routing, by right clicking the device's header and selecting "Simpler -> Sampler". Once the assignment has been configured, you can finally revert back to "Simpler" via the same context menu.

Simpler AT.png
  • Assign Aftertouch to anything else

    For users who own also a Max for Live license, Aftertouch can be mapped to anything in Live via the Max for Live device "Expression Control", which is part of the Max for Live Essentials Pack.
Exp Control.png EXP Control2.png

This device lets you assign Aftertouch, as well as other MIDI messages, to any parameter in Live which is capable of being automated. This applies to mixer elements, devices, and third party plugins as well.