Using Control Surfaces

  • Live Versions: 6-10
  • Operating System: All

Control surfaces are specially written scripts which allow controllers to interface with Live. They enable tactile control of Live through pre-defined parameters. Here is a list of the natively supported control surfaces in Live.

Configuring a Control Surface in Live's Preferences

Normally a control surface will be chosen automatically when you connect a device. If that doesn't happen, it can be enabled manually:

  1. Open Live's Preferences to the Link/MIDI tab.
  2. Select your Control Surface (e.g. Push 2).
  3. Then select the correct Input and Output ports for that device.
  4. If you're unsure which ports to choose, please check the manual for your MIDI device.


Disabling a Control Surface

To stop a control surface from activating automatically each time a controller is connected:

  1. Open Live's Preferences to the Link/MIDI tab.
  2. Select "None" in the Control Surface chooser.
  3. Keep the the correct Input and Output ports for that device.
  4. This will prevent the automatic detection of your control surface.


Overriding a Control Surface with MIDI mappings

With certain control surfaces it is not even necessary to disable the MIDI Remote Script as described above. Assigning a parameter will override its regular function to allow for a custom assignment. To make a custom assignment see our dedicated article: Creating MIDI Mappings.

Accessing User Mode on a controller

Some devices like Push 2 or the Novation Launchpad have a dedicated User Mode. This means that after configuring the User Ports correctly, you can enter user mode and create your own MIDI mappings, allowing you to swap back and forth between your own mappings and pre-defined ones.

Using Third Party Control Surfaces

If there is no native control surface available for your controller in Live, you can check with the manufacturer to see if they have their own control surface for the device. See our dedicated article about installing third party control surfaces for devices (if available).

Creating custom Control Surfaces

It's possible to create control surfaces with basic functionality in Live. See Creating your own control surface script.