Play loops in Drum Rack in Ableton Live - free Max for Live device –

Play loops in Drum Rack in Ableton Live – free Max for Live device

UPDATE: This device was updated to V2 and is now only available as a paid device HERE.

Play loops in Ableton Live

For some users Ableton Live is all about looping – that is not surprising as Ableton Live Session View made it the number 1 DAW for this purpose – but when you start using external MIDI hardware for this purpose which doesn’t have 64 buttons or (like a Push and Launchpad) let’s you scroll up and down in Session View you will face some challenges – you would need to change the MIDI notes presets from your hardware to be able to trigger big numbers of clips and (randomly ordered) scenes.

Check out the ROLAND SPD-SX with ABLETON LIVE video online course!

SPD SX with Ableton Live

Play loops in Drum Racks

Abletons Drum Rack is quite versataile and flexible when it comes to triggering samples with external MIDI hardware e.g. like the Roland SPD-SX – but is not designed to toggle loops. Many and not only drummers wished they would be able to use the Drum Racks flexibility not only for one shot samples but for loops as well – that is why I was looking for a good way to make this happen through a Max for Live device.

Toggle Loops with MIDI notes

The device I patched together does exactly that, you can just drag and drop your loops into a Drum Rack slot and use one hit to start it and the next one will stop it – in the Simpler, which will hold the loop you need to the play mode to classic and the attack, the decay and the release all the way down. Don’t forget to switch off the “SNAP” function, so the loop will play right to the end – you obviously need to have well cut loops here.

These are the settings you need to set for Ableton Lives Simpler for looping
Ableton Lives Simpler set for loops

The M4L device

Root and/or individual notes

You can apply which notes you want to be effected by the device individually or you can pick whole octaves (-1) by changing the root note

pick which notes should be effected
set root note and/or individual notes

Threshold and range of velocity

In the next section you can define the min and max velocity values of when a note should be send out for starting and stopping the loop. This is kind of a threshold function where you can make sure that no unwanted cross-talk of pads might start and stop a loop by accident.

velocity the device will react to

Set the volume of the loop through velocity values

Another great feature by using MIDI notes to trigger loops is that you can actually define the volume of the loop through velocity – this means you can actually hit a pad low to have a loop play quiet or hard if you want it loud. Expecting that this is not the common use for triggeirng loops, you are able to decide for every note if you want a fixed velocity beeing used or if you want to use your actual playing velocity e.g. of your e drum pad.

set volume through playing or fixed velocity
choose between fixed or actual playing velocity


Status bar

You are able to monitor if a note and loop is still being sent or played on the right end of the device by a status bar for every note, which will light up red if active.


You can download the device HERE for free to check it out – please consider donating a few bucks, if you think this device is a great and useful tool.

UPDATE: This device was updated to V2 and is now only available as a paid device HERE.

Please check all my other (free) Max for Live devices HERE