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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr-16 > Integrate a hardware groovebox or drum machine into your Ableton Live rig

Integrate a hardware groovebox or drum machine into your Ableton Live rig

Everybody has at least one piece of outboard noisemaking gear that they want to add to their Ableton Live set up. Martin Delaney goes looking for his cables…


Ableton Live is a fantastic self-contained performance and production tool, and it can meet all of our music needs… most of the time. However, Live builds on this intrinsic fantasticness when it’s located at the centre of a hybrid rig that includes hardware synths, drum machines, grooveboxes, and maybe even multiple computers and iOS devices; then you’re really getting at what Live does best.

There are many live acts that rely on Live for this kind of routing and control; it’s unquestionably the best thing around for these jobs. Anyhow, it’s the grooveboxes that we’re interested in today – devices that contain their own on-board sounds, and also have some kind of patternbased sequencer for playing those sounds. I’ve always loved the Groovebox concept; in fact, when Ableton Live 1 was released, I jumped on it straight away because I saw it as a software equivalent to the classic hardware format. As you all know, though, things have kind of come round in a long circle, and grooveboxes and drum machines are enjoying a massive comeback. The great thing about this is that there are models for every type of user and at every budget, from the positively petite KORG Volca series to the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest and Elektron Analog Rytm. And if you’re wondering about hardware samplers such as Akai’s legendary (and still going) MPC series, they can play too, I just happen to count them as being drum machines more than grooveboxes. If your workstation keyboard happens to have a few tracks of onboard sequencing, then hell, bring that as well.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale Thursday, March 17th and this month we’re bringing you a 'Big Beats Special!'; we gathered together as many tutorials (for all levels) to help you provide that all-important backbone to your music productions. Or if you are some kind of ambient maestro, you’ll be pleased with a certain level of synthesis achieved over our 6 Of The Best, DIY Eurorack, Sound Design and Yamaha Montage features. As ever, enjoy the issue and send us some of the resulting beats. We like to Show Off Your Studios and we’ll soon be Showing Off Your Sounds, too, so keep it all coming.