Max4Live Kemper controller

  • I've created a setup to automate rig and effects changes in my Kemper via midi, sent from Ableton Live.

    It's possible to automate CCs in Ableton Live directly, but not very practical: you have to go dig for them inside a MIDI clip and manually switch between the different CCs you want to edit, so it's very hard to get an overview of all the automation going on in a song.

    That's why I've created a dedicated Kemper controller in Max For Live that more or less mimics my old FCB1010's layout and functionality. If anyone's interested, you can download the latest version here.
    Just drag it into a midi track (that points to the correct midi output and channel, of course)!

    As you can see, there are toggles for stomps and effects, buttons for the five slots within a performance, up and down buttons to go to the next or previous performance, 26 numbered buttons for direct access to specific performances, dials for delay and reverb parameters just like those dedicated knobs on the Kemper, and sliders to mimic the expression and volume pedals.

    The best thing is that all of these buttons, toggles and dials represent named parameters that can be automated in the channel's arrangement lane directly. In turn, they operate the relevant CCs (so you never need to worry about CCs anymore).

    When I started this, I'd never worked with Max For Live before so it took me some time to figure everything out, but it's definitely a very powerful tool.

    Update (March 2017): After not using this device for a long time (because my band stopped using Ableton Live for playing, um, live), a question on the Kemper Users Facebook group reminded me of it. I've now updated it by adding a morph slider! I've edited this post and replaced the screenshots by more recent ones.

    Update (June 2020): Wow, has it been this long already? ^^ Anyway, I finally added a couple of more updates: the ability to select the full range of Performances (1-125) and a full range of looper control buttons. Check my post further down in this thread for more details. The download link is still the same as above.

    (If you prefer the 2017 version, it can still be found here.)

  • Thanks guys!! :)

    Here's a look behind the scenes:

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    As you can see, most of these controls are simply hooked up to CC outputs ("ctlout"), to which they send either a 0-127 value (dials and sliders) or a simple "on/off" (toggles).

    The momentary switches used for performance slot selection (1-5) and performance up/down caused me some headaches. They're "button" objects and all they can output is a "bang", which the "ctlout" object can't take as its input. I tried using the "pack" object instead of "ctlout", but after being prompted by the button's "bang", the "pack" activated the CC to select a slot but never deactivated it. :rolleyes: Eventually, I found the solution by hooking up the momentary buttons to toggles. I set the buttons to output two bangs in quick succession (one at 0>1 and one at 1>0), which are then translated to an "on -- off" by the toggles, so I could simply use "ctlout" again.

    The performance selector is a "" object that outputs a number from 0 to 25, which is then processed using the formula from the Kemper manual [(#performance x 5) - 5] to yield the program change value for the first slot in the selected performance.

  • Glad you guys like my idea! Sorry Hell-G, I'm afraid you need Ableton Live with Max For Live installed to use it.

    By the way: I've made a new version [edit: now outdated by the even newer version in the first post] where the slot selector buttons behave differently.

    Previously, they were momentary switches. The idea was that you would use them at the point in the song where you want to switch slots: they each send a short signal to their respective CC (set to 1 and then quickly 0 again) to tell the Kemper to make the switch. The downside is that the switch has to happen right there and then. If for some reason the Kemper misses it (for instance during rehearsals, when you start in the middle of a section) it has no way of knowing what slot it was supposed to use for that section.

    In my new version, the slot selector buttons behave like latching switches. Instead of a quick "1 and back to 0" signal, they simply set the correct CC to 1 and leave it there until another slot is selected. The five CCs (50-54) are handled automatically: the moment you select slot 2, CC#51 is set to 1 and all the others are set to 0. No matter where you land in the song, the Kemper will receive the 1 signal on the currently active CC and switch to the correct slot.

    Because these five buttons are now one single object (a ""), it's even easier to automate slot changes because they're now a single automation lane that you simply set to the number you want (1-5).

    The performance selector (1-26) also works as a set of latching switches now. And I've added a gain knob!

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  • Great idea!!! How could I missed this? :) Thank you for your effort and sharing.

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  • Hey folks,

    I haven't used this tool for a while as my band no longer uses Ableton Live on stage. Today, I was reminded of it by a question in the Kemper Users Facebook group. To my pleasant surprise, it still works -- even though I created the original device 3 years and several Ableton Live and Max4Live versions ago!

    I then realized that, since the Kemper itself also went through a number of updates since then, it didn't even have a morphing controller yet. So I added one! There is now a dedicated morphing (CC11) slider right under the Mod button. It works just like an expression pedal.

    I've updated the first post with a link to the new version and new screenshots.

  • Hi, looks like you have built a nice program there that could do just what I am looking for (to be able to switch Kemper slots automatically during a scene when performing to tracks. I'm an established Kemper user, but I'm admittedly new to Ableton Live 9 Suite and still on my learning curve. I imported your program into a MIDI track. Can't get it to look like the pics in your post. Was it built for 64-bit architecture, or 32-bit? I get an error message that says it was expecting 64-bit but finding 32-bit. Not sure I know enough yet about Ableton to even feel I am using your M4Live patch correctly though.


  • Disregard please---i figured out what i was doing wrong. It works great!! (Now i'm just going to have to dive deep into how to work in Max4Live in order to modify it for the full range of the Kemper's performances beyond the 26 currently available in your program. Utterly unfamiliar with Max but like to tinker and learn things, so this will be my first adventure into that!)

    Thanks again for a great little program!

  • Phew! :) Glad it's working for you. I'm the same: I love tinkering and just figured it all out on the go. So I wouldn't have been able to provide a lot of technical assistance with the 32 bit problem.

    I wouldn't immediately know how to do it, but I guess an extra button to switch to higher midi banks should be feasible. Let me know how it goes!

  • I tinkered with it on my laptop with ableton and M4Live on a plane last night. Not back home to actually try it on kemper till new years day but seemed to be as simple as going into editing mode in M4Live and changing the table's range attributes but adding values (each separated by spaces) all the way up to 125 (which is the max number of Perf slots in the KPA). Now when I have go into ableton with your device assigned to a midi track i can raise the PerformanceSelect Envelope all the way to 125. So presumably it should work, and it looks to be sending messages out. The table in the instrument only increased to 64 slots instead of the full 125---might be some M4L limit or i just need to figure out what attribute i need to change to increase it. But since my need is really for working in the Sessions view its not really an issue for me. (Of course the larger table size meant I needed to resize some things and rearrange your device layout a bit. But it is still essentially "your look"! :):)

    Again, a great little routine---VERY useful for Kemper users who are performing live with tracks on ableton and want to be free of the footswitch tap dance and just play!

    (Oh, one other thing, just going through this editing experience i learned so much about Max---the bug has bitten me hard!)