I found a simple (and free) solution. You need two small utilities:
- Tobias Erichsen’s free loopMIDI virtual midi cables (loopMIDI | Tobias Erichsen ).
- Tone2 free VST plugin runner NanoHost (NanoHost freeware - minimalist VST host ).
Both utilities, which run on Windows systems, can be useful in another contexts also. Hopefully there are similar tools for Mac people also. Linux people can use Wine to run them.
Now the procedure itself.
Installation (to be done only once)
- Download and install loopMIDI and define at least two midi cables with names of your choice, say Ableton_to_Scaler (or AS, if you are modest enough) and Scaler_to_Ableton (SA).
- Download NanoHost and open the zip file. In it you find NanoHost64bit.exe file. Save it somewhere.
- Rename NanoHost64bit.exe to Scaler2.exe and copy it to the plugins folder where the Scaler lives (I assume under the name Scaler2.dll. Do not rename Scaler2.dll itself. Now create new shortcut to the .exe file in Windows Programs menu or on desktop (Name it, say Scaler2).
- Run now this stand alone Scaler2.
- In NanoHost menu above running Scaler2 in Config submenu set:
a. In “Audio Output Settings” set Output Port to No Wave (all the music will be done in Ableton, you see, here we minimize the CPU load).
b. In “Midi in Settings” select Ableton_to_Scaler as Input port 1 and Scaler_to_Ableton as Output port.
c. IMPORTANT Check the Autosave bank on exit option. Otherwise you can accidentally close the cable connected Scaler2 and loose all your set up settings and chords. When this option is set up, you can restart Scaler and its state is restored.
- Close the Scaler in box.
- That’s it, now you have Scaler with two midi cables to be connected to your Ableton.
- Just double click Scaler2 menu item or desktop icon and you have ready made Scaler 2.7. Switch off it’s sound (select from menu, where Felt Piano sits). As I said, sound will be made in Ableton.
- Start Ableton.
- Make new track with keyboard and/or clip data input (set Auto) and connect it to virtual cable Ableton_to_Scaler using External Instrument. Set in it “Midi to” as Ableton_to_Scaler, Channel 1 and Audio from to “No Input”.
- Now you can add in Ableton any number of midi tracks with midi input set to Scaler_to_Ableton and with channel number you like. For instance you can set Channel number to 1 and you will get full set of note lines (chords), if you select 2, then only second line. Of course this is true if yo have set Multi Voice output in Scaler to ON.
Now you can control the external Scaler with your keyboard, write midi notes to be sent to it etc. Essentially, it works as usual.
The Scaler on the cable can well be Leader of the andother Scalers inside Ableton. Midi data from it can be also modified (say transposed, arpeggiated etc) by Ableton midi devices.
I found this scheme more flexible than BlueCat Patchwork scheme. There you can put all your plugins into the Patchwork frame etc. And, of course, you need to spend some extra dollars.
Hopefully somebody can demonstrate this scheme with pictures or even in video.