5 Minutes with Animoog and Ableton Live

A while ago, when I first professed my love for Animoog, I promised to show you how I planned to use it with Ableton Live. Well, it took me a couple of weeks, but I’ve done it! Here is a video of the workflow that I’ve cobbled together between Ableton and Animoog.

How I set up Animoog with Ableton Live

I used the Novation Launchpad
to quickly arm and launch new clips that I am recording the Animoog into. When I use a setup like this, where I am using one instrument (be it a synthesizer or an iPad app) to record into mulitple tracks, I like to map the bottom row of the Launchpad to the record-arm buttons of individual tracks. Remember that the default mapping of the Launchpad can be overridden with conventional MIDI mappings. This way, you can keep the whole affair on one page.

Make sure that your record arming is set to “Exclusive” in the Preferences. This will make it so that only one track can be armed at once. This way, with one button, you can decide which track the instrument is going to.

As for the I/O, I have to confess that I didn’t do anything special. I simply ran a y-splitter from my iPad headphone jack to 2 inputs of my Motu Ultralite. I really think that a lot of the supposedly low-quality of the iPad’s headphone out can be mitigated by having a reasonably good preamp. If you have any money laying around, I would recommend getting a good audio interface.

So, without further ado, here is my improvisation with the Animoog. All sounds except for the drum break are from the iPad app.

A few observations about working with Animoog

I couldn’t get a convincing bass sound out of the app. I think it’s because there is such an emphasis on sounds that evolve over time and I don’t really like that much sonic complexity in my bass sounds.

If you are going to be switching between Presets (as I’ve done here) during improv, I would name them something like _boomtown, with the underscore, or append a number. That will make sure that they are all sequential on the list.

I sure would like to see the ability to make the keys longer, or mess with the scale of the panes in general. I REALLY like the keyboard on this app (the ability to customize is key, har har), but it would be cool if there was more space.

Have any of yall worked animoog into your Ableton life yet?

16 Responses to “5 Minutes with Animoog and Ableton Live”

  1. Sherbert November 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I love Animoog, working on my first tune with it at the mo in Ableton! I don’t care about what it can’t do, personally, I just love what it does. Fair point on the key size, it’s a touch fiddly when you’re tracking with it.

    • Anthony November 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      Cool! Make sure to link it to me when you’re finished!

  2. Tonwelle November 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Very inspiring! Sounds great. I will grab my Animoog this evening. Results maybe l8er on soundcloud/tonwelle.

  3. Tonwelle November 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    As promised earlier this evening I finished my improvised little Animoog piece. It can be found here: http://soundcloud.com/tonwelle/big-v-in-the-sky. Of course I mixed it in Live and added some drums and used follow actions etcetera to make it moving around the captured sounds. Animoog is really inspiring to me.

  4. AfroDJMac November 19, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    Most excellent brother, I love that app and have been having a blast working it into my jams! Cool baseline btw.

    • Anthony November 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent. Ever used their other iOS apps?

  5. Liam November 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Hmm, I bought Animoog after seeing this video and now i’m wondering how to hook it up to my setup. Any chance of a short video that hows how to do this?

    • Anthony November 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      Hey Liam, I just edited to the post to include how I set it up. The answer is, nothing special! I just ran a y-splitter from my headphone jack to my MOTU Ultralite.

  6. Oli November 22, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Just stumbled upon the Ableton Cookbook a few days ago and I have to say: Thanks! What a great Ableton (and general music making) resource!
    You are really focusing on the most important things of music making and not high end stuff that just distracts from actually making music (like hmmm e.g. a large discussion about analog summing).
    Although I think that I am absolutely no beginner anymore I have already learned a lot and will continue to do so reading all the older articles.
    Again, many thanks!

    Cheers from Munich, Germany

    • Anthony November 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      Hey Oli! Glad that you are liking the site. I’m trying to appeal to the whole spectrum of Live users and I think the best way to do that is to focus on…making music!

      Make sure to let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Yvonne April 27, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Hi Anthony,

    I really want to connect the iPad to Ableton, but i don’t know how…. I looked for the Y splitter, but I don’t know wich one I have you buy or how to connect it to my Mac or m audio ozone.
    Could you give some advice?


    • Anthony May 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Hey Yvonne! Not so familiar with the Ozone specs, does that have stereo (2) inputs?

      • T___ May 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

        Hey I’m having the same problem. Trying to play animoog through live, but I can’t figure out how to connect them. I’ve got a y splitter and a traktor audio 2 for an additional soundcard (not sure if that makes a difference here, but I thought i’d let you know everything i’ve got). Anyways, I don’t know what to plug into what to get this thing working. Any help would be great

  8. Yvonne May 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm #


    I believe my ozone has 1 stereo aux input.


    • Anthony May 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Then, you’ll want to get a y-splitter that goes from the 8th inch output of the iPad (for headphones) to two RCAs. Then, get 2 RCA to 1/4 inch adaptors. This is how I did it and it sounded good to me! There are a lot more costly ways of doing this, but I’d advise against those unless you are going to be doing this a lot/in a professional context. hope that helps, Yvonne!

  9. Yvonne Veldkamp May 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm #


    It’s working!

    But the sold me a different cable ( not 2 rca’s, but one stereo maile cable) and an adaptor.
    It works fine, but the sound is a little strange. A stange reverb on most of the apps and most snares and drums have almost no volume. But animoog works fine!

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