(UPDATE: Livid has since come out with new firmware to install on the Guitar Wing, and GWing Editor software that allows you to easily change the Midi Channel on your Mac without doing any of this MidiPipe monkey business! Yay for progress!)
So last night I was sitting down to work with my Guitar Wing by Livid Instruments, and I realized that the Guitar Wing only allowed you to utilize Midi Channel 1, which is a problem since I use an Ableton Push as part of my studio and live setup and this will cause conflicts. (The Ableton Push is also mapped to Midi Channel 1)
How do you know if you have conflicts? Well, if your screen jumps around all the time while you are programming drums or if you are twisting knobs and the tracks keep changing, you probably have a midi conflict.
I have spoken to Livid Instruments via Twitter, and they said they have several upcoming plans for the device and that possibly changing Midi Channels is one of them, but this breaks my workflow to such an extent I couldn't wait for them to patch it - I had to find a workaround.
Trying to google around this topic is highly frustrating - so many unrelated topics come up, and many are for Windows-only. Being a Mac user, I wanted to write up this guide so that others don't have to search around for an answer like I did!
Before I go any further, I would highly, highly recommend taking 10 minutes and making a chart of where your Midi is mapped to and from currently. It will drive you nuts trying to remember this, and it doesn't have to be elaborate or crazy - just a simple list. Here is an example of my setup, which I have been building over the past year. Also, when I refer to "Important Notes" below, I mean "notes I jotted down," not actual midi notes. ;)
Here is my midi mapping once I made the required changes - no conflicts!
Current Midi Mapping:
Uses Midi Channel: 1
Important Notes: Not able to specify desired channel (except in each track - better to leave it set to all channels than risk breaking functionality)
Looptimus Footpedal #1
Uses Midi Channel: 2
Important Notes: This is how I fire scenes off without taking my hands off the guitar.
Akai MPK 88 Keyboard
Uses Midi Channel: 3, 4, 5 (Keyboard says 3A, 4A, 5A)
Important Notes: I found out how to do this from the MPK88 Manual. The MPK88 has three adjacent midi channels that you can bank through on the hardware.
- Midi Channel 3 is Guitars & Bass (faders and panning for Guitars & Bass)
- Midi Channel 4 is Drums (faders and panning for Guitars & Bass)
- Midi Channel 5 is Vocals and Keyboards (faders and panning for Vocals & Keyboards)
Logidy UMI3 Footswitch
Uses Midi Channel: 6
Important Notes: The UMI3 has an app that you need to if you want to change midi channels or Midi Notes it sends. UMI3.app can be found here: http://logidy.com/?pid=5
Novation Launch Control
Uses multiple Midi Channels 7-13, each of these is referred to as a "device."
Software and Downloads page for the Launch Control is here.
Mac app for controlling, saving and loading these settings: Mac: Novation Launch Control Editor
Also, you can find the updater for the firmware here: Mac: Launch Control Updater
Uses Midi Channel: 7
Guitar & Drum Audio FX Rack Sends - Parameter Tweaking
Midi Channel 8
Midi Channel 9
Midi Channel 10
Midi Channel 11
Midi Channel 12
Midi Channel 13
Device 8 is not assigned on controller (this frees Midi Channel 14 for Guitar Wing).
Uses Midi Channel: 14
Important Notes: I reassigned Guitar Wing to Midi Channel 14 via MidiPipe. (UPDATE: I now use GWing Editor 1.04 for this)
Novation Launchpad Mini
Uses Midi Channel: 15
Important Notes: Changed from the usual Midi Channel 1 using this guide.
Looptimus Footpedal #2
Uses Midi Channel: 16
Important Notes: This is how I control live looping into armed recording tracks.
In theory: Sounds simple enough right? I just need to change the Midi Channel that the Guitar Wing or Push is assigned to so that they will not conflict.
In reality: that would be nice, but the Ableton Push is a highly integrated piece of Hardware. There is no benefit great enough that I want to take on tweaking how it works with Ableton on the off-chance I accidentally break its amazing functionality and am not sure how to get back. Part of effectively solving a problem is not making 10 more problems to fix during the solving and research process.
So, with that in mind - that leaves modifying the Guitar Wing to a new Midi Channel other than Midi Channel 1, so the Push can operate undisturbed. I am going to choose Midi Channel: 14, because I scaled back the Midi Assignments for my Novation LaunchControl to use only 7 of its 8 Banks as Midi Channels to make for this new assignment. Keep in mind this is what worked for me, but you could choose any channel other than Midi Channel 1 that you have free and unassigned to another controller.
So, that's great and all - but how I do I go about re-mapping incoming midi from Channel 1 to Channel 14? Ableton Live does not offer this functionality and neither does Mac OS X Mavericks or prior operating systems. (not sure about Windows, you will have do your own research there - sorry folks!)
Enter: MidiPipe. Download the App, and consider making a donation to the creators of the App because without them there would be no solution to this! I just donated because this made my day! Without further ado, here is how to go about it...
1) Once the App is installed, make sure Ableton is running, that the Guitar Wing is connected to it, and that midi is going through to Ableton via Channel 1. You can see this in the upper right corner of Ableton. You will know it is on Channel 1 because this is the default and only setting provided by Livid Instruments out of the box.
2) Go to MidiPipe. Select Input from the drop down menu within the left-most section titled "Tools." Then click on "Midi In" immediately below it so it is highlighted blue. In the menu below entitled "Midi Input," select "Livid Guitar Wing" and then click the "hijack" checkbook below it. The drop down menu will now change to say "[Hijacked: Livid Guitar Wing - Livid Guitar Wing]". This tells MidiPipe which midi channel to monitor before the Midi hits Live.
3) Now return to the Tools box at the top left, and select "Modifier." Once inside Modifier, select "Channel Router" from the list below. Find Channel 1 below in the list of channels, and re-route it to Channel 14! This tells MidiPipe to re-route the Midi to Channel 14 before it hits Live.
4) Now go back to the Tools drop down menu and select "Output." Then drop down the "Midi Output" menu, and choose "Edit Virtual Outputs." Create a new virtual output called "MidiPipe Output." If this is already created you can leave it as is! Then select the output you just created from the drop down menu. This is a virtual output you create to route the Guitar Wing remapped Midi Channel into Live. Check on "Pass Though." Leave the checkbox off for "Use note off velocity."
5) Now go back to the three settings you created - Midi In, Channel Router, and Midi Out - and drag them over to the right-hand pane to include them in your custom midi pipe. Be sure that you drag them in in the order you want the processing to occur, that is Midi In ---> Channel Router ---> Midi Out. Rename the Pipe "Guitar Wing Remap" so when you come back later you will know what this is. Save your work using the File ---> Save. It will ask you where to save it, put it somewhere safe and backed up.
6) Now it is time to jump over to Ableton Live. Once in Ableton, jump into the Preferences section by hitting ⌘+, or by going to the to the Live menu at upper left and choosing "Preferences." Go to the Midi Sync section. If you have not already, ensure that the Guitar Wing is one of your selections for Control Surfaces. Mine is listed as position #5, but yours can be any one of them. Set the Input to "MidiPipe Output" like so. Set the Output to "Livid Guitar Wing."
7) Now we have to set the Midi Ports below. Do like so, for both "Livid_Guitar Wing Input" and "Livid_Guitar Wing Output," and then close Preferences.
You should now be successfully mapped to Midi Channel 14 (or whatever channel you select in Step 3).
Time to make some software-conflict-free music! Have fun.