Arpex – Expressive Arpeggiator for Live 11

Arpex is an MPE enabled arpeggiator device built in Max for Live for Ableton Live 11. It uses slide and pressure to control octave shifts and note length. Using MPE control data to change how each note is generated by the arpeggiator offers new melodic possibilities.

To celebrate the launch of Ableton Live 11, Arpex is available for free until 23rd March 2021.

Download Arpex from: Isotonik Studios

Download the full user manual: Arpex – User Manual

Live 11 and MPE

Arpex makes use of a new feature in Live 11, MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE). Where regular MIDI limits a single channel of control data for an instrument meaning that pitch bend or pressure effects the entire instrument, MPE allows each note to have its own MIDI channel. This means we can apply pitch bend, slide and pressure on a per-note basis (up to 15 notes).

From a sound design perspective, MPE enabled instruments and controllers present exciting new ways to interact with and modify sound. For example, holding a chord and applying more pressure to a single key might open that specific note’s filter up. Live 11 now comes with some excellent MPE enabled instruments (Wavetable and Sampler) and providing you have an MPE controller (see list at the end of this page) you can dive straight into the exciting world of MPE.

MPE functionality is also extended to Max for Live via a range of special MPE objects meaning we can now create our own MPE enabled devices.

System Requirements

Arpex requires Ableton Live 11 and a version of Max for Live will also be needed either with Ableton Live 11 Suite or Ableton Live 11 Standard with the Max for Live extension. The MPE functionality in Arpex will have no effect if used in any previous versions of Ableton Live.

To take full advantage of Arpex’s design, an MPE controller is needed such has the Sensel Morph or Roli Seaboard.

How does it work?

When using a supported MPE controller, any incoming MPE slide and pressure values generated by each note are used to control either the octave range or duration of an individual note in the arpeggiated pattern. Slide and pressure can be assigned to either octave shift or note duration using the switch.

In it’s default mode:

More pressure applied to a note = longer individual note

Sliding up a note = higher octave shifts for the note

Standard arpeggiated patterns are available via the ‘Style’ menu and the maximum octave range of a pressed note can also be set using the ‘Max Oct’ parameter.


Step Sequencers

Arpex also features a step sequencer to control velocity and duration. If the velocity sequencer is active, incoming velocity values will be ignored, and instead generated by the velocity sequencer. This is a great way to maintain some consistency whilst jamming on with the device. Preset shapes are also available for the velocity sequencer to quickly dial in some common velocity patterns. These shapes will be applied only to the number of steps currently set for the sequencer.







If the duration sequencer is active, any MPE control data currently assigned to duration will be ignored and instead generated by the duration sequencer. Setting a duration sequencer step to maximum will result in an overlapping note (legato).







Each step in the sequencer can be turned off or on via the step buttons below the sequencers allowing for rhythmic variations to be applied to the arpeggiated pattern.

Both the velocity and active steps can be randomised momentarily or at the end of each loop of the sequencer.

Rate, Swing, Restart and Thru

The arpeggiated pattern can be restarted so that it plays from the beginning and there are three different modes to control this:

OFF = the pattern is not restarted.

NOTE = the pattern is restarted every time a new note is played.

SEQ = the pattern is restarted every time the sequencer loops over.

The speed the arpeggiator runs at can be either synchronised to Live’s BPM at a user defined rate or set to run freely. Swing can also be applied if ‘Rate’ is set to ‘Sync’ and is either a 1/8, 1/16 or 1/32 note division.

By default, any incoming MPE control data (slide, pressure, pitch bend etc.) is essentially hijacked and used to control the device. It is possible to pass incoming MPE data ‘Thru’ to the output as well as controlling the device, meaning that any MPE routing on an instrument will resume.

How was it built?

Arpex was built in Max for Live and uses the mpeparse object to separate incoming MPE data, the poly~ object is then used to host each channel’s data.


This is how the information generated by an MPE controller can be organised, tagged and then reused within the device.



The main operation behind the device is based on temporarily storing incoming values (pitch, velocity, slide, aftertouch and channel) in the coll object, then outputting them at specific intervals.












The notes and velocity are essentially unchanged but the slide and aftertouch values are used to control either the octave transposition or the duration of outputted notes.

MPE Compatible Controllers

Sensel Morph

Roli Seaboard/Blocks

Ableton Push – Although not an MPE control surface, Push does have polyphonic aftertouch which means you can use individual pad pressure to control one of Arpex’s parameters (octave shift/note duration).

To enable polyphonic aftertouch: on Push 1, hold down the ‘User’ button, on Push 2, press ‘Setup’  and change the aftertouch option from ‘Mono‘ to ‘Polyphonic‘.


Arpex – User Manual

MPE Primer for Ableton Live 11

CDM – Ableton Live 11 article

MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) Specification Adopted!

Leicester Ableton User Group Meetup presents Tobi Hunke

Ableton Drummer Sept 19

Where: R10 52a Market Place, Leicester, LE1 5GF

When: Wednesday 18th September at 7 PM – 9 PM

Leicester Ableton User Group proudly presents: Tobi Hunke, who runs as he explores different aspects of how Ableton Live is and can be used by drummers with showcasing practical examples with a focus on live performance including the subjects:
Recording and Audio Processing live
Playback/Backing Track Operations
Drum Module / Drum Sound Engine
Midi Effect Engine – Tonal Sequences/DMX-Lights/Video/Trigger whatever…

About Tobi:
Tobi Hunke, who is born and living in Germany was starting to tour with bands at the age of seventeen and has played numerous live shows and in various recording sessions. While his studies in England he started to develop an interest in performing electronic music and into working with Ableton Live. He is now mainly working as a drum teacher and Ableton Live instructor with the focus on combining the two. He has developed an online presence through blogging and building up an online community for drummers using Ableton Live, which has gained a big reputation around the globe. Tobias Hunke developed online educational resources as well as providing and programming plug ins for drummers to combine and translate (physical) drumming into the digital world.


AbletonDrummer –


Megan Timings – Creating Chip Tune Pop with Ableton Live.

James Kelly – Creating Impulse Responses with M4L Convolution Reverb Pro.


MINI_PRZM_03New versions of the MINI PRZM’s are now ready and out in the world. Based on the same technology as the original PRZM, each player now controls their own mini PRZM instrument. Four of the devices have four arcade style buttons located on each side and control a specific instrument or musical layer (drums, bass, chords etc.). The final device has proximity and ultrasonic sensors that react to hand gestures and control master effects.



Together the PRZM project creates a powerful jam station for kids (and big kids) and comes pre-loaded with a range musical settings.



Each PRZM is based on the Arduino Pro Micro to process button presses and sensor inputs. The LED lights are based on the Adafruit Neo Pixel Rings which are also running from the Pro Micro. The top section is made with diffused black/transparent acrylic with a custom laser cut vinyl for the HUD graphics.

Each Pro Micro sends its sensor inputs to a master hub based on the Arduino Leonardo which essentially functions as a receiver for each of the MINI PRZM’s and converts everything into a single message stream connected to a computer. The Leonardo is coded to operate as a class-compliant MIDI device.


All the audio is generated in Ableton Live which receives control messages from the master PRZM HUB.

Screenshot 2019-06-02 at 19.04.19

Each PRZM controls a sampler instrument with a music loop loaded in. Different buttons will trigger different sections of the loop allowing players to re-organise the loop and jam with it.



R10 Synthi 100 Heritage Project


Krafthaus Arts CIC were successful in gaining a Heritage lottery grant for the acquisition of one of the last remaining EMS Synthi 100s in the UK. The incredibly rare  synthesiser was originally commissioned for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1970. From 1971, 28 EMS Synthi 100s were built and distributed around the world. Currently there are only a handful of working models, all in private studios or universities.

The EMS Synthi 100 at R10 is currently undergoing a complete internal restoration and rigours service to make sure this ultra complex machine will be working for many years to come. The end goal is that the EMS Synthi 100 will be at the centre of our heritage studio facility, incorporating and preserving music technology techniques and practices through workshops, talks, concerts and documented output from the R10 collective, invited guests and the wider electronic music community.

Head over to our dedicated site for more information on the project


Following the success of the PRZM (Animated MIDI Lightbox) I am proud to present the Mini PRZMs. First previewed at Superbooth in May 2018, the Mini PRZMs draw on the same concept as the PRZM but with a dedicated instrument and control box for each player. Powered by Arduino and Ableton Live, PRZM offers a unique way for people to interact with and make music.

Mini PRZM 02


More details on the design and development coming soon.

Multi Analyser XL

Following the success of the Multi Analyser, I am proud to announce the Multi Analyser XL. 

Available from Isotonik Studios.


New features include:

  • Large floating window (stays visible while selecting different tracks).
  • Channel routing options per track:
    • Select from Pre FX, Post FX or Post Mixer to analyse tracks.
    • Select Left, Right or Summed output of tracks to analyse.


Live 10

Multi Analyser XL makes use of a new feature of Live 10 whereby Max for Live devices now support multiple audio inputs and outputs. Inputs and outputs can be accessed via the track’s input and output channel choosers. Devices can also be routed to arbitrary tracks via the Live API.

This means that as well as hard routing a tracks output to a Max for Live device or routing content of a Max for Live device out to dedicated track input, we can also grab the output of a track and send it into in Max for Live Device without disrupting its current signal flow (i.e. to Master). This is great for analysis and measurement tools but also it allows Max for Live devices to have side-chaining functionality, which was previously not possible.

System Requirements

Multi Analyser XL requires Ableton Live 10 and a version of Max for Live will also be needed either with Ableton Live 10 Suite or Ableton Live 10 Standard with the Max for Live extension. Multi Analyser XL will not work in Live 9.

Available from Isotonik Studios.

For more information on the operation and development of Multi Analyser click here.