Arduino/Ableton Color Organ; MIDI Controlled





Introduction: Arduino/Ableton Color Organ; MIDI Controlled

About: Go forth!

**Current as of 6/7/2011: LED contest entry**

This is how I use my Arduino UNO and the Maxuino patch in Ableton Live to control LED's via MIDI. This is the most basic setup for the circuit and gives examples on various MIDI controllers that can use this setup to control LED's. I am a mad musicianist!!! These are the basic 4 ideas that I use in musical performance with Ableton Live's: Max 4 Live. This is my FIRST INSTRUCTABLE!!! I can't wait to keep contributing to this society of makers and doers! I hope that someone will find this instructable useful for their own musical needs!!!

This is the instructable video. The links to the devices used are below!!! Watch out for the performance video next!!!

We have a MIDI keyboard, MIDI drum pad, and MIDI knobs to control our LED's. We also have some MIDI data sent to our LED's via the Maxuino patch; from our Ableton generated drums. So here she is!!!!


envelope follower:

(: all original music and circuits :)



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest

    14 Discussions

    im very confused on how u have ur arduino wired, if u could be so kind to email me a diagram of the pinout and what pins u used for what wires, also how are u inputing ur audio ?

    i was thinking of using a audio line in jack

    I'm having trouble understanding the envelope follower. I've had no problem assigning a MIDI controller through the Arduino to trigger LEDs. So I can now assign any button, key or knob on the midi controller to turn on my lights, but what I can't do is have it follow a track that i've composed in midi.

    The problem is the envelop follower (I assume). Would you be able to explain your audio and/or midi track set up, and how to use the follower in more detail?

    thanks a lot

    5 replies

    For this project I used ONLY audio to trigger my LED's. So on my MIDI instruments I placed an envelope follower. If I hit a MIDI key softly the LED's would barely light up. If I hit it hard then they grew brighter. But the MIDI data was irrelevant. I used the actual sounds the MIDI notes produced for this project. So if you want to use a MIDI note veloity to do the same thing; a different patch will be needed. HOWEVER: I like the expressiveness real audio provides. Try it out a bit before looking to MIDI to handle it all. Feel free to ask any questions.


    This is great help. I'm getting velocity sensitive MIDI triggers to work. Me LED's light up depending on how hard I press the triggers.

    The part that I don't understand is how to set up the envelope follower.

    so far I've recorded the sounds the MIDI notes produced in Ableton. If I was to switch to "arrangement view" in Ableton I would be looking at a recorded track.

    I'm gonna try and use your patch for the envelop follower, how do set:
    "track - device - parameter" and then "map"?

    according to your tutorial all I should have to do is click "map" and then switch immediately to Maxuino and click the parameter (for example the slider on 3)

    they should link and then my LED should blink on and off according to the notes I've recorded?

    I guess it's the envelop follower patch that I'm missing?

    thanks a lot for the help.

    I need a way to email you some patches/projects. Set up a free, and unimportant, email address. Then post it here so I can get u what u need. Then abandon the address and we can communicate and exchange material via Our personal email addresses.

    To use the envelop follower as I did; on a MIDI instrument OR Audio track; here are the steps:

    Create a blank MIDI track for the Maxuino patch.

    Build or wire your Arduino for LED action.

    On any track that produces Audio, place the envelop follower AFTER your instrument. (If the track is audio clips only, place it AFTER or BEFORE effects for different results) Note: record MIDI compositions/parts and flatten. Then add into Session view for Audio clip only LED following.

    On your track from the previous step, click MAP on your envelop follower.

    Then immediately go to your Maxuino patch and choose the PIN fader you wish to use for PWM.

    Now go have fun.

    Audio can be used to PWM LED's, motors, servos, or anything else.


    Immediately go to your Maxuino patch, and click the parameter you wish to modulate.

    I sent you a PM on instructables with my email! I'm gonna start on this. Thanks a lot for being specific.

    audio is a good plan, I'm gonna work on audio playback. Once I get this, I'm gonna try and figure out how to run everything with MIDI (if possible)

    i set up this unimportant email address:

    I'm still trying to get these lights. I'm pretty sure it's that envelope follower that you're using!

    thanks man!

    can you add a link to the envelope follower you used specifically for your project? I've been looking on but I can't find the one you are using.

    Thanks man, great project

    3 replies

    I can send you the patch. Read my latest comment on this instructable for info on getting it.


    It would be great if you could send me the patch for the envelope follower. I think it'll help me understand more if I follow from your example. Either a link or file sharing would work? I've yet to upgrade my account to "pro".

    I currently do not use any file sharing... :(

    Know of any free ones?

    Otherwise set up a free, and unimportant, email address. Then post it here as a comment. I'll then send what you need there. BEWARE of MASSIVE SPAM!!!

    Sorry everyone for taking SOO long to reply!!! If anyone wants a copy of the envelope follower patch or even my whole project just message me wit ur personal email address and I'll get them to ya. I have been outta town for a while.