How to set up a Nanopad for Ableton

Written by simon foden Google
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How to set up a Nanopad for Ableton
Yeasayer are one of many bands that use Ableton Live. (Karl Walter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation (DAW). It is popular with DJs and producers due its flexibility and real time programming capabilities. It functions well as part of a live setup as well as a studio setup. The Korg Nanopad enables you to expand these capabilities by delivering on-the-go beat programming functionality. With your Nanopad synced up with Ableton, you’ll be able to trigger entire drum loops at the touch of a button.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • USB cable (supplied with Nanopad)
  • Bulldog clip

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    Download drivers

  1. 1

    Download the Korg Nanopad driver. Go to Hover over the “Products” link on the left of the page. This brings up a submenu. Hover over “Controllers and Software,” then “Controllers,” then click on “Nano Series.”

  2. 2

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Nanopad2.” Click “”Support and Downloads,” and select “Drivers.”

  3. 3

    Select the relevant download link for your operating system and save the driver to your computer. If you want to keep your files organised, create a separate folder in which to save the drivers prior to downloading the driver. To do this, right-click the desktop, select "New," "New Folder" and name the folder "Ableton drivers." If using a Mac, either right-click or touch the trackpad with two fingers simultaneously, then select "New Folder."

    Hooking up the Nanopad

  1. 1

    Turn on your computer, but don’t open Ableton. If your computer is connected to an external amplifier via a sound card, ensure that the gain is at zero on both devices. This protects the speakers.

  2. 2

    Fit the USB that came with Nanopad to the USB port on the left side of the device. To keep your work environment tidy, reduce excess wiring by looping the USB cable a few times then attach a bulldog clip to the USB to hold it in place.

  3. 3

    Fit the other end of the USB cable to the USB on your computer. The Nanopad is USB-powered, meaning it will power up when connected to your computer. There is no “On” switch.

    Ableton setup

  1. 1

    Launch Ableton. If using a PC, double-click the Ableton icon on your desktop. If using a Mac, hover over your dock, scroll sideways until you see the Ableton icon, then double click it.

  2. 2

    Click “File,” “Preferences,” then click the “MIDI/Sync” tab. From the resultant dropdown menu, select “Nanopad.” This assigns the Nanopad as a MIDI input. From now on, Ableton Live will treat signals coming from the Nanopad as MIDI and will process them accordingly.

  3. 3

    Click the “MIDI” button in Ableton Live. To assign functions to the Nanopad, first select the function in Ableton Live, then click on the pad to which you wish to assign that function. For example, click on the “Play” button, then tap a pad on the Nanopad. This assigns that function to the pad you just touched, so you can play tracks in Ableton remotely from your Nanopad.

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