Poly.4.L Setup in Ableton Live 9

In this article we are going to prepare a Poly.4.L (Poly Four Legato) setup in Ableton Live 9 using the virtual analogue synth Diva by u-he. These instructions will work for a 4-string Fretsense™ bass.

MIDI MODE ‘Poly.4.L’ is a mode that enables polyphonic performance with the ability to both slide notes and play chords. This mode sees the bass send the MIDI information relating to each string on its own separate MIDI channel and as such needs to be used either with a compatible hardware synthesizer that can receive on multiple MIDI channels or a DAW (Digtal Audio Workstation) program, properly configured, with a separate MIDI track and synth per string as we will be doing in this article.

IMPORTANT: MIDI MODE settings that end with the affix 'L' require that the use of a compatible synth that supports legato.

NOTE: The MIDI MODE parameter was called MIDI SEND on all bass firmware revisions prior to x.18.

Ableton Live Settings

  1. Create a new MIDI track within Live.
  2. Insert Diva into the MIDI track.
  3. Set MIDI From to ‘Ch. 1’.

  1. Select and copy the MIDI track.
  2. Paste three more MIDI tracks into the set so that you have four tracks in total, each containing an instance of Diva.
  3. Now edit the MIDI From to 'Ch. 1' - 'Ch. 4' as per the image below.

  1. Select all four MIDI tracks and then group them. On Mac press Command (⌘) G or ctrl-click and select 'Group Tracks'. For Windows right-click and press 'Group Tracks'. By grouping the tracks you can now balance the individual outputs and adjust the group gain control.

NOTE: We had to rename the group and the grouped tracks because Live automatically increments track numbers/names.

Instrument Settings

  1. Set MIDI MODE on the bass to ‘Poly.4.L’.
  2. Set MIDI OUT to 1.

NOTE: In this article we have set the bass to send on MIDI channel 1 and for the MIDI track in Live, which contains the synth, to receive on MIDI channel 1. This channel can, in fact, be any one of the 16 available MIDI channels just as long as the MIDI channel numbers match.

NOTE: When MIDI MODE is set to a polyphonic setting the bass outputs from the highest to the lowest string from first number in the sequence. So, if MIDI OUT is set to '1' then MIDI channel 1 is G, MIDI channel 2 is D, MIDI channel 3 is A and MIDI channel 4 is E.

u-he Diva Settings

Diva now needs to be configured correctly.

  1. Set the Mode to ‘legato’.

  1. On the TUNING section set both parameters Up and Down to '2'. This confines the pitch bend range of the synth to +/-2 semitones which mirrors the bend range of the actual string.
Last updated 18 Sep, 2019