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The AKAI APC20 is a MIDI controller, which has controls that light up on it. The lights correspond to the status of a clip in Ableton, but is there any way to change these lights by issuing MIDI commands to the controller using another device (ie. my laptop)?

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Absolutely. That is how it works. See http://www.cycling74.com/forums/topic.php?id=20355#post-106507 for basic mapping information. Basically, different velocities are for different LED colors.

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