I'm in between full sized MIDI keyboards at the moment and picked up an Akai MPK Mini to use for the time being and as a travel controller. I love it but it's missing the mod and pitch wheels that most keyboards have.

Does anyone have any idea how to map those functions in Ableton Live to two of the Mini's knobs? (Should apply to knobs on any MIDI controller.) I keep reading online that it's possible and easy to do, but I can't figure it out. When I go into mapping mode I can't seem to select the mod or pitch bend envelopes to map them.

Also, side question, is anyone aware of a standalone mod and pitch bend wheel controller? Like literally just those two controls as they usually are on a keyboard but by themselves?

2 Answers 2


Ableton Live does not allow you to map incoming MIDI signals to pitchbend information in MIDI tracks. It would be useful, but it is not supported.

Your controller's knobs probably send MIDI Continuous Controller (CC) data. As Brad pointed out in the comments, modulation is CC 1, but pitchbend is its own type of message. The simplest solution, if your controller is programmable, is to program one knob to CC 1 and one to pitchbend, but not all controllers are, and of those that are not all of them support pitchbend.

The other, more general solution is to use some third-party MIDI mapping software such as MIDI-OX or Bome's MIDI translator. Route the MIDI from your controller to the software, transform two CCs from your knobs to pitchbend and modulation (CC 1), and then route the software's output into Live.

Neither of these solutions are specific to Live of course - the same idea might apply to most any DAW software. However, if you happen to have Max4Live, you could probably write up a patch within Ableton that would perform the necessary transformation.


You're thinking about the mapping backwards. You don't want to map controls to other controls on your keyboard... just map the knobs to the same thing that pitch bend and modulation would have been mapped to within Ableton.

Click MIDI, then click what you want to control, then turn the knob. That's all there is to it.

As far as a standalone unit for modulation and pitch bending, I used to use a joystick for this. I wired the joystick output to the expression pedal inputs on my keyboard. You can also use a PC joystick directly with drivers that map them to MIDI.

  • The issue I'm having is that I can't seem to select the pitch or mod envelopes to assign them to a knob. When I'm in midi map mode they aren't clickable like other controls. Do you know how to do that?
    – einsteinx2
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 18:20
  • 2
    If you are talking about the envelopes in the editor, then I don't believe those can be changed with a control. You would want to change the actual control they map to. You are trying to change a controller with a controller, when really you want to be changing what you actually want to control. If that is not the case, take a screenshot of what you are trying to control.
    – Brad
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 20:00
  • You are correct, I was trying to control the pitch bend/mod envelopes because I couldn't find them anywhere else. Can you point me in the right direction to map the main pitch bend/mod control?
    – einsteinx2
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 20:04
  • You would simply click whatever parameter on the synth that you want to control. Default mapping won't work for you here, unless you go and edit the template file for your keyboard.
    – Brad
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 20:07
  • I see what you're saying but none of the synths in Ableton or the VSTs I use have a pitch bend or mod parameter to assign control to. As I understand it, they just expect a particular midi message from the keyboard, which of course my keyboard doesn't provide (which then affects the associated envelopes that I was trying to control before). I guess what I need to do is find out what midi message is sent when pitch bend/mod wheels are operated and try to use the APK Mini config utility to get it to send those messages from 2 of the knobs or something...
    – einsteinx2
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 20:16

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