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Ableton Live: Using Effects

Ableton Live Tips & Techniques By Len Sasso
Published February 2021

Everything you need to know about effects in Live.

Live includes a broad selection of audio effects along with myriad presets to get you started. In this workshop, we’ll show how to insert, combine and modulate effects in both Session and Arrangement views.

Location, Location, Location

Screen 1: Channel EQ processes the synth clip only. Clip automation turns it on or off for each clip, and modulation in the synth clip affects the EQ’s High band.Screen 1: Channel EQ processes the synth clip only. Clip automation turns it on or off for each clip, and modulation in the synth clip affects the EQ’s High band.When you want an audio effect to process a single track, the simplest solution is to place the effect directly on that track. On an audio or instrument track, Live’s clip envelopes make it easy to apply different effect settings to different clips. For example, Screen 1 shows piano and synth loops in clip slots on the same audio track. I’ve inserted Live’s Channel EQ on that track in order to make the synth loop more compatible with the piano loop. I’ve then used clip automation to turn Channel EQ off for the piano clip and on for the synth clip, and I’ve used clip modulation to lower Channel EQ’s High band level in the last half of the synth clip. (Modulation adjusts a value relative to its current setting.) This setup will save you a track when the clips are not intended to play together. If you place the clips on separate tracks, the EQ High modulation is all that is needed.

When you want to process multiple tracks with the same effect (reverb for example) a Live Return track is the usual location. Send knobs on the source tracks control the level sent to the Return track, and you have the option to make the send amount independent of the source track’s volume by setting the Return track’s Pre/Post button to Pre. (A Return...

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Published February 2021

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