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Mixing With Ableton Live

Ableton Live Tips & Techniques
By Len Sasso

Screen 1: The four steps to split a drum part into two kits, apply separate effects and export an audio stem for the final mix.Screen 1: The four steps to split a drum part into two kits, apply separate effects and export an audio stem for the final mix.

We show you some tips to streamline your mixing in Live.

This month we'll have a look at how to accomplish common mixing tasks in Ableton Live. I'll leave the whens and whys of mixing and mastering to others, but you'll find helpful tips in most issues of SOS, and a good starting point is Hugh Robjohns' 2002 article, Practical Mixing. For more on mastering in Live, check out the February 2015 Live column, 'The Final Act'.

Decluttering

Let's start by cleaning up your Live Set. It's never too early to get rid of the junk, and that's a good way to clear your mind when you're stuck. Delete any unused tracks for which you have no plans, including Return tracks. To save CPU, consider removing or at least deactivating any devices on unused tracks that you do keep. (Muting a track does not deactivate its devices.) Move all remaining unused tracks to the end of the Track list, combine them in a Track Group (Command+G/Control+G) and then fold and mute the Group.

If you are at the final stage of the project and will not be using Session view clips, it's also a good idea to delete all of them along with any clip slot Stop buttons. This will save you from accidentally deactivating an Arrangement view track with an errant key command or button press. It will also save time when Freezing tracks because Freezing automatically applies to both Session and Arrangement view clips (for details see the 'Bouncing & Stems' box).

Organising Your Tracks

A good way to organise the remaining tracks is to assign the same or similar colours to similar...

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Published March 2019