Un­lock Able­ton’s DAW with th­ese top tips from Brian Funk

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -


Right-click the ti­tle bar of a track or de­vice to make those set­tings the de­fault. Go to the File/Folder tab in Pref­er­ences to make the cur­rent Live Set the de­fault. Save a Live Set to User Li­brary » Tem­plates to save it as a tem­plate. Cre­ate new de­faults for a va­ri­ety of ac­tions by plac­ing de­vices in the fold­ers within User Li­brary » De­fault.


Live’s Browser al­lows you to quickly find any­thing. Ac­cess the search func­tion with the short­cut Cmd-F on Mac or Ctrl-F on PC, then start typ­ing. Live will nar­row down the re­sults as you type. Press the down ar­row to high­light what you want, and hit En­ter to load it to the se­lected track.


Find a piece of mu­sic with a groove you’d like to use and drag it into a clip slot in Ses­sion View. Right-click and se­lect Ex­tract Groove(s). Live will cal­cu­late the tim­ing of the clip and place it in the Groove Pool. Ap­ply the tim­ing of this groove to any clip by sim­ply drag­ging and drop­ping the groove onto a clip.


In­stru­ment Racks can house up to 128 chains, and each chain can house an in­stru­ment with au­dio and MIDI ef­fects. Above the chains, the Key but­ton al­lows you to set a key range for each chain; set a spe­cific ve­loc­ity range for each chain with the Ve­loc­ity but­ton; and the Chain but­ton al­lows you to a set a range along the Chain Se­lect Ruler for each chain. Use th­ese set­tings to cre­ate com­plex In­stru­ment Racks that trig­ger a va­ri­ety of sounds de­pend­ing on what keys are played, how much ve­loc­ity is ap­plied, and where the Chain Se­lect Ruler is.


Add a chain and open the Chain Se­lec­tor. Name the first chain Dry and the sec­ond Wet. Stretch the first chain’s zone from 0 to 126 and the sec­ond’s from 1 to 127. Pull the first chain’s white Fade Range bar all the way to the left, and the sec­ond’s all the way to the right. Map the Chain Se­lec­tor Ruler to a macro and name it Dry/Wet. Place any combo of ef­fects on the Wet chain and use this macro to mix them in.


Click Add Folder (at the bot­tom of Places) to add any folder to Live’s Browser. Try adding a Drop­box folder, and any­thing you add to it – whether on your phone or your com­puter – will be wait­ing for you in­side Live.


In­stead of au­tomat­ing a track’s vol­ume fader, place an empty Au­dio Ef­fect Rack on the track, click the Show/Hide Chain but­ton (mid­dle but­ton on left of the Rack) and au­to­mate the chain’s vol­ume. Now you can ad­just the track’s level with­out over­rid­ing its au­to­ma­tion – and un­like Live’s Util­ity de­vice, its min­i­mum level is -inf dB (ie, com­plete si­lence).


For in­stant A/B com­par­i­son or ex­tra cre­ativ­ity in your ef­fects, you can cre­ate set­ups whereby ac­ti­vat­ing one de­vice de­ac­ti­vates an­other si­mul­ta­ne­ously. To do this, map a key on your QWERTY key­board to the on/off switch of two dif­fer­ent de­vices. Then turn one de­vice on and the other off. Now when you press the key you mapped, one de­vice turns on as the other turns off. This is great for quick com­par­isons or cre­ative de­vice-switch­ing on the fly.


There’s a way to change MIDI in­stru­ments by launch­ing clips. Cre­ate a multi-chain In­stru­ment Rack with dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments on each chain. Place each in­stru­ment’s chain on a dif­fer­ent spot along the Chain Se­lect Ruler, and map the Chain Se­lect Ruler to a macro. Cre­ate MIDI clips with an au­to­ma­tion break­point for the macro con­trol that cor­re­sponds to your cho­sen in­stru­ment’s Chain. Launch­ing the clip will au­to­mat­i­cally se­lect the de­sired in­stru­ment – perfect for live per­for­mance!


You can make Sampler trig­ger a ran­dom sam­ple with ev­ery note you play. To start, drop a num­ber of sam­ples into Sampler. Press the

Sel but­ton (Sam­ple Se­lect Ed­i­tor). Se­lect all the sam­ples, then right-click and choose Dis­trib­ute Ranges Equally. Next, Turn on LFO 2, choose the Sam­ple and Hold wave­form, set it to a high Fre­quency, and turn off Retrig­ger. In the

A Des­ti­na­tion, se­lect Sam­ple Se­lec­tor. Raise the value to 100.


To cre­ate your own multi­band ef­fects, cre­ate an Au­dio Ef­fect Rack with three chains named Low, Mid and High. On each chain, place an EQ3. On the EQ3s, dis­able the Mids and Highs on the Low Chain, the Lows and Highs on the Mid Chain, and the Lows and Mids on the High Chain. Ef­fects placed after an EQ3s will only af­fect the cor­re­spond­ing fre­quency band.


To place any groove on a clip you would like to quan­tise, in the Groove Pool set the Base to the value you’d like to quan­tise, and turn ev­ery­thing else to 0. By rais­ing the Quan­tize per­cent­age, you can au­di­tion the amount ap­plied.


For in­stant hu­mai­sa­tion, place any groove on a clip, turn all the val­ues to 0, and slowly raise the Ran­dom per­cent­age. Live ran­domly al­ters the tim­ing, cre­at­ing a more hu­man per­for­mance.


By us­ing Fol­low Ac­tions in a clip’s Launch panel, you can se­lect for all clips on a track to be fol­lowed by Any other. This means that any vari­a­tions of the clip you have on the same track will be played in a ran­dom or­der – great for cre­at­ing var­ied and in­ter­est­ing drum pat­terns, for ex­am­ple.


Open the En­ve­lope sec­tion on a clip. Un­der Loop, press the Linked but­ton to make it read Un­linked. This will al­low you to change the loop length of the au­to­ma­tion in­de­pen­dently from the loop it­self. For ex­am­ple, a four-bar loop can have a 32-bar au­to­ma­tion loop, for evolv­ing ef­fects.


For quick MIDI per­cus­sion, send au­dio from a beat to a tempo-synced de­lay on a re­turn track. Cre­ate an au­dio track, route the re­turn into the track’s in­put, and record a clip. From here, slice the clip to au­dio to cre­ate weird per­cus­sion! Or, rightclick on the new Clip and se­lect Ex­tract Groove(s). Drag the new groove onto an empty clip slot on a MIDI track loaded with a per­cus­sion in­stru­ment to give you fresh grooves.


Set the Au­dio From on an au­dio track to Re­sam­pling. This track will now record the mas­ter out­put (Live will au­to­mat­i­cally dis­able mon­i­tor­ing to pre­vent feed­back loops). This is a quick way to record what­ever the mas­ter chan­nel is out­putting – a pow­er­ful tool for sound de­sign and man­gling, or to make sure you’re record­ing when in­spi­ra­tion strikes.


You can con­trol Live de­vices with your voice! Cre­ate an au­dio track with its Au­dio From set to a mi­cro­phone, and turn In­put Mon­i­tor­ing off. Place the Max for

Live En­ve­lope Fol­lower on the au­dio track. Press the Map but­ton on the En­ve­lope Fol­lower and se­lect a pa­ram­e­ter you’d like to con­trol. You can now mo­du­late this pa­ram­e­ter with your voice.


Live’s Com­pres­sor can be used to de-ess a vo­cal. Click the ex­pan­sion tri­an­gle and en­able the EQ but­ton. Set the fil­ter type to band­pass and the Fre­quency at about 6-8kHz. The Com­pres­sor will only lower the vol­ume when that fre­quency ex­ceeds the Thresh­old.


The Op­tions.txt file can be used to en­able some of Live’s hid­den features. It is lo­cated

on a Mac at /Users/[user­name]/ Li­brary/Pref­er­ences/Able­ton/Live x.x.x/ and on a PC at \Users\ [user­name]\Ap­pData\Roam­ing\ Able­ton\Live x.x.x\Pref­er­ences\

Adding lines of text will en­able features. A Google search will re­veal them all, but favourite in­clude -En­ableMapToSi­b­lings=1, which al­lows you to map all sim­i­lar pa­ram­e­ters to a sin­gle Macro Con­trol (all Fil­ters in a Drum Rack, for in­stance) and -ShowDe­viceSlots which dis­plays a list of de­vices on a Track.

With dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments in each Rack chain, MIDI notes – and there­fore clips – can be used to se­lect them

Want to use any in­sert ef­fect as part of a multi­band setup? Build your own multi­band Rack like this, and you can!

Slice a ren­dered de­lay sig­nal to MIDI for in­stant beats

Quan­tise au­dio by cus­tom amounts in the Groove Pool

Re­veal hid­den features with Op­tions.txt

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