Let’s have some fun with the built in effects in Ableton Live. Get creative and add some interest to a few basic loops with some unusual audio processing techniques.
The loops used in this article are taken from the FREE construction kits made available when subscribing to our mailing list.
First up we’re going to create a rhythmic gate using the sidechain feature on Ableton’s ‘Gate’ device.
Load up the audio file that you will be applying the gate to (we’re using an electric piano loop from the ‘Night Time Sessions’ constriction kit). Now add the gate from The effects menu. You’ll notice that the volume of the track has greatly decreased or it’s stuttering. Just bring the threshold on the gate all down to -40 dB.
Insert your percussion loop (we’re using a loop from ‘World Urban & Hip Hop Vol.2‘), we’re going to use it to trigger the gate on your electric piano. Go back the piano and click the arrow at the top of the gate to reveal the sidechain controls, now click the sidechain button to turn it on. In the drop down menu labelled ‘Audio From’ select your percussion track.
The piano is now being gated by the percussion track. It’s a bit choppy so bring the attenuation control (under the threshold) up to about -7dB then adjust the attack, hold and release to taste.
Next we’ll be automating parameters in Ableton’s ‘Simple Delay’ device to add some interest to your drum tracks.
First add the audio track we want to use to a new track (here we are using a marimba patch from World Urban & Hip Hop Vol.1). Now bring the dry/wet control all the way down.
Now we want to automate some of the parameters. Right click on the dry/wet knob and select show automation (we will do this for every parameter that we want to automate) and draw a slope at the end of every bar.
Let’s automate the delay time next, on the left delay automate the delay time to change to 1 and on the right channel change it to 2, do this at the end of every second bar.
It’s still sounding pretty tame so automate the feedback to increase throughout the whole loop.
Falling beats with Ableton’s beat repeat
Ableton’s ‘Beat Repeat’ device is a great way of adding some glitchy textures to your percussion tracks and drum loops. Here we’re using it to create some trippy falling beats.
Insert the beat repeat on your track of choice (we’re using a simple snare loop from ‘Night Time Sessions Vol.1‘) the snare only hits on the second and fourth beat so adjust the offset to 4/16.
To get that falling feeling we need to change the pitch decay control, set it all the way to 100%. Now the pitch will decrease with every repeat.
The effect is a bit intense so we need to dial it back a little bit, we can do this with the volume decay control. Bring the decay up to about 50%, now the repeats decrease in volume as well as pitch.
To add a little character to the sound we will use the Beat Repeat’s built in bandpass filter section to get rid of some of the low frequencies. You can do this by bringing up the centre frequency control to around 3.00kHz.
Modulated filter rise
Lastly we’re going to use the ‘Auto Filter’ device to create a build up. Instead of applying the effect to individual tracks, this time we’re going to use it on the whole mix.
For this example I’m using a full mix from ‘World Urban & Hip Hop Vol.1‘. Let’s insert the AutoFilter onto the track, turn up the filter cutoff all the way up to 19.9kHz and bring the filter Q down to 0.20. We’re going to be automating these parameters to increase over time.
Apply automation to the filter cutoff to increase from 26.0Hz to the full 19.9kHz. We want it to hit the max value just before the audio clip ends and quickly shoot back down to the minimum.
We also want to automate to the filter Q, not as much though. Start the automation at 0.20 and end it at 1.60.
Let’s add some movement with the LFO, increase the amount to 10.0. We want it to be in sync with the project so hit the tempo sync button and set the rate to 1/8.
I hope you’ve found this article usefull. Please, share this post amongst your friends. If you have any questions or comments, post them below. Enjoy!
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