ableton live 10

ABLETON LIVE 10 – THE Definition

Ableton Live is a DAW software for musicians of all skill levels and a wide variety of uses, making it the versatile sequencer by definition. Its particularity is that Ableton sells the Ableton push, a controller dedicated to this software, making it even easier to use.


Ableton live contains a navigation panel for easy access to all sounds, effects, and instrument packs. There are two views: the session screen and the arrangement screen. The session screen allows you to manage clips and organize loops. The arrangement screen is used live to record all the scenes of the session. It will enable you to control the parameters of the tracks (plugins, effects). Ableton live already includes effects, but it is possible to use standard effects: VST.


Ableton live exists in 4 versions: Lite, Intro, Standard, Suite.

The lite version is free to purchase Ableton hardware and includes only eight audio and MIDI tracks. The Intro version contains 16. But the two are quite similar, so it may be more beneficial to buy hardware and get the lite version for free. The standard version includes unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, but also more plugins. Finally, the suite version includes a multitude (more than 3000). The difference between the standard version and suite is plugins. For those who already own plugins, it is better to buy the standard version. However, the real advantage of the suite version is “max for live”. This allows you to build your own instruments and effects and share them if you wish. But also to use those created and shared by other users.

Ableton live is, therefore, a versatile software and accessible to all. If you are convinced by Ableton live, then producing music is between your hands! Otherwise, you may still be interested in Pro tools or FL studio. You can always consult our comparison of the different DAWs if you are still in doubt.

ABLETON LIVE 10How to get the most out of Drum Rack.

What is Drum Rack?

When you load an empty Drum Rack, you have this window with pads. Each pad will correspond to a note on the keyboard or to a pad if you have a Push 2 or Novation Launch Pad controller.

Empty Drum Rack

On the side we have 5 circular buttons, which i will talk about later. And right next to it, we have blocks of 16 pads.

Because the Drums Rack does not only contain 16 pads but a total of 64 pads!

In these pads you can load different categories of elements:

  • Samples in Wav – Aiff – Mp3 format.
  • EQ-type audio effects – Compressors and much more.
  • Software instruments like those of Ableton such as Analog – Electric and of course VST.
  • Ableton Midi Effects are also usable and we will see why later …

For samples, nothing could be simpler. In my audio library, I select a kicker for example and I’m going to put it on pad C1 and there I can trigger it (play it).

Little tip if you want to use several samples in the Drum Rack, select them in the library and drag all the samples in one operation.

Let’s load a sample!

Once you’ve loaded your wav files into the Drum Rack, you have the name that appears on the pad.

Drum Rack with a loaded Kick.

The name also appears at the top of Simpler, which is an Ableton plug-in for playing audio samples.

A Play button, a mute button, and the solo button appear on the pad.

As explained we can also load plug-ins in two different ways:

  • By pad with the EQ as in the example below.

Effect on the Kick pad

Overall, on the whole Drum Rack as with the Glue Compressor below.

Effect on all pads

Now let’s look at a Ableton Live’s Drum Rack with several samples.

Let’s start with the three little buttons at the top left:

  • The first button displays the macros used to control one or more parameters of an effect with a single button.
  • The second button displays the channels for each pad.
  • The third button shows or hides the processing chain.

Then we have the following three buttons.

I / O: This button is displayed if you activate the channel mode. It shows the received note, and the note played in Simpler, the Choke function, the volume, the pan, the solo mute and the hot-swap. It also displays the output called Rack Output.

S: Send button, this button lets you view independent send effects for each pad in the I / O chain. For example, to put the sound of the snare in the reverb bus without affecting the other sounds. You have to activate the R button and insert an effect.

A: Return button, used in conjunction with the Send button. It is possible, as shown in the image below, to set the output (a Reverb in this example) on a return track. This provides consistency across the entire song.

Let’s deepen this tool

1. Choke

As you can see in the image above, the Choke selector allows you to assign the channel to one of the sixteen exclusion groups! Concretely, the triggering of a chain silences the other chains belonging to the same exclusion group.

This is useful, for example, to cut an open hit hat (Charleston) while playing a closed Hit hat. Choke brings a more natural playing because in drums, you cannot play an open Hit hat at the same time as a closed Hit hat.

2. The samples layering – Method 1 

The layering technique consists of stacking several sounds to form one. This technique is used in the work of drum sounds. There are several methods to do this. Here is the first:

In this example, i want my kick in C1 to play with kick in C2. As shown in the image below, you assign the note received by pad C2 (Receive) to the same note received on pad C1 (in example C1). The name of the pad changes and is called Multi. You are free to rename it at your convenience.

3. Layering method 2 – Ableton Live 10

As I explained at the beginning of the article, you can insert virtual instruments into the Drum Rack pads. For this layering technique, i will use a Rack instrument, which i will place on note C1. In this Instrument Rack, we will use several Samplers to perform our layering. An advantage compared to the previous method? This saves pads and no need to affect the note received on each Simpler chain!

4. Midi Pitch

Imagine that we have a sample of a kick that sounds good, but we like to hear it in a lower pitch at the octave below. We can transpose in the Simpler

Know that there is another method, using a midi plug-in!

As the example below shows, the Chord midi plug-in fits between the chain and the Simpler. The Shift 1 potentiometer is set to the value -12, which corresponds to the octave below. This method may be more straightforward for making pitch ramps in the context of EDM production. Up to you!

This example also serves to show you that midi plug-ins fit into the Drum Rack.

5. Copy the values ​​in the sister chains

This is an efficient function in the Drum Rack. You load multiple samples and volume values. For example, in the Simplers are all at -12. There is a quick way to put all Simplers with the same output volume. Go to a Simpler and set the parameter to the desired value, for example -6. Right-click with the mouse or on your trackpad, and in the drop-down menu, click on copy value sister chains (6). In this example, the menu informs you that it will change the six other channels’ settings. Practical isn’t it!

Be careful with this feature, as the setting applies to all channels, not just the channels you want. This is not yet possible.

6. Random Panoramic – Ableton Live 10

This is an efficient function that is located in the Simpler. 

Adjust the Ran> Pan (Random Pan) in the Controls tab of the Simpler, as the example in the window below. Here we see it at 80%. You will give movement to your shaker, tambourine and other percussions…

7. Synth in the Drum Rack – Ableton Live 10

I often use different sounds in Epic music to create reminders. I use these synth tones very often on a track called Fx Epic. Instead of loading five tracks with five synths, as i only use one note at a specific time, I place my synths in the Drum Rack. This technic saves me time and energy. It’s up to you to see if you can use this process … an example in the image below.

One last tip!

When you insert a Drum Rack on a track in session mode at the top right of the track, on the small arrow, click on it, you open the tracks created in the Drum Rack, as well as the effect tracks. You can make your settings directly in session mode. Handy if you find like me that the Drum Rack is not resizable.

Of course, there is a lot you can do with the Drum Rack, and I haven’t shown you everything. In particular, i did not explain Simpler. This will be the subject of another chapter.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the forum.


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