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Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.
Individual tracks often need a little bit of help to fit and mix with the other tracks. In this video, we'll talk about effects devices that can solve those problems, and how they're added to a track in Ableton Live. So audio signal processors are a group of devices that can be used to change some characteristic of an audio signal. For example, an EQ or a filter can be used to change the tone of signal, or a compressor can be used to control the dynamic range of a signal. So adding an effect to a track is very easy. All we need to do is allocate an effect over in the Device browser, which I'm already in here, and drag and dropping it either on the track nameplate or down here in Device view. And before I do that, let me just add that audio effects, which we we're looking at here, can be added to both audio and MIDI tracks, but on MIDI tracks they have to be added after the virtual instrument. And I am seeing the macro here for the Impulse drum plug-in that's providing the drum sounds.
So when I drag that onto the nameplate and let go, it's added in the chain after the actual virtual instrument. If I want to get rid of that, I can simply click on the title bar and hit my Delete key, or I can select that and go Command+X on a Mac or Ctrl+X on a PC to cut that device and delete it. Now I can either add a device itself or a preset. So if I click on the little disclosure triangle here and go into the Category-- since I am looking at drums, I'll go into that folder-- I'll find a preset that is a collection of the parameters in that particular EQ.
So let's say I want something for snare EQ. If I drag and drop that on the track, we can see that the device itself is already set up, with some of the parameters adjusted. Now, by dropping this EQ on the track, in effect I have dropped it on what we refer to as a track insert. So this effect is only processing the signal that's running through this particular track. Now if I switch to another track, I can do the same thing. And I can go into a different category, let's say I want some kind of filter, and I can drag and drop that there, and now this EQ is only affecting this track.
So, one track at a time. Now you will notice across the top of the effects we are adding here--and I'll go back to the Drum track--that the controls across the top are the same in the header at the top of the plug-in. So on the far left, I have what's referred to as the Activator button, and that allows me to temporarily bypass the signal that's flowing through that processor, or reactivate it. I can also come over here and click on what we call a Hot Swap button. So if I don't like this particular preset, I can click on that, and now I can simply go back into the presets that are available here and double-click.
So now that Hat EQ 2 preset has replaced the previous preset. And you can simply listen and load new presets, until you get something that's either what you want or close to what you want--at which point you can make changes to the preset settings. If I like the changes that I make--for instance, if I change this Floor Tom EQ into a slightly different configuration-- I can save that as my own preset by their clicking on the Save Preset button here--at which point it shows up in the folder that I originally pulled that preset from, and I can rename it and call that "My EQ"--or I can simply drag and drop that over here into the folder.
And you will notice that it's advanced it one number, and I can give that a different name. I can also put multiple plug- ins in the same device chain. So I might want to use EQ here and then also a Compressor. Now when drag that device onto the device chain, notice that I can either put it before the EQ--you see the gold line there, indicating if I let go with my mouse where that device will be added--or I can add it afterwards.
But one thing I can't do in this case is put it before the plug-in. Remember, audio effect devices have to go after the virtual instrument. So I'll drop it over here on the end, and now I can make changes, and I've got a device chain created. One of the nice things about this setup is that I do get meters after each device in the chain so that I can check my audio levels, so that if I get too much gain in one place I can make adjustments where necessary. So let's check that out. (Music playing.) So you see all along there that I had levels showing in each of the meters, so it's showing me the status of the signal at any one point.
So now that you know how to add effects to a track, experiment adding effects to tracks, and listen to what they can do.
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