3 Performance Tips for Ableton Live That Save Time on Stage and in the Studio
Hi DJTT! My name is BigJerr. I’m an Ableton Certified Trainer and Instructor at ICON collective. Here’s 3 ways to save time on stage and do cool things faster!
3 Performance Tips for Ableton Live That Save Time
Tip #1: Use a Knob To Switch Between FX
Ableton’s Audio Effect Rack is super handy for quick on the fly switching with just turning a knob (similar to the Super Drum Rack). Why only 3? Using only 3 effect sounds means you can easily find the sound you want on each third of encoder: hard left position, center, and hard right.
This means you can keep the same sound on the same pad instead of wasting valuable controller space with extra samples. For example, some finger drummers choose to separate a “dry snare” and a “reverb snare”. This is valuable in some cases, but switching between effects as needed and loading more unique samples can be a better use of your controller’s real estate. This one isn’t easily seen in the video but still very cool.
This video shows how to build your own and map it to any controller. Keep in mind this can work both for individual samples (if you add it directly to a pad), multiple ones if routed to a bus or even your whole so it’s super handy!
TIP #2: Instant Beat Stutter (zero lag)
Seen at: 0:44 and again at 1:01
To get an “instant stutter” effect without lag, set the Beat Repeat effect to your desired gate – like 1/16 notes – and make sure to effect repeating 100% of the time. I’m using Twister’s encoder press feature but you can map any button or key to turn the device on and off. This means the duration of your button press dictates the length of the beat repeat, so as soon as you take your finger off the button the effect will stop, giving you a perfect “beat masher” style effect.
Pro Tip: Try lining up a few different beat repeats and map them to a row of buttons set to different subdivisions for more beat mashing – this will be familiar to any DJ who ever used the classic Midi Fighter Instant Gratification mappings for Traktor.
TIP #3: Switch between Two Samples On A Single Pad
Seen at: 0:29 and again at 1:22
Mad Zach and Choke are known to randomize samples using a similar switch function (see tip #3 here) on the pad itself, but I choose to set this up a different controller to switch samples to gain more control. This makes the playability of the Push 2 exactly the same, but the sound is different when most appropriate – like a breakdown or transition.
To do this, you’ll need to map a button to switch between 2 stacked sounds in an instrument rack, easiest way around it would be mapping the sample mute and inverting one of them. Pressing the button the encoder down, would mute a sample and make the second audible, toggling between each when pressed.
For example, at 0:29 in the video, I hit one of the blue knobs to switch hi-hat sounds from open to closed. I marked these knobs with blue Chroma Caps to be able to see these knobs when performing in dark environments, but obviously it’s not a requirement.
I hope you enjoyed the performance and found these tips helpful and useful. Keep on rocking guys! – Big Jerr
Have your own performance tips to share? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.