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Quick Tip: Tips on How to Keep Organized in Ableton Live


Hello everyone and welcome to another blog entry by Benjamin Coutts. This time I will be going on about how to keep yourself organized within Ableton Live and use it for when you do a gig using the same set up as your production setup.

Step 1: The More Returns the Better

When you open up Ableton Live you will be give a blank canvas to start off with. The first thing you should do is create returns for the individual instruments you will be using.

Like I said in my last tip, doing this will help keep your CPU down and will help with experimenting with different effects. The return you use for the drums you could route to be used for the bass and you might come up with something unusual but something very interesting.

Step 2: Keep Things Simple

Over the years I have produced I’ve recorded up to 30 channels in one arrangement and that I find is a bit much if you want to perform your tracks within Ableton. If you want to just press play and let the song play like a DJ that’s fine, but if you want to be able to trigger each clip then keeping things simple is the best thing you could do. I’ve now got a template where I have only five channels, with each one layered within the channels. I find it a hell of a lot easier to perform with five channels as opposed to 30 channels.

Step 3: Layering and Arranging your Key Zones

When you’ve got your instruments layered with your favorite instruments, mess around with your key zones to find the best key range for each instrument. For my bass part I have three different bass instruments within a channel layered, and assigned each instrument a key range. You have to spend the time finding the right instruments, which sound good for the high, mid, and low octaves. Also layer the instruments within the key zone so you can have many different layers for your sound.

Step 4: Make a Folder for Your “Go To” Instruments

I’m guilty of not doing this, but I’ve changed my ways and started to save every instrument I create. This is important so you can have a distinctive sound in your music. If you don’t save your instruments you forget how you got that sound and each track you make will sound different and you won’t have a flowing album.

Step 5: Keep a Designated Drum Rack

At the start of your template I feel having a designated drum rack to be very important. It keeps every track sounding similar and the listener will feel more grounded when listening to your album. Every artist has a sound that they call they’re own and it should be no different to you. I have a drum rack which has all my drum sounds that I want within it, so I can have a distinct sound with my drums and a sound everyone will remember as being me.

So there we go everyone, some quick tips on how to stay more organized when writing and performing your tracks. I hope you enjoy reading it and get inspired and have more fun writing your tracks.

The most important thing I’ve learned is to keep organization and creativity apart because it can interrupt your writing process. So take care and I look forward to writing another quick tip page for you.

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