Ableton Live - Working Faster Using Default Templates | Recording Arts Canada | Digital Arts College

Ableton Live - Working Faster Using Default Templates

You are here



Ableton Live - Working Faster Using Default Templates

Templates help you work faster and get into a creative mood quicker when you have an idea. That said, it is important to be careful not to fall into a pattern of only using the same sounds for all of your projects or tracks. The following tips are based on Ableton Live 9 and 10 (for Mac), however, most of them can be transferred to other DAWs.

Default Set

Ableton gives you the ability to save your current sessions as default. Therefore, every time you open Ableton and/or create a new session you will have your own customized layout. To do so, simply go in your Ableton preferences (⌘,) and under File Folder, you may “Save Current Set as Default”: Press “Save” and your current session is now default. You may “Clear” and go back to Ableton’s default set anytime.


Important parameters / features you may want to customize:

  • BPM & Time Signature
  • Tracks Names, Colors & Groups
  • Plugins, Instruments
  • Audio Files, Midi Regions, Drums Rack
  • Custom Shortcuts
  • Markers, Loop

Default Presets

Within Ableton, you can right-click any plugin and save its current state so that all of its settings become default. (You may also do this with VSTs!).


Default Effect Rack

Using the same method, you can save a whole Effect Rack to have all of your favourite utilities from different plugins. To do so, drag audio effect plugin into an effect rack, right-click the parameters that you want to have easy access to, and select which macro you wish to control (Map to Macro).


For example, here is a default Audio Effect Rack (You may still change your rack by clicking the folder icon to the left of the rack):


R To rename your Effect Rack.

You may also want to do the same with a Drum Rack and/or Instrument Rack to have easy access to a personalized kit and Instrument/Patch.

Here is an example of a saved set. This set makes it easier to lay down ideas as fast as possible without minding too much about other technicalities. In addition to a custom BPM, Loop and Markers, it has an already placed simple kick & snare patterns and routed sidechain compressions on the "patch" group.

Final Thoughts

These templates can be super helpful to make your work more efficient and to save you time. Just don't forget to mix things up and not get comfortable using the same sounds repeatedly.

The Record: Latest mentor contributions

06 Jun

Exploring Emotions in Music: Tranquility

Tranquillity; the image that arises in most people’s minds is a serene environment, complete with soft sunlight trickling in through the foliage or reflecting upon the water’s surface. Often the contemplator is staring out onto the scene in deep and introspective meditation.

Read More
10 May

Creating a Big Room Sound with Plugins

A lot of modern recording sessions don’t take place at big budget studios like they once had. These days, it is hardly a limitation any more, compared to when consumer recording interfaces first hit the market.

Read More
15 Apr

Evoking Emotions in Music: Rage

Rage is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as extreme or violent anger. It is the result of stimulating a stress response in the body, whether it is a violent outburst or quietly seething anger.

Read More
08 Apr

Mixing Bass Guitar: Pro Tips

I recently shared some tips for sound engineers working with a bass guitar on how to adapt their tracking techniques to different playing styles.

Read More
03 Apr

Top 10 Reverb Plugins for Music Production

The use of reverb helps to create space and depth within a mix. It's an invaluable tool because it creates an environment for the vocalist/instrumentalist to live in. Your choice of reverb has a huge influence on the vibe and spatial chemistry of your track.

Read More
02 Apr

Tracking Bass Guitar: Tips to Improve Your Process

The bass guitar is easily one of the most versatile sonic instruments there is before you even get to the processing stage of a production.

Read More
27 Mar

Problem Areas When Equalizing Vocals

Mixing the lead vocal track is often considered the most difficult part of a production. It’s usually the absolute focus and forefront of the song and it can set the tone for the quality of the recording. A great vocal track can make an otherwise mediocre album pop and come to life.

Read More
20 Mar

Understanding Proximity Effect

One of the most important skills to learn as a tracking engineer is the fine art of microphone placement. Getting a great sound takes a lot more work than just dropping a mic in a room and pointing it at what you want to record.

Read More