Ableton Live 10 ~ Routing & I/O

Ableton Live 10 ~ Routing & I/O

Every track in Ableton Live 10 is traveling somewhere. But where? Most likely the Master Track, but to get the most out of Ableton you'll want to explore all of the routing capabilities for performing such tasks as bouncing MIDI to audio, organizing your mixdown and/or using ghost MIDI tracks to trigger effects such as side chain compression.

Luckily, Ableton offers an easy to use I/O mode that allows us to select a signal source and destination for each individual track; audio & MIDI. This gives us complete control of our signal flow. It may look confusing at first, but once you grasp the concept of routing you’ll be able to creatively use it in real time to enhance your productions.

Routing Basics

I/O = Toggle the mixers Input & Output section on & off

// Tip = Can Toggle this section in the View menu

Input Type = Choose the track input source

// Choices = Audio From source or MIDI From Source

Input Channel = Choose a channel or subcategory of the track input source

// Tip = Options here will dynamically update depending on routing configurations

Monitoring = Choose the monitor mode of the input source

// Choices = In, Auto or Off

Output Type = Choose the track output source

// Choices = Audio To destination or MIDI To destination

Output Channel = Choose a channel or subcategory of the track destination source

// Tip = Options here will dynamically update depending on routing configurations

Monitoring = Determine whether or not a track input source is passed on to a track output destination

// Example = Microphone audio as the input source, which is routed & heard by the Melody Mix, Mix & Master track as the output source

Auto = Monitor the input source effortlessly by arming the track (red button)

In = Permanently monitor the track input, regardless of whether the track is armed

// Tip = Traditionally described as an “Aux” track for simply passing along the mixdown

// Example = All of my submixes have In selected

Off = Turn off monitoring all together

// Tip = Useful for when you choose to monitor the input source elsewhere to avoid latency issues

External Audio In/Out

External Input Type = Route external audio from devices like microphones, instruments & hardware synths

Configure = Adjust the Audio Input Device & other audio configurations

// Example = My Audio Input Device is set to my Scarlett 2i4 audio interface

Input Channel = Choose between the different input channels my audio interface offers

// Example = My Scarlett offers Channels 1 & 2 together or individually as input channels

Configure = Adjust & name the available audio hardware inputs

// Mono Inputs = Name Channel 1 “Main Vox” & Channel 2 “BG Vox”

// Stereo Inputs = Name the Channel 1 & 2 blend “All Vox”

Mono Signal = Track records a mono sample

// Tip = Mono inputs & samples are converted to stereo during output

Stereo Signal = Track records a stereo sample

// Tip = Stereo inputs & samples routed to a mono output get added together and attenuated by 6db to avoid clipping

External MIDI In/Out

External Input Type = Route external MIDI from our computer keyboard, audio interface or “All Ins” which will merge all of the MIDI sources

Input Channel = Choose between the different MIDI input channels available depending on the source

Configure = Adjust the MIDI input devices

MIDI Ports = Toggle on & off which MIDI ports are available for Live to use & where

MIDI Input Track = Enable for any input port sending MIDI to Live’s tracks

MIDI Output Track = Enable for any output port used for sending MIDI from Live’s tracks to external gear

MIDI Input Sync = Enable for any input port used for synchronization of Live

MIDI Output Sync = Enable for any output port which Live should send sync messages to

MIDI Input Remote = Enable for any input port used for remote control of Live

MIDI Output Remote = Enable for any output port which Live should send control update messages to

Computer MIDI Keyboard = Use keystrokes from our computer keyboard as MIDI notes

// Shortcut = Hit “M” to quickly toggle on and off

Middle Row = White keys on a piano

Upper Row = Black keys on a piano

Z & X = Adjust the keyboard’s octave range

C & V = Adjust the incoming note velocity by intervals of 20

MIDI In/Out Indicators = Monitor the incoming and outgoing MIDI in real time

// Control Bar = Sync, Remote, Track (Left to Right)

// Upper Indicator = Indicates a MIDI message is received

// Lower Indicator = Indicates a MIDI message is sent


Resampling = Route Live’s Master output into an audio track to record and resample our entire project audio

// Tip = Useful for bouncing CPU heavy MIDI tracks to audio

// Tip = Also a useful technique for chopping and screwing repeating sections of a song much easier

Resampling Example = Resample an Air Vibrations Vol. 1 sample

// Step 1 = Solo "AV1 Beat” track (with Reverb Plugin on)

// Step 2 = Change "AV1 Beat Reverb” track input source to Resampling

// Step 3 = Arm “AV1 Beat Reverb” track & Record

// Step 4 = Reverse & move new “AV1 Beat Reverb” sample

// Step 5 = Turn off “AV1 Beat” track Reverb Plugin

Internal Routings

Internal Routing = Useful for adding discrete layers to existing MIDI & audio tracks

Pre Fx = Route the signal directly from a track, before it has been passed on to the track’s device chains

Post Fx = Route the signal at the output of a track’s device chains (FX), but before it has been passed back to the track mixer

Post Mixer = Route the final output of a track, after it has passed through its device chains and mixer

Routing Points = Route specific track device chain information

Internal Audio Example = Route “Drum Combo” track to “Drum Combo FX” track

// Step 1 = Create new Audio track & name it with “FX" 

// Step 2 = Change Audio input source to “Drum Combo” 

// Step 3 = Change Audio input channel to “Metal Hammer Post Fx"

// Step 4 = Add effects to “Drum Combo FX” & mix accordingly

Internal MIDI Example = Route “Harmony MIDI” clip to three different synths

// Step 1 = Create four MIDI tracks (1 dry, 3 with plugins)

// Step 2 = Change MIDI input source to “Harmony” MIDI

// Step 3 = Adjust Monitoring option to “In” for each synth track

Ghost MIDI Example = Use a Ghost MIDI track to side chain compress a synth

// Step 1 = Create “Ghost MIDI” track with Operator (or any simple synth)

// Step 2 = Add Compressor to desired Synth, activate sidechain feature

// Step 3 = Select “Ghost MIDI” as the sidechains external source & adjust settings


00:31 = Overview
00:14 = Routing Basics
04:19 = External Audio In/Out
06:19 = External MIDI In/Out
09:32 = Resampling
12:21 = Internal Routings

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