Volume Automation in Ableton Live 9

Automation is a very powerful tool in Ableton Live.  Volume automation, in particular, can be a quick and easy way to add dynamics and interest to a song.  It is also a good way to help smooth out dynamic performances (i.e. vocals) without having to rely on a heavy use of compression.

There are a few different ways to perform volume automation in Ableton Live 9.  The first way one might think to do it is by automating the track’s volume fader.  However, there is one problem that you will face when automating a track’s volume fader.  And that problem is that you can no longer change the level of the fader without disabling the automation.

There are two ways to fix this problem.  The first way is to manually adjust all of the automation.  This can be a very time-consuming task, depending on the amount of automation.  The second way to fix the problem is to add a gain based plugin (like Utility) to the track.  This can be any plugin that has a volume or gain knob.  Just make sure that the plugin only affects the volume and does not affect the sound itself (i.e. a limiter or compressor could affect the sound).

Now that is one way that you could do volume automation, but there are a couple of better ways of doing it.  I find that using either an audio effects rack or utility plugin to be the best way of performing volume automation.  This frees up the volume fader, allowing you to change the volume of the overall track without affecting the automation.

Below is a video that shows how to set up your volume automation in Ableton.  This will show you how to setup and use the audio effects rack and utility plugin.  You will also see how to you can draw in, manually adjust, or record in your volume automation.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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