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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Ableton Live 2017 > Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, in Ableton Live - what ADSR can do for you!

Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, in Ableton Live - what ADSR can do for you!

Whether you’re familiar with the trusty synthesis principles of ADSR or not, you can get to work immediately using them in Ableton Live, Martin Delaney fills the envelope full of music…

A DSR is a commonly used term in synthesis, and sound design – it stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release. These are held to be the important characteristics to bear in mind when you’re creating a sound, whether it’s intended to be a realistic sound or some crazy new thing that could never exist in the so-called real world.

As far as we’re concerned today, ADSR relates to what’s known as the volume envelope. You’ll see ADSR, or some elements of it, displayed throughout Live’s instruments and effects, sometimes with a graphic representation of the envelope, sometimes not. It’s a way to visualise what’s happening with a sound, whether it’s a kick, a bass or a trumpet – it works across the field.

Every sound is like a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Attack is the beginning, Decay and Sustain are the middle, and Release is the end. Yes – I think that makes sense! I’m using Simpler and Operator for this tutorial, but the concept of envelopes is pretty universal, so you’ll be able to recycle this information later, whatever instruments or software you’re working with. For example, even within Live itself, you’ll find full ADSR controls within the Analog synthesiser, or the Max For Live Bass instrument and attack and release controls inside audio effect devices such as Auto Filter and Gate.

I’ve created an example Live set to go with the tutorial, so make sure you’re using that. If you don’t have Operator installed, you can at least listen to the audio examples I’ve provided from each Operator-related tutorial step, so you can hear what I’m describing.

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About MusicTech

Ableton Live can truly become the hub of your music making set-up whatever you use, be it hardware, iOS or software. We have tutorials to help you make the most of it in any situation plus features on freeware, mastering and mobile music making. WORKSHOPS: Making the most of the Sine wave - Create with this versatile wave Integrate Live with your iOS devices - for control and music Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release - what ADSR can do for you INTERVIEWS: Highasakite Stoni Apothek