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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Ableton Live 10 > CLIP ENVELOPESIN ABLETON LIVE


Envelopes add a new dimension to Live’s audio and MIDI clips, from straightforward fades to complex automated sound-design evolutions. Martin Delaney enters Draw Mode…

Clip envelopes are Live’s take on automation, particularly in Session View, while in Arrangement they merge into track automation as well, but fundamentally, there’s not much difference. Clip envelopes can be little useful messages that tell a track to fade or pan, for example, but they can be powerful creative tools in themselves… if you want busy, evolving sounds, they are your friends! There are so many things we can do with clip envelopes, but it’s the more sound-designery ones I’m drawn to. It’s a good exercise to take just one clip and use envelopes to push it and exploit it as far as possible. When combining envelopes in a project, it’s important to practice with different-length clips playing together, and to use different-length envelopes within those clips – they don’t have to be in units of bar-length, either.


You can create envelopes by drawing in breakpoints along the horizontal lines, and when you need something more precise – like for clear on/off functions, or for rhythmic effects, tap ‘B’ on the computer keyboard to go into Draw Mode. Now you can draw in ‘blocky’ values that conform to the current grid, which of course you can change at any time. There’s no reason you can’t mix-and-match approaches in the same envelope – once you exit Draw Mode, you’ll see breakpoints at the corners of your horizontal and vertical steps, so if necessary you can edit those and revert back to a semi-rigid arrangement. It’s a single click to add or remove breakpoints, and you can move the lines between them by selecting and dragging.

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About MusicTech

70 Pro Tips - A huge array of tips and tricks for all stages of music production. Interview: Emre Ramazanoglu - The musician, engineer and songwriter who has worked with the stars. Workshops: Live 10: Beginner's Guide to Live - Create a song from scratch Live 10: Workflow Additions - Martin Delaney explores the improved Arrangement View in Live 10 and other workflow updates MIDI Routing And Recording - A look at some fundamental and sophisticated routing techniques