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Advanced Processing: 3 Ways To Split Up Audio Signals In Ableton Live
Joshua Casper on Mon, May 14th | 0 comments
Routing audio inside Ableton Live is a great way to get creative with your productions. But rather than use a third party tool, why not build your own setup? It's easier than you may think.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you 3 ways of splitting up your audio signals in Ableton Live using nothing more than effects racks and EQ8s. How you choose to affect the split audio is up to you.


The three ways we will split the audio:

  • Left / Right
  • Mid / Side
  • Frequency Point

To keep this tutorial short and to-the-point, I’m just going to show you how to split the signal. There are a number of great tutorials out there detailing how to use these methods for mixing, mastering and artistic endeavors. My goal here is to show you that you don’t always need fancy or expensive third-party plugins to do these types of things.

The Left / Right Split

Drop an audio effect rack onto a channel. Next, drop two instances of Live’s EQ8 in the “Drop Audio Effects here” panel. Make sure not to drop them on the same chain. You should have two chains, each with one EQ8 on it, when you’re done.
Another method would be to right-click in that same area and “Create Chain” twice. Then putting an EQ8 on each chain.

Next, rename on chain “Left” and the other “Right”. Jump over to the EQ8s and switch the MODE on both to L/R. This stands for, you guessed it, Left / Right.

Now, the EQ8 has already split the audio signal into Left / Right channels. What we want to do is, while on the Left chain, go into the Right EQ and completely mute it. To do that, turn off all but one filter node. Change that node to a low pass filter type. Set the freq. value to 10 Hz and the Q value to 0.10. This will effectively mute the right audio for the chain while allowing the left audio to pass through.
If you are using Ableton Live 10, the default color for the Left EQ is Blue and the Orange for the Right.

Now, simply do that same process for the other chain’s EQ8 but do it for the left audio. To test and make sure everything is working properly, simply drop an audio clip on the track and mute the left chain. If you only have audio coming out of the right speaker, then you’ve done it correctly. Now you can add effects to each chain as you see fit. Make sure to add them after the first EQ8.

 

The Mid / Side Split

Having completed the last rack, this one will be very simple. If you haven’t done so yet, go back and make the Left / Right Split first. Then come back to this one. 

Now, to modify the Left / Right to a Mid / Side processing unit, all we need to do is a couple steps. 

First, rename chain 1 from Left to Mid and chain 2 from Right to Side.
Then hope over to the mode of each EQ8 and change it from L/R to M/S.
And, Boom Goes the Dynamite! Seriously, as long as you made the Left / Right Split correctly and then modified it with the steps above, you will have a fully functional Mid / Side Split! To test it out, if you solo the first chain “MID” you should get a completely MONO signal.

Frequency Point Split

This one will require a bit more work than the others but is more flexible and can be divide into more than two bands if one so desires. You can also use the 3 Band EQ, EQ8, Utility or the Auto Filter. I’m going to show you how to make one frequency crossover point using the EQ8. If you are looking to go deeper, you can check out my full tutorial on the subject right here on Ask Audio.

 
Luckily, we can again continue with the same rack as before, so hopefully you have been following along. This time we need to rename the chains to Low and High and switch the EQ8’s modes to Stereo.

For the Low chain add one filter node. A low-pass x 4. The right-click the frequency parameter for that filter and map to macro 1.

Then click on the High chain. Turn on 1 filter node and make it a high-pass filter x 4. And again, right-click the filter’s frequency parameter and map it to that same macro. 

Now, when you move the marco knob you will adjust the frequency split point for the two chains. You can test this by soloing the low band and moving the macro, and the same for the high band. To add more frequency split points, you essentially just repeat the process. Again, I refer to the full tutorial on the multiband setup via the link above.

Conclusion

There are many different reasons why you might want to use one of these methods instead of the other or just a traditional approach. There are also many plugins on the market that do these sorts of things for you. I hope now, after you have read through and done these for yourselves you might begin to ask yourself what else might be accomplished right inside Ableton Live without have to buy or even download anything else.


One of the best examples of what is possible in Live is this tutorial on “Building a Dynamic EQ in Live”. Sure, it uses Max, but it’s mind-blowing what can be accomplished with a bit of imagination, know-how and elbow grease.
So, go forth, my friends. Let us know what you can come up with!

Learn much more about Ableton Live in the Ask.Audio Academy: https://ask.audio/academy?nleloc=category/audio/application/ableton
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