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Ultimate Ableton Live 9: Part 6 – DJ Techniques &Controllers

Learning Ableton Live the right way: From the basics to the advanced, from Ableton Certified Trainer J. Anthony Allen.
Jason Allen
1,260 students enrolled
Produce music using Ableton Live
Master using audio effect Racks for powerful multi-effects
DJ and Perform music using Ableton Live

For years I’ve been teaching Ableton Live in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Ableton Live can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn’t be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I’ve used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.

This is Part 6: DJ Techniques & Controllers

In this class we are going to focus on using Ableton Live for DJing and Performing. I’m assuming that you already know your way around Ableton Live pretty well, and now you want to take your techniques to the stage. In this class I’ll walk you through all the basics of using controllers, Audio Effect Racks, and some other tricks.

Also in the class I have a really special surprise. I’ve invited my friend James Patrick to show some of his techniques as well. James is a DJ that has toured the world, and is known internationally for his engaging performances. He is going to be IN this class, and has contributed several exclusive videos for this class.

Topics include:

  • Audio Effect Racks
  • Using Effect Rack Presets
  • Building our own Effect Racks
  • Parallel Processing
  • Fade To Grey
  • Performance Racks
  • Controllers and Controllerism
  • MIDI Mapping
  • The Ableton Push Interface
  • The APC40 Interface
  • Follow Actions
  • Legato Mode
  • Launch Modes
  • Launching Clips in Performance
  • Effects Setup for Performance
  • The Crossfader
  • Mapping Controllers for Performance
  • … And much more!!!

I will be making 6 (six!) complete classes in order to bring you the most comprehensive manual on Ableton Live production techniques ever created. Each class has Sets, sessions, and experiments for you to try on your own and follow along with.

And of course, once you sign up any part, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts of this class. You will not have another opportunity to learn Ableton Live in a more comprehensive way that this.

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:

  • “I’ve had Live Lite for a while but never quite understood how to use it because of the different options in how to arrange audio. This course explains exactly how to do that and get the most out of Live.”
  • “Great overview – I would start here for sure if you are just getting your feet wet with live. clear and to the point. session walkthroughs are great. looking forward to more”
  • “I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going thru this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me.”
  • Course Overview


    A quick introduction - showing some music we are going to cover in the class, as well as the techniques in action!

    Audio Effect Racks

    What are Audio Effect Racks?

    In my other Ultimate Ableton Live classes, we've seen 3 other kinds of racks: MIDI Effect Racks, Instrument Racks, and Drum Racks. Audio Effect Racks are one more iteration of this theme - and to me, the most powerful.

    Setting up an Effect Rack

    Now we know the basics, lets build one of our own.

    Parallel Processing

    The secret sauce to these effect racks is something called Parallel Processing.

    The Fade To Grey Example

    This is a build-in preset that you should have already in your library, and is a popular tool for DJs to use for transitions.

    Performance Effect Racks

    There is a whole folder of audio effect racks in already in your Ableton Library. In this section I'll take a look at a few of them.


    Welcome to the world of controllers!

    Say good bye to your allowance money, and hello to the world of controllers.

    Connecting Controllers

    Whenever we connect a new controller, we need to take a quick trip to our preferences to make sure it is all setup correctly.

    MIDI Mapping

    We've seen some MIDI Mapping before, but now we are going to incorporate it into our controllers. Mega Power!

    The Ableton Push Interface

    The Ableton Push is one of the newest and most powerful controllers. In this video I'll show you a great demo of how it works and a little jamming on it.

    Follow Actions

    What Are Follow Actions?

    Here I'll show you what Follow Actions are, and how you can use them.

    Setting Up Follow Actions

    Now we will build some of our own - by creating a system that uses follow actions for a dynamic performance (and production) trick.

    DJ Performance with Controllers

    A Little Help From A Friend

    For this section I've got a real treat: We are going to get some tips from world-renowed DJ James Patrick.

    Legato Mode & Launch Modes

    We are going to see James Patrick use these 2 tricks in the next video, so first let me walk you through them here.

    Clip Launching & Setup for Performance

    James Patrick walks through how he sets up his clips for performances, and his launch settings.

    Effects Setup Overview

    A few thoughts on setting up effects.

    Setting Up Effects for Performance

    James Patrick walks us through how he organizes his effect racks for performance.

    Crossfader Setup

    There is a little (but powerful) hidden feature in Ableton Live that functions like an old crossfader. James Patrick uses it for his effect racks, so let me walk you through setting it up here, before James Patrick shows us how he uses it.

    Mapping and Controllers for Performance

    James Patrick walks us through how he uses the APC40 for his performances, and how he maps it to Ableton Live.

    More To Check Out

    Extra Interesting Videos and Links

    A few more perspectives and a few extra links

    My Performance Setup

    For years and years I used a unique performance setup centered around some wearable controllers that I had built. Its super weird, but because I'm getting a lot of questions about it, I thought I would show it to you here.

    Wrap Up

    Parting Thoughts, For Your Consideration

    A few last thoughts before I leave you!

    Bonus Content: Ableton 7 Preview

    In the next (and final!) class of the Ultimate Ableton Live sequence, we are going to be working with Max for Live. In case you are curious about how this works (or what it is), here is a preview from Ableton 7: Max for Live

    Bonus Lecture: Discount Offers & Mailing List

    There is so much more to learn!

    Live 10 Preview

    Live 10: Session View
    You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
    Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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