How to Record Automation in Ableton Live

You can record automation in Ableton Live by enabling automation recording in the Session or Arrangement view and then adjusting envelopes and other parameters. Be sure to arm the track you want to put automation on to apply the changes.

My name is Donovan, and I’m an avid musician and producer who has spent a lot of time working with Ableton Live. I like to put automation on many of my projects and know through first-hand experience how to make this happen. 

This post will show you how to record automation in Ableton Live. I’ll walk you through the steps of enabling automation so you can apply various envelopes to your tracks. I’ll also provide you with some other related trips. 

Let’s get started. 

How to Record Automation in Ableton Live: An Easy Guide

Automation is a great feature of Ableton Live or any other DAW, and if you can figure out how to use it to your advantage, it can help with your workflow and production skills. It’s pretty easy to utilize in Ableton, even if you’ve never explored it. 

I use automation in many of my projects because it helps streamline my workflow and helps me mix quickly. In my experience, automation can shorten the time it takes to mix an entire project by hours. I use it all the time. 

Follow these steps to record automation in Ableton Live: 

1. Open a new or existing Live Set. 

2. You need to have a track to automate, so record a new track if you are starting a new project. If you are working within an existing Live Set, select the track you want to put automation on. 

3. Select the Automation Arm button on the top of the Live Set window. 

4. Double-click on the clip you want to add automation on to go to Clip View. The waveform or MIDI track will appear on the bottom of the Live Set. 

5. Click on the Envelopes tab in the Clip View.

6. Click on the Automation envelope.

Now, you’ll see the Breakpoint envelope appear on the bottom of the Clip View. This is a dotted red line. 

7. Select the parameter you want to automate from the Control Chooser drop-down. You can choose from Track Panning, Track Volume, Reverb, Delay, or any other parameters you have that appear here.  

8. Click the Session Record button at the top of the main project window. 

9. The clip you have selected will start to record automatically if you have that feature set up, or you can hit the Record button in the clip slot of your track to begin recording. 

10. Make the automation changes to your desired track as you listen. You can use the breakpoint line to make adjustments to things as you go. 

A look at the breakpoint line with some Automation to reverb set up. Note the breakpoints. 

11. Select any other parameters you want to automate and repeat the process. All of the automation will stack up on top of each other in your mix.

Additional Tips

You can record automation in the Session or Arrangement view in pretty much the same way. I prefer to use the Session view because it gives me quick access to the Clip view, where I can use the breakpoint line easily. 

Remember that you need to arm the track for recording that you want to automate. If you don’t have that particular track armed, it won’t apply any changes you’ve made within the clip view or other automation locations. 

You can also automate plugins and other effects, which is a great way to add some definition to your mix. The process for setting this up is essentially the same, but then you’ll make changes in the plugin window for whatever particular plugin you are using. 

When I’m recording automation for plugins in Ableton, I like to take a more traditional route with the process and essentially ride the faders. After I hit record, I make changes to the plugin controls while automation is armed, and these are applied to the track. 

Automating Track Volume is a good place to start if you’ve never used this feature before and want to get some experience without doing anything too complicated. 

Final Thoughts

Automation is pretty easy to set up in Ableton Live, and you can make it happen in the Session or Arrangement windows. You can toggle between these views by pressing the Tab key to work within whatever setup you prefer. 

Learning how to record automation can speed up your workflow while also giving you better control over your mix. Take some time to get good at it so you can apply this to all of your Ableton projects.

What parts of your Ableton projects do you like to automate? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *