Multiband Processing in Ableton Live

This mixing hack is great for parallel processing of audio signals, more specifically I will show you frequency dependent processing! Today we want to process two or more frequency bands of an audio signal differently and introduce you to the concept of multiband processing in Ableton Live. We could for example have reverb only on the high frequency, and distort only the low end a bit for more crunch.

There’s a lot of great plugins out – like the FabFilter series for example – there which do this out of the box, but here I want to show you how you can easily recreate this with just Ableton’s native devices.

Setting up the Audio Effect Rack

Add an audio effect rack on the drum track. Drag the Multiband Dynamics effect into the Audio Effect Rack where it says “Drag Audio Effect” here. It will create a “chain”

Without going into too much detail, the Multiband Dynamics compressor / expander – control the frequency of high, mid and low frequencies, which you can dial in to your liking) seperately. By default we can use it to process the dynamics of each of the three bands, but we can also use this to solo each band for further processing. 

That’s why we duplicate the chain twice. Right now we have three copies of the same signal which will be quite loud. Go to each of the three chains and solo one of the bands so we can process them seperately. To keep things organized, Name the chain accordingly: Highs, Mids, and Lows.

Now if we play back the audio we hear essentially the same signal, but it has been split into three seperate frequency bands. If we are using the the effect not for the compression, but just to split the signal, I tend to collapse them to get them our of the way and make things look less complicated.

Getting Creative with Multiband Processing

Now take a saturator from Abletons Audio Effects and place it in the low chain AFTER the mulitband dynamics effect, so only the high frequencies are affected. Feel free to explore how you can color your audio by adding different audio effects or presets on the separate chains.

We used Ableton’s native devices in this example so you can easily follow along, but obviously you can also load any of your favourite VST effects into each chain. The possibilities are endless!

Wrapping up

As you can see this is a quick and easy technique to split frequencies, which let’s you take any effect make it a multiband processing effect. Last thing you should do, is save the basic setup without any processing to your Ableton Library, so you can quickly load the frequency splitter. Or… you can download our Multiband Processing Rack below:

Download our Multiband Splitter Ableton Rack

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