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electronic MUSICIAN

Learn Power App | Ableton Live 8

By Craig Anderton | February 1, 2012

Take existing drum tracks or loops and apply downward expansion to impart a more percussive character.

Live''s Multiband Dynamics is a very powerful processor that, while typically used for compression, also provides useful expansion effects. Applying downward expansion to a drum part can tighten up the sound, reduce ambience, and add a more percussive quality.


Drag the Multiband Dynamics'' Reduce Ambience preset (it''s the closest preset to what we want) into the drum track''s Track View Selector.


Turn off the High band (the Low band should already be off) to convert the Multiband Dynamics into a single-band expander.


Click on the Below block''s right edge, and drag the bracket cursor left or right so the block edge is just above the drum part''s peaks.


Click within the Below block; the cursor turns into a double arrow. Drag down to increase the expansion amount.


Cymbal decays will sound choppy, so click on the T (time) button, click on the lower orange number field (release time), and increase the value until the decay sounds smooth.


  • Step 4: Drag up all the way for the extreme, compressed drum sound used by ''60s groups like The Beatles and Traffic.
  • Step 5: After dialing in the basic sound, revisit the Below block setting (step 3) and fine-tune the desired amount of expansion.


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