Building Macro Racks for DJ Sets in Ableton Live

So you're performing live using Ableton? You're not using Racks? Really? Gary Hiebner has a treat for you with this tutorial on building Macro Racks when DJing in Ableton.  

In the midst of a live performance, an Ableton project can easily become cluttered and confusing. Ableton's Racks are a great way to take control of your performances and simplify this to allow for easier navigating of your Ableton projects. By building up Racks and assigning multiple parameters to Macros gives you more freedom in your performances, and allows you to get a better overview of what you are doing in a live venue where jumping between different plug-ins and windows may not be viable. Let's take a look at how to build some of these Racks, and assigning them to Macros.


Step 1 '"  Building a DJ Rack

Let's first create a simple DJ Ableton setup. I have created two Audio Tracks and have named them Deck A and Deck B. Deck A is set to the Crossfade Assign A, and Deck B set to the Crossfade Assign B. Now I can use my crossfader to switch between the two different decks.

DJ Deck Setup


On the Master Track, add an Audio Effect Rack (which can be found under Live Devices > Audio Effects > Audio Effect Rack). Click the Show Macros button to show the Macros. I am going to assign specific effect parameters to these macros. 

Audio Rack


I have renamed my Audio Effect Rack to RACK FX. Drag the following effects into the '

Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More

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