Tune in to this tutorial on what Ableton Live's Resonators device is, how it works and... how to have some fun with it on your tracks. Rory Dow is your guide on your way to resonators mastery.  
Resonators makes a wonderful sound design tool.
Each resonator is tuned relative to the first which makes it easy to tune them all to a different key.
  • Place Resonators after a reverb or delay. Tune each resonator to be in the key of your song. With long reverb and delay times this makes excellent, thick ambiences and drones. Brilliant for ambient and atmospheric music. 
  • Feed Resonators with very short bursts of white noise. Turn up the Decay parameter (which increases the feedback on the internal delays) and you will hear a lovely organic tonal, vocoder-like quality to the output. Great for creating tuned percussion out of almost nothing.
  • Automate the coarse pitch of Resonator I in order to create complex shifting melodic output.
  • You can use Resonators to help impart a tuned element to any drum. Feed a snare drum into it and use just a single resonator to tune that snare to your song’s root key note. Use the mix control until you can barely hear the resonator working.
  • Use on Pads to create a constant root note tone within the pad sound. Try using resonators II and III tuned to the same coarse pitch but each slightly detuned for a thicker sound. Use mix control to taste.
  • Use high decay values and 100% wet on a drum loop for instant robotic/techno effect.
Placing Resonators after a long reverb tail is a great way to make thick, drone-style atmospheres.

Rory Dow is a musician, sound designer and writer. He spent 15 years as a freelance musician writing for television before side-stepping into music software production. The majority of his work is taken up as a trainer and sound designer for London-based software company FXpansion but he also likes to write music and articles and is a ... Read More


This was a very useful, concise tutorial. I've used resonator in music before - turned a conga lick into a melodic motif but I wasn't aware of the panning of the various resonators and their relationship to the root note resonator (1). Good stuff, I'll share with our Ableton user group here in Northwest Florida (Panama City). Thanks!

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