Making Groups in Ableton Live is really easy.

Ableton Live - Group Channel

One of the best things about Ableton Live is its flexible routing structure. People coming from other DAWs or beginners overlook how easy it is to make Groups in Live. I like to have each of my drum sounds (snare, hi hat, toms) on separate channels each with their own relative volume, panning and effects. I then put them into a Group channel to control the overall volume of the drums with just one fader. The Live User Manual calls Groups “submixes”:

Suppose we have the individual drums of a drum kit coming in on separate tracks for multitrack recording. In the mix, we can easily change the volumes of the individual drums, but adjusting the volume of the entire drum kit against the rest of the music is less convenient. Therefore, we add a new audio track to submix the individual drums. The drum tracks are all set to output to the submix track, which outputs to the Master. The submix track gives us a handy volume control for the entire drum kit. – Ableton Live 7.0 User Manual

Take a look at the screenshot above (click it to see it in a larger size). Create your drum channels or any audio or midi channels you want to have Grouped together. Next create an audio channel (Command-T). Name your new audio channel “Group” (Command-R to rename). On each of the channels you want to be part of the Group find the Output Chooser drop down menu and select “Group”. The Output Chooser menu is directly below the label that reads “Audio To”. The last thing you need to do is set the Monitor to “In” on the Group channel. This way you can hear your new drum Group!

Do you use Groups?

12 Comments

  1. Its a must with Waldorf Attack VST. Cubase kinda are a step ahead of Ableton in this department with Folder tracks.

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  2. Cassette 808 samples?

    Very cool. :)

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  3. This way is very useful.. I usually group my drum sounds as you did.. It would be helpful if Ableton gave us the feature to adjust several volume faders all together at once, instead of adjusting each fader one by one.. We will see in the future.. :)

    Great site btw.. I’m a watcher for some time.. :)

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  4. Yeah man, just found your website and I love it.
    I havent started using groups cause I havent really started doing any real mixing yet. But I can see where it would be beneficial to the drum kit if I could add effects to each individual segment of the drum track. Cool stuff man.

    I read once that Fatboy Slim added a compressor to every part of the drumkit and then to the the whole “group” after that.

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  5. hardplainsdrifter March 26, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Yeah this looks useful. I will have to give this try. I know I suck, but I barely use the session view at all. Guess I probably should.

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  6. Hi Gary… yeah I’ve downloaded all the free drum machine packs from Goldbaby. Is that you by the way? Good stuff!

    I agree Jimmy… Ableton need to add a select more than one fader at a time feature. That’s high on my want list.

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  7. The thing that super sux with Live using this technique is solo’ing a channel that’s in a group. You can’t just solo the snare, for example. You must solo the drum group and the snare. Frustrating.

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  8. hey, i gotta question… HELP
    i see that grouping channel is not much different procedure than when you use sidechain comp and the same problem occurs in both actions…

    The thing is that when I try to rout audio from one channel to group channel (in grouping) or kick channel to bass (in sidechain) in the list of all channels, there aren’t ALL CHANNELS!!! in fact, there aren’t most of channels so i guess i must’ve overlooked something coz it’s not abletons fault coz i came across the same problem in several versions of LIVE… if you have any idea of the solution I’d appreciate it… and oh yeah, killer site, nice work:)

    peace

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  9. i use this quite exessive. the only downside is, that it’s not possible to regroup all the group-track into one single channel – like with the drumracks.

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  10. Im with NG on that…
    Cubase lets ya do it with any track…just assign the Folder track, its kinda like a storage track almost. I dropped Cubase a while back for Live.

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  11. No, I’m not Goldbaby, just a fan of his samples.

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  12. That excerpt from the Live 7 manual isn’t about groups, groups didn’t exist until Live 8! The reason they’re called “submixes” is because you used to have to do a little hack where you’d route all of your channels to one submix channel. Groups obviated the need to do that.

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