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Top 10 Hidden Features of Ableton Live 11 (2024)

In this article you’ll find some secret features of Ableton Live. They make the production process easier, more enjoyable, and allow you for much more customization of the program. Some of these hidden gems also improve the sound of effects or give you additional creative processing capabilities. Let’s get started!

1. Hiding the Global Overview

Are you one of the Ableton Live users who are not really fans of the Global Overview window? Even though it might be useful when navigating huge fragmented projects, in some cases it takes up a bit too much of your precious screen real estate.

In fact, it’s very easy to turn this feature off completely. All you need to do is go to the toolbar and under “View” deselect “Overview”. You can also do this with a keyboard shortcut - on Mac systems it’s alt+cmd+O and on Windows it’s alt+ctrl+O.

2. Using the “Options.txt” hidden functions

The “Option.txt” file comes from early versions of Ableton. It allowed for customization of the program beyond what’s possible in Live’s Preferences. Some of its functionalities are still working today with Live 11.

First, you need to create this text file with a plain text editor (TextEdit on Mac or Notepad on Windows).

Then you need to place it in the appropriate folder. The correct location differs depending on whether you’re using a Mac or Windows machine. 

If you’re using a Mac computer:
- In Finder, select the Go Menu, then hold down the Option key on your keyboard.

- Open the Library folder that appears. 

- Scroll down to open the enclosed folders Preferences > Ableton.

- This opens the path, usually hidden, Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Ableton.

- Open the folder for your current version of Live, for example Live 11.2.6. Place the options.txt file into this folder. 

If you’re using a Windows machine:

- In Windows Explorer's address bar, type %AppData%

- Select Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming

- Open the folder Ableton.

- Find and open the folder for your current version of Live, for example Live 11.2.6, then open the folder Preferences. Place the options.txt file inside this folder.

Once you have the text file in the right location, you can add specific command lines to it in order to access extra features of Live.

One of the most popular lines is “Enable Arm on Selection” - which basically arms the track which is currently selected. This is easier when you’re doing a lot of recording in your project file. 

In order to access “Enable Arm on Selection”, add the following line to Options.txt:


You will find the complete list of commands for Option.txt on this Github page.


3. Change the metronome sound

Are you annoyed by the sharp Ableton metronome sound? In Live 11 changing it is incredibly easy - all you need to do is click on the metronome dropdown menu and select one of the 3 built-in options: Classic, Click or Wood.

If you’d like to substitute the sound for a custom sample, it’s possible too - but the process is different depending on your operating system.

On Mac:

- Show Package Contents with a right /-ctrl click on the Live application in Finder.

Open Contents/App-Resources/Misc/Metronome/Samples/ - find the files “Metronome.wav” and “MetronomeUp.wav”.

- Rename your “MetronomeUp.wav” and “Metronome.wav” to “MetronomeUpBackup.wav”/“MetronomeBackup.wav” (keep these files if you want to change them back later).

- Name your own Metronome sounds to “Metronome.wav” and “MetronomeUp.wav” and paste them into the above mentioned folder.

- If you want the original Metronome sounds back, delete your custom sounds and rename the backup files (by removing “Backup” from the names).

On Windows:

- Find the original Metronome sounds here: 

C:\ProgramData\Ableton\Live x\Resources\Misc\Metronome\Samples\

This is a hidden folder. Here's how to access hidden folders on Windows.

- Rename your “MetronomeUp.wav” and “Metronome.wav” to “MetronomeUpBackup.wav” / “MetronomeBackup.wav” (keep these files if you want to change them back later).

- Name your own Metronome sounds to “Metronome.wav” and “MetronomeUp.wav” and paste them into the above mentioned folder.

- If you want the original Metronome sounds back, delete your custom sounds and rename the backup files (by removing “Backup” from the names).


4. Turn off analysis files (.adg)

Are you annoyed by the fact that anytime you import a sample into Live, the program automatically creates an .adg file right next to it? This can clutter up your organization of files - and avoiding this is incredibly easy.

To turn off analysis files, head over to Live’s Preferences. In the File/Folder tab, simply turn off the “Create Analysis Files” feature - it’s right on top of the menu.

5. Equal Loudness feature in “Echo“ and “Delay“ Audio Effects

Unlike most audio effects, “Echo” and “Delay” have a special feature which changes the way the Dry/Wet knobs behave. With Equal Loudness on, the 50/50 mix is in fact louder than when using the default mode. This might make the behaviour of the knob more suitable for performance - you don’t have to compensate for the lost gain as much when you dial in the delay.

To turn on Equal Loudness in “Echo” or “Delay” right click on the Dry/Wet knob and select the feature from the dropdown menu.


6. Oversampling feature in “Glue Compressor“ and “EQ Eight”

“Glue Compressor” and “EQ Eight” both have a feature which makes the effect process audio at twice the current sample rate, which in some cases might reduce aliasing and transient harshness.

In order to turn these options on, right click on the device name and select “Oversampling”.

Bear in mind that the Glue Compressor “Soft clipping” option behaves slightly differently - whereas with Oversampling on it limits the audio at -0.5 dB, here the gain might actually go a few dB above zero. If you’re using the glue compressor in Oversampling mode at the end of the mastering chain, make sure to manage the additional gain accordingly.


7. Audio to MIDI features

Ableton features plenty of options of converting audio to MIDI which are not so often used. You can access them by right clicking an audio clip and selecting the features from the dropdown menu:

Convert Harmony/Melody/Drums to new MIDI Track 

When you choose this feature Ableton will try to decipher the chords, melody or drums (depending on which option you choose) in your audio clip. It will place the generated notes on a separate MIDI track. It’s best if the clips don’t contain any other elements like drums or melodies, as you will quickly find out that Ableton quickly gives inaccurate results when there’s too much happening.

Slice to new MIDI Track 

After selecting this option Ableton will ask you about the preferred way of chopping up the audio clip. Then it will cut it into pieces and place them inside separate slots of a Drum Rack. Note that for this option to appear Warp must be enabled inside the audio clip.

Extract Groove(s)

This option will scan the clip’s contents and create a new groove based on it inside the Groove Pool. You can later apply the groove to different MIDI and audio clips. This option is incredibly useful for synchronising custom drum grooves with pre-existing samples.


8. Sample editor

In the File/Folder tab of Live’s Preferences, you can choose a custom sample editor (like Melodyne, Auto-Tune or Izotope RX). Then all you need is to click on the “Edit” button when previewing a clip inside the Clip View.

Ableton will allow you to open the sample inside the third party editor and seamlessly save it right into the DAW without the need to drag over new samples. This feature is going to save you a lot of time if you often process samples with software which doesn’t work as a plugin.


9. Insert and Cut Time

These often overlooked shortcuts prove to be incredibly useful when arranging. Once you have plenty of tracks with automations, adding an additional section in the middle of your track becomes harder, as you would need to drag half of your project to the side to make additional space.

Luckily, “Insert and Cut Time” do exactly that, so you don’t need to worry about precisely dragging over clips or re-adjusting automations.

Insert Time:

Cmd + I (Mac), Ctrl + I (Win)

Cut Time:

Cmd + Shift + X (Mac), Ctrl + Shift + X (Win)

Duplicate Time:

Cmd + Shift + D (Mac), Ctrl + Shift + D (Win)


10. Vibrato and Tremolo Effects

Vibrato and Tremolo are very often used effects in music production, but Ableton does not feature these effects as standalone devices. We can however access them from Chorus-Ensemble and Auto Pan.

Chorus-Ensemble’s third mode is Vibrato, which allows you to add the desired pitch fluctuation to your tracks.

Inside Auto Pan, if you turn the Phase knob all the way down, you essentially get a tremolo effect - all that’s needed is adjusting the Rate and Amount.

Thanks for checking out these 10 tips and see you in the next articles!



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