How to use the eq in ableton

Written by seamus islwyn
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How to use the eq in ableton
Ableton's EQ Three simulates the equaliser on a DJ mixer. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Equalisation shapes the character of a sound by removing certain frequencies and increasing others. Ableton Live includes two built-in EQs that you can use to alter audio samples and software instruments. Use the EQ Three plug-in to make quick, broad adjustments to a sound, and use Ableton's EQ Eight to make precise, fine adjustments. EQ Three is best suited for live performances and DJ mixes, while EQ Eight is designed more for audio production and sound design.

Skill level:


    EQ Three

  1. 1

    Launch Ableton, and open the project in which you want to work. Drag and drop the EQ Three plug-in from the "Live Devices" section onto the channel you want to equalise in the mixer window. Click the "Play" button to start listening to the audio.

  2. 2

    Click and drag the "GainLow" knob to the right to increase the volume of the lower frequencies. Move it to the left to decrease them. Repeat the process for the "GainMid" and "GainHi" knobs to alter the mid-range and high-end frequencies, respectively.

  3. 3

    Adjust the "FreqLow" and "FreqHi" knobs to change which frequencies the EQ considers "low" and "high." Remove a frequency range completely by clicking the "L," "M" or "H" button underneath the frequency range's knob. Click the "24" button to make the equalisation more gradual and subtle. This setting also conserves CPU power.

    EQ Eight

  1. 1

    Start Ableton and open a project. Drop the EQ Eight plug-in onto a channel in the mixer window. Click "Play" to listen to the audio.

  2. 2

    Click the "1" tab in EQ Eight to enable the first equalisation point. Click one of the buttons at the bottom of the EQ to select an equalisation effect. Select "Low Cut" or "Low Shelf" to remove or boost frequencies lower than the equalisation point. Click "Bell" or "Notch" to affect frequencies to either side of the point. Use "High Cut" or "High Shelf" to change the frequencies higher than the equalisation point.

  3. 3

    Click and drag the "Freq" knob to set the frequency at which the EQ point applies. Adjust the "Gain" knob to change the amount by which the EQ point affects the audio. A gain value greater than zero boosts the volume of the specified frequency range, while a negative value removes frequencies.

  4. 4

    Adjust the "Q" knob to set the resonance of the EQ point. The higher the resonance, the more drastic the equalisation. Use a low Q value for subtle equalisation and a high value to make dramatic changes to a sound.

  5. 5

    Click the "2" tab to enable the second equalisation point, and then adjust its settings as before. Repeat the process for up to eight EQ points. To enable EQ points five through eight, click the grey boxes next to their tabs to activate them.

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