How to use instrument racks in Ableton

Instrument racks are one of the most powerful tools in Ableton Live. They allow you to layer multiple instruments and effects chains in a single self contained device.

Load up an instrument rack

To create a new instrument rack, drag and drop the instrument rack device from the Live Devices menu:

Ableton insntrument rack device

You’ll now see the instrument rack interface in the detail view:

Click to display the Chain List View. The chain list allows you chain effects to each instrument in the rack. You want to be dropping your instruments into the Chain List Box on the left. The normal right hand area, outside of the Instrument rack functions as a place to put any effects you want to apply over every instrument in the rack.

Instrument rack effects chains

Once you have an instrument in the rack, drag an effect plug-in between the instrument and the end of the instrument rack:

Now this effect will only apply to that single instrument within the rack, and can continue to chain together more effects.

Layering multiple instruments

You can do this again with more instruments as many times as your computer can handle. Building up instruments and effects to create complex and unique sounds. This is the heart of the instrument rack, and what makes it such a useful tool.

The power of this device is probably obvious now. So we’ll let you go try it our for your selves. Watch out for our more advanced tutorials on the instrument rack in the near future.


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