EP #120: Ableton Packs To Consider



In this special episode Dan Giffin highlights his favorite native Ableton Live Packs, as well as Packs suggested by Ableton Certified Trainers and online forums. After exploring over 100 Packs, Dan discovered many useful effect racks, sample libraries, instruments, and more.



Listen to episode


APPLE PODCAST


SPOTIFY


YOUTUBE


ANCHOR.fm




All of the Packs below are mentioned in this episode, and are native to Ableton Live. You can download them directly in the Browser under the Packs folder. Keep in mind, some of these Packs are free and others are paid. Also consider whether you're using Live Suite (which includes Max For Live, the Standard and Lite versions do not). Many of these packs include Max for Live devices.


PRO TIP:

If you’re in Live’s Browser and are curious about a Pack, right-click and select “Learn more about this Pack on Ableton.com”.


If you download and try a Live Pack, but you don’t want it to take up hard drive space anymore, just right-click it and choose “Uninstall Live Pack”. Make sure you save any samples used from that Pack in another location so it's not deleted/ uninstalled.



The Packs mentioned below are separated into 2 categories - Instruments & Effects and Utility.





Instruments & Effects




Chop & Swing

Ableton’s homage to the style that made sampling an art form and put a new kind of groove on the musical map. Chop and Swing comes loaded with inspired recordings and presets perfect for cutting up and re-combining into fresh new tracks.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • MIDI Clips folder → Drums and Tonal

  • Drum Racks

  • Effects Racks → Modulation & Rhythmic

See more on Ableton.com





Instant Haus by Alexkid



Producer Alexkid is a master of house music. He's put that knowledge into his 'Instant Haus' Max for Live device, which instantly generates drum patterns to craft into your own house track.

  • Instantly generates drum patterns to craft into your own house track.

See more on Ableton.com






Voice box

(New in Live 11)


Voice Box invites you to get inventive with vocals. This Pack features a comprehensive collection of contemporary vocal samples from multiple voices, a set of playable vocal instruments, and Effect Racks designed for vocal processing.


Suggested In This Pack

  • Try all the Audio Effects Racks

  • Basic Vocal Effect Racks folder - great for quick vocal mixing cleanup + colorful effects; try Telephone.

  • Try the MIDI Clips

  • Samples folder includes some fun one-shot vocal samples.

See more on Ableton.com






Mood Reel


Set the scene with a collection of sounds for making music with a modern narrative feel. Evocative layered instruments combine organic and synthetic sounds with textural elements to add mood, space and movement to productions.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • MIDI Clips - Tonal folder - Scroll through Instrument Presets/ Sounds

  • Construction Kits

  • Audio Effects Racks → Transformative folder → Alien Landscape

See more on Ableton.com






Beat Tools


With more than 120 Drum and Instrument Racks, over 180 loops for slicing, tweakable effects chains and more, Beat Tools has all the sounds you need for hands-on beatmaking – especially with Push.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Effects Rack folder

  • MIDI Clips

  • Samples → Drum Loops → HH Repeats

See more on Ableton.com





Lofi Hip Hop by Comakid


This extensive collection of lo-fi sounds, samples and loops is all about texture and feel. Build beats peppered with tape hiss, clicks and pops with a laid-back, less quantized groove.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • FX Racks folder → Distortion and Space effects

  • See Sliced Loops folder

  • See MIDI Clips folder

  • Drum Racks folder

See more on Ableton.com






Filmscape by Puremagnetik


A comprehensive toolkit of otherworldly strikes, atmospheres and textures for game, film and television scoring, and experimental music production.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Scroll through the many Drum Rack presets and one-shot samples to find what you like

See more on Ableton.com







Studio Bass by E-Instruments


Studio Bass is four instruments in one and delivers the powerful, expressive sound of a classic electric bass guitar. With four different characters to choose from it covers all the typical articulations, string types and amplifier/ effects combinations.


See more on Ableton.com







Max for live essentials


Max for Live Essentials is a collection of audio and MIDI effects, synthesizers and control devices made with Max for Live – for use with Live 9.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Buffer Shuffler

  • Control Devices Folder: mapping Randomizer effect to a device

  • Convolution Reverb → add your own impulse responses to emulate a room

  • Pitch Drop

  • Control Devices MIDI

  • Arp

  • Instant Haus (creative drum patterns)

See more on Ableton.com








Grain Scanner by Amazing Noises


Grain Scanner lets you design experimental noises, glitchy effects, alien textures and massive clouds of ambience. Its advanced sound engine turns any sample into a blank slate for otherworldly synth parts.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Try the Instrument presets

  • Grain Scanner - play with Position knob, and other parameters. Drag/ drop new audio or see the many audio samples included in instrument preset window.

See more on Ableton.com







Drone Lab


Drone Lab is a place of sustain. Get lost in deep listening with complex, evolving threads of tone and texture, generative noise, multisampled instruments, plus devices and Racks designed for experimentation and improvisation.

  • Installs 8.5 GB of library content

See more on Ableton.com







Tricky Traps


16 creative contraptions spanning sequencers, instruments and MIDI effects that are tons of fun to play. They’re made to be chained together to trigger unexpected reactions and happy accidents – and they bring a new level of customized control to Push.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Map audio effects to your Push 2, or other MIDI controllers

  • See Audio Effects folder → Beatdown FX, Noisey, and HarmoPad

See more on Ableton.com







Creative Extensions

(Now part of Live's Core Library)


Creative Extensions is a free addition to Live 10 Suite created with an experimental approach to sound processing and generative composition.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Bass Instrument (4 separate oscillators + suboscillator)

  • Melodic Steps (MIDI Sequencer) - Pro Tip: right-click the level meters to activate them

  • Pitch Hack - Single delay that can pitch incoming audio signal

  • Color Limiter

  • Spectral Blur - Instant shimmery pad sounds

See more on Ableton.com






Spitfire Brass Quartet, String Quartet, and Upright Piano



Feature a rich blend of brass, strings, and horns sampled by Spitfire Audio.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Instruments - All In One - Combined samples of string, piano, and horn hits with macro effect knobs.

  • Samples - Try using one-shots or manipulate the samples in Simpler or Sampler.

See more on Ableton.com







Konkrete Breaks by Soniccouture


Konkrete Breaks is a collection of complex and exciting MIDI drum loops paired with a selection of sounds from Soniccouture’s acclaimed Konkrete Drums series.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Clips folder - MIDI Effects - Glitch Machine 2

See more on Ableton.com







Inspired by Nature by Dillon Bastan


Inspired by Nature is a playful collection of visual Max for Live devices created in collaboration with Dillon Bastan. Produce generative soundscapes, unpredictable melodies and evolving modulations with devices inspired by physical forces and the natural world.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Vector FM - Great for quick pitching up/ down effects

  • Tree Tone - great for bells, pads, experimental sounds

  • Bouncy Notes Presets for randomized note playing

See more at Ableton.com








Probability Pack by Sonic Faction


A collection of creative sequencers that introduce probability and chance to your music.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Melodic Probability MIDI Effect - A monophonic step sequencer made for melodies, or drums

  • Step Divider MIDI Effect - A polyphonic sequencer where each step can be divided into any number of smaller subdivisions for glitchy and chaotic results.

See more at Ableton.com








Chiral by Fors


Chiral is an MPE-enabled holographic synthesizer built to encourage experimentation through phaseshaping, amplitude modulation, and a vast modulation matrix. Craft anything from cinematic pads to inharmonic glitchscapes using this intuitive Max for Live device with far-ranging sound design capabilities.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Polyphonic synthesizer - Make anything from cinematic pads to inharmonic glitchscapes, with far-ranging sound design capabilities

See more at Ableton.com







Transient machines by surreal machines


Transient Machines is a Max for Live Pack that allows for deep sound-shaping possibilities. Modelled after the transient designers found in professional recording studios, Transient Machines is a versatile tool for reshaping the dynamics of drums, loops, and much more.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Crack Audio Effect - Transient shaper is ideal for more utility purposes, such as adjusting the properties of a single drum sound, or quickly adjusting a loop.

  • Impact Audio Effect - More detailed transient effect with multi-band option.

See more at Ableton.com







Drum Essentials



Drum Essentials is a collection of handpicked sounds selected to cover a wide range of styles. A flexible, highly-refined Pack to form the rhythmic foundation of any production.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Choose from a large library of MIDI clips and drum loops.

  • Quickly swap out Drum Rack samples with your own.

See more on Ableton.com








PitchLoop89 by Robert Henke



PitchLoop89 is a new pitch-shifting device inspired by the Publison DHM 89, created in collaboration with Robert Henke. Experiment with jittery glitch effects, delayed digital shimmers and outlandish vibrato in the studio or onstage.


Watch this detailed video as Robert explains how to use the device.


See more at Ableton.com








Utility Packs




CV Tools (with hardware)


CV Tools consists of ten creative Max for Live devices that let you control and interact with your modular gear.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • CV Instrument - Control your modular with MIDI.

  • CV Triggers - Sequence your modular drum modules from inside Live.

  • CV Utility - Control your modular with automation curves from Live.

  • CV Clock In - Control Live's tempo from your Eurorack system

  • And lots more

See more at Ableton.com







Connection Kit


Easy way to use Live with technologies like Arduino, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and sending OSC messages.


Suggested In This Pack:

  • Camera – fetches webcam data in order to control mappable parameters.

  • OSC Send - I’ve used this to send MIDI clip automation and triggers for video in Resolume (for anyone that wants to VJ.)

  • JSON Weather – fetch JSON data from the internet

See more at Ableton.com