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Ableton Live - Overdrive Effect

Video Tutorial

Producing Distortion with the Overdrive Effect

There's not much point in discussing Ableton's Overdrive effect without first acknowledging that it is capable of producing a very rich and satisfying effect when used with the right instruments and at the right settings.

In this video we apply the effect (starting with the aptly named 'distort' preset), and produce a pretty decent, rich, rasping guitar sound whilst keeping the drive and wet/dry settings maxed out at 100 throughout.

Dynamics and Tone

We are talking here about guitars, of course, and tone produces a very noticeable effect at mid and higher frequencies, but at low, low frequencies - when we've got the ball and line control crouching down under the century mark - tone settings become irrelevant. With this groundwork in place, the dynamics can be used to provide extra punch, but by lowering them, not increasing - and at the possible expense of creating such a powerful sound that it may dominate any mix.

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Ableton's Distortion Effects

Ableton Live has a wide range of Distortion Effects for different purposes. The Overdrive is a very useful one. I'd recommend looking for the settings that you feel work and then altering the dynamics to see what overall strength you want. Don't be afraid of keeping the drive and wet and dry at high levels, we are talking about overdrive and not overcaution after all. But keep an eye on the waveform too as this can show some very useful insight about what impact your settings are having.