Mixing volumes for your tracks (and performing live)

Hi all,

I’ve been creating my tracks in Ableton and I used to have every track in a song at a different volume in order to create my “perfect” mix.

Just bought an Akai APC40 to perform live and it has a slider to handle volumes for every track…that made me realise that, since my tracks’ volumes are all different I would never be able to recreate the right mix when playing live.

Now I think that I should use the same volume for all the tracks and try some audio effects on the tracks to create my mixes…

Am I making sense? Any suggestion on how to handle this volume issue?

Thanks

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Would rendering all the tracks as stems so that 0 was then the desired volume for each track help?

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The way I do it is either use a utility device (or a couple pre/post other effects in the chain for gain staging) or control the gain of the audio clip to get volume so that the default position of the fader is “right”

I keep the mixer section volume for automation envelopes and stuff. Making it always work this way is just easier to reason about.

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I rendered my tracks as stems, and actually all the faders where in the 0 position, then I started playing with them and I could not find the right volume anymore…

Bizarre. When I had my APC40 I rendered everything into 4 bar chunks with the desired volume and then launched them in Live, using the APC faders to fade them in and out as required/when segueing into different pieces.

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my ableton strategy:

set all levels at unity

adjust midi cc mapping settings so that when my physical fader is at max / 127, the ableton faders are at unity.

apply the utility/gain device to each track and use those to dial in the full mix.

there are probably other ways to get the same results, but i’ve found this works very well for me.

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If you’re bouncing stems beforehand to load into a main Live set, it might help to use a loudness metering plugin when you’re doing each bounce.

When I last did this I used the Youlean Loudness Meter (the free version is great and…free!).

I think I was aiming for ~12 LUFS integrated for each stem. Then in your live set you can leave all faders at unity, use a Utility device for minor adjustments on each track if needed, and then you should be good!