How to make a dj mixtape in Ableton

How to make a dj mixtape in Ableton play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark
A mixtape in Ableton Live is pretty easy to make.
Of all the software for music production (DAWs) that I know, Ableton is by far the simplest.

-I use 2 mixing tracks, so you can mix between track A and B.
-I`ll place a limiter on the master chain.
-Next i`ll add equalizers to both tracks
-I`ll drag in the song and adjust the tempo of the song to the project
-cut the song and do the actual mixing.
For a more detailed explanation, watch the video.

How to make a dj demo, mashup or mixtape in Ableton Live?
In this video I`ll dive into Ableton and tell you step by step how to make a mixtape.
After this video you can be the next mixmaster...

video transcription

We don`t need the default created midi tracks, so delete them
And give the tracks a good name that represent their respective function

This is the actual mixing part which takes up the most time
apply high and low cut filters, volume
or add echo and reverb

How to make a mixtape in Ableton?
This is a follow up video on the one that I did about making a mixtape live versus software.
In THIS video I’ll show you step by step how to make a dj mixtape in Ableton Live
Let’s take it away


If you like the content consider supporting me on patreon.
My name is Dexxter clark and I do reviews vlogs and tutorials about djing and producing.
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As I mentioned in the beginning I made a video about mixing mixtapes live and software
In that video I also talked about mixing techniques for DAWs and how to release your mixtape etc etc
If you didn’t watch that video. Do it now, because I will extend on that knowlegde here.

Ableton is hands down the easiest software I know to make a mixtape with
The tempo detection and aligning it to the grid makes making mixtapes a breeze

[vo 1]
Every DAW, also Ableton uses tracks. Each track represents a layer in the music.
I use the Arrangement view (not the session view).
I use the 2 track approach, so I can mix between those 2 tracks.
Those 2 tracks represent your CDJ players of your regular DJ mixer.
If track A is playing, you mix into track B, if B is playing you use track A to mix in.

[vo 2]
I`ll add 2 more tracks (so a total of 4) for extra convenience.
So I have 2 tracks to mix, 1 for sound effects and one for previewing.
The preview track I use to listen to the song without any applied effects that are manipulated with automation and cutting up the track if neccesary
You can right click on the existing tracks that Ableton conviently creates for you when you create a new projec and choose create audio track or
you can use the shortcut Apple T

[vo 3]
Next I`ll adjust the tempo of the project.
Make sure it is somewhere in the middle of the fastest and the slowest track.
The tracks that you want to mix, should not be to far from each other in tempo, because you have to stretch the audio too much, which results in hearable quality loss.
I use Rekordbox to see how fast the tracks are and in which key.

[vo 4]
Then I’m adding a limiter from the plugin section on the left side of the screen.
In this case I use Pro-L from Fabfilter, because I like it so much.
But the stock limiter from Ableton Live will do the trick just fine.
I add the limiter to the master channel.
[vo 5]
The master channel is the last thing that comes out of a DAW so adding a limiter will limit all the sound of youR DAW
A brick wall limiter limits the volume of the sound when it exceeds a certain limit.
This prevents clipping (and blowing your speakers).
[vo 6]
Notice that 2 tracks combined together makes the volume twice as loud.
Plugins of a selected track are showed at the bottom of the screen in Ableton live.

[vo 7]
A limiter can help you eleminate peaks in your sound, but you also have to make sure that you put the volume of each track down to prevent that the limiter has to work too hard.
Which again will decrease the audio quality.

Next I add an equalizer to both mixing tracks.
With an Equalizer I can do a high pass and a low pass filter effect.
I use the Pro-Q from Fabfilter again, again, because I like it.
The stock equaliZer: EQ three from the Audio Effects section will do the trick just fine.

[vo 9]
Now drag in the first 2 tracks that you want to mix. You can do that from finder.

[vo 10]
When importing a song Ableton will try to determine the tempo of the track.
This is a guess, but not always correct.
double click on the clip header
that displays the details of the clip
at the bottom of the screen
Make sure that the BPM of the track is set correct BPM and the option WARP is selected.
Warp means that Ableton will stretch or compress the track to fit into the tempo of the project.

[vo 11]
Align the first track with the project.
You can use the metronome to help you.
And align the second track with your first track so you can mix in.
Your song will align to the grid, but sometimes it`s necessary to give it a little nudge ,or cut it a point that is not aligned with the grid.
You can disable the "snap-to-grid" option from the options menu.

[vo 12]
Then the automation.
Press A to go into the Automation mode. You can undo the automation mode by pressing A again.
But we want to mix in the automation mode, so I won’t press it a second time
Automation mode enables you to change certain parameters like volume and frequencies for equalisers over time.
Select the plugin you want to use. In my case the equalizer.
Open the plugin and change the value you want to change, in the case a band of the equaliser.
Now you can see in the pull down menu which parameters you changed.
Select the parameter you want to automate, in this case the frequency of the first band.
I do not only want to have a low cut filter, but also a high cut, so I`ll add a second band to the equalizer.
And select the frequency.
I also want the ability to change the volume of a track. Therefore I use the utility plugin from Ableton itself.
You can add a keyframe by clicking on a point in the line, drag it around or double click to remove it.

you can see multiple automations of parameters at once by adding an automation lane.
To do that, select the parameter automation from the pull downmenu and click the `ADD` button.

Now add another song to the preview track of project.
Make sure its set to the right tempo and cut it to the point where you want it to start.
Then drag the song to mixing track A or B in the project.
If you last used track B, then drag your song to track A
Bare in mind that the automations of effects like volume and high cut or low cut filters still apply.
Reset the parameter to the right values to mix them in.

Add sound effects like risers or bass drops if you like for that last bit of perfection

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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