Check Out This Cool MIDI Routing Tip for Ableton’s Arpeggiator

In this excerpt from the exclusive Ableton Cookbook email list Video Q&A, I covered a cool MIDI Routing tip for any Ableton MIDI effect that will let you take even more advantage of these effects; in this case, I used the arpeggiator effect.

The traditional signal chain in Ableton goes from the MIDI clip to a MIDI effect and then into an Instrument or Instrument Rack, where the MIDI information is interpreted and output as audio. This means that, if you press record on a MIDI Clip that has an effect on it, you’ll get a recording not of the affected MIDI signal, but of the unaffected MIDI signal. If you want to capture these affected MIDI events, you are going to have to do some MIDI routing. In this video, I show you how this is done!

Extra special thanks to Opuswerk for making these Synth Racks that I’m using in this example. Love ’em! You can grab the ableton files HERE.

Text explanation after the jump.

MIDI Routing in Ableton

The first step is to take what was once one track and essentially divide it into to two: Create another MIDI Track (Cmd+Shift+T) and name it “MIDI CLIP” and then (and this is very important) drag whatever MIDI effect you’re using into the new track.

Now, move the unaffected MIDI clip into the newly minted MIDI CLIP track. Now this track should only contain a MIDI clip and a MIDI effect.

Select the original track’s name from the “MIDI To” drop down menu. If you can’t see it, it can be found by pressing Alt+Cmd+I.

Make sure that the original track’s monitor mode is set to “In.” This is always going to be the case when an external signal is coming into the track.

Now, you should be able to play the clip in the MIDI CLIP track and hear it playing the MIDI instrument in the original track.

Now, arm the original track and press play on the MIDI Clip. A new clip should be recording in the original track, recording the MIDI notes as they come out of the arpeggiator. I like to change the parameters of the arp while the clip is recording so the changes are recorded.

Press Stop.

I like to then copy and past these patterns together to make new patterns. Pretty cool, huh?

P.S. This is excerpted from a QA video for the members of the Ableton Cookbook email list. If you want your questions answered in one of these videos, sign up for the email list. You’ll also get a discount on the Clip Module, for sale on Dec. 2 at 8am, Central Time!


8 Responses to “Check Out This Cool MIDI Routing Tip for Ableton’s Arpeggiator”

  1. Jb November 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Thnx for the tips!

    • Anthony November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      no prob!

  2. opuswerk November 30, 2011 at 7:57 am #


    I was wondering if the synth rack you’re using is one of those we made with Jeff from (his website unfortunately seems down at the moment). If so, i find that really cool to see they’re being used. Having worked so much on them, i’m almost sure it is, but i could be wrong 😀

    I can’t find any proper link about it, except a few forum posts mentionning it ( ) I thought i’d post links to the packs. You can grab the ableton files of here:
    and the waveforms only here:

    and some music made with them can be heard here:

    Cheers from Sweetzelrand,


    • Anthony November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Great! Gonna edit the post in a bit and add this stuff in.

  3. toby December 1, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Great tutorial. Really cool stuff – opens up all sorts of possibilities. Looking forward to your clips tutorials going back on sale – I missed the first batch.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Anthony December 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Toby, thanks!

      What a coincidence, I read this comment right after I announced that the Clip module will be back on sale tomorrow at 8am!

  4. Sherbert December 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Oooh, cool, going to try this tonight…. thank you!

    • Anthony December 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      No prob! Let me know how it goes.

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