What is your Ableton Live starting template?

I have issues with speed. I’m slow : I start from scratch and I design every sound while losing a lot of time and energy, and at the middle of the track after days of producing, I have brain overload.

I deleted a lot of things lately, sounds, folders, presets, things I don’t use : I take a couple of days to cool down as I produce every day for a month since we are not in lockdown and I can see people again (inspiration).

I would like to start fresh, my computer is not cluttered, I have free space, and I’d like to create a clever template to save time and energy.

I kept a few sounds in my library but not much, just things I use often and I’d like to make a tiny library, with only sounds I designed and I want to avoid being overwhelmed (It was the case with my previous library, too much folders and stuff).

So I’d like to discuss :

  • How to save the maximum amount of time and energy at the beginning of a project ? How to create an optimum template ?
  • How to keep a library ready to use ?

I want to avoid cluttering my mind, as I am more limited than before since my burnout, I am easily tired and overwhelmed.

Thanks !

I keep it blank. Otherwise I’ll either become either rusty or lazy, and both seem counterproductive.

I also think it’s incredibly difficult to use templates when you create multiple styles of music, engage in long sound design sessions, or just want to do some quick editing - each of these categories is like an entirely different evening / weekend / months-long, grueling process.

I could either make a shitload of templates to organize and tap into later, or I could literally just save time by not using templates.


It might be counter productive but my templates is dead easy, some ‘ghetto mastering’ effects on the master, delay in send one, reverb on send two, 4 tracks.


i start from scratch with every tune, with the exception of a metal record I recorded. I made a template that contained my bass guitar “amp” and eq/compression scheme, same w my Kontakt based drum kit. Those two elements were consistent across the entire release, sticking with those decisions allowed me to focus on writing, this release came together extremely quickly as a result.

With electronic music i start from scratch!


I just have a template with a really big drum kit I made, fabfilter on each track/the master and that’s it. Open ended. Whatever synth I decide to start with can vary so my template doesn’t have one in it.

I saved lots of templates, for different genres, different sound design tasks and so on… But basically I just saved projects before giving a name and rarely use any of it, I guess mostly because the loading/opening process takes much longer as compared to starting from scratch and I would switch everything up after a while anyways.

However, if you always use something in every project, same drum machine, always sidechaining some elements, it makes sense to load that stuff directly. And it can be fun to open an old template, seeing stuff you are not using much anymore or even forgot about. And I’m still saving template-like files for specific instrument racks, effect chains and similar stuff, but rarely complete projects.

I have a shit ton of templates, but do not use them when I want to be creative. If I am just starting a song idea, I sit down and think of the voice (instrument/sounds) which are going to go in that tune.

Then go apeshit doing sound design, playing instruments, walking around recording foley, run stuff thru a tape deck and see if I can manipulate it on the fly, play with some modules, load a vst and turn pots or slide a fader, just truly mess around with whatever strikes me!
Record/print/write a script/ask for permission to use someone I randomly record on phone/or shuffle through my samples and re-sample…then take all of this crap and …
Put em in odd folders, then you have your own sample banks to just draw from.

Now when you are ready to pull up say a Electro House Template that has the songs sections layered out for the direction you want to write a song in, just go to your folders and use either your samples, or layer up parts to thicken things up! Or re-write the melody you came up with, or was a sick rhythm pattern? Cool place it in, and chop it up into the section for the chorus/verse/transition/breakdown.

This doesn’t alway work out, sometimes you sit down, and just want to write a song from start to finish, or you are collaborating with someone who wants to map it all out before playing parts, or using samples. NO matter which way the song starts, it comes from a personal point of planning. Knowing you are going for a certain direction will help with the template you map out parts to later.

Otherwise it’s just finding a sound/noise/concept to be used in the broad story we will arrange on said template… imo

Hope my babbling helps. best of

Meta in with a thing I forgot to mention!
…when you look back at your old projects… you can always make empty projects, and bring over certain sends/bus/strip settings and create a template to open up and drop things as i discussed earlier, and be rolling making tunes in no time!

I truly wish I didn’t love doing so much sound design, as it slows me down from just drag-drop/or re-playing parts and just dropping tunes all the time! haha

OH BTW, I don’t use ableton…


I just keep all my inputs and outputs as default along with some midi tracks as default, all the other stuff i just drop in as i go.

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Best template is empty one (Live’s default). Even if you repeat same actions in each new project – arm resampling tracks, create new audio/midi tracks, effect chains… Sooner or later it becomes automatic anyway. You might develop some patterns but at least everything happens for a reason in your mind, not because of some template that pre-loads all the stuff sometimes you don’t even need. I would see that as a limitation. Templates are good if you want to maintain some elements between projects, like Chase mentioned, having a drum kit that is used though entire metal EP album for consistency or some armed track for quick recording.

Also, having a quick access to favourite stuff is pretty good idea, like custom effect chains with macros and most-used plugins in one folder will personalize your workflow a bit more. Building such user library or using collection function menu to favourite stuff in Live can help things a lot. But that’s how far I would go. Starting clean always feels very refreshing because you can go any direction.

I have an eq8 with a 4x steep highpass at 35 Hz (turned off initially) and a limiter set at -.3 on the master, plus the reverb and delay on the sends that are default, which I almost never use. And yeah, the default two midi and two audio tracks as well.

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Thanks guys !

So, I guess it’s all about finding balance between the bare minimum I need to start and some wicked huge template with every thing I think I’ll need but I’ll never use em in the end.

I made some simple general purpose template with just a few things I like, and I’ll see how it goes in the long run

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Haha we’re no help huh XD

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Ahaha you’re wrong, sometimes I need to de-complicate things !

And the experience of other beings is very, very valuable to stop cluttering my mind ^^

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I have a template with stuff like record tracks from my soundcard and midi mappings, otherwise I try to keep it clean. I
presets are good though for stuff you use often.

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Yeah, and in Live you can do a rack preset with everything, which is great. I completely changed the way I manage my library, and I finally reach the starting point I wanna see. This is great to have everything I need at hand, after months of endeavours. Now I have to integrate Maschine into this template, and this is not easy with Ableton Live ><

What is Maschine?

My template in Live is pretty simple …
1 Midi Track + 1 Audio track as Resampler.
I then drop my Drum rack or Synth racks ( saved as ALS file in my user library for fast recall ) on this Midi file & start twiddling …

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